Author Topic: How many here would buy a Grainfather???  (Read 8891 times)

Offline theDarkSide

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Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
« Reply #75 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. :)
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Offline Laminarman

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Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
« Reply #76 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.

Offline Delo

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Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
« Reply #77 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.
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Offline theDarkSide

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Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
« Reply #78 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.
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Offline Delo

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Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
« Reply #79 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!
Mark

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
« Reply #80 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.
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Offline Laminarman

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Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
« Reply #81 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. 

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
« Reply #82 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.
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Offline natebrews

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How many here would buy a Grainfather???
« Reply #83 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.
Risk of failure should be no deterrent to trying.

Offline texaswine

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Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
« Reply #84 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.

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Offline natebrews

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Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
« Reply #85 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.)
Risk of failure should be no deterrent to trying.

Offline mtnsoul

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Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
« Reply #86 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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Offline Laminarman

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Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
« Reply #87 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?   :-[

Offline texaswine

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Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
« Reply #88 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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Offline Hand of Dom

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Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
« Reply #89 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).
Dom

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