Alpha Ruby

I was getting tired of working all day to brew up 5-10 gallons at a time. I like my beer. My wife likes my beer. My neighbors enjoy some when I let them. So I got a little tired of running out of the little batches I was making. With that in mind I decided I would build a larger single-tier system using my keg kettles. This way I can incorporate some pumps to also alleviate the lifting of all this beer. It does get heavy. And I’m not getting any younger, or healing any of my chronic ailments. I began looking at all the Brutus builds and decided that is the way I wanted to head. So I began pricing out everything and it was a steep hill of money. Not overly bad, just a lot considering I would still have to provide all the labor. I enjoy my free time, and wouldn’t mind building this thing. But it would take up a LOT of my free time. Time I could use brewing beer.

So I decided to buy. Now I had to look at all the ready-made systems out there to choose a good one. I looked at the BrewMagic – way too pricey. I looked at the Blichmann’s – not single tier. I looked at Morebeer’s offerings – again way too pricey. I looked at Ruby Street Brewing’s systems – not bad. This is where I started to look at the prices of the 20 gallon systems to the price of a 1 bbl system. The extra cost wasn’t that much. But now I had to consider another company that made systems in this size range – Psycho Brew. Unfortunately their prices were so high I closed the page as soon as I saw it. The only real one left was the Ruby. The others were too small and cost more. I had seen only one real review of the Alpha system and it was positive.

Now to actually buy it. I looked at their online retailers listings and decided upon Adventures in Homebrewing. Their price was the best. They didn’t mark it up substantially to accommodate the shipping that Ruby does anyway. Some of these guys were marking it up about 50%. Not bad usually, but with something this pricey it was substantial. I pushed the button. But wait! I don’t want the red color that is the default. Let me look at what they have available. I will own this for years afterall. Most of the colors were blah. So I contacted them.

Brian got back to me quickly. I asked if he had other choices and he sent me a few links of paints they use and the colors that are available. I got purple. I’m sure this will make mine the most unique Alpha out there. But more importantly I wanted something that I could enjoy looking at. And I do enjoy looking at this beast. It is magnificent. I put it all together once it got delivered and was itching to give it a spin. But I had to wait a few days to make that happen.

I wanted to brew up a robust porter to make at least four different varieties of. I’ve been wanting to make a peanut butter porter for a good six years now. But the grain that I bought a sack of was somehow pre-ground. Wasn’t told that when I bought it so I was a bit shocked when I got home and saw that it was. Oh well, I’ll just make something else with this 50 pound sack. I have a ton of Citra, Nelson Sauvin, and Amarillo lying around, so I’ll make an IIPA/DIPA. It was weird dropping in a whole entire sack of grain. But a good weird. Below are pics of the unboxing and the first brew day. I’ll definitely be posting more of my experiences with this system. So far I love it. Not so much the cleaning of the mash tun afterwards, but it’s not too bad.


  1. Josh Josh
    May 27, 2014    

    Did you add on a plate chiller? If not what are you using?

    Any changes in your initial thoughts on they system?

    • Matt Matt
      July 1, 2014    

      Sorry for the delay. I have an IC that I’ve used for a number of years. I wouldn’t change much at this point in time. But I haven’t brewed too much on it yet. Too hot.

  2. Geoff Geoff
    July 11, 2014    

    Great write-up! thanks for the pictures. I’m looking at this exact system for my nano. did you have continuous heat for the mash, or were you cycling the burner on/off? will you try insulating the Tun in the future?

    • Matt Matt
      July 28, 2014    

      I did not do continuous heat for the mash. The thermal mass kept temps up fairly well. I might have lost 1°f the entire hour. Of course it wasn’t cold out either. I’ll. Probably report back this winter. But as of now I won’t be insulating.

  3. November 21, 2014    

    any new pics or a video of the brew day on your alpha ruby?

    • Matt Matt
      December 14, 2014    

      Sorry for the delay. Work has had me a bit busier than I hoped. No new pics, or video, yet. I am going out of town for a month around Christmas, so I won’t have anything up until I get back. I’m looking at getting some 1/2 bbl kegs to start putting my beer in. Cornies are getting too expensive to try and keg this much beer.

  4. March 6, 2015    


    Awesome write up. My partners and I are purchasing a 10bbl brewhouse to open the first and only craft brewery in South Georgia, and we have been exhaustively searching for the right pilot system for over a month. For the longest time we thought that we wanted the Sabco Brewmagic. Price, cleaning, tier, etc… have us rethinking this decision. My vote is for the same system you have, but with the optional control panel and HERMS system. Have you found or fabricated a sparge arm to attach to the mash tun? Any additional info on the system since your last post is greatly appreciated. Please send us an email if you visit our brewery website (very crude and under construction, but it exists)

    Thanks again,


    • Matt Matt
      May 3, 2015    

      Sorry for the super-long delay Chris. Life gets in the way of writing on a blog sometimes.

      I have not fabricated any sparge arm as of yet. I had planned to get the Blichmann sparge arm, but haven’t pulled the trigger. I may not. The sparge contraption currently in place is very sufficient. Just a hose with a cork that floats atop the mash. It doesn’t disturb the bed at all.

      Let me know if you have any questions that you have. I’m more than happy to help in any way I can. Always good to see new breweries popping up, especially one semi-close to me.

  5. Bryan Bryan
    September 9, 2015    

    Hi Matt,

    I appreciate the write up. My brew partner and I purchased an Alpha last winter and we’re still working out the kinks after only a handful of brews…as you said, life gets in the way!

    I saw in another post that you use BeerSmith and I was wondering if you’ve tuned things like evaporation rate, trub/chiller loss, brewhouse efficiency, mash efficiency, etc. We’re still working through a fine tuned equipment profile so your info/thoughts would be helpful. I’m happy to share our experiences if you want to reach out.


    • Matt Matt
      November 8, 2015    

      Bryan, excellent question. I had hoped that someone else did all the work for me, but I’ve had to guesstimate right now. I can certainly post what I have, but evap rate might vary in your location and how hard you boil. For now my guesses are close to accurate. But if they weren’t I brew to a gravity and if it’s more or less then I have to live with it.

  6. Chris horton Chris horton
    March 18, 2016    

    Matt, thanks for the write up on this system. My story is very similiar to yours but I live in the ever changing weather state of Idaho.

    Still trying to convince myself this is the one,so please keep the data coming.


    • Matt Matt
      April 18, 2016    

      I will do my best Chris. I’m getting ready to retire in about 7 months so I should have a lot more time to devote to brewing. Never knew I’d be working this hard my last few months…

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