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Using BoilerMaker G2 kettles on our setup
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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 9886
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Cali Common, Maibock, Helles, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen


PostLink    Posted: Wed Aug 13, 2014 2:41 am    Post subject: Using BoilerMaker G2 kettles on our setup Reply with quote


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New Blichmann Boilermaker G2 kettles were recently announced (summer of 2014), immediately replacing the existing G1 model which is now discontinued. There was no notice of this change. I was surprised when I heard the news.

Blichmann has a video on the various features of the new G2 kettles here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7MQZdL6Gk4

These newly designed kettles will continue to work with our brewery setup (as will any other kettles/vessels for that matter), so we still recommend them for anyone looking for easy to use/quality kettles. If I had to rebuild my own brewery today, these are the kettles I would use (with a small change as will be detailed this in article).

Most changes to the new kettles are cosmetic and appear to be done to reduce manufacturing costs. For example, leaving the stainless as a matt finish instead of going through an additional step to polish, not rolling the lid and kettle rim, and so on.

The level gauge (sight glass) and the optional false bottom are the same which is good to see. Both remain very effective and easy to clean. These are the two things that (in our humble opinion) differentiate the kettle from other manufacturers.

The outer dimensions of the kettles have barely changed so there are no issues using our HERMS coil in the Hot Liquor Tank.

The only change that affects our instructions is the new proprietary "linear flow" valve which is basically a multi-turn faucet with a 1/2" NPT male fitting (instead of female like the previous standard ball valve). Instead of pointing straight out towards the brewer, the fitting is now turned 90 degrees and may be oriented in whichever direction you prefer:



The valve (disassembled) looks like this:



For using the kettles on our setup, no major overhaul is required. For all three kettles simply turn the output valve to the left or right (loosen with a wrench, reposition, and re-tighten).

For the Hot Liquor Tank (HLT) and Mash/Lauter Tun (MLT) simply screw on the Stainless steel "T" 1/2" FPT per our instructions without first using a Stainless steel nipple threaded 1/2" x close NPT such that you still end up with the hose quick disconnect pointing straight out at the brewer and the temperature probe pointing left or right.

For the Boil Kettle I'd recommend a Stainless steel elbow with 1/2" female NPT fittings before the hose quick disconnect so that the quick disconnect is also pointing straight at the brewer. You may use a straight coupler instead and connect the hose sideways, but you'll probably find front attachment easier.

So everything in our instructions still works, but you'll leave out two of the $2 nipples in the MLT and HLT, and then add an $4 elbow or coupler to the boil kettle. So cost comes out about the same when all is said and done.

Now, whether you like the new proprietary output valve or not is another story - you may want to replace them with a standard stainless steel 2-piece 1/2" full port ball valve or Blichmann 3-piece stainless steel 1/2" full port ball valve. I think I would. Here's why:

On single tier setups (gas or electric) where all the kettles are at the same height, a standard ball valve makes more sense because the valve will be either 100% open or closed as flow has to be controlled by a valve on the output of pump, not a valve on the output of the kettle. So a standard ball valve on the kettle will always be faster/easier to use as all we ever do is completely open or close it. It's one quick motion. The flow rate fine tuning that is possible with a linear flow valve is completely lost on all single tier setups (including ours). This linear flow valve only makes sense for brewers with simple setups who drain with gravity (no recirculation, so no pumps), but those setups loose all of the benefits of recirculating systems such as ours.

I would imagine that many going with Blichmann kettles are also going to go with more expensive single tier setup and not have to deal with the extra work/less ergonomic nature of a multi-tier gravity fed setup (no need to lug a bucket of grain up a ladder, or having the HLT up over your head causing safety concerns, or manually vorlaufing, etc.). I suppose this valve change shows that there are many still using simplified completely manual brewing setups (single pot, possibly extract only, gravity fed, etc.).

While the benefits of the valve are lost on all single tier setups such as ours, I feel there are also other reasons this valve is a step backwards for other setups too:
  • Usability: From an HMI (human machine interface) standpoint the ergonomics are not ideal as it's not obvious how the valve is set by simply looking at it. With a standard ball valve you can tell if it is open or closed by simply looking at the handle. It's obvious. When the handle is parallel with the plumbing it's open, when at 90 degrees it's closed. With the linear flow valve you don't know. You have no idea. That is dangerous (in my humble opinion) as you may unplug a hose without checking first that that the valve is closed.
  • Safety: If you turn the linear flow valve to open and keep turning, the handle and plunger comes right off! There is no detent or stopper to prevent this. If your kettle's full of boiling wort, that wort is now going to come shooting out the front towards the brewer instead of going down your attached hose! On a standard ball valve there is no operator action that can cause fluid to flow out of anywhere other than the output of the valve.
  • Maintenance: The linear flow valve opens and closes against o-rings (frictional contact) so they will eventually require replacement. Standard ball valves typically use teflon seats which rarely wear out.
  • Proprietary: Standard ball valves are available from dozens of manufacturers. I do not like being tied to one specific manufacturer for a specific part. I donít like proprietary.
The new valves are also said to be easier to clean. I donít understand this benefit as Boilermakers are used on the hot side of the brewing process. It doesn't matter if a bit of crud is left behind in the ball valve as everything is boiled anyway. In 5 years of use I have never taken my ball valves apart to clean them as it's just not required.

Feel free to use the linear flow valve yourself and post your comments here. If you choose to replace it, keep reading...



HOW-TO: Replacing the proprietary linear flow valve with a regular ball valve

The linear flow valve is easily removed, leaving a 1/2" male NPT fitting just like on previous G1 kettles. A direct swap with a standard ball valve is not possible as the o-ring and washer that they previously used to seal the 3-pieced ball valve on the G1 kettle is now part of the linear flow valve. So you need to add an o-ring and washer:

(A) Blichmann 3-piece stainless steel 1/2" full port ball valve or stainless steel 2-piece 1/2" full port ball valve
(B) Stainless steel washer/shim (1" ID, 1-1/2" OD, 0.048" thick)
(C) Silicone high temperature o-ring (3/4" ID, 15/16" OD, 3/32" thick)
(D) NPT fitting with integrated nut (from your existing Blichmann G2 kettle)

(Note: The actual Blichmann replacement parts for B and C may also be purchased here).



Using a wrench, remove the existing linear flow valve. You will be left with the NPT fitting:



Remove the NPT fitting. Add the o-ring and washer to the NPT fitting such that that they sit flush with the integrated nut. Place the NPT fitting back on the kettle from the inside and then screw on the ball valve from the outside, making sure that the washer does not pinch the o-ring.

Tighten the parts using wrenches until the whole assembly is firmly attached to the kettle wall. You should not be able to twist, turn, or move it at all by hand. Do not be afraid of overtightening as the silicone o-ring cannot be overcompressed. When finished, the ball valve should feel as if it is welded directly to the kettle and be very stable and secure.

View on the inside after installing:



View from the outside of the boil kettle (with the Stainless steel male quick disconnect 1/2" MPT attached):



You may use a stainless steel 2-piece 1/2" full port ball valve or a Blichmann 3-piece stainless steel 1/2" full port ball valve as shown above. Both will work equally well (more information).

This is a slightly different approach to how we seal the other ball valves we add in our instructions where a nut/washer/o-ring are added to a nipple on the outside of the kettle (example). The nipple on the NPT fitting that Blichmann supplies (part [D]) is too short so we add a washer and o-ring to the inside of the kettle instead. The diameter of the integrated nut on the NPT fitting is large enough to provide a good seal.

By adding the washer and o-ring on the inside of the kettle it also doesn't matter what sort of ball valve is used on the outside. We are not dependent on a certain outer diameter of the ball valve head to make a good seal as different valves will have different outer diameters. Note: The washer and o-ring that Blichmann used on their previous G1 kettles were added to the outside. That worked because they control what sort of valve they use and can choose a very specific size o-ring and washer (the o-ring was a standard dash 19 size but the washer was custom made).

In my instructions where other valves are added to other parts of the kettle, I tried to stay 'universal' as different people will order different brand 2-piece ball valves which may have different outer diameter heads such that the o-ring seal is created between the kettle wall and a nut instead instead of between the kettle wall and ball valve head. This lets people use any 2-piece ball valve they want, even ones with very narrow diameter heads. It doesn't have to be a ball valve at all - any 1/2" NPT female fitting will work. This also means that if 20 years down the road you need to replace a ball valve, you can use any type. You don't care about the outer diameter of the valve head, only that it uses 1/2" NPT female connections (a known standard).

In speaking with John Blichmann, they may consider giving G2 kettle customers the option to choose whichever valve works best for them. If you'd like to see this offered, contact them and let them know that you'd like to see G2 kettles also offered with a standard ball valve: http://blichmannengineering.com/contact-us

Would I still buy these kettles if I had to build my setup again? Yes. As I mentioned above, I really like the false bottom (easy to remove/clean and works great with high efficiency/zero channeling) and the sight glass (also very easy to clean and impossible to break). I haven't seen anything else quite so simple to use. I would replace the linear flow valve however, likely with a standard stainless steel 2-piece 1/2" full port ball valve to match all the other ball valves.

There's been talk about these new G2 kettles over at HomeBrewTalk as well. I and others have commented a few times about what we like/don't like. Read here if you're curious: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/blichmann-boilermaker-g2-485522/

Cheers,

Kal

----------

To order these kettles from various retailers, see our parts list: http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/parts-list-for-building
Purchasing through our affiliate links helps support our site at no extra cost to you. We thank you!




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Last edited by kal on Wed Jul 17, 2019 3:19 pm; edited 85 times in total
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ajb



Joined: 07 Feb 2014
Posts: 59



PostLink    Posted: Tue Sep 09, 2014 11:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Was just wondering your thoughts - glad to see this post.
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Creepy



Joined: 04 Feb 2014
Posts: 130
Location: North Chicago Burbs


PostLink    Posted: Thu Sep 11, 2014 4:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As I'm about to start my build this new pot has been a concern. My LHBS just got one in today so I finally had a chance to see it in person. The brushed stainless does look nice. But that's certainly a personal opinion as well as other veriois cosmetic changes. The only issue I really wanted to determine and report back to the forum on was Kal's HMI concern. I think that's a great point you bring up Kal and the bad news is it appears it will take 4.5 turns for the valve to be fully open. I cannot say that for certain, but it definitely took 4.5 turns until it was fully unthreaded. I imagine there may be threads a short way beyond full open but either way there's a lot to turn and therefore difficult to tell when fully closed. There is a narrower neck that is exposed when the valve is opened. Possibly painting this neck red would highlight the valve position when open to any degree. Either way, for those of us just beginning the build, it's time to accept the new direction in the Blichmann pots. Quality product either way though, that certainly has not changed.
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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 9886
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Cali Common, Maibock, Helles, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen


PostLink    Posted: Thu Sep 11, 2014 4:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The more I think about it, the more I think I'd throw in a $10 ball valve to replace that spigot. The way I use kettle valves on my setup is the same that anyone with a single tiered pump controlled setup (like mine) would do: They're either open all the way or complete closed. They're on/off switches. Flow speed is instead controlled through the pump valves. I want something quick/easy to use and I want to be able to glance over at my boil kettle valve (for example) to make sure it's closed before I start fly sparging... with these linear flow valves you can't tell what the position is by looking at them.

My 2 cents.

Kal

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Creepy



Joined: 04 Feb 2014
Posts: 130
Location: North Chicago Burbs


PostLink    Posted: Thu Sep 11, 2014 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Random thought... so I'm guessing the Blichmann team went to these new valves in order to more finely tune flow. Since the valves from the vessels are all full open or full closed the ball valve really does make sense. In an attempt to not waste perfectly good parts... how about taking the Blichmann valves and putting them on the outlet of the pumps and replacing the kettle valves with ball valves? Since flow out of the pumps is the only one that is ever throttled, that might be a better layout, right? Curious what the thoughts are from those using the system already.

thanks and Cheers!
Scott
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Funkalizer



Joined: 12 Aug 2014
Posts: 10



PostLink    Posted: Thu Sep 11, 2014 9:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My plan is to just remove the valves that now come with the kettles and just buy $10 ball valves like Kal suggests.
I saw it suggested that the reason for the new valves is the new BrewEasey system Blichmann Engineering is pushing at the moment.
I think I'll just remove the ones that come with the kettles and just frame them and hang them on a wall.
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Besk one



Joined: 01 Oct 2014
Posts: 26



PostLink    Posted: Wed Oct 22, 2014 5:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome, thanks Kal. Since I'll be stuck buying the G2's this is great to know.

Hopefully they'll just offer the 3 piece valves as an option by the time we move and I'm ready to pull the trigger on these in a few months.
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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 9886
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Cali Common, Maibock, Helles, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen


PostLink    Posted: Wed Oct 22, 2014 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Besk one wrote:
Hopefully they'll just offer the 3 piece valves as an option by the time we move and I'm ready to pull the trigger on these in a few months.

Best thing you (and everyone else) can do go here and tell Blichmann that you'd like the option to choose the valve type at the time of order:

http://blichmannengineering.com/contact-us

The more people that ask, the more likely it will happen. You shouldn't have to buy a valve twice if you don't want to. This would not be for just electric brewers, but anyone doing a single tier setup with pumps which I'm sure there are a lot of.

Kal

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Besk one



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PostLink    Posted: Wed Oct 22, 2014 8:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good Idea, email sent Thumbs Up
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Besk one



Joined: 01 Oct 2014
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PostLink    Posted: Thu Oct 23, 2014 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well hopefully a LOT of other people email asking for this, from what they responded with looks like they just expect us to shell out another $100 in parts to retrofit the ball valves. Crying or Very sad

"Brian,

Thanks for the email. We are not currently selling the G2 kettle with the Ball Valves. If you wish to switch to ball valves these are compatible with the bulkhead fitting and you will need additional o-ring and retainer washer for a leak free installation. You can contact your retailer for assistance with getting all of the pieces you need. If you have further questions please let me know. Have a great day."
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Creepy



Joined: 04 Feb 2014
Posts: 130
Location: North Chicago Burbs


PostLink    Posted: Thu Oct 23, 2014 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I emailed the Blichmann team yesterday regarding this possible option Kal mentioned... I received a quick reply this morning:

"...We do not sell the new kettle with a ball valve. If you would like to make this change we do sell ball valves separately. These are compatible with the bulkhead fitting for the G2 valves. You will need an additional O-ring and retainer washer so ask your retailer to contact us directly to make sure you get all the items you need..."

So no luck right now with getting the valve swapped out before shipment. But Kal you are spot on, keep the requests coming and I'm sure they'll flex if there is enough demand for it.

Brew Strong,
Scott
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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 9886
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Cali Common, Maibock, Helles, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen


PostLink    Posted: Thu Oct 23, 2014 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Besk one wrote:
Well hopefully a LOT of other people email asking for this, from what they responded with looks like they just expect us to shell out another $100 in parts to retrofit the ball valves. Crying or Very sad


I would just get standard 2-piece ball valves for about $10 - just like I recommend for the other 6 that are required. The ease of cleaning 3-piece ball valves over 2 piece is questionable at best even if you do take them apart to clean (I don't). I've never taken any of mine apart in the ~5+ years I've been using them. There's no need given that everything is boiled.

Kal

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huaco



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PostLink    Posted: Thu Oct 23, 2014 7:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I emailed them as well...
Soooo... maybe it was more along the lines of just helping you guys out... I'd love to have big kettles. Though, I just can't justify the expense right now when my converted Keggles are working so well.
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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
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Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Cali Common, Maibock, Helles, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen


PostLink    Posted: Sat Oct 25, 2014 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Creepy wrote:
Random thought... so I'm guessing the Blichmann team went to these new valves in order to more finely tune flow. Since the valves from the vessels are all full open or full closed the ball valve really does make sense. In an attempt to not waste perfectly good parts... how about taking the Blichmann valves and putting them on the outlet of the pumps and replacing the kettle valves with ball valves? Since flow out of the pumps is the only one that is ever throttled, that might be a better layout, right?

Sorry Scott - I just realized I missed this comment you made earlier. This is an interesting idea. I know at least one other forum member posted about using needle valves (similar to these proprietary valves) in order to fine tune the flow to get the two pump rates to match when fly sparging.

Some people may find such valves easier to fine tune. It would be something that you could try out given that you'd have 3 of them anyway.

When I fly sparge, the first thing I do is close both pump valves all the way. I then turn on both pumps and open the wort valve about 20% and watch the rate of flow into the boil kettle. If it seems about right such that my sparge will take about 60-90 mins (it takes a batch or two to get the initial 'feel' of the flow rate right, though it's not overly critical), I then open up the water pump ball valve the same amount like this:



It's surprisingly easy to get almost the same flow rate right off the bat since the valves are side by side and I can look at the angle of the handles (see above). It's pretty easy to get the flow rate very close between the two right from the start.

I then place a black binder clip on the MLT sight glass at the water level:



Then over a period of a few minutes I watch the level. If it rises or drops after 30 seconds, I adjust the water pump valve slightly and keep watching for another 30 seconds or so. If the level doesn't move in about 2-3 minutes, I know I'm good. It all in all it probably takes about 5 minutes to tweak the rates to be identical.

So all this can be done with the linear flow valves too of course, but I think you'll have a harder time initially trying to set the flows more or less the same since you can't tell at all how open or closed the valves are by look. You have to go entirely by feel instead of by looking.

More details on my process can be seen in our BREW DAY STEP BY STEP article.

YMMV. Comments welcome.

Kal

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foomench



Joined: 21 Feb 2012
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Drinking: Pinot barrel aged quad

Working on: Flanders oude bruin in barrel, Flanders red fermenting to refill the barrel


PostLink    Posted: Mon Oct 27, 2014 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kal wrote:
I then place a black binder clip on the MLT sight glass at the water level ...

I don't have a sight glass on my MLT, but I've got a spare one I could install if I upgrade my MLT which I'm considering. This is a good reason to have one. I am continually opening the lid of my MLT to check the water level.

My primary query of the moment on the new MLT is whether to re-purpose my old propane keggle BK as an MLT, or build a new one with a bottom drain. I'd really like a bottom drain, but BK conversion would be easy with existing equipment. If I'm going to be plasma cutting and welding, it is just another fitting for the sight glass.

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jimithing1980



Joined: 10 Apr 2015
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PostLink    Posted: Fri Apr 10, 2015 8:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AiH has said that Blichmann has informed them all G1 pots are sold out as of 4/9/2015.
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kal
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Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Cali Common, Maibock, Helles, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen


PostLink    Posted: Fri Apr 10, 2015 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the heads up! The 7.5 gallon G1 kettles still seem to be available for purchase (they're the only ones however - all others mention "not currently for sale"). Once they mention sold out I'll make some changes and remove these links.

Kal

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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
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Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Cali Common, Maibock, Helles, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen


PostLink    Posted: Fri Apr 10, 2015 8:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Update, seems that GreatFermentations can still get G1 pots (somehow). Here's a link to support our site at no additional cost to you (thank you!):

http://shop.greatfermentations.com/product/blichmann-boilermaker-sd/blichmann-boilermaker-brew-pots?a=ebrew

Thanks to jimithing1980 for pointing this out!

Kal

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huhwha



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PostLink    Posted: Sat Apr 11, 2015 12:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've had an order in with great fermentations since March 23. No update yet, other than they have already charged me.
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kal
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Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Cali Common, Maibock, Helles, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen


PostLink    Posted: Sat Apr 11, 2015 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

huhwha wrote:
I've had an order in with great fermentations since March 23. No update yet, other than they have already charged me.

That's nearly 3 weeks. Have you contacted them?

Kal

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