Grainfather Conical Fermenter Owners Thread

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Jamkin

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I have built a wooden cart from some old shelving for my conical, so its about 3 feet above the floor. This allows me to gravity transfer from the small outlet tap so no need to transfer under pressure.
I also capture co2 whilst fermenting directly into a keg (previously used a fermenting bucket to collect).
Blow off tube connected to liquid out post on keg. Gas in post vented to a plastic pot. so only co2 is sucked back when cold crashing or bottling.
When kegging. I disconnect the blow off from the liquid in post & connect it to the gas port on the keg. The gas port is now connected to the top of the conical.
Gravity fill the keg from the small outlet tap on the bottom of the conical into the liquid post on the keg. As beer enters the keg co2 is now pushed out & back into the top of the conical. This results in a totally closed transfer system eliminating any o2 from entering the system.

Short video showing it in action see link below


View attachment 716806
The loop of silicon tube has a small amount of starsan in it which acts as an airlock.
what a set up!
 

franknbeans

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I was going to pull that ball valve apart, but got side tracked yesterday before I started brewing. I pulled the ball valve apart on my Anvil Foundry and thought I had cleaned it the last time... nope. It was nasty. I can only imagine how the conical one looks now. 🤦‍♂️ I ordered both the 1.5 x 7mm and 1.5 x 11.5mm orings to see which would fit. I had another set of 1.5mm thick ones and they fit the groove perfectly, so I'm hoping they work better. For now, I just put a couple new silicone ones back in there until these come. The 1.5 x 11.5mm ones were only offered in buna material, so hopefully it works ok.
Ok so I kegged the porter I had in mine last night and broke the valve down. The two sets of orings came in so I tried them both on the trub dump valve shaft. So.. the 1.5mm x 11.5mm are too big and won't work. The 1.5mm x 7mm are very tight, but they work. I now see why you said they are wrecked when taking off. I wonder if a 1.5mm x 9mm would be the key size?
 

Cloud Surfer

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In Grainfather instructions is mentioned the following sentence:”It is good practice to dump dead yeast every 2-3 days during fermentation to prevent the yeast from clogging the valve.
My question is, opening the yeast dump valve we are introducing oxygen to our fermenter....?
What do you think about this?
I got burnt by pretty much everything written there the first time I dumped out the trub valve. Obviously I ended up sucking in some air, then after I dumped, my RIS stopped fermenting and left the FG a bit high. I thought, there has to be a better way.

So, I bought the Grainfather pressure transfer kit and started on my CO2 journey. Now I can go 2 weeks for my big beers before I touch the dump valve. Using the CO2 pressure I can push the trub out the valve and not introduce air into the fermenter. The CO2 pressure is the key as the trub wouldn't come out the valve otherwise after 2 weeks.

I'm new to brewing, but CO2 pressure transferring is almost the best thing I've discovered in the whole brewing process. I do it everywhere. Fermenter into conditioning kegs, then back into bottling kegs, then pressure filling into bottles.
 

rycardo

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I got burnt by pretty much everything written there the first time I dumped out the trub valve. Obviously I ended up sucking in some air, then after I dumped, my RIS stopped fermenting and left the FG a bit high. I thought, there has to be a better way.

So, I bought the Grainfather pressure transfer kit and started on my CO2 journey. Now I can go 2 weeks for my big beers before I touch the dump valve. Using the CO2 pressure I can push the trub out the valve and not introduce air into the fermenter. The CO2 pressure is the key as the trub wouldn't come out the valve otherwise after 2 weeks.

I'm new to brewing, but CO2 pressure transferring is almost the best thing I've discovered in the whole brewing process. I do it everywhere. Fermenter into conditioning kegs, then back into bottling kegs, then pressure filling into bottles.
You don’t use airlock anymore? Using the pressure transfer KIT to do this job?
 

rycardo

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Hello Everyone,
what do you think about this solution for canonical fermenter?
It looks as a 3 in 1 product:
1) blow off function, replacing airlock;
2) Useful during cold crash and taking samples, avoiding O2 to enter;
3) Bottling without O2 and with pressure.

It looks like a good alternative for Pressure Transfer Kit, it looks a little bit more dynamic.

Looking for your thoughts.
CF6E097E-06AE-424D-BA13-735860EC79D1.jpeg
 

Cloud Surfer

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Thanks for your reply.
can you send a pic with airlock set?
And how do you do for cold crash, you keep co2 open at 10 bar during all the process?
I can cold crash with the CO2 attached just as in the photo, and set the pressure to under 1 psi on the gauge.

Don’t have a photo of the airlock in, and I’m not at the fermenter atm. But the black cap you see at the top of the setup unscrews, and I use the other black cap that comes with the kit that has a hole through it. The airlock fits neatly through the hole in that cap.
 

deuc224

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I have a big question guys, hopefully @Advance can chime in as well.

I plan on changing my brewbuilt max4 glycol chillers controllers to the inkbird ITC-1000F controllers, but how do get them to talk to the grainfather conical? I saw a video on short circuit brewer on how to get the grainfather glycol changed out but I would need the grainfather conical to tell the inkbird what/when to turn on the glycol pumps. Also I would rather use the grainfathers temp probe than the inkbirds probe, but lost on that too. Thanks guys
 

Harguf

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To close this out on my end, I finally went down just a moment ago and turned off the glycol chiller, unplugged it from the wall, and waited a few moments. While it was off I checked the glycol level on the chiller. It looked a little low, so I topped it off. After waiting a few minutes I then plugged the chiller back in and turned the power on. It immediately reconnected to the WiFi and started up cooling again. The temperature had risen to 16.5C, about the temp for the diacetyl rest. Am keeping an eye on it to make sure the temp doesn’t sink below the target temp of 10C, but so far it looks like a very simple fix of turning it off and back on, with the possibility also of low glycol.

Hi, I have two grainfather fermenter pro conicals. BOTH of the controllers will hang from time to time. Did you ever figure out a solution? Thanks.
 

BrewbieVet3

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Hi, I have two grainfather fermenter pro conicals. BOTH of the controllers will hang from time to time. Did you ever figure out a solution? Thanks.
I never did. I just check whether it’s online every so often using the app and if it’s frozen/offline power off the unit and then restart it. I’ve never had a problem with it returning to the fermentation schedule once restarted.

All that said, I have decided I won’t be using the conical fermenter for any more lagers. It just takes too long to larger and the conical really doesn’t go down to ideal lagering temperatures. I’ll still brew lagers, but will instead use my siphonless glass big mouth bubblers and my temperature controlled chest freezer, which can get me down to the desired temperature range, and can fit several carboys. I’ll use the conical for ale production due to higher fermentation temps.
 

Harguf

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I never did. I just check whether it’s online every so often using the app and if it’s frozen/offline power off the unit and then restart it. I’ve never had a problem with it returning to the fermentation schedule once restarted.

All that said, I have decided I won’t be using the conical fermenter for any more lagers. It just takes too long to larger and the conical really doesn’t go down to ideal lagering temperatures. I’ll still brew lagers, but will instead use my siphonless glass big mouth bubblers and my temperature controlled chest freezer, which can get me down to the desired temperature range, and can fit several carboys. I’ll use the conical for ale production due to higher fermentation temps.
Dang. Considering how expensive they are when paired with their glycol chiller I consider the controller freeze to be unacceptable.

I’ll keep on customer service and see if they have a solution.

I did notice that they freeze less often now that they are closer to my Wi-Fi router. Any chance you’ve noticed that?
 

franknbeans

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Dang. Considering how expensive they are when paired with their glycol chiller I consider the controller freeze to be unacceptable.

I’ll keep on customer service and see if they have a solution.

I did notice that they freeze less often now that they are closer to my Wi-Fi router. Any chance you’ve noticed that?
Mine's done this a few times now too. The only solution I could figure was just power cycling the conical a few times. @Advance mentioned that a while back in the thread too. Seems weird.. almost like there's some power save function that is getting tripped on.
 

franknbeans

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Hello Everyone,
what do you think about this solution for canonical fermenter?
It looks as a 3 in 1 product:
1) blow off function, replacing airlock;
2) Useful during cold crash and taking samples, avoiding O2 to enter;
3) Bottling without O2 and with pressure.

It looks like a good alternative for Pressure Transfer Kit, it looks a little bit more dynamic.

Looking for your thoughts.View attachment 717768
I ended up using a TC plug with an mfl/gas ball lock on it for mine too. After the fermentation is done and I am dropping a dry hop bag in, I'll take the air lock and plug out and put that on. Just make sure to not go over 1-2psi when doing that! Then after the hops have done their thing, set it up for pressure transfer and wha-la. I bought that kit Grainfather sells and wasn't impressed with it. Theres a leak in it somewhere that I can't figure out and it just didn't work for me. $15 1.5" TC cap with the ball lock on it from Amazon works just fine.
 

Harguf

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Mine's done this a few times now too. The only solution I could figure was just power cycling the conical a few times. @Advance mentioned that a while back in the thread too. Seems weird.. almost like there's some power save function that is getting tripped on.
Yeah, that’s what I’ve been doing. Power cycling. But in my opinion that’s not a long term solution.
 
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BrewbieVet3

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Dang. Considering how expensive they are when paired with their glycol chiller I consider the controller freeze to be unacceptable.

I’ll keep on customer service and see if they have a solution.

I did notice that they freeze less often now that they are closer to my Wi-Fi router. Any chance you’ve noticed that?
I haven’t moved my fermenter at all, but is in the basement away from the WiFi, which can be spotty. Maybe you’re onto something.
 

BrewbieVet3

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Another question about the grainfather conical.
I finished my first fermentation in the conical—a lager. It came out ok. Cloudy. I’m not sure if this is because the conical doesn’t get down to traditional lagering temperatures or it’s due to some other issue. Tastes good, though. That said, I will be using the conical for ales only and my chest freezer for lagers simply because I can get the temp lower.

Yesterday I brewed an ale and put it into the conical. So far, it seems to be fermenting nicely. That said, my conical still seems to be linked to the previous lager. Anyone have this problem? I want to end the old fermentation and add the ale as a new managed profile. Right now am fermenting by manually setting the temperature. Thanks!
 

Jamkin

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I use the conical and cooling kit. After transferring from the GF to the conical, I cooled down so that temp gauge read 18C and pitched, and put in my TILT.

A few hours later I have just gone back to check and the gauge is still reading 18, but the TILT is reading 23C. Anyone seen such temp stratification in the conical before?
 

Cloud Surfer

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I use the conical and cooling kit. After transferring from the GF to the conical, I cooled down so that temp gauge read 18C and pitched, and put in my TILT.

A few hours later I have just gone back to check and the gauge is still reading 18, but the TILT is reading 23C. Anyone seen such temp stratification in the conical before?
I do see a temperature split between the gauge reading and TILT before fermentation starts. Maybe not 5C, but a couple of C. Depends how close you chill the wort to pitching temperature before transferring to the fermenter. As soon as fermentation commences the temperature becomes homogenous.
 

BigDave1303

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I use the conical and cooling kit. After transferring from the GF to the conical, I cooled down so that temp gauge read 18C and pitched, and put in my TILT.

A few hours later I have just gone back to check and the gauge is still reading 18, but the TILT is reading 23C. Anyone seen such temp stratification in the conical before?
MY theory is:
I've always found it takes the tilt longer to catch up as it floating at/near the surface. The two readings eventually get pretty close during active fermentation but drift apart again once fermentation slows as the cooler liquid slowly sinks to the bottom & doesn't get moved around by the yeast
I've been cold crashing for almost 3 days now, GF conical reading 4.3c but tilt reading 10c. Here in the UK its 28c at the moment. The liquid at the top surface is above the chill section of the conical & the top of the conical is more than likely transferring some of the outside temp into the inside.
My theory!
 

Drewbert34

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I have a conical fermenter pro with the cooling pump kit but the pump doesn't work at all. The power cable provided with the cooling pump kit does supply power to the fermenter so I know that it's working but when I plug in the pump it does not turn on when the fermenter display reads "cooling". I'm using a US outlet. Has anyone had this problem or know any potential fixes?
Hello everyone, this is my 1st post. I'm 3 extract batches deep into my homebrew hobby. Future state I'd like to give all grain a shot...but on to my question....

I quoted this post because I have this exact issue. I've contacted Grainfather for a possible solution, but thought I'd try to troubleshoot myself.

To date, the cooling pump kit works as I've powered off a wall wort power supply. I do not have output voltage from the supplied cable. At this point it is either a bad cable or a bad control unit.

The unit in question is the pro edition / wireless
 

@RoyalGallon

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Hello everyone, this is my 1st post. I'm 3 extract batches deep into my homebrew hobby. Future state I'd like to give all grain a shot...but on to my question....

I quoted this post because I have this exact issue. I've contacted Grainfather for a possible solution, but thought I'd try to troubleshoot myself.

To date, the cooling pump kit works as I've powered off a wall wort power supply. I do not have output voltage from the supplied cable. At this point it is either a bad cable or a bad control unit.

The unit in question is the pro edition / wireless
I had this problem where the issue was a pin in the control panel (the removable magnetic one) was stuck in so there was no connection. It just needed pulling out and then the cooling pump would come on when called for.
A1597DE5-16C4-4944-8A4F-45DFDA80FAEA.jpeg
 

Drewbert34

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Thank you @RoyalGallon

I have read about that. My fermenter is the newer version (?). My control panel is not magnetic. I believe it is screwed on and has 4 small plugs / covers over the holes.

I had contemplated removing them to see if there was a unplugged or broken wire, but warranty concerns have stifled me.
 

Drewbert34

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Following up on my cooling pump kit issues. I overlooked something very simple that I hope will help others.

My cooling pump kit came assembled. That said, the 3 way cable was screwed into the power supply. The issue was that the fermenter end was attached to the power supply, which I failed to confirm in my excited rush to use my new fermenter.

Simply swapping ends so that the end marked "Fermenter" was attached to the fermenter and the end marked "power" was attached to the the power supply.

Now that I have been embarrassingly humbled, it's time to enjoy my new purchase and the hobby as a whole. Happy brewing!
 

Jamkin

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Has anyone had any problem with the chamber not filling with cold water? I have a GF conical with cooling pump kit. Until now I have had no problems with it, but on the last ferment the water was not passing through into the conical insulation chamber. The controller and pump are working fine. The hose is cold from cool box right up to the connector on the side, but the water does not seem to be going through that connector into the chamber. The side of the conical around the connector is not cold to touch, and the water doesn't seep through - no telltale condensation that it is working. Anyone experience this? Can the connectors be blocked / cleaned? Appreciate your help everyone. Fortunately, I'm brewing a kveik beer this time or I would be really stuck.
 

Smudgey

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No - but the first thing I'd try would be disconnecting the glycol connects from the fermenter and pressing the poppets in the disconnects open. There's one in each side of the disconnect, 4 in total. Maybe one of the rubber washer is stuck? The springs should only need a fairly light pressure to overcome and you can easily press them with a finger. If they're really mismatched spring pressures it may mean one side of the connect doesn't open at all when they're connected too.

Next, you could try running the glycol hose/ water backwards. The flow works from either side though its apparent more efficient cooling pumping cold into the low side.

Then I'd unscrew the brass connecters from the conical and check they're passing liquid ok with the poppet pressed. Replacing them one at a time and connecting a hand held bike pump (with water in it) might also gently persuade any blockage out one way or the other? I assume a chunk of mold or some nasty floaty couldn't have made it through your pump but I can't think how else it could be blocked.
 

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Hi all,

Having some issues with my GF Glycol Chiller. Chills the reservoir down to -4.5C (default setting) but the second I connect my conical the temperature jumps up to 19/20C and doesn't chill.

Am I screwed? Trying to diagnose what my next steps are.

Thanks!
-Jack
 

Smudgey

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Hi all,

Having some issues with my GF Glycol Chiller.
Has it worked previously or is it brand new?
Is the pump working/ activating in that second - is it cooling the hoses? If not I'd try the initial prime process in case its air-locked somehow and the reading really is the true temperature at the probe. Or if the propylene glycol ratio is low you may be frozen - you can measure the specific gravity to check this. You want more than 30% =1.026 which freezes -15°c. 20%=1.017 freezes -8°c, 10% =1.008 freezes -3°C. GF recommends 1:3 (2L g&4Lwater total).

You could connect the blue hose straight back to the return and just see what the temp reads while its pumping - there shouldn't be much change in the glycol temp of all is well with the flow.

My glycol temp will raise from -5° to 6 or 7° in a few minutes of cooling a warm fermenter then slowly drop back to -5° once the fermenter's at temp and hold until the next cooling cycle.
 
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beersdone

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I leave the pressure transfer kit on all the time. I just fit and remove the airlock and the solid cap that seals the unit as required.View attachment 717735
Hi all – pretty new to brewing, new on this forum

I want to do the same thing, but without the kegging part. I already used the GF PTK for cold crashing and bottling. Doing that, I noticed that the digital gauge turns off after a certain amount of time or if pressure didn't change for some time (not quite sure on that). When turning it back on again, the gauge always shows 0 PSI, even though right before it actually showed some pressure. I verified by unscrewing the black cap a bit and clearly there was pressure in the conical.

So the gauge seems unreliable and the whole PTK a bit risky to use since accidentally and easily too much pressure could be added. How do you handle that? Does your digital gauge show the same behaviour?
In your setup, I guess the pressure relief valve of your keg is kind of a safe guard against adding too much pressure, right?

I'm thinking that something like this spunding valve connected to the black cap with the hole in it would be a smart thing to use for my setup. Not sure though if this valve works reliably with as little as 1 PSI.
 

Cloud Surfer

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Hi all – pretty new to brewing, new on this forum

I want to do the same thing, but without the kegging part. I already used the GF PTK for cold crashing and bottling. Doing that, I noticed that the digital gauge turns off after a certain amount of time or if pressure didn't change for some time (not quite sure on that). When turning it back on again, the gauge always shows 0 PSI, even though right before it actually showed some pressure. I verified by unscrewing the black cap a bit and clearly there was pressure in the conical.

So the gauge seems unreliable and the whole PTK a bit risky to use since accidentally and easily too much pressure could be added. How do you handle that? Does your digital gauge show the same behaviour?
In your setup, I guess the pressure relief valve of your keg is kind of a safe guard against adding too much pressure, right?

I'm thinking that something like this spunding valve connected to the black cap with the hole in it would be a smart thing to use for my setup. Not sure though if this valve works reliably with as little as 1 PSI.
I can’t help too much, because my gauge shows a reading constantly whenever there’s pressure in the fermenter. Well, over 0.3 PSI I think. If the pressure drops below 0.3 PSI then the gauge turns off. When I pressure transfer to keg I just keep it below 1.0 PSI and keep an eye on it while it’s transferring.
 

Mike_Basel77

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I am trying to setup a closed transfer from my GF conical to my keg. I do not yet have the pressure transfer kit, but plan to run a line from my CO2 filled keg gas out to the my airlock which should prevent oxygen from getting sucked in.

My question is what fitting did you use to connect the sampling valve to the duotight fittings on your beer line. I plan to use 4mm ID and 8mm OD beer line with duotight fittings on ball lock disconnects, but this line is way too small to fit over sampling valve. Is there a duotight fitting that will replace the sample valve (below the ball valve) or is the best way to simply buy a universal hose adapter to go from 12mm ID hose to 4mm ID beer line to the duotight.

I am very open to ideas. Thanks!

I leave the pressure transfer kit on all the time. I just fit and remove the airlock and the solid cap that seals the unit as required.View attachment 717735
 

Cloud Surfer

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I found some tube that fits snuggly over the sampling valve, it’s about 11mm or 12mm ID. Then I used a step down fitting to connect it to my 6mm ID beer line.

F2466E13-7D7C-466E-8445-BB57AE9E6E8A.jpeg
 

Jamkin

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I am having issues with my fermenter controller and pump kit. I can get it to start 'cooling' and to reach target temperature. However, when the temp then raises beyond 0.5 degrees, the 'cooling' mode is not longer kicking back in. Anyone experienced this? It's very frustrating - I've just pitched but have to keep turning the controller on and off to start 'cooling' again.
 

Cloud Surfer

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I am having issues with my fermenter controller and pump kit. I can get it to start 'cooling' and to reach target temperature. However, when the temp then raises beyond 0.5 degrees, the 'cooling' mode is not longer kicking back in. Anyone experienced this? It's very frustrating - I've just pitched but have to keep turning the controller on and off to start 'cooling' again.
In Settings, what have you got the hysteresis set at? I leave mine set to 0.2C and in cooling only mode. Never had any trouble that you report.
 
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