I’ve been brewing beer from extract since the beginning (woah it’s been almost five years just like that), and that’s probably the right place to start for beginners. It couldn’t be easier, but everyone has to progress to grain brewing at some point. The traditional method usually involves a three tier system which takes up quite a bit of space. With an all-in-one kit though, the three tiers become just one, sort of.
The Grainfather, which hails from New Zealand, is probably the first all-in-one systems in the market (apparently in 2012). Expensive (US$999), of course. Obviously, other copycat systems arrived, one of which is the Robobrew BrewZilla, from Australia. Much cheaper (US$479), but still expensive. I suppose it makes more sense to buy from the local distributor, to save the hassle of shipping, though the pricing is even higher – the Grainfather at S$1688 and BrewZilla at S$780.
I wouldn’t pay so much for these. Did a check on Taobao and found that BrewZilla is officially distributed in China at CNY 2688 (S$536). Even after adding on GST and sea freight, it would be cheaper to bring in from China. For the longest time, this product sat in my wishlist. Thankfully I was not impulsive on buying it (the price remained unchanged anyway). There was another seller of the BrewZilla who also offered another system called the ACE, which, apparently, is the same OEM product as the BrewZilla, but at a lower pricing (CNY 2499 or S$498.50). I almost committed to buying the ACE, but i did a final search just to make sure i got the best pricing. Lo and behold, there was a new Chinese system by Dibosk. Dibosk is a reputable Chinese manufacturer of brewery products. The introductory price of CNY 979 (S$195) made it a no-brainer choice (price before discount CNY 1180). Nevermind if it has no display or electronic control like the Grainfather or BrewZilla, it is an all-in-one system no less, a very basic one, but does the job. I actually collected S$15.87 in Shopback cashback for this item, which more than cancelled out the GST, goodie. Make sure you collect your cashback when you make your purchase. Definitely sign up with Shopback (referral link) if you haven’t!
The caveat, though, is that the package comes with no instruction manual at all. I had to ask the seller for instructions and a video was provided, and that was good enough. Anyway, it’s not stated in the product page, but the seller actually shipped more things than i expected to get, like a mill (which would have cost CNY 80), a thermometer and a hydrometer. In any case, the friendly people at iBrew will mill the grains for you when you do your purchase from them, so i wouldn’t be using the mill in the immediate future. This kit has a capacity of 26 litres, which is probably just nice for brewing the standard 23 litres of beer. I’m not sure about this though, but if necessary i will dilute and make it go up to 23 litres or more when I brew.
Will post more about my first all grain brew once I have done it, stay tuned.
Update: see the new post on my maiden all grain brewing.