The BrewTools Fanboy Thread

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McMullan
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Re: The BrewTools Fanboy Thread

Post by McMullan » Sun Apr 04, 2021 8:22 pm

Sorry, Bumster, missed that bleat for the so desirable must-have for BT fanboys. WiFi. Connectivity. I don’t get it, personally. What’s the point? Just because it can have ‘connectively’ doesn’t mean it actually translates into anything genuinely useful. Is it just to sell more of what already works to the people who already have one and what doesn't to the people who don't? I think that’s bollocks, myself. It certainly won’t improve the wort quality therefore it’s not on my list. I think a lot of it is down to people from IT, or otherwise being IT savvy, being into home brewing. It’s not something I’d pay a premium for. I read a BT fanboy bragging about the possibility of him monitoring his B80 from the other side of the world and I thought, “F*ck me, pause it and fly back home as soon as, mate, before you get a stuck mash and burn your elements, you tw*t!” Whatever next? A WiFi compatible electric toothbrush? It sends you a seductive text message when it’s fully charged. Creepy! What if someone hacks your Braun toothbrush and knocks your teeth out while you’re brushing them? A shiny toilet with ‘connectivity’? Forget about Toilet Duck Auto Blue Cleaner, this bog’s got Bluetooth! What if all toilets in Dump Town get flushed at the same time overnight by Russian hackers? What about the small village asleep downstream, In-The-Shit? Funny, yes, useful, no.

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Re: The BrewTools Fanboy Thread

Post by Bumster McGee » Mon Apr 05, 2021 3:26 am

Lol McMuffin, yes I think those trying to profit from technology by being creative can take applications beyond usefulness. However in the case of the BT I would see the ability to pull recipes in from the Brewfather server an attraction (but not Beersmith though after trying Brewfather I can see how superior it is to Beersmith but thats another discussion). That said, after watching an early 2019 Heath review of the BT he informed his viewers that BT had told him such functionality would be ready for use by end 2019, but alas I see on Facelift it still hasn't been rolled out yet today :roll:.

I would not mind being able to remote monitor progress though not while I am out of the house (or overseas) because I do find the recipe timer alarms useful and I could check on temperatures without trudging downstairs regularly but that's about it. I am aware that they push firmware updates out regularly as they tweak the interface and PID parameters and more than happy to let them set these optimally for the system though I see you can override them manually if you know what your are doing (I don't).

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Re: The BrewTools Fanboy Thread

Post by McMullan » Mon Apr 05, 2021 8:59 am

Bumster McGee wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 3:26 am
I think those trying to profit from technology by being creative can take applications beyond usefulness.
Like Brewfather, you mean? :lol: I prefer BeerSmith. It works very well for me. I just print off a copy of my recipe. KISS, as they say. No need to sign in to anything digital or panic about a lost mobile charger on brew day. No connectivity required, even to access my recipes in BeerSmith :wink:

So what you’re saying about BT then: it’s not just the most expensive hands-on one-pot system on the market, it’s the most expensive hands-on one-pot prototype system on the market? It’s very much still in development? What happens when they finally have a finished product? Do BT fanboys have to buy another one? I think I can see why they ‘like to work with their customers’ now. Shocking really.

With a BM there’s not really anything to monitor other than time. Again, you can walk away and leave it to do its thing, confident nothing’s going to go wrong. It’s what you’re paying for mainly. The convenience of repeatable automation. With a BT, if you dared to walk away and monitor things remotely, you’d need a big CCTV monitor and a big kill switch. It might complicate dog walks a little :? You’d have to keep a constant look out for the mash getting stuck or a boil over. And a decent pair of extra fast trainers - just in case the kill switch fails, after being hacked by Russians, who then ramp up the output of your BT’s superfluous heating elements, blowing your fuse box off the wall. I bet my trusty WiFi incompatible BM controller and print out are looking fan-f*cking-tastic at this point :=P

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Re: The BrewTools Fanboy Thread

Post by MashBag » Mon Apr 05, 2021 11:03 am

McMullan wrote:
Sun Apr 04, 2021 11:38 am
It’s exactly how to deal with wort fountains. As the pump speed is reduced they disappear, as the pressure drops. No drop in mash efficiency either, interestingly.
Fixing the top plate a stops them tooo. Different folks different strokes. Might be different at max grain bill - never have.


Blichmann RipTide pump. Hot (70℃) PBW (tsp/L), 8L total. How long it takes depends on how long I take to clean up, usually about an hour. It doesn’t speed up the chore, just makes it a lot easier. About 5min on a physical clean (cask brush) and water rinse, including flushing CFC; about 15min recirculating hot PBW through CFC, valves, tubing, with BM pump on; then about 15min through spray ball; about 5min rinsing in reverse, spray ball, CFC… done. There’s still cleaning-out-of-place chores and pitching yeast, etc., to do. I just pop back to the kitchen when a timer buzzer goes off, if I hear it. Works for me.
Thanks. Yup thats pretty much the results I got. So I binned it - I was chasing full CIP got the 'IP' but not the 'C' without a brush.
I needed a simple a timely solution, TFR and a bog brush (& sometimes a SS scrubby) is 15-20 mins done.

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Re: The BrewTools Fanboy Thread

Post by f00b4r » Mon Apr 05, 2021 12:48 pm

I like the BM wifi module, it’s one of those things that is hard to make a true judgement about without using it (I was very much on the fence when I got it).

Advantages:

- it let’s you upload recipes to the BM (admittedly via the cloud - it would be MUCH better if they provided an API for brewing software to push (the relevant parts of) recipes directly to the machine; this was possible via a hack on previous firmware so maybe it will come back officially or unofficially.

- it let’s you update the firmware - there have been many improvements in the firmware in the 5-ish years I have had my machine, eg delayed timed start so it is ready to mash in when I wake up (makes a significant difference to the length of brew days), additional hop additions in recipes, calibration of the thermometer, etc.. There is actually a way to upgrade the firmware via a home made cable and a Raspberry Pi though if you are only after this feature and are a little handy.

- bring able to monitor the brew is one of the less useful aspects but occasionally it is useful when doing other things.

Downsides:

- it is very expensive for what it is, especially as it only connects to 2.4Ghz networks. I thought it was expensive when I got mine but it’s almost doubled in price since then, despite inflation being very low in that time.

- the design is pretty rubbish and it’s another thing to worry about getting wet when cleaning; I would not remove it as it uses a stupid proprietary connection to the BM, which if not really well connected and tightened up can cause it to throw random errors.

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Re: The BrewTools Fanboy Thread

Post by McMullan » Mon Apr 05, 2021 1:16 pm

Still not convinced with the benefits of connectivity. Not much of the recipe info is used and it only takes a minute or two to manually plug in a new profile. I can see how some people might fail with executing this basic task, though, and require assistance to get their desired profile entered correctly :roll: I like the idea of a delayed start, though. I get everything ready the day before. Last thing I heat the water to 75℃, switch off then go to bed. Not far off strike temperature first thing. Cup of tea then an easy, relaxed brew day, walking the dog mainly. Chasing the dog chasing a hare occasionally #-o A BT would only overcomplicate my life.

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Re: The BrewTools Fanboy Thread

Post by MashBag » Tue Apr 06, 2021 7:10 am

Spot on McMullan.

It takes longer to fug about with the WiFi than is does to do the recipe - which chances are it's not that dissimilar from last time.

My BM doesn't need updating. They got the firmware right first time. 😂😂😂

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Re: The BrewTools Fanboy Thread

Post by f00b4r » Tue Apr 06, 2021 10:07 am

The delayed timer is the real “killer app”, there are other useful functions they have added over the years but it’s hard to remember exactly what has been added and what was there originally.
In terms of recipes pushing to the BM, I would liken it to manually dialling someone’s telephone number every time you ring someone, it doesn’t take that long to dial numbers manually but there is a reason that people don’t tend to do it from their mobiles if it’s a number they will call again or can click from a link.

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Re: The BrewTools Fanboy Thread

Post by Bumster McGee » Wed Apr 07, 2021 12:00 am

f00b4r wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 10:07 am
The delayed timer is the real “killer app”, there are other useful functions they have added over the years but it’s hard to remember exactly what has been added and what was there originally.
In terms of recipes pushing to the BM, I would liken it to manually dialling someone’s telephone number every time you ring someone, it doesn’t take that long to dial numbers manually but there is a reason that people don’t tend to do it from their mobiles if it’s a number they will call again or can click from a link.
Ah not mobile. I prefer to design my beers and tweak on the PC web interface, as I am doing now. I do agree there are only a few parameters that are required for recipe based control (so the mind boggles why it seems so challenging for the BT developers :x but I am not an IT professional) and I have many recipes so it does feel convenient to have them all magically appear on my controller so I can select what I want to brew from there on the day, as well as not having to change them on the controller each time I tweak (ie synching is a nice feature).

As this is a BT fanboy thread I understand that their controller already incorporates a delayed start feature which as you say is neat if you are a morning brewer and like to have your strike temp ready to rock and roll. Same no doubt as the new BM controller which is not backward compatible with prior models so simply upgrading the controller is not an option for me.

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MashBag
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Re: The BrewTools Fanboy Thread

Post by MashBag » Wed Apr 07, 2021 7:00 am

Other controllers are available.

One option, have you considered making a "Grain Meister" your BM kettle and a grain father controller!

edit: didn't really make sense the first time :o
Last edited by MashBag on Wed Apr 07, 2021 8:09 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: The BrewTools Fanboy Thread

Post by f00b4r » Wed Apr 07, 2021 7:35 am

Bumster McGee wrote:
f00b4r wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 10:07 am
The delayed timer is the real “killer app”, there are other useful functions they have added over the years but it’s hard to remember exactly what has been added and what was there originally.
In terms of recipes pushing to the BM, I would liken it to manually dialling someone’s telephone number every time you ring someone, it doesn’t take that long to dial numbers manually but there is a reason that people don’t tend to do it from their mobiles if it’s a number they will call again or can click from a link.
Ah not mobile. I prefer to design my beers and tweak on the PC web interface, as I am doing now. I do agree there are only a few parameters that are required for recipe based control (so the mind boggles why it seems so challenging for the BT developers :x but I am not an IT professional) and I have many recipes so it does feel convenient to have them all magically appear on my controller so I can select what I want to brew from there on the day, as well as not having to change them on the controller each time I tweak (ie synching is a nice feature).

As this is a BT fanboy thread I understand that their controller already incorporates a delayed start feature which as you say is neat if you are a morning brewer and like to have your strike temp ready to rock and roll. Same no doubt as the new BM controller which is not backward compatible with prior models so simply upgrading the controller is not an option for me.
The 2015 BM controller has the delayed start on newer firmware.

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MashBag
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Re: The BrewTools Fanboy Thread

Post by MashBag » Wed Apr 07, 2021 8:12 am

The BM gen1 controller has the delayed start on the original firmware :wall

............OK I'll get my coat

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Re: The BrewTools Fanboy Thread

Post by aamcle » Wed Apr 07, 2021 10:00 am

This lot represents the ultimate case of Shiny Fever, combined with another similar condition Gadgetitus.

I like tech I'll happily admit to that but over too many decades I've seen tech applied were it offers little real benefit except to those selling it.

Unless there is good reason not to or you just like big bills then K.I.S.S works with much less worry and fiddling.


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Re: The BrewTools Fanboy Thread

Post by MashBag » Wed Apr 07, 2021 3:36 pm

aamcle wrote:
Wed Apr 07, 2021 10:00 am
This lot represents the ultimate case of Shiny Fever, combined with another similar condition Gadgetitus.

I like tech I'll happily admit to that but over too many decades I've seen tech applied were it offers little real benefit except to those selling it.

Unless there is good reason not to or you just like big bills then K.I.S.S works with much less worry and fiddling.


Aamcle
Amen to that

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Re: The BrewTools Fanboy Thread

Post by nickjdavis » Fri Apr 09, 2021 2:29 pm

McMullan wrote:
Sat Apr 03, 2021 11:35 am
@Bumster

Yes, the BT 3-way valves are cheap Chinese jobs. You can get them on AliExpress, if you’re interested. My Blichmann G2 Linear Flow Valves don’t collect any gunk, especially after I run my BM CIP protocol. If you want to drain a BM completely, for cleaning/rinsing, use a dip tube:

IMG_0330.JPG

Where did you get your dip tube please? I've been searching for one for ages.

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