Many homebrewers are well-familiar with the Spike Brewing System, which was released to rave reviews several years ago. An HERMS brewing system with a heat exchanger built inside the Hot Liquor Tank (HLT), it proved beyond doubt that making beer at home was entirely possible.
Of course, many homebrewers eventually opted to upgrade to more professional systems as their needs expanded. For many, this type of brewing system was simply a stepping stone towards a more fully-featured solution. Still other users continued to utilize the Spike for quick-and-easy homebrew tasks.
Enter the Spike+. Boasting of all the features that made the its predecessor such a runaway hit, it added a host of professional features that provided intermediate to advanced users a clear upgrade path along this equipment.
As you will see from this Spike Brewing System review, the ‘Plus’ takes everything you like about the brand and made it exponentially better.
Spike Brewing System’s Highlights & Benefits
The most notable difference between the two variants is in the connectors used. Spike utilizes National Pipe Thread (NPT) connectors, while the Spike+ has Tri-clamp (TC) connectors.
TC connectors are more commonly seen in professional or commercial brewing equipment, while NPT connectors are more likely to be found in homebrew rigs. TC connectors have no threads, which makes them easier to clean and generally more hygienic.
TCs are also easier to assemble, with reusable gaskets and clamps. In contrast, NPTs require a change of pipe tape every time you have to take them apart and put them back together.
Both systems are universal, so they will work with a wide variety of other equipment and accessories. Keep in mind that accessories with TC connectors tend to be more expensive than those with NPT connectors.
In any case, both the Spike and the Spike+ are marketed as turnkey systems. Assembly time takes only a few minutes, after which you can plug them in and start brewing, with no other setup or configuration procedure needed.
The control panel that was such an integral part of the Spike has been totally revamped to pro spec in the ‘Plus.’ Providing total control over the entire electric system from a single, centralized location, it is a large part of what makes the Spike/Spike+ such a joy to use.
The key to the effectiveness of HERMS brewing systems is the heat exchanger. Used for keeping the mash at the right temperature, this crucial component allows for precise temperature control and keeps the grain from getting scorched. This in turn ensures consistent results and great-tasting brews all the time.
The Spike/Spike+ are equipped with powerful heating elements that not only get the wort up to the proper temperature quickly but also maintains that temperature as well. Because the mash is constantly circulating throughout the system, there is no need for further recirculation either.
In terms of construction, both models are as robust and ruggedly reliable as they come. Made from the highest quality stainless steel, the tanks are available in five sizes, so you are pretty much covered no matter what your needs are.
All seals are welded by Spike’s own in-house specialists, right in the company’s manufacturing plant in Milwaukee. Accessories are built specifically for each tank, ensuring a snug fit.
The Spike Systems also feature laser-cut false bottoms, which are precisely-machined to the proper specs. And with a two-stage filter, more than 99% of all grain particles are filtered out from the brew.
- No recirculation process necessary
- Spike and Spike+ feature modular assembly
- Spike+ is a significant improvement over the Spike
- A bit pricier than other electric brewing systems
You can learn more features about this electric homebrew system by watching the video below.
Spike Electric Brewing System: Is It Worth Buying?
Even years after it was released, the Spike is still a worthy addition to any homebrewing set-up. With its solid build quality, modular design, and quality features, it can more than hold its own in any home brewing environment.
If you are looking to upgrade, the Spike+ is a great alternative to the systems offered by other manufacturers.
The Tri-clamp connectors alone will greatly enhance your efficiency and productivity, and will get you well on the way to producing more consistently high-quality brews.
Even with its slightly higher price tag as compared to other brew kettles, the Spike+ is a worthy investment that will pay for itself many times over in the course of its lifespan.