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  1. #1

    Grainfather - Worth it?


    Hi Everyone

    I have been brewing a while, all-grain BIAB.
    Sadly due to my hobbies (I have a list) I struggle to find time to utilize my current set-up. I have drawn up plans to automate a bit to make everything run smoother, however time to modify and tweak is not really there.

    So for the last few months I have been saving up for a Grainfather and I am almost there, however I want to find out from those who already have one if it is worth it?

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by koperaal_koos View Post
    Hi Everyone

    I have been brewing a while, all-grain BIAB.
    Sadly due to my hobbies (I have a list) I struggle to find time to utilize my current set-up. I have drawn up plans to automate a bit to make everything run smoother, however time to modify and tweak is not really there.

    So for the last few months I have been saving up for a Grainfather and I am almost there, however I want to find out from those who already have one if it is worth it?
    Resounding YES !! Every penny! I've never BIAB'd so have no knowledge of this process.

    I usually brew on a Sunday morning and have tuned my process to be no more than a few hours : Here's how I do it:
    Saturday night, run the clean process, takes about 30min (15 min wort chiller, 5min sparge arm, rinse)
    Fill with water, set a delayed heating timer to hit strike temp the next morning 5am or 6am - depends how I feel
    Wake up to perfectly heated water, connect the app, upload my recipe and do the step mash 70min. If I do a single step mash it's a bit quicker as you dont have to wait for the rise from beta to alpha amylase.
    When done, sparge whilst the unit is heating to boil. Pull the grainbasket at around 85C. Clean everything
    When 100C reached, do a 5 min hot break and boil for 30 min (bittering and aroma additions)
    When done, chill from 100C wort to 39C in around 20/25minutes. I pitch Kveik at this temp for ales, if doing a pilsner/lager, chill more or pop it into the fermentation chamber to reach temp before pitching
    Clean and pack away the rest.
    I'm usually done (cleaned, packed away, and possibly yeast pitched) by either 9am/10am/11am, never later than this, but it depends on the target chill temp and if I wanted to sleep in. I'm planning "double" brew days and am keen to see how fast I can do this. Thinking to preheat the second brews strike water in the urn whilst running a quick clean in the GF.

    Notes: I dont mashout (not needed and added the extra 10min in my mashing) I strictly do 35min boils and compensate bitterness with more hops. Easy.

    If my GF ever dies, I'll replace it in a heartbeat, no questions or alternatives needed.

  3. #3
    Groenspook has shares in Grain father I think.

    But to reiterate what he said... I have never seen anyone having regrets about getting one
    Cheers,
    Lang
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    "Dudddde...Hold my beer!".... ; "I wonder what will happen if I ...."
    www.ginormity.com

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    I second everyone. I love my gf. Beer is clearer much better efficiencies, I also used to do biab using both gas and elec. my Suggestion spend time on the net, go thru gf brewday videos.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Langchop View Post
    Groenspook has shares in Grain father I think.

    But to reiterate what he said... I have never seen anyone having regrets about getting one
    I think the general consensus about the Grainfather is something along the lines of:

    - You don't have one, so you think it's maybe a bit expensive, maybe a waste of money.
    - You have one, and you love it to bits, so you tell everyone it's worth it.

    So now you have to ask yourself, who's opinion are you going to ask? Those with experience with it, or those without?

  6. #6
    Thanks guys, was having a bit of pre-buyer's guilt...

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
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    Hartbeespoort/De Wildt
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    We have one. I still prefer BIAB.

    GF does NOT like high ABV beers. OK, let me clarify: if you do a high ABV, you need to tune the ABV using water volume, not MALT volume. The GF can only take so much grain and then the basket is full. So to go higher on ABV, you reduce your initial water and/or sparge water volumes.

    Also, with some grain bills, sparging can take AGES.

    Put it this way: if we start a GF brew and a BIAB brew at the same time, I'm cleaned up and having a beer easily a hour before the GF is ready to start pumping to the fermenter............

    And then I'm doing 60L+ batches on gas with up to 97L of cold water to heat.

    So: sorry, I'm on the fence and can speak from experience.

    Where the GF shines is on slightly higher efficiency, precise mash temp control, and beer clarity.
    Where it doesn't shine: it can be a BITCH to clean and needs a deep flush and wash every couple of batches to make sure no gubbins are in the pipes. So we run a water-only cycle after every batch: 25L water, heat to 75 degrees, and then let it circulate everywhere for an hour. You'd be stunned to see the shite that comes out afterwards.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    Oh yes: also, if you have a GF, invest in a 30L urn for the sparge water.........NOBODY tells new potential customers about the need for hot sparge water when you buy the bloody thing. So everybody thinks it is plug & play.........it isn't.

  9. #9
    Just my 2c, I brew with a 50L keggle BIAB and I have brewed a few batches with a friends GF. Its fine if you brew avg abv beers like jakes said and if you brew standard size 20L batches only, its when you go bigger when a GF is lacking.

    Paying R15 000 for a piece of equipment to make wort when you should rather spend the money on proper fermentation (where the real magic happens) and storing equipment does not make good sense imho
    I value your experience more than your opinion Time is on your side, never rush a beer Have fun, its only beer

  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    Dec 2014
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    @ Harhm: spot on, bud. And I reckon a modest investment in a hi temp pump and a controller with your electrical urn/keggle to create a recirculation arm for the BIAB means you'll have the same efficiency and clarity at 10% of the cost.

    We got our GF as a demo from Ryan and it was a drunk-buy at a Summer Beer festival otherwise we wouldn't have one.

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