Friday, April 16, 2021

Anvil Foundry ... 15 Batches in

 I've been brewing with my Anvil Foundry All-in-One Brewing System since early November. If you want ... you can go back to my first brew day with it (see Bud Lite Lime (271) on the Anvil Foundry). You can see many of those brew days at Sheppy's Blog: Anvil.

If I'm counting correctly, my Helles in a Hand Bock-sket (Batch 285) brew day was the 15th time I've brewed on the Foundry.

That's something like 78 gallons of beer I've brewed on the system.

Overall, I really like the Foundry. There are awesome advantages. There are also some minor annoyances. 

I don't think I'm going to get rid of my old  mash-tun-in-a-cooler and propane-burner system any time soon.


There are a few things I really like about this system over my old mash-tun-in-a-cooler and propane-burner system.

The biggest advantage that I really love is the ability to set a timer to start heating strike water overnight so that I'm ready to mash-in right when I wake up in the morning. This is awesome, and saves a bunch of time at the beginning of brew days.

The other big advantage that made me want to pursue an electric solution is that I don't have to worry about wind gusts blowing out my flame. There have been brew days where wind was extremely frustrating. Having to set up wind breaks really didn't work that well. This really isn't something I have to deal with now.

A hand-in-hand advantage of electric over propane is that I don't have to worry about a propane tank running out in the middle of the brew day. In fact, I don't even remember the last time I even had to fill a propane tank.

Overnight mashes seem like a more realistic option for the Foundry. I can set the temperature of the controller to keep the mash fairly close overnight. 

The last thing I've noticed that I really love is that chilling wort seems to go much faster in the Foundry than my older kettle. I'm honestly not sure why that is... and it might actually be a function that I've only really used this in colder weather and my ground water might just be colder right now. However, I do think there is something about the narrow kettle design and/or the double-walled insulation that helps cool faster.

Another selling point for the all-in-one-system is that cleanup should be quicker. I think it probably is, but not significantly so in my case.


There are also a few things I miss about my older  mash-tun-in-a-cooler and propane-burner system.

By far the biggest disadvantage is the amount of time it takes to heat the water from mash temperature to a boil. This counteracts the advantage I get by being able to pre-heat the water overnight. 

NOTE: an advantage of the Foundry is that it can fairly easily be converted to run on 220 volts, which would help make heating faster. I'm just not sure I want to confine myself to being close to my drier outlet or spend the money to have another 220 volt circuit put in.

A minor thing is that the mash / brew house efficiency is slightly lower. The bigger the OG / ABV on the beer, the more efficiency hit I seem to take. This isn't a huge deal. A little more grain or some DME and I'm back to where I want to be. There are also things I can do to boost efficiency if I really want to.

And the last thing is that on my old system, I could brew close to a 10 gallon batch. I can't on the Foundry. In fact, high ABV beers start to max out the volume. This is pretty minor. I generally don't brew very many high ABV beers. I can always pull out my older kettle and propane burner if I want to do a 10 gallon batch.


There are some things I'd like to play around with.

I think kettle sours are theoretically easier with this system, because I can set the temperature to a great range for bacteria to do their thing.

On a facebook group, I saw someone talk about using the Foundry as a fermentor for high-temperature yeasts like my Lithuanian Farmhouse Yeast or kveik yeasts. You can use the heating element to keep the temp in the 80's or 90's if you want. I may or may not give this a try.

One thing I'd like to play around with is combining the Foundry with my propane kettle. As long as there isn't much wind, I could drain the Foundry into a kettle and get the advantage of the advantage of pre-heating the strike water overnight along with the quick heat-up of the propane burner.

This sort of negates the advantage of the all-in-one-system, but I'll try it out at some point.


Again, overall, I really like the Foundry system, and I will continue to brew most batches of beer using it.

But, at the same time, I'm going to keep my old equipment for bigger batches and / or trying out combining the old and new systems.

Keep an eye on Sheppy's Blog: Anvil to watch how things go.

In the meantime ...

As always, stay tuned on the regular SheppyBrew Channels to see what is happening with beer and other things: SheppyBrew's Facebook Page; Sheppy's Twitter Feed; SheppyBrew's Instagram Page; and SheppyBrew's Website.

Of course, don't forget to visit this blog often as well!

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