Author Topic: How many here would buy a Grainfather???  (Read 8426 times)

Offline Laminarman

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How many here would buy a Grainfather???
« 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? 

Offline theDarkSide

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Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
« Reply #1 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.
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Offline denny

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Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
« Reply #2 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.
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Offline Laminarman

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Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
« Reply #3 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. 

Offline Phil_M

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Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
« Reply #4 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.
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Offline EHall

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Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
« Reply #5 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.
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Offline Laminarman

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Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
« Reply #6 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.

Offline denny

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Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
« Reply #7 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.
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
« Reply #8 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.

« Last Edit: March 09, 2017, 07:50:23 PM by reverseapachemaster »
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Offline theDarkSide

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Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
« Reply #9 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.
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Offline Laminarman

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Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
« Reply #10 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? 

Offline bayareabrewer

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Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
« Reply #11 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.

Offline denny

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Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
« Reply #12 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.
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Offline theDarkSide

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Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
« Reply #13 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.
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Offline Laminarman

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Re: How many here would buy a Grainfather???
« Reply #14 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.