Happy new year! I am looking for some guidance. I ferment in a Spike Flex+ (so 5 gal batches) and I am looking to add a glycol chiller to my setup. I am looking to do so without breaking the bank, and need something that can support up to 2 5 gal fermenters simultaneously. Ideally I would like something for under $1k, but I realise that is unrealistic. My upper limit, all in, is about $1300, and given that it is a fairly hefty sum to be handing over, I’d like something that is tried, tested and will last me a very long time. I don’t want to build something myself (like the window A/C unit builds that are prevalent on the interweb) as it will end up like the LEGO sets I bought myself, and never be finished. I am not interested in a fridge or freezer as I want as small a footprint as possible given my limited space. Anyone here have any suggestions based on their own experience?
Hi, that’s the one I have been using for a few years now, made in Quebec, works perfectly. It’s a real beast. I bought it from Le Brasseur in Delson (I see now that they sell it around 1350$, quite a steeper investment than pre-pandemic when I got mine, to say the least).
Thanks Eric. Even at $1350, that’s still $300 cheaper than OBK charge for the same unit! This one does interest me and I reached out to BVL Controls directly on Thursday for a quote to buy directly from them. Hopefully they get back to me next week, but I’ll keep Le Brasseur in mind also.
Thanks Eric. I am assuming you went with the GC4 and not the newer, and smaller, GC2? I saw that mod video last year and had considered the GF, but the thing that kept me from pulling the trigger on it was the smaller glycol reservoir. It’s 1.5 gal versus 3 gal for the BVL, and up to 8 gal for some of the other brands like BrewBuilt IceMaster 100. Even the BrewBuilt IceMaster Max 2 has a 4.5 gal reservoir to support 2 fermenters. How do you find the GF chiller for doing crash cooling and temp control simultaneously?
This BVL chiller is designed to be able to accomodate up to 4 conicals (5 gal) at the same time (I’ve been using two at the same time so far…we all have other day jobs right lol). As you said, it can contain more glycol, and I’ve found that you can lager ferment two different beers at the same time without any issue (changing the glycol solution every 12-14 months gives better results imo). With Grainfather conicals and this chiller, I can cold crash and reach 6C within two hours, it’s quite impressive.
IIRC, i think i put 2/3 of the gallon jug in the reservoir. Like Eric mention, you can connect 4 vessels, so… And to answer your question, with my experience, i will never connect four units. Depending the season, summer is a big no-no to cold crash and ferment a Lager. It will maintain the fermentation temperature fine but the chiller will be running 45min per hour. Quite annoying. If you ferment only Ale and cold crashing 1 out of 4 at the time, it should be fine
Thanks Eric. I’ve been emailing back and forth with BVL controls this week, and they quoted me $1316 + tax for their 1/3 hp chiller (supports up to 4 fermenters), and $1267 +tax for their 1/4 hp chiller (supports up to 2 fermenters; OBK charges $1899 + tax for the very same unit! That’s one hell of a markup).
BrewHQ has the GF GC2 and GC4 for $1599 (+tax and shipping), and $1349 (+tax and shipping) respectively, so I think the BVL option offers better value for money.
I did a little more research and I found a homebrew store out west that has the BrewBuilt IceMaster 100 for $1199 (+ tax and shipping), and they gave me a quote of $999 (+tax and shipping ($82)) for the BrewBuilt IceMaster Max 2. Both of these units are just rebadged Kegland glycol chillers (G40.1 and G20 I believe). Just reading through the various forums and whatnot, a lot of people like the Max 2, but after-sales support can be an issue apparently. So is the $300 or $400 savings worth it, if I could just drive the unit back to Terrebonne for any after-sales support? Perhaps not.