6 Reasons to Consider an All-in-One System
By Adam Amdor
I’m coming off my latest brew day - a nice day on the patio, watching heavy clouds - a “will they, won’t they” of rain or storms in the Midwest summer. About a year ago, headed into the cooler season and as my daughter became a toddler, I started to think about how I could continue to enjoy my favorite hobby, while also being around for family time. Knowing that flexibility would be important, I began to re-think my approach to brewing up my favorites.
All-in-one systems are growing ever more popular. Here are a few reasons you might consider an all-in-one system, no matter if you are a beginner, a more experienced brewer, or simply looking for a little more ease in your brew day. I chose to go with a Brewzilla, which is my focus for this article, but there are several options on the market at various price points which have many of the same features!
When time is of the essence, whether it be planning around work, errands, or family time, it can be difficult to block out a few hours to focus on your craft. With an electric element and built-in control panel, the ability to automate the process is very appealing. Set a timer to wake up to strike water temps, or come home from work and be ready to go.
Today I flipped a switch to heat strike water and left to mow my lawn — no babysitting needed to watch a flame. With a programmable time and temperature, I knew that when I came back my water was ready to go, and had been holding at the temperature I expected. Since it’s electric, I feel free to hang out with my family during the boil - no “watch pot” with propane and the jet engine burner.
2. Portable and compact
I have used my all-in-one system on my patio, in my kitchen, in my basement, and will probably use it in my garage. Just find an outlet and go! My brewing sessions tend to fizzle out in the colder months, and knowing I could brew indoors was a huge factor in my purchase. No steam condenser needed, just open a few windows or turn on your kitchen fan.
Three vessels and orange coolers are no longer needed! I love that everything I need is consolidated into one cylinder - no multiple trips in and out of the house to grab gear. These are compact and ready to move with you. All-in-ones are not only great for those looking to “scale down,” they’re also great for people who have limited space. Apartment dwellers - get ready to introduce your neighbors to a new smell of bubbling wort!
My toddler is all over the place - while there are hot elements, the neoprene jacket not only insulates for better heating efficiency but also adds some security if my little one walks up and puts her hand on the pot - it’s only warm to the touch! The compact nature of the system makes it easy to “hide” next to my grill and smoker. With the electric element, brewing indoors is a cinch; no worries of carbon monoxide. The built-in pump makes transferring to the fermenter as easy as a flip of the switch, or you can use the spigot to open and drain.
4. It’s electric! With built-in components
Did I mention this yet? No trips back and forth for propane refills, no fire, and brew wherever you can find an electrical outlet. (110v for standard, 220v for more powerful components). A built-in pump makes it easy to transfer to your fermenter, recirculate for mash or cleaning, and the built-in elements make heating a cinch.
5. Entry level or experienced
The compact unit, flexibility and predictability are perfect for newer brewers who are ready to upgrade from the stovetop, partial mashes or extract batches. The predictability of mash temps, recirculating or setting up step mashes is appealing for those who are more experienced. I brewed for five years on my former set up, a 16 gallon kettle over a banjo burner jet engine (which I still have for bigger batches). All-in-ones are great for new brewers to dive right in, great for experienced brewers to scale down, or add some predictability to their brew day.
6. Other uses!
The ability to dial in and hold a water temperature makes an all-in-one suitable for other uses, such as sous vide cooking! Set your controller for the appropriate temperature and throw in the steaks!
All-in-one systems have made our favorite hobby more accessible for everyone! I hope you found the information above useful!
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