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General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: Laminarman on March 08, 2017, 03:15:33 PM

Title: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: Laminarman on March 08, 2017, 03:15:33 PM
Let's take money aside, assume you got it to burn, how many would buy one?  A neighbor of mine asked if I'd be interested in splitting one.  I didn't even know he brewed until I ran into him at the HBS.  He brews 5-6x a year for beer, and 5-6x for cider and/or wine.  We live two doors apart and I might entertain it.  We had the discussion in the HBS and the owner said stay away from them but then again he's not a distributor.  He said much better results from a dedicated tun setup.  Any thoughts? 
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: theDarkSide on March 08, 2017, 03:40:45 PM
I like mine.  Very convenient for the New England winters and only requires a 15A outlet.  The boil isn't the best I've seen, but I've improved that by using a reflectix wrap (they also sell Graincoats for them that would probably be better).  The recirculating mash is nice and the chiller it comes with is great.  One pass drops the wort from 212 to about 75-80, depending on the groundwater temp.

It's a little limiting for bigger grain bills, but you just need to adjust your batch size to accomodate.   I think I've gotten 18lbs in mine and that just about the limit.

Clean up is easy as you cycle cleaner through the pump, chiller, recirc arm and then cycle clean water (just make sure to blow out any water in the chiller when done).

I also find I need a hop spider with mine so it doesn't clog up the filter in the bottom of the kettle.

I have a timer I set so I can get my strike water heating before I walk up or on the way home from work.  I have the original controller, but I think the new one has this feature already, as well as bluetooth connectivity.
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: denny on March 08, 2017, 04:31:13 PM
It's a great piece of equipment.  The only question is does it fit the way you like to brew?  If so, do it.  I've enjoyed brewing on mine and once you do a couple brews to understand what it wants it makes great beer.
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: Laminarman on March 08, 2017, 04:35:24 PM
It's a great piece of equipment.  The only question is does it fit the way you like to brew?  If so, do it.  I've enjoyed brewing on mine and once you do a couple brews to understand what it wants it makes great beer.

I'm not sure it fits the way I brew since I've only done a couple small batch BIAB grain recipes.  I don't know what it is, but I am intrigued by using grains and intrigued by tweaking my own recipes.  I always thought people just followed established recipes...then I discovered Beersmith.  I am concerned about space and having too much equipment I need to manage, not to mention simplicity. I own my own business so time is of the essence.  Getting a brew day in is hard enough, I hate to spend time doing extraneous "stuff".  A timer sounds just awesome. 
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: Phil_M on March 08, 2017, 04:51:17 PM
The only advice I can offer is are you someone who like to tinker, or one who is happier with a product that "just works"? I do not have a grainfather, but I have had an electric BIAB setup that was similar in some ways. I disliked the inflexibility of my system, something like a decoction mash was out for example. Others may never have any requirement for this sort of flexibility, and they'd be very suited to such a system.

That's the only reasonable explanation I can think of for the "stay away" comment from your LHBS. Honestly, even if he's not a distributor he should help you select a system. That's not the sort of response that helps.
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: EHall on March 08, 2017, 05:00:42 PM
if you haven't already, look into brewboss. I personally think its a much better system than other similar ones... blichmann would be the closest but brewboss is more affordable.
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: Laminarman on March 08, 2017, 05:42:51 PM
The only advice I can offer is are you someone who like to tinker, or one who is happier with a product that "just works"? I do not have a grainfather, but I have had an electric BIAB setup that was similar in some ways. I disliked the inflexibility of my system, something like a decoction mash was out for example. Others may never have any requirement for this sort of flexibility, and they'd be very suited to such a system.

That's the only reasonable explanation I can think of for the "stay away" comment from your LHBS. Honestly, even if he's not a distributor he should help you select a system. That's not the sort of response that helps.

I do like to tinker, but am more into recipe development than building hardware.  I tinker with plenty of other things in my life and hobbies including hobby farming, so while I can appreciate the "home grown" aspect of home brewing, making my own equipment never really ranked up there very high.  I agree about the HBS, but perhaps he was looking at it from a different perspective.
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: denny on March 08, 2017, 06:22:58 PM
if you haven't already, look into brewboss. I personally think its a much better system than other similar ones... blichmann would be the closest but brewboss is more affordable.

Just checked it.  Looks like it costs more than a Grainfather for a similar setup.  It's also 240V, so you have to account for that.
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: reverseapachemaster on March 08, 2017, 06:53:06 PM
There's also a similar system that is about 40% the cost of the grainfather but lacks the pump and chiller (I think the controls lack some features as well).

I've seen a grainfather used a few times. It seems durable and convenient. Like any other BIAB-type system you definitely have to not fear oxygen exposure to the wort.

If I was a new homebrewer without an existing all grain setup who brewed within standard beer styles I'd certainly consider it if money was not an issue.

Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: theDarkSide on March 08, 2017, 06:56:03 PM
There's also a similar system that is about 40% the cost of the grainfather but lacks the pump and chiller (I think the controls lack some features as well).

I've seen a grainfather used a few times. It seems durable and convenient. Like any other BIAB-type system you definitely have to not fear oxygen exposure to the wort.

If I were new a homebrewer without an existing all grain setup who brewed within standard beer styles I'd certainly consider it if money was not an issue.

I've never had an issue with oxygen exposure using the GF.  I've even started boiling with the lid on (enough steam comes out the hole on top) and it helps the boil a lot.  And I've had no DMS issues with the beers I've done that way, including an Octoberfest and a Munich Helles.
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: Laminarman on March 08, 2017, 07:02:18 PM
In a nutshell what type of beers would you NOT be able to do in a Grainfather? 
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: bayareabrewer on March 08, 2017, 07:15:57 PM
In a nutshell what type of beers would you NOT be able to do in a Grainfather?

5 gallon capacity with something like an 18 pound grain capacity. I'd say you could do most any style really.
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: denny on March 08, 2017, 07:22:08 PM
In a nutshell what type of beers would you NOT be able to do in a Grainfather?

5 gallon capacity with something like an 18 pound grain capacity. I'd say you could do most any style really.

Absolutely.  Can't think of one that wouldn't work.  And it would be kind of silly for them to design in limitations.  There will be grain weight limitations for about any system.  My cooler, for instance, tops out at about 18 lb.
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: theDarkSide on March 08, 2017, 07:26:52 PM
You could do just about any style, but for something like a Barleywine or RIS, you may just need to do less than 5 gallons.  I have a RIS 5 gallon recipe that's 26 lbs of grain...that wouldn't fit, but a 3-3.5 gallon batch probably would.
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: Laminarman on March 08, 2017, 07:42:01 PM
This is becoming more intriguing.  For example my neighbor said he'll never make beer in the winter, it's cider and wine for him then. I will brew more in winter.  Also, the Brew Boss while very appealing, loses points for having to hoist that basket and suspend it, and 240 volt.  I draw the line at having to call an electrician in.  I have a 220 but it's outdoors in the barn, and that is ripe with dirt, dust and just won't work. 
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: texaswine on March 08, 2017, 08:41:04 PM
Let's take money aside, assume you got it to burn, how many would buy one?  A neighbor of mine asked if I'd be interested in splitting one.  I didn't even know he brewed until I ran into him at the HBS.  He brews 5-6x a year for beer, and 5-6x for cider and/or wine.  We live two doors apart and I might entertain it.  We had the discussion in the HBS and the owner said stay away from them but then again he's not a distributor.  He said much better results from a dedicated tun setup.  Any thoughts?
I debated the Grainfather early on in my selection process and ultimately decided against it. The system linked below is a much better value in my opinion.

https://brausupply.com/products/unibrau-120v-5-gallon-brew-boss-automated-brew-system?variant=19286933701

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk

Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: denny on March 08, 2017, 09:01:12 PM
Let's take money aside, assume you got it to burn, how many would buy one?  A neighbor of mine asked if I'd be interested in splitting one.  I didn't even know he brewed until I ran into him at the HBS.  He brews 5-6x a year for beer, and 5-6x for cider and/or wine.  We live two doors apart and I might entertain it.  We had the discussion in the HBS and the owner said stay away from them but then again he's not a distributor.  He said much better results from a dedicated tun setup.  Any thoughts?
I debated the Grainfather early on in my selection process and ultimately decided against it. The system linked below is a much better value in my opinion.

https://brausupply.com/products/unibrau-120v-5-gallon-brew-boss-automated-brew-system?variant=19286933701

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk

Since that is basically the same price as the GF, what makes it a better value?
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: Laminarman on March 08, 2017, 09:22:39 PM
The unibrau certainly gains points for the 120V and two elements.  Just how heavy is the basket with grain, about 75 pounds? I would like the flexibility to move the thing around indoors or out and not have to bring a winch and crane with me :)  That might be a deal breaker for my neighbor who intends to split it with me.  I'm not sure where the better value comes in. 
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: theDarkSide on March 08, 2017, 09:23:46 PM
The 2 X 1500W elements seem like a nice feature (the GF has 1 x 1600W I think for the heating coil).  You just need to make sure you have two separate circuits I guess.

I wish the GF had a 240V in the US when I bought mine, but I may look at a High Gravity eBIAB system for my 240V setup.
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: Laminarman on March 08, 2017, 09:24:25 PM
Also, someone speak to me about the PRACTICAL difference in extraction rates, quality of product..etc of the BIAB method vs more "traditional" sparge methods with GF?? Is there really any difference in quality of wort?  I appreciate all the advice here.
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: texaswine on March 08, 2017, 09:26:12 PM
Let's take money aside, assume you got it to burn, how many would buy one?  A neighbor of mine asked if I'd be interested in splitting one.  I didn't even know he brewed until I ran into him at the HBS.  He brews 5-6x a year for beer, and 5-6x for cider and/or wine.  We live two doors apart and I might entertain it.  We had the discussion in the HBS and the owner said stay away from them but then again he's not a distributor.  He said much better results from a dedicated tun setup.  Any thoughts?
I debated the Grainfather early on in my selection process and ultimately decided against it. The system linked below is a much better value in my opinion.

https://brausupply.com/products/unibrau-120v-5-gallon-brew-boss-automated-brew-system?variant=19286933701

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk

Since that is basically the same price as the GF, what makes it a better value?
3000 watts of heating power versus 1600 watts. Better controller (Auber EZBoil versus analog). Ability to no sparge if you desire (45 liter versus 30 liter volume). Off the shelf parts I can replace myself should they break, or swap out just for giggles. Speaking of which, you could even upgrade to 240v if you wanted to get a different controller and element.

Just a few off the top of my noggin.

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk

Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: theDarkSide on March 08, 2017, 09:28:30 PM
I have been getting around 78% efficiency on mine.  After the initial drain, you push the plate down to the top of the grain and sparge.  I turn the boil on after the drain to start it ramping up too.  I also like the easy of doing a mash out...just set the temp to 168 and recirculate for the time you want.

I've also been getting this efficiency with cold water sparging after seeing the Brulosphy Xbeeriment on it.  Not having to heat up sparge water and have the lift up and turn basket makes for a nice, small footprint on brewday.
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: texaswine on March 08, 2017, 09:28:56 PM


The unibrau certainly gains points for the 120V and two elements.  Just how heavy is the basket with grain, about 75 pounds? I would like the flexibility to move the thing around indoors or out and not have to bring a winch and crane with me :)  That might be a deal breaker for my neighbor who intends to split it with me.  I'm not sure where the better value comes in.

It's no heavier than the GF basket with the same amount of grain. Both have the ability to suspend the basket, locked in place, at the kettle rim. So you don't have to stand there holding it or use a ratchet pulley.

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk

Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: theDarkSide on March 08, 2017, 09:30:38 PM
Off the shelf parts I can replace myself should they break,

This is one of the only things I worry about with the GF is if the coil goes.  Since it's sealed up in the unit, there's no easy part replacement.  Basically have to buy a new one.
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: denny on March 08, 2017, 10:06:06 PM
Also, someone speak to me about the PRACTICAL difference in extraction rates, quality of product..etc of the BIAB method vs more "traditional" sparge methods with GF?? Is there really any difference in quality of wort?  I appreciate all the advice here.

No difference at all IMO.  I sparge with room temp water when I use it so that just makes it even easier.
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: denny on March 08, 2017, 10:06:43 PM
Let's take money aside, assume you got it to burn, how many would buy one?  A neighbor of mine asked if I'd be interested in splitting one.  I didn't even know he brewed until I ran into him at the HBS.  He brews 5-6x a year for beer, and 5-6x for cider and/or wine.  We live two doors apart and I might entertain it.  We had the discussion in the HBS and the owner said stay away from them but then again he's not a distributor.  He said much better results from a dedicated tun setup.  Any thoughts?
I debated the Grainfather early on in my selection process and ultimately decided against it. The system linked below is a much better value in my opinion.

https://brausupply.com/products/unibrau-120v-5-gallon-brew-boss-automated-brew-system?variant=19286933701

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk

Since that is basically the same price as the GF, what makes it a better value?
3000 watts of heating power versus 1600 watts. Better controller (Auber EZBoil versus analog). Ability to no sparge if you desire (45 liter versus 30 liter volume). Off the shelf parts I can replace myself should they break, or swap out just for giggles. Speaking of which, you could even upgrade to 240v if you wanted to get a different controller and element.

Just a few off the top of my noggin.

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk

Thanks for the info!
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: Laminarman on March 08, 2017, 10:21:03 PM


The unibrau certainly gains points for the 120V and two elements.  Just how heavy is the basket with grain, about 75 pounds? I would like the flexibility to move the thing around indoors or out and not have to bring a winch and crane with me :)  That might be a deal breaker for my neighbor who intends to split it with me.  I'm not sure where the better value comes in.

It's no heavier than the GF basket with the same amount of grain. Both have the ability to suspend the basket, locked in place, at the kettle rim. So you don't have to stand there holding it or use a ratchet pulley.

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk

I didnt know that.  I was reading on one of the links or saw their device which was a pulley so assumed you had to hold it up. 
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: Laminarman on March 08, 2017, 10:23:19 PM
The only problem with the name is that woman from Austin Powers.  Wasn't her name Unibrow?  :) 
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: bayareabrewer on March 08, 2017, 11:09:10 PM
Let's take money aside, assume you got it to burn, how many would buy one?  A neighbor of mine asked if I'd be interested in splitting one.  I didn't even know he brewed until I ran into him at the HBS.  He brews 5-6x a year for beer, and 5-6x for cider and/or wine.  We live two doors apart and I might entertain it.  We had the discussion in the HBS and the owner said stay away from them but then again he's not a distributor.  He said much better results from a dedicated tun setup.  Any thoughts?
I debated the Grainfather early on in my selection process and ultimately decided against it. The system linked below is a much better value in my opinion.

https://brausupply.com/products/unibrau-120v-5-gallon-brew-boss-automated-brew-system?variant=19286933701

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk

wow, never have seen this before, just heard of the grainfather. This one seems a little nicer.
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: Laminarman on March 08, 2017, 11:48:22 PM
Watching the videos, gotta admit, it's a bit simpler by design and pretty slick. 
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: riceral on March 09, 2017, 12:31:49 AM
In a nutshell what type of beers would you NOT be able to do in a Grainfather?

5 gallon capacity with something like an 18 pound grain capacity. I'd say you could do most any style really.

Absolutely.  Can't think of one that wouldn't work.  And it would be kind of silly for them to design in limitations.  There will be grain weight limitations for about any system.  My cooler, for instance, tops out at about 18 lb.

You can also do reiterated mashing if your grain bill is more than 18 pounds:
          https://byo.com/bock/item/1317-reiterated-mashing-multiple-mashes-for-massive-brews
          http://beerandwinejournal.com/reiterated-mashing-1/
          https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=28285.0

As to the question of efficiency, I get 75-80%. Sometimes more for smaller grain bills (<7 pounds).

Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: texaswine on March 09, 2017, 04:22:41 AM
Let's take money aside, assume you got it to burn, how many would buy one?  A neighbor of mine asked if I'd be interested in splitting one.  I didn't even know he brewed until I ran into him at the HBS.  He brews 5-6x a year for beer, and 5-6x for cider and/or wine.  We live two doors apart and I might entertain it.  We had the discussion in the HBS and the owner said stay away from them but then again he's not a distributor.  He said much better results from a dedicated tun setup.  Any thoughts?
I debated the Grainfather early on in my selection process and ultimately decided against it. The system linked below is a much better value in my opinion.

https://brausupply.com/products/unibrau-120v-5-gallon-brew-boss-automated-brew-system?variant=19286933701

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk

wow, never have seen this before, just heard of the grainfather. This one seems a little nicer.
I've been using their stuff for about two years now. I was an early adopter and they've since upgraded the base offering, but I'm still very happy with my purchase.

Just recently I got the Brau Supply 120v EZBoil based controller. I've taken it through a dry run, scrolling through the menu, and I was extremely impressed with all the features. This weekend I'll actually put it to use on a batch of beer.

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk

Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: Ellismr on March 09, 2017, 10:44:37 AM
I have the GF now and it pretty good.  If I had to do it all over again I would most likely go with a different system.  I would spring for a 240V hook up.  I also like the idea of parts I can buy on line.  Moving the GF around I've broke the base twice, one time the silicon gasket on the pump outlet melted and wort leaked out on my kitchen floor.  One failure was a show stopper for brewing.  And wanting the OEM parts I had to order them. 


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Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: Laminarman on March 09, 2017, 12:31:45 PM
So looking at the Unibrau system again, specifically the 120V EZBoil BIAB system, I assume I'm able to mash, boil, control with the controller, then drain into a fermenter.  I'm having trouble finding any videos other than the manufacturers and any manuals online.  By the time you add in the cooling plate it's more than the Grainfather but to my eye it looks a bit sturdier and simple.  Any users with more information chiming in would help.  Since I'm splitting this with a neighbor I'll have to run him by him this weekend. 
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: BrewBama on March 09, 2017, 01:46:49 PM
You can always add DME to the boil for an occasional big beer brew.


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Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: texaswine on March 09, 2017, 03:40:10 PM
So looking at the Unibrau system again, specifically the 120V EZBoil BIAB system, I assume I'm able to mash, boil, control with the controller, then drain into a fermenter.  I'm having trouble finding any videos other than the manufacturers and any manuals online.  By the time you add in the cooling plate it's more than the Grainfather but to my eye it looks a bit sturdier and simple.  Any users with more information chiming in would help.  Since I'm splitting this with a neighbor I'll have to run him by him this weekend.

Your idea of how the brew day would go is exactly right. Mash, boil, drain into the fermenter. While I don't have any videos of my system, I think the manuals at the link below might whet your appetite for information.

https://brausupply.com/pages/learn

Also remember that you don't have to have a plate chiller. An immersion chiller will work, and though it might not be as fast, it's cheaper.

https://www.amazon.com/Stainless-Steel-Wort-Chiller-Fittings/dp/B004XWBRBM/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1489073841&sr=8-5&keywords=stainless+steel+immersion+chiller
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: Laminarman on March 09, 2017, 05:16:46 PM
So looking at the Unibrau system again, specifically the 120V EZBoil BIAB system, I assume I'm able to mash, boil, control with the controller, then drain into a fermenter.  I'm having trouble finding any videos other than the manufacturers and any manuals online.  By the time you add in the cooling plate it's more than the Grainfather but to my eye it looks a bit sturdier and simple.  Any users with more information chiming in would help.  Since I'm splitting this with a neighbor I'll have to run him by him this weekend.

Your idea of how the brew day would go is exactly right. Mash, boil, drain into the fermenter. While I don't have any videos of my system, I think the manuals at the link below might whet your appetite for information.

https://brausupply.com/pages/learn

Also remember that you don't have to have a plate chiller. An immersion chiller will work, and though it might not be as fast, it's cheaper.

https://www.amazon.com/Stainless-Steel-Wort-Chiller-Fittings/dp/B004XWBRBM/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1489073841&sr=8-5&keywords=stainless+steel+immersion+chiller

Thank you, missed that page.  I guess I'm confused what controller comes standard with the 120v system (6 gallon).  It says EZBoil but don't see a manual for that, and they reference BrewBoss as their source for other products.  Their website could use a bit more work. 
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: EnkAMania on March 09, 2017, 05:20:22 PM
I enjoy brewing outdoors, so I wouldn't by this.  If I lived in an apartment, I'd be all over it.
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: texaswine on March 09, 2017, 05:28:07 PM
I enjoy brewing outdoors, so I wouldn't by this.  If I lived in an apartment, I'd be all over it.
I enjoy brewing outdoors but it's never stopped me from using this system!

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk

Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: texaswine on March 09, 2017, 05:31:39 PM
Thank you, missed that page.  I guess I'm confused what controller comes standard with the 120v system (6 gallon).  It says EZBoil but don't see a manual for that, and they reference BrewBoss as their source for other products.  Their website could use a bit more work.

I think this is what you're looking for.

https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0389/0597/files/EZboil_controller_guide.pdf?7802371266496845883

BrewBoss controller used to be an option, but not sure it is any more.
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: paulderlunas on March 09, 2017, 06:21:24 PM
I have had GF for about a year now. I like it, wouldn't say I love it, but I like it. I got mine on the used market for about 500 bucks.

There are a few things about the GF that you can modify that can will help you out, EG one of the biggest things for me was sparging. I bought a cheap bucket heater for 8 bucks on amazon. I fill up my old Gatorade mash tun with water and put the heater in as I start the mash on the GF and by the time I am done the mash I usually hit the sparge temp.

I think if you are a all grain brewer and you are sick of being outside of want to scale down your system this is great!

I also built a small 3 gallon biab system and I have my old 15 gallon propane system. ff
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: EnkAMania on March 09, 2017, 07:13:05 PM
I enjoy brewing outdoors, so I wouldn't by this.  If I lived in an apartment, I'd be all over it.
I enjoy brewing outdoors but it's never stopped me from using this system!

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk

We get a lot of rain in Seattle, wouldn't want to electrocute myself.  :)
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: EHall on March 10, 2017, 04:35:44 PM
brew boss also comes in 120V. If you're brewing in the garage putting a hook in the truss to mount a manual pulley to for the basket is no big deal... if you're in you're kitchen, yea, I wouldn't want a hook there...
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: coolman26 on March 11, 2017, 01:51:45 PM
Why not buy one of each, try, sell the one you like least?  Everyone can give you input, but only you two will know once used. I have neither system, after reading, I like the Brew Boss. I doubt you would go wrong with either system.


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Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: el_capitan on March 13, 2017, 12:31:12 AM
They'd have to boost the power of the unit for me to pull the trigger.  I have relatives in New Zealand, and I thought about having them ship me one of the higher-powered overseas units.  I'm just not sure how I would deal with the wiring here on my end.  I'm on the fence on this one. 
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: tommymorris on March 13, 2017, 01:53:29 AM
I think the Grainfather looks nice. I agree I would prefer more power but that would require either brewing in the laundry room (dryer circuit) or having an electrician run a new 20 Ampere circuit.

The second reason I don't think Grainfather is for me is batch size. I really like 3 gallon batches. I brew more often and get more variety.
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: Stevie on March 13, 2017, 03:10:22 AM
They'd have to boost the power of the unit for me to pull the trigger.  I have relatives in New Zealand, and I thought about having them ship me one of the higher-powered overseas units.  I'm just not sure how I would deal with the wiring here on my end.  I'm on the fence on this one.
Won't work easily. Their 240 is single phase while ours is split phase.
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: pproctor on March 13, 2017, 02:39:32 PM
The bottom line up front for me:  I wish it existed when I started brewing and I could have skipped all the various parts that add up to a higher price, plus made the process much simpler.

I just finished my 3rd brew with mine and I really like it.  The cons are:  no 10 gallon batch version, 120V in the US, slow wort chiller.  The time to mash is fairly quick but it does take a while to get from mash to boil.  Pros:  consistency, simplicity, small form factor, temperature control.  I will probably buy another to get back to 10 gallon batches, and the cost of two is less than the others I looked at:  all the way up through the Blichmann and Spiedel models.

It does not speed up the process, but does allow me to multi-task in between steps and I can leave it until the next step.

Ideally I'd like a 240V larger model that does 10 gallon batches, but as I said the price is right to buy two. 
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: denny on March 13, 2017, 02:51:30 PM
I think the Grainfather looks nice. I agree I would prefer more power but that would require either brewing in the laundry room (dryer circuit) or having an electrician run a new 20 Ampere circuit.

The second reason I don't think Grainfather is for me is batch size. I really like 3 gallon batches. I brew more often and get more variety.

No reason you can't do a 3 gal. batch on the GF.
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: theDarkSide on March 13, 2017, 07:49:13 PM
I think the Grainfather looks nice. I agree I would prefer more power but that would require either brewing in the laundry room (dryer circuit) or having an electrician run a new 20 Ampere circuit.

The second reason I don't think Grainfather is for me is batch size. I really like 3 gallon batches. I brew more often and get more variety.

No reason you can't do a 3 gal. batch on the GF.

Right...just need to make some adjustments for a smaller grail bill, but all of that is in the instruction manual.
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: tommymorris on March 13, 2017, 09:16:36 PM
I think the Grainfather looks nice. I agree I would prefer more power but that would require either brewing in the laundry room (dryer circuit) or having an electrician run a new 20 Ampere circuit.

The second reason I don't think Grainfather is for me is batch size. I really like 3 gallon batches. I brew more often and get more variety.

No reason you can't do a 3 gal. batch on the GF.

Right...just need to make some adjustments for a smaller grail bill, but all of that is in the instruction manual.
For 3 gallon batches I tend to use about 5-6 lbs of grain. The Grainfather FAQ on their website says they don't recommend going below 5.5 lbs of grain. However, I just noticed they sell "micro pipework" for 2.6 gallon batches for $35.





Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: riceral on March 13, 2017, 10:33:32 PM
I think the Grainfather looks nice. I agree I would prefer more power but that would require either brewing in the laundry room (dryer circuit) or having an electrician run a new 20 Ampere circuit.

The second reason I don't think Grainfather is for me is batch size. I really like 3 gallon batches. I brew more often and get more variety.

No reason you can't do a 3 gal. batch on the GF.

Right...just need to make some adjustments for a smaller grail bill, but all of that is in the instruction manual.
For 3 gallon batches I tend to use about 5-6 lbs of grain. The Grainfather FAQ on their website says they don't recommend going below 5.5 lbs of grain. However, I just noticed they sell "micro pipework" for 2.6 gallon batches for $35.

Yep. I use the micro pipework and do 3 gallon batches. Works great.
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: weazletoe on March 16, 2017, 04:46:49 PM
Too "hands off" for me. I enjoy brewing more than drinking and I like to have my hands in every aspect. This seems to me to be more of a coffee pot. Put your grounds in, add water and turn it on. Plus, more than brewing, I enjoy building 90% of my equipment.
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: bayareabrewer on March 16, 2017, 06:48:17 PM
I see the allure-small footprint and electric. I'd probably use a system like this if I lived in a small apartment or something.
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: chumley on March 16, 2017, 07:29:28 PM
After going 3 months this winter without brewing, I can see the appeal of an indoor system.  Only my being a cheap fink keeps me from buying such a system.
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: denny on March 16, 2017, 07:36:14 PM
Too "hands off" for me. I enjoy brewing more than drinking and I like to have my hands in every aspect. This seems to me to be more of a coffee pot. Put your grounds in, add water and turn it on. Plus, more than brewing, I enjoy building 90% of my equipment.

Actually it's nearly as hands on as a "normal" brewing setup.  The Zymatic or Pico are [probably what you're thinking of.
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: weazletoe on March 17, 2017, 01:37:24 AM


Actually it's nearly as hands on as a "normal" brewing setup.  The Zymatic or Pico are [probably what you're thinking of.

Very well possible. I tend to assume most of my knowledge than back up with actual facts.
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: tommymorris on March 17, 2017, 01:43:51 AM


Actually it's nearly as hands on as a "normal" brewing setup.  The Zymatic or Pico are [probably what you're thinking of.

Very well possible. I tend to assume most of my knowledge than back up with actual facts.
You're doing one better than most of the internet.
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: brewsumore on March 17, 2017, 04:49:28 AM
Too "hands off" for me. I enjoy brewing more than drinking and I like to have my hands in every aspect. This seems to me to be more of a coffee pot. Put your grounds in, add water and turn it on. Plus, more than brewing, I enjoy building 90% of my equipment.

I get this.  Although my base approach and technique have always followed Denny's cheap n' easy set-up and process, my unique modifications and tools and improvisations, and built-by-me equipment come together to satisfy my creative side to hit numbers, make better and better beers, and feel like I'm not following the same manual as the thousands of people who buy a designed and mass-produced system with parts that may or may not limit what I can brew in at least a full 5-gal batch.  That said, many designed systems make me drool, and the efficiencies and control they offer definitely provide a greater range of control than I have with my system.

I definitely would consider a Grainfather if I didn't have ample room to store multiple propane burners, keggles, picnic cooler mash/lautertuns, yadda-yadda-yadda.  Gee, I'm a lucky, if somewhat frugal and engineering-deficit guy!
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: Hand of Dom on March 17, 2017, 09:15:16 AM
I think the Grainfather looks nice. I agree I would prefer more power but that would require either brewing in the laundry room (dryer circuit) or having an electrician run a new 20 Ampere circuit.

The second reason I don't think Grainfather is for me is batch size. I really like 3 gallon batches. I brew more often and get more variety.

No reason you can't do a 3 gal. batch on the GF.

Right...just need to make some adjustments for a smaller grail bill, but all of that is in the instruction manual.
For 3 gallon batches I tend to use about 5-6 lbs of grain. The Grainfather FAQ on their website says they don't recommend going below 5.5 lbs of grain. However, I just noticed they sell "micro pipework" for 2.6 gallon batches for $35.

Yep. I use the micro pipework and do 3 gallon batches. Works great.

Alternatively you could just no/minimal sparge and have a less dense mash.  I've done this a couple of times when I've made low ABV beers(3-3.5%) in my GF.
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: weazletoe on March 17, 2017, 04:02:21 PM
is  Although my base approach and technique have always followed Denny's cheap n' easy set-up and process

I like to refer to mine as cheap and overly complicated.
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: Laminarman on March 17, 2017, 10:46:05 PM
Well I started this thread and presented the Unibrau and BrewBoss to my neighbor who was going to split the cost with me.  He wasn't impressed, but then again, said he might not do anything now and wants to wait on it until next winter.  He said spring is coming even though we just got 30" of snow on Tuesday and he'll be brewing outside soon (I don't see it happening).  So that leaves me to buy it myself, or possibly save money and build a BIAB system myself to keep it reasonable in cost.  The Unibrau looks awesome but somewhat cumbersome with all those hoses in the lid to manage (I'll be working alone).  I wonder if I could make something with a recirculating tube on the top side of the pot and place one of those BBQ remote thermometers in the mash to run out under the lid to measure mash temps?  Also with BIAB (basket) models, how do you get your cooled wort out with that element down there?  I usually stir to create a small whirlpool and let it settle.  Wondering if folks just drain it out after it settles then clean the mess from around the burner...etc.  I have no burning desire to build something but I want something that fits me and is as simple as possible.  I will likely lift the basket and pour water slowly to try to increase efficiency.
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: tommymorris on March 18, 2017, 02:09:39 AM
Well I started this thread and presented the Unibrau and BrewBoss to my neighbor who was going to split the cost with me.  He wasn't impressed, but then again, said he might not do anything now and wants to wait on it until next winter.  He said spring is coming even though we just got 30" of snow on Tuesday and he'll be brewing outside soon (I don't see it happening).  So that leaves me to buy it myself, or possibly save money and build a BIAB system myself to keep it reasonable in cost.  The Unibrau looks awesome but somewhat cumbersome with all those hoses in the lid to manage (I'll be working alone).  I wonder if I could make something with a recirculating tube on the top side of the pot and place one of those BBQ remote thermometers in the mash to run out under the lid to measure mash temps?  Also with BIAB (basket) models, how do you get your cooled wort out with that element down there?  I usually stir to create a small whirlpool and let it settle.  Wondering if folks just drain it out after it settles then clean the mess from around the burner...etc.  I have no burning desire to build something but I want something that fits me and is as simple as possible.  I will likely lift the basket and pour water slowly to try to increase efficiency.
I think the grainfather would be easier to setup and take down than Unibrau. Plus the Grainfather has the new Connect control box that allows automated step mashes. Unibrau looks nice. It's what you might build if you we're doing it yourself. Also, the Unibrau Brewery Controllers say they are 20A. You house is almost definitely wired for 15A except for the dryer circuit.
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: Stevie on March 18, 2017, 02:14:35 AM
New kitchen circuits are 20A these days.
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: texaswine on March 18, 2017, 02:25:29 AM
New kitchen circuits are 20A these days.
And bathroom.

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk

Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: tommymorris on March 18, 2017, 02:26:56 AM
New kitchen circuits are 20A these days.
And bathroom.

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk
I have an old house. I didn't know that.
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: texaswine on March 18, 2017, 12:59:49 PM


The Unibrau looks awesome but somewhat cumbersome with all those hoses in the lid to manage (I'll be working alone).

Couple of thoughts on this. First, I don't think they sell a model now with the recirc return that goes through the lid. There may be videos on the website of them, but if you look at what's currently being offered, the only lid return I see is a scratch and dent one.

Second, I started out with one of the first lid return models Brau Supply sold. There's nothing cumbersome with that design. I always brew solo and it was very simple to handle. However, the lid return did get in the way should you want to use an immersion chiller. But that's easy enough to fix just by using a longer hose on the pump discharge and going straight back to the kettle, holding it in place on the kettle lip with a little shop clamp.

If you go to Homebrewtalk.com, there is a gigantic Grainfather thread there. Read through some of the comments and you'll get an idea of some of the things that people would change. Some of those things involve set up, break down, cleaning, dead space, reset button placement, the filter plugging on hoppy beers, knocking some magical cap off while stirring, and others.

Just like any off the shelf, all in one system, it's not perfect by any stretch, especially when you start considering each individual's needs or nuanced desires they have for their brew day. For me, I prefer to have something I can easily alter so I can get things just how I like them.

As an example, i just switched to a two vessel approach three batches ago. I can still use the same controller with this set up, and can still single vessel if I want. Also, my mash tun uses a hybrid of the lid return approach. I use a stainless steel cake pan that floats on top of the mash. A "mash cap" if you will. I outfitted this cake pan with a bulkhead. On the top side of the bulkhead is a tee with a QD male and the temp probe. On the bottom side, facing the grain, I have an elbow and a LOCLine distribution header. The hose simply comes up and over the kettle edge.

I hope you rambling helps in your decision.

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk

Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: Laminarman on March 18, 2017, 01:48:22 PM
Huge help everyone, thank you Texas.  I was looking at the two vessel systems at highgravity and it seems the coils are 240v.  I only have a 240 outside I use for my welder, so don't want to have to rewire inside (I think I'd have to get a new electric box.)  Good grief!!  I'll keep weighing my options.
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: Laminarman on March 18, 2017, 10:43:28 PM
So spent the better part of a day looking at eBIAB systems online.  If anyone has read through this after I started it my concerns were cost, lifting a big bag of grain, simplicity and space.  Now, the Blichmann BrewEasy 2 vessel system sure as hell has got my eye.  Everything almost on a cart I can wheel away.  Cost.  I wonder if I could build this with non Blichmann pots and an electric burner in the HLT/BK?  I do like the Blichmann coil elements.  This looks pretty much what I'm looking for I believe. Anyone use one?  Or similar? 
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: natebrews on March 18, 2017, 11:16:17 PM
I have used my BK w/boilcoil and round Igloo cooler like a breweasy before.  I run the pump up into the top of the cooler and then have that drain back into the boil kettle (with the heating element) and just keep it recirculating.  I used the temperature in the cooler as the temperature to hold.  My temperature probe is just on an L bracket and I clamp it where I want it. 

All that said, it worked fairly well.  I didn't have any problems with any of the parts of it, and I was able to just set a temperature and things would go there.  I used it like that maybe 3 or 4 times and then went back to fly sparging. 

One other thing, I have a Blichmann autosparge that I used to control the flow rate from the kettle back into the tun.  Without that, it was a bit of balancing act to get it to be constant volume in the kettle and the tun.  Without it, I had the liquid level get below the top turn of the boilcoil once.  No damage, but it burned a little wort that was a pain to clean off (I pumped all the wort to the tun and then disconnected the kettle to clean it).
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: ktaylor570 on March 21, 2017, 06:58:43 PM
Well I started this thread and presented the Unibrau and BrewBoss to my neighbor who was going to split the cost with me.  He wasn't impressed, but then again, said he might not do anything now and wants to wait on it until next winter.  He said spring is coming even though we just got 30" of snow on Tuesday and he'll be brewing outside soon (I don't see it happening).  So that leaves me to buy it myself, or possibly save money and build a BIAB system myself to keep it reasonable in cost.  The Unibrau looks awesome but somewhat cumbersome with all those hoses in the lid to manage (I'll be working alone).  I wonder if I could make something with a recirculating tube on the top side of the pot and place one of those BBQ remote thermometers in the mash to run out under the lid to measure mash temps?  Also with BIAB (basket) models, how do you get your cooled wort out with that element down there?  I usually stir to create a small whirlpool and let it settle.  Wondering if folks just drain it out after it settles then clean the mess from around the burner...etc.  I have no burning desire to build something but I want something that fits me and is as simple as possible.  I will likely lift the basket and pour water slowly to try to increase efficiency.

About a month ago I purchased the Brewer's Edge Mash and Boil and finally brewed on it this past Thursday.  It runs $300 bucks and $7 shipping from Williams Brewing and worked rather well.  It's very similar to the Grainfather using a 1600 watt heating element, but lacks the pump.  I got 79.5% efficiency on it and it put about 4.75 gallons into my carboy.  Missing the quarter gallon in my carboy was because it was my first use and didn't account for losing some to dead space in the pot.  Only problem I have with it is that it fluctuated my mash temp, which I had set at 154, to 156 down to 151.  I'm going to try to insulate the kettle for next brew day to see if those temps hold better than moving 6 degrees. Even with 1600 watts and no insulation, I was able to get a good boil in about 30 minutes.

Either decision you make, I think you'll be happy.  It was nice to brew inside when there was 24" of snow outside.
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: JJeffers09 on March 22, 2017, 10:55:22 AM
Even if I had the scratch for the GF, and I don't, I would go for a Brew Boss before the GF.
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: SWSommer on March 23, 2017, 06:21:13 PM
I am not sure that I would buy one.  Seems like it would take a lot of the fun (albeit, also the toil) out of brewing.  A Grainfather is a little pricey for my tastes, and if I would need to bottle 335 cases to get the cost down to <0.10 per bottle. 

Its like driving a car.  Manual transmission is more work, but a lot more fun and I feel like I have a lot more control over the ride.  Grainfather seems like it would be analogous to automatic transmission with cruise control.
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: denny on March 23, 2017, 08:29:24 PM
I am not sure that I would buy one.  Seems like it would take a lot of the fun (albeit, also the toil) out of brewing.  A Grainfather is a little pricey for my tastes, and if I would need to bottle 335 cases to get the cost down to <0.10 per bottle. 

Its like driving a car.  Manual transmission is more work, but a lot more fun and I feel like I have a lot more control over the ride.  Grainfather seems like it would be analogous to automatic transmission with cruise control.

What fun would a Grainfather remove?  It's still a pretty hands on process.
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: Phil_M on March 23, 2017, 09:14:11 PM
I agree with Denny. I had an auto temp control/recirculation BIAB setup, it was every bit as hands-on as my current 3-vessle setup.

Temp control is handled for you, yes, but how many of us are constantly tweaking our temps by hand? I know I just let my temps ride vs. trying to control them with hot water additions.

I guess my point is that a lot of the work that it does for you, most aren't worrying about anyway. If we stick to the trans analogy I'd say it's more like the difference between a cable clutch and a hydraulic one, but even that's a stretch.
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: theDarkSide on March 24, 2017, 12:07:32 PM
I am not sure that I would buy one.  Seems like it would take a lot of the fun (albeit, also the toil) out of brewing.  A Grainfather is a little pricey for my tastes, and if I would need to bottle 335 cases to get the cost down to <0.10 per bottle. 

Its like driving a car.  Manual transmission is more work, but a lot more fun and I feel like I have a lot more control over the ride.  Grainfather seems like it would be analogous to automatic transmission with cruise control.

What fun would a Grainfather remove?  It's still a pretty hands on process.

The fun of cleaning multiple vessels by hand...Best part of my brewday. :)
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: Laminarman on March 24, 2017, 05:03:00 PM
So I'm now looking at building my own kRIMS system like the Blichmann BrewEasy having decided against the Grainfather. I'll use some of the kettles and materials I already own and do a simple two vessel recirculating, compact, easy to move system (that's the plan anyways.)  I have some stainless ball valves (new in box), a 7.5 gallon kettle, 10 gallon boil kettle, hoses..etc.  I'll buy the AutoSparge arm, pump, controller.  But I have a burning question: Blichmann has a tube with quick detach with gaskets used to control the flow so you can keep the valve wide open coming out of the MT/LT.  I was going to use a quick disconnect on silicone hose and hang it down into the boil kettle. Do I need to do a gasket system or will I be able to control the flow by moving the ball valve open/closed???  This part has me perplexed why they did it the way they did.  Thanks.
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: Delo on March 24, 2017, 05:14:31 PM
I got coupons for NB and Midwest in my email and I remembered someone posting that the GF was excluded so I tried using them.  It looks like they will work for now.  I’m not really interested in buying one, but if someone may be, now might be the time.
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: theDarkSide on March 24, 2017, 05:22:26 PM
I got coupons for NB and Midwest in my email and I remembered someone posting that the GF was excluded so I tried using them.  It looks like they will work for now.  I’m not really interested in buying one, but if someone may be, now might be the time.

They were always excluded except this one time when I bought mine...don't know if someone messed up or lost their job over it but I got my GF delivered for $731.  Pretty good deal.  Maybe now that NB & MW are owned by the "brewery-that-shall-not-be-named", the discount may apply.
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: Delo on March 24, 2017, 06:02:04 PM
I got coupons for NB and Midwest in my email and I remembered someone posting that the GF was excluded so I tried using them.  It looks like they will work for now.  I’m not really interested in buying one, but if someone may be, now might be the time.

They were always excluded except this one time when I bought mine...don't know if someone messed up or lost their job over it but I got my GF delivered for $731.  Pretty good deal.  Maybe now that NB & MW are owned by the "brewery-that-shall-not-be-named", the discount may apply.

I think someone messed up again.  I get a lot of different offers from them and another coupon I have says its excluded. Maybe before they change it, someone else will get a great deal too!
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: ynotbrusum on March 24, 2017, 06:37:11 PM
So I'm now looking at building my own kRIMS system like the Blichmann BrewEasy having decided against the Grainfather. I'll use some of the kettles and materials I already own and do a simple two vessel recirculating, compact, easy to move system (that's the plan anyways.)  I have some stainless ball valves (new in box), a 7.5 gallon kettle, 10 gallon boil kettle, hoses..etc.  I'll buy the AutoSparge arm, pump, controller.  But I have a burning question: Blichmann has a tube with quick detach with gaskets used to control the flow so you can keep the valve wide open coming out of the MT/LT.  I was going to use a quick disconnect on silicone hose and hang it down into the boil kettle. Do I need to do a gasket system or will I be able to control the flow by moving the ball valve open/closed???  This part has me perplexed why they did it the way they did.  Thanks.

The thing that keeps me from trying it with my current set up is the fear that the electric heating element in the boil kettle could be exposed - which would fry it.  The recirc must be continued at a rate and with volumes that keep the element fully submerged.  If you are doing a propane burner approach or a HERMs style, the issue is not present.  But I wanted to go electric, so if I give the KRims a try, I will have to be careful about monitoring flow.
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: Laminarman on March 24, 2017, 06:58:32 PM
So I'm now looking at building my own kRIMS system like the Blichmann BrewEasy having decided against the Grainfather. I'll use some of the kettles and materials I already own and do a simple two vessel recirculating, compact, easy to move system (that's the plan anyways.)  I have some stainless ball valves (new in box), a 7.5 gallon kettle, 10 gallon boil kettle, hoses..etc.  I'll buy the AutoSparge arm, pump, controller.  But I have a burning question: Blichmann has a tube with quick detach with gaskets used to control the flow so you can keep the valve wide open coming out of the MT/LT.  I was going to use a quick disconnect on silicone hose and hang it down into the boil kettle. Do I need to do a gasket system or will I be able to control the flow by moving the ball valve open/closed???  This part has me perplexed why they did it the way they did.  Thanks.

The thing that keeps me from trying it with my current set up is the fear that the electric heating element in the boil kettle could be exposed - which would fry it.  The recirc must be continued at a rate and with volumes that keep the element fully submerged.  If you are doing a propane burner approach or a HERMs style, the issue is not present.  But I wanted to go electric, so if I give the KRims a try, I will have to be careful about monitoring flow.

This is why I'm nervous about it.  I'd hate to fry it.  I would probably use a single element heater instead of an expensive Blichmann Boil Coil as the loss would be cheaper.  I can punch holes in my 10 gallon beat up kettle and in the future if this really works, upgrade to a better kettle and Boil Coil.  I was perplexed as to why it might be exposed because doesn't the sparge arm control the fluid coming out of the kettle?  That's why I think the $65 for the AutoSparge is smart money.  Correct me if I'm wrong. 
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: ynotbrusum on March 24, 2017, 07:40:55 PM
I think you are right about the Autosparge, but I just don't know enough about it and self-actuating arrangements, generally.  I would not walk away from the action until I dialed it all in with a few batches, just to be sure.
Title: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: natebrews on March 24, 2017, 08:43:03 PM
As it happens, when I used my system as a KRIMS I had basically what you are saying.  Blichmann boil coil in the kettle pumped up to the mash tun with an auto sparge on it. 

With the auto sparge the "dry fire" problem wasn't too bad except when the mash tun outlet got clogged.  The boil coil survived fine (I have dry fired it 3 times now) but I did have to pump the full volume up to the mash tun to clean some stuff that burned when that happened. 

With a chugged pump on the auto sparge, you have to turn the flow rate way down with the ball valve or the auto sparge will start to oscillate violently.  It worked once I had it dialed in ok.
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: texaswine on March 24, 2017, 08:49:45 PM
Why not just get a single kettle that's big enough for the full volume? Using two kettles and balancing the level between them seems like a nightmare to me. Then again, I'm not a fan of the Autosparge as it's a HSA inducing machine if there ever was one.

I run a single 1500 watt element in a 60 quart kettle, voile bag with a BIAB false bottom from Brew Hardware, recirculate with a pump, controller by Brau Supply, and man is it easy. I suspect also much cheaper than what your endeavoring to build.

But hey, if building something like this tickles your fancy, then go for it.

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk

Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: natebrews on March 24, 2017, 08:55:20 PM
For reference, I don't use my system like a KRIMS because it just was a pain.  I switched back to either infusion no sparge or semi fly sparging (run all the sparge water on top of the grain bed and then run it all off, no flow control needed.)
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: mtnsoul on March 24, 2017, 09:34:56 PM
It's a great piece of equipment.  The only question is does it fit the way you like to brew?  If so, do it.  I've enjoyed brewing on mine and once you do a couple brews to understand what it wants it makes great beer.

Denny how does the Grainfather compare to the Zymatic?


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Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: Laminarman on March 25, 2017, 01:04:12 AM
Why not just get a single kettle that's big enough for the full volume? Using two kettles and balancing the level between them seems like a nightmare to me. Then again, I'm not a fan of the Autosparge as it's a HSA inducing machine if there ever was one.

I run a single 1500 watt element in a 60 quart kettle, voile bag with a BIAB false bottom from Brew Hardware, recirculate with a pump, controller by Brau Supply, and man is it easy. I suspect also much cheaper than what your endeavoring to build.

But hey, if building something like this tickles your fancy, then go for it.

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I don't have a good answer.  I guess I would love to have a three kettle system, and two is better than one?  But also for a bit better efficiency, clearer wort.  Those are not great reasons, huh?   :-[
Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: texaswine on March 25, 2017, 02:41:35 AM


I don't have a good answer.  I guess I would love to have a three kettle system, and two is better than one?  But also for a bit better efficiency, clearer wort.  Those are not great reasons, huh?   :-[

In that case, since you're considering multiple vessels, might I suggest considering what I've recently done to my system? It's nothing unique. I was a single vessel brewer for several years, but I wanted clearer wort based on what I've read recently in brewing literature. To accomplish that I just added a boil kettle.

My mash tun is big enough for no sparge and​, as described above, it's a kettle RIMs. I use the boil kettle to heat the strike water and underlet the mash tun, which when combined with grain conditioning results in zero dough balls. When the mash is over I slowly pump back over to the boil kettle. The wort pre boil is crystal clear, then after a few minutes of settling post boil, it's crystal clear to the fermenter.

Efficiency is 70% on beers in the 1.070 range, and higher with lower gravity. But efficiency isn't something that's worth chasing unless it's really, really low. For that reason, I feel no urge to sparge. Although a batch sparge would be super simple on this type of set up.

Another thing I'm going to incorporate on my next brew day is to put ice water in the mash tun and pump it through my plate chiller to cool the wort post boil. My typical approach has been to drag out the sump pump and cooler, but now I don't need to.

And yet another approach I could take, should the notion strike me, is to use the plate chiller like a HERMS, pumping hot water on one side and the mash on the other. But I have no need with the kettle RIMs.

The world is your oyster. Just pick one up and start shucking.

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Title: Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
Post by: Hand of Dom on April 18, 2017, 01:20:27 PM
I've had my GF for a little over a year, and it's essentially a BIAB system with recirc.  Everything you have to do on a "normal" system, you have to do with the GF.  With the new controller for it, you can automate step mashing, but that's it really.  I bought mine because I don't have a great deal of space, and it has a small footprint.  Mine is a 240V UK model, and I'm very pleased with it, the only annoying thing is trying to clean the grain basket, which is a bit big for my sink, and I don't have a hose in the garden, so has to be cleaned in the shower (then again, so do my FVs).