Being a beer lover, I always wanted to brew my own beer but lacked time, money, and space required form making my own liquid bread. Over my travels and many places I’ve called home I’ve met several homebrewers and even spent afternoons helping brew batches of beer. While lending a helping hand I quickly realized the equipment needed to make beer from all-grain ingredients was the barrier for me. That all changed last fall when I helped a good fried make a batch of Alaska Amber clone. He had recently invested in a new Brew In A Bag (BIAB) system from Clawhammer Supply and I was immediately impressed with the functionality and usability of the system. I decided that afternoon it was time to start brewing my own beer! I had found a brew system that provided the balance of simplicity and functionality I was looking for. Along with more free time in my life now that kids are older and more independent, it’s a great time to start a new hobby!
The Clawhammer BIAB system includes all the components you need for creating your favorite all-grain beer. It consists of a 10 gallon stainless steel boil pot, a 110 volt heating element (220 volt option available at substantially more cost), a controller for heat and pump, a temperature probe, a 110 volt pump, a plate wort chiller, grain and hop baskets, high temperature, restaurant-grade rubber hose, and all the quick-release fittings and valves needed to connect the system components. The system requires assembly but that was made easy by the helpful videos provided by Clawhammer Supply. That leads me to the only complaint about the system: lack of written documentation. Videos are fine, but I’m old school and generally like to read shit :-).
When deciding on the 110 vs 220 volt system, I read many reviews stating the 110 system was adequate if the boil pot was insulated. Clawhammer even sells an insulation kit for their boil pots. So I opted for the 110 volt element and fabricated my own insulation wrap for the pot with some insulation bought at the local hardware store.
I already mentioned how I liked the Clawhammer system simplicity. You have a boil pot that heats water with an electric element, a large grain basket that fits inside the pot, and a pump to circulate hot water over the grains to extract their all-important sugars. After mashing the grains and boiling the wort, simply insert the wort chiller in the system to cool the wort before transferring to fermentation storage. The system is also relatively mobile, opening the possibility to take it to the Henry’s Lake place for some Idaho brewing! Perhaps this picture of the entire system in action chilling a pale ale wort will help you understand my excitement around this system. In a followup post I’ll describe the steps for creating an all-natural, preservative and additive free beer with the Clawhammer BIAB system. Until then, enjoy a few cold ones!