Purchasing 1550 - SMART ?'s

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Purchasing 1550 - SMART ?'s

Postby Porter » Tue May 22, 2012 5:40 am

Hey -

I am seriously looking into purchasing the 1550 10 gallon Tippy Dump System. I currently have a B3-500 5 gallon system that I bought about 14 years ago. It still works basically as well as it did the day I bought it, but kind of wanting to move up to a 10 gallon system.

I have some questions in regard to the SMART setup - first and foremost - thoughts on the 3 options: analog, digital vs. full digital. Initially, I am thinking digital. Digital (if I am reading the info right) allows me to set my mash temp. and the pump will turn on and off as needed to maintain that temp.) Is the main difference with the Full package simply that the Full also adjusts the HLT water temp. as it loses heat to the mash tun? Basically, the regular digital package would require me to heat the HLT water myself, lighting/relighting the burner as needed to keep the water at a temp. I want??? Is there a lot more to it? Seems like if that is the main difference, addition for Full digital + digital nat. gas system is a bit pricey at around $2000.

Anyone have thoughts on why I should or should not go with regular digital vs. full digital? Anyone have regrets with going with one or the other?

Also, when the SMART system is operating, I assume you use the one pump to recirculate the wort through a heat exchanger in the HLT and return the wort to the mash. When it comes time to sparge, that pump then needs to be unhooked and connected to the HLT to move the sparge water to the mash? Is this correct?

How is cleaning of the pump, heat exchanger, etc. My system is currently all gravity driven, so, it is nice simply washing out pots and not dealing with pumps, tubing, coils, etc.

Any other thoughts?
Thanks
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Purchasing 1550 - SMART ?'s

Postby Brewtime » Tue May 22, 2012 6:01 am

My suggestion is to call B3 and talk to them. They were very helpful when I was thinking on buying one of their system. I ended up building one myself. While there are some here on the forum who has a system and they can help. It would be best to goto the source.


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Re: Purchasing 1550 - SMART ?'s

Postby Porter » Tue May 22, 2012 6:05 am

Yep - I sent an e-mail as well, just hoping for some customer feedback to go with it.
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Re: Purchasing 1550 - SMART ?'s

Postby msamsonz28 » Tue May 22, 2012 4:26 pm

I too, am interested to hear what users have to say about digital vs full digital. I will be ordering in the next month or two, and at this point, I'm leaning towards digital as well. To me, it doesn't seem all that much work to monitor a burner for an hour. Although it's a nice feature, I'm not sure it's worth the additional cost. Unless anyone can convince me otherwise...
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Re: Purchasing 1550 - SMART ?'s

Postby usmcruz » Tue May 22, 2012 5:30 pm

If you build it, beer will come.
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Purchasing 1550 - SMART ?'s

Postby Brewtime » Tue May 22, 2012 5:46 pm

My homemade stand has full digital and I would have to say it is worth it. Makes brewday much more enjoyable


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Re: Purchasing 1550 - SMART ?'s

Postby pclemon » Wed May 23, 2012 4:54 am

msamsonz28 wrote:To me, it doesn't seem all that much work to monitor a burner for an hour.


IMO, if you still need to monitor something with the digital package (not full-digital) then you might as well go with the full manual solution.
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Re: Purchasing 1550 - SMART ?'s

Postby Porter » Wed May 23, 2012 5:04 am

I guess the main thing I wonder is this - if you have a 15 gallon pot, and you fill it with 10 gallons of 160 degree water and you use it to keep the mash at 150-154ish . . . . . How much heat are you really going to be losing that is going to require you to spend much time "adjusting." Couldn't you just recirculate for a bit until you get mash temp locked in, and then let it sit?

I mean I have the 5 gallon gravity system right now, and I just dump my grain into water that is in the 165 degree range, stir it and let it settle in at 152ish and I hold that temp. for 60-90 minutes and only lose a degree or two. So, what is so different that there would need to be constant adjusting and recirculating, etc.???

I do like the idea of being able to recirculate to adjust the mash temp. and dial it in. I also think the recirculation should help set the grain bet and clear the wort. But, to be honest, $2000 seems like a lot of money if the same thing can be done for a couple hundred or less.
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Re: Purchasing 1550 - SMART ?'s

Postby pclemon » Wed May 23, 2012 5:19 am

Porter wrote:I guess the main thing I wonder is this - if you have a 15 gallon pot, and you fill it with 10 gallons of 160 degree water and you use it to keep the mash at 150-154ish . . . . . How much heat are you really going to be losing that is going to require you to spend much time "adjusting." Couldn't you just recirculate for a bit until you get mash temp locked in, and then let it sit?

I mean I have the 5 gallon gravity system right now, and I just dump my grain into water that is in the 165 degree range, stir it and let it settle in at 152ish and I hold that temp. for 60-90 minutes and only lose a degree or two. So, what is so different that there would need to be constant adjusting and recirculating, etc.???

I do like the idea of being able to recirculate to adjust the mash temp. and dial it in. I also think the recirculation should help set the grain bet and clear the wort. But, to be honest, $2000 seems like a lot of money if the same thing can be done for a couple hundred or less.


The difference is that right now you are mashing in a cooler which might lose 1-2 degrees over the course of an hour. By mashing in a SS pot, there is more heat loss to the environment.

For the HLT - do an experiment and heat up a pot to 160 degrees and let it sit for an hour - without even running wort through it you'll probably lose 10 degrees over an hour.

With a little knowledge, a bit of time, and some tools you can make up your own system for considerably less than a B3 system (many here have done it).
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Re: Purchasing 1550 - SMART ?'s

Postby Porter » Wed May 23, 2012 5:30 am

Actually, right now I have a B3 5 gallon gravity system with 3 9 gallon SS pots. I just never lose much heat out of my mashtun. I would think that the simple fact that doubling the amount of water and the amount of grain would increase the mass to the point that I would lose even less heat. I assume most of the heat that is being lost is actually being lost during the recirculation of the wort?
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Re: Purchasing 1550 - SMART ?'s

Postby Porter » Wed May 23, 2012 5:39 am

As for making my own system...... I am mechanically "declined." I thought about it, but, I simple do not have the equipment to build anything, the knowledge to build anything. . . .and mainly, I don't have the time or desire to build anything. Lots of brewers love to tinker, and build and create equipment for brewing. . . . . I am not one of them. I love brewing, but mechanics, electric, welding, etc., etc. is something that escapes me. I don't even change the oil on my vehicles myself:) Either way there is going to be a decent cost to a good system. In addition, there is the labor/time aspect of building one. At that point, the $ difference is not huge anymore - so, I ask myself - who do I want to pay to build my system? Should I pay myself (with no skill or experience) or others who have never built one? Or, should I pay a professional who does this for a living and has been making some of the best systems out there for years?
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Re: Purchasing 1550 - SMART ?'s

Postby pclemon » Wed May 23, 2012 6:36 am

Porter wrote:As for making my own system...... I am mechanically "declined." I thought about it, but, I simple do not have the equipment to build anything, the knowledge to build anything. . . .and mainly, I don't have the time or desire to build anything. Lots of brewers love to tinker, and build and create equipment for brewing. . . . . I am not one of them. I love brewing, but mechanics, electric, welding, etc., etc. is something that escapes me. I don't even change the oil on my vehicles myself:) Either way there is going to be a decent cost to a good system. In addition, there is the labor/time aspect of building one. At that point, the $ difference is not huge anymore - so, I ask myself - who do I want to pay to build my system? Should I pay myself (with no skill or experience) or others who have never built one? Or, should I pay a professional who does this for a living and has been making some of the best systems out there for years?


Totally understand - the question with the analog/digital/full-digital is all about how hands-on you want to be on brew day. Again, IMO, if you have to stand by the system to monitor temperatures you have the time available to adjust them as well. I would love a full-digital system in which I could mash-in, walk away and mow the lawn or wash the car... the "digital" system won't allow that.
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Re: Purchasing 1550 - SMART ?'s

Postby MuddyMikes » Wed May 23, 2012 6:37 am

I happen to own a 1550 with the full digital control system. I would not have it any other way. My only complaint would be that the HLT bruner system needs a better wind screen for those windier days.

Your have to take into account the ambient air temp you will be brewing in when concidering the functionality of the HLT and recirculating your mash through it. Those hoses that will lose a great deal of mash temp when left out in in the open air on a cool fall day (as an example). Your HLT temps will drop faster than you think and having that automation to control temperature swings, in my book, is a great value.

You can even set your your Mash on constent recirc and control that temp through the HLT temp controler. The added benifit would be in setting up a very nice filter bed and having a very clear run off to your boil kettle.

Just my $.02 worth .....
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Re: Purchasing 1550 - SMART ?'s

Postby Porter » Wed May 23, 2012 7:13 am

I am able to brew in my basement, so that helps with temps, wind, etc.
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Re: Purchasing 1550 - SMART ?'s

Postby MuddyMikes » Wed May 23, 2012 7:37 am

Porter wrote:I am able to brew in my basement, so that helps with temps, wind, etc.

If you're brewing in your basement, then must have one hell of an exhaust fan. Are you all set up for an open flame in your basement?
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