Do I need a grain bag with Grainfather S40?

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PierreLo

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Hi guys,

I have a looked at a YouTube video where the guy was using a brew bag with the Grainfather S40. I’ve been a bit troubled since I thought the brew basket was enough. And now I really wonder if there is any advantage of combining the brew basket with a brew bag with my grandfather.

Any opinion on this?

Thanks
 

jambop

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I have an S40 and am happy to use it without a bag. I brewed today and there was a little bit of wheat grains in the transferred wort but nothing worth worrying about. I have been getting very good efficiencies too 89% for mash and 75 % for Brewhouse today. There is always a fair loss of wort with the hops taking it up I reckon I loose about 1.5 L that knocks a good bit off the brew house, but that is an after bag thing anyway . To answer the question though I will not be using a bag anytime soon 😄
 

DaveCS

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Having just gotten an S40 - I too was looking at using the Brew Bag for brewing. My reasoning was the following:
  1. I don't have to change my current mill gap - I currently BIAB in a single vessel (Kettle on the stove or on a propane burner). My mill gap is 0.037" or 0.94mm - I would have to up my gap to about 0.05" (1.3mm) to NOT continue using the bag in my process
  2. No false bottom for the S40 (just yet at least) - I've contacted Grainfather and they have no current plan to implement or have a false bottom for the S40 - this, to me, is a bit of a concern if I want to do really hoppy beers and those hops end up going into the pump/recirc tube which will inevitably clog. Not something that the Brew Bag (or any bag) can solve to be honest but still a concern I have.
  3. I already have a good process and just want an "electric" way to brew - using BIAB suits me just fine but having to switch my equipment profiles from winter to spring/summer/fall is a pain. On top of that I tend to suck up a lot of kitchen space in the winter. So I figured I could just use the S40 as an "electric kettle" per se since I don't currently recirculate or sparge. I can always adjust my process if I want to after the fact to use the grain basket etc. but right now I don't see me doing that.
I'm still interested to see if anyone has used a bag and if so, what size bag did they use (considering Brew Bag doesn't make one specifically for the S40)

Cheers,
Dave
 

jambop

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Having just gotten an S40 - I too was looking at using the Brew Bag for brewing. My reasoning was the following:
  1. I don't have to change my current mill gap - I currently BIAB in a single vessel (Kettle on the stove or on a propane burner). My mill gap is 0.037" or 0.94mm - I would have to up my gap to about 0.05" (1.3mm) to NOT continue using the bag in my process
  2. No false bottom for the S40 (just yet at least) - I've contacted Grainfather and they have no current plan to implement or have a false bottom for the S40 - this, to me, is a bit of a concern if I want to do really hoppy beers and those hops end up going into the pump/recirc tube which will inevitably clog. Not something that the Brew Bag (or any bag) can solve to be honest but still a concern I have.
  3. I already have a good process and just want an "electric" way to brew - using BIAB suits me just fine but having to switch my equipment profiles from winter to spring/summer/fall is a pain. On top of that I tend to suck up a lot of kitchen space in the winter. So I figured I could just use the S40 as an "electric kettle" per se since I don't currently recirculate or sparge. I can always adjust my process if I want to after the fact to use the grain basket etc. but right now I don't see me doing that.
I'm still interested to see if anyone has used a bag and if so, what size bag did they use (considering Brew Bag doesn't make one specifically for the S40)

Cheers,
Dave
Dave
I know it very much each to there own but I don't get the need for a bag at all. I have been using my S40 for about six months now and my mash efficiency is regularly 85 - 89 % using my grain gorilla set at 0.4" or about 1mm . Honestly you don't recirc or sparge? Again I don't understand that sparging is going to add to your efficiency and is well worth the time taken. With regards to the false bottom I can understand you would like to use the onboard pump as it were but I have actually found a much better solution. I bought a small magnetic pump and I use that to pump the wort directly from the Grainfather tap into fermentation vessel which is already in the brew fridge which negates the heavy lifting and there is no problem of course I have a bazooka type filter fitted to the tap which completely stops any hop transfer to the FV because I use cone hops which I prefer to pellets. The S40 is not a perfect system but there are loads of ways to make life easier mail me if you want some advice about the S40 .
 

DaveCS

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Dave
I know it very much each to there own but I don't get the need for a bag at all. I have been using my S40 for about six months now and my mash efficiency is regularly 85 - 89 % using my grain gorilla set at 0.4" or about 1mm . Honestly you don't recirc or sparge? Again I don't understand that sparging is going to add to your efficiency and is well worth the time taken. With regards to the false bottom I can understand you would like to use the onboard pump as it were but I have actually found a much better solution. I bought a small magnetic pump and I use that to pump the wort directly from the Grainfather tap into fermentation vessel which is already in the brew fridge which negates the heavy lifting and there is no problem of course I have a bazooka type filter fitted to the tap which completely stops any hop transfer to the FV because I use cone hops which I prefer to pellets. The S40 is not a perfect system but there are loads of ways to make life easier mail me if you want some advice about the S40 .
Thanks for this.
Regarding Recirculating or sparging - I don't see a need in my current set up - everything is done in one vessel (kettle) and if there is a "sparge" it's what I call a "dunk sparge" - I pull the bag out of the kettle, squeeze the dickens out of it, put it into the sparge water that is at around 170F and leave it there for 10 minutes. My efficiency hasn't really suffered and neither have my beers (my Dunkelbock won best of show last year in our local BCJP judged comp beating out over 130 other entries). So you can kind of see why I don't think I need it BUT I'm always willing to try something new/different to see how it impacts my brewing. :D

Regarding the onboard pump - I can just as easily do as you suggested - I have a chugger pump that I would use to whirlpool in the kettle post boil - out of the tap at the base of the kettle, into the pump, out of the pump, and back into the kettle via the whirlpool port. Again, my beers have never suffered from any issues surrounding this. My only real concern is hop matter getting clogged in the grainfather "pump hole" (for the lack of better wording). I guess it should be easy enough to clean out since I wouldn't be using the S40's pump for whirlpooling or transferring anyway. Thing is.. I'm using pellets (unlike yourself) and, in some IPA's I'm using a significant amount of hops in the kettle (157g / 5.5oz). It never clogs the chugger pump but that's because it's 1/2" in and 1/2" out. You can clearly see why the Grainfather (and maybe other all in ones) get clogged; the flow is restricted going back "up" the brew system to get to the top. :)

Thanks again for the advice - I'm willing to try it and see what happens. Adjusting the grain crush isn't that big of a deal but it's just another thing I would have to do LOL .
 

jambop

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Regarding the hops blocking the pump hole I have never had a problem mainly because I only use the pump to recirculate the brew liquor over the mashing grains. I contacted grainfather about using the pump to transfer the wort and they said it should not be done. I use cone hops mainly because I think they are better than pellets but the good thing about them is they filter out the trub as I pump the wort to FV . One tip you may be interested in is always make to sure you have access to the trip reset under the grainfather if you do not and it trips out you have a problem getting under the vessel to reset. I have a raised platform I sit mine on which gives access and has the outlet tap at a reasonable height off the floor. I also have a pulley set up to pull the grain basket out of the kettle for sparging. Re the grain crush the degree of crushing does not really have much effect on the conversion efficiency more the rate of conversion and I always do a 90 minute mash.
 

jerrylotto

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The S40 looks very similar to my Mash and Brew, and I can tell you that if I try to use a bag with the perforated insert I get almost zero flow. The reason brewing a bag works is the contact area all around the bag and primarily on the sides. If the only place it can flow out is on the bottom the grain fines work their way down and clog the bag.
 

jambop

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Hey WilserBrewer :)
I've used your bags in the past!
Would the bag for the Grainfather accommodate the ability to recirculate?

Cheers,
Dave

I would be very watchful of using a bag inside the grain basket reason being the bag material could become blocked and the wort will not permeate to the space below properly... if things got really bad this could lead to scorching. For some reason what you steadfastly refuse to appreciate is this system has been designed to operate in a certain way which allows the wort to move freely throughout the vessel and thus maintain the correct temperatures throughout the vessel so the heater kicks in at the right moment . Of course it is your equipment you can use it as you please but you may need to watch the mashing process the whole time to make sure it does not run dry.
 

Twinkeelfool

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I use my old biab bag in my robobrew when I want to max out the volume. I also bought an extension pipe for double batches, and I find it easier to lift out than the pipe. No difference in efficiency that I’ve noticed.
 

odie

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I use a wilser bag inside a basket. solid sides and have no issues with recirc. My last few beers have been like 90% BH efficiency.

flow/recirc issues are from mis-matched crush size and pump size. Your system must be balanced.
 
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