Single Vessel Brewing Systems Pt2 – ReviewsPOSTED BY BRAD "MICRAFTBEER" PROBERT ON JULY 19, 2016
Brew-Boss 20-gallon COFI 240V
Brew-Boss has multiple different systems for all-in-one brewing. They range in price and in functionality. They all use the Brew-Boss controller and its impressive software, and make use of custom kettles with tri-clamp fittings to make cleaning super easy. The mashing options start with a false bottom and regular BIAB bag, step up to a stainless steel mesh basket with a type of “trickle down” sprinkler head to drip recirculating wort, and the top of the line option is what they call COFI center infusion basket. With the COFI basket, recirculating wort gets pumped into a rod that goes down through the center of the mash basket filled with your grains, and then sprays out through holes along its surface to circulate wort throughout the grain bed at all levels. There’s also a dizzying array of accessories and add-ons, with the fanciest being a rotating hop dispenser. You fill each cup with your hop additions, and it will automatically rotate around at the prescribed time and drop in your hop additions.
The kettles are high quality and have nice features like etched volume markings, and the tri-clamp fittings. The COFI recirculation mash basket seems to have some logical advantages of making sure you’re getting all corners of your grain washed, but I suppose someone could debate the benefits of almost all of these systems for wort re-circulation during mash. The one thing that’s beyond debate is how special the controller/software is. You simply export your recipe from BeerSmith with hop additions, mash temperature/time steps, and boil times and the software automatically converts it to a program to run your brew day. It will heat your water to the prescribed strike temperature, prompt you to add grains in your basket, and go about whatever complicated or simple mash profile you created. It will then prompt you to remove the basket and get busy heating the wort to a boil. With some sophisticated algorithms, it automatically detects when a boil has been reached and then maintains power output at the boil level you set, and then sets timers for your hop additions. Messages prompt you for hop additions at time left in the boil you’ve set up in your recipe, and when all’s done, kills the power so you can start chilling. It knows when to turn your pump on and off and automatically controls that.
The controller also has Wi-Fi so you can monitor your brew session without having to be chained to your kettle, and you can also adjust power output, mash step times, etc. all on the fly. This level of automation may be over the top for some, and you can always use it in full manual control for turning the pump on and off, and controlling electric output. But if you’re looking for repeatability in process, it’s hard to argue with this type of system. Temperature control on mash steps was impressive with fast rising temperature rates, but without overshoot.