Grainfather opinions

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

MotoGP1000

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Dec 14, 2015
Messages
151
Reaction score
15
Brew friends. I’ve been brewing for about 6 years and I currently brew outside using a burner and a couple kettles. My set up is bootstrap at best (but it works) and I’m looking to upgrade/simplify this whole thing. Wanted some thoughts on Grainfather. Is this system too remedial? Does it work well?
I want to brew all kinds of beers from pilsners to iPas to high abv stouts. So I don’t want to be limited. Finished product of 5 gallons is probably enough. It’s all I have space for.
Really looking for some opinions. Extra points if I can use it inside my home.
 

Sammy86

Still thirsty
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 28, 2013
Messages
2,879
Reaction score
1,819
I don't have a grainfather but I do own a Brewzilla 65 L...pretty much the same thing just the controller is positioned differently.

i love my AIO, as do many others. I can brew any style I want 5 and 10 gallon...15 gal on the lighter/smaller beers.

Everything is so easy, pretty much set and forget once you have everything dialed in. Clean up is also much easier, clear the mash tube, rinse in the sink/hose it down once the transfer to the FV happens fill with water and PBW, cycle water for an hour dry and put away.

Wouldn't go any other way at this point in my brewing.
 

Velnerj

Simul justus et potator
Joined
Jul 27, 2017
Messages
466
Reaction score
746
Location
Czech Republic
I'm looking to go all in one myself. My suggestion is that if your thinking of making the jump and don't want to be limited, a bigger size system than you think you'll need will be better.

I'm not sure what volume choices that grainfather comes in but I wouldn't get anything smaller than 40l but probably would look more at the 50+L volume options.

You should know the grainfather isn't the only name in town. There are a few other systems that are good (like brewzila) and can suit your needs. But it seems that the grainfather is way ahead of the competition when it comes to software (Bluetooth control, recipe app etc.)
 
OP
MotoGP1000

MotoGP1000

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Dec 14, 2015
Messages
151
Reaction score
15
I don't have a grainfather but I do own a Brewzilla 65 L...pretty much the same thing just the controller is positioned differently.

i love my AIO, as do many others. I can brew any style I want 5 and 10 gallon...15 gal on the lighter/smaller beers.

Everything is so easy, pretty much set and forget once you have everything dialed in. Clean up is also much easier, clear the mash tube, rinse in the sink/hose it down once the transfer to the FV happens fill with water and PBW, cycle water for an hour dry and put away.

Wouldn't go any other way at this point in my brewing.
Do you heat your sparge water in a separate kettle off to the side or is there something the system comes with that does that for you?
 

Sammy86

Still thirsty
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 28, 2013
Messages
2,879
Reaction score
1,819
Do you heat your sparge water in a separate kettle off to the side or is there something the system comes with that does that for you?
Generally, sparge water doesn't need to be hot...I've been cold sparging since changing over and haven't had any ill effects. However, my saint of a FIL bought me a Digiboil for my birthday so i can heat it up if I want to.
 

Coastalbrew

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 26, 2018
Messages
826
Reaction score
561
I totally agree with @Sammy86 , you'll never regret going AIO. I also don't have a grain father, I wanted the simplest no frills system available and so went with the no pump version of the Brewers edge mash and boil. It fit my needs and wants perfectly and I can't see myself ever using anything but an AIO ever again. I always brew indoors and love the ease of use and simplicity.

That said, any new system will be different from what you are used to, and every AIO system has it's own limitations and idiosyncracies that you will have to learn and work into your process. There is a learning curve where you will learn that system and tweak your process and recipes until you get everything in sync to achieve your desired results. You can brew great beer in all of these systems no matter what bells and whistles they have. I've brewed crystal clear beers that you could read a newspaper through on my system using only manual circulation, and my normal BH efficiency is in the 75 - 78% range on every batch.

The other thing I'd say is, if you normally brew 5-6% abv beers don't buy a system sized to brew the 11% beer you want to brew every couple of years. Once you learn the system and fine tune your process on it, you can brew that 11% beer on the smaller system by adjusting your process and/or the recipe. And the bigger system, IMO, will be a PITA when you are brewing your average beers. Just my opinion though.

Cheers!
 

mongoose33

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 16, 2015
Messages
8,098
Reaction score
8,001
Location
Platteville, WI
My son had a robobrew; hated it so much that it ended up being put on the curb.

He then bought a Grainfather. He is incredibly complimentary about it. He'd get it again.
 

madscientist451

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 10, 2014
Messages
5,250
Reaction score
2,941
Location
Bedford
I'm an inside brewer doing 2.5-4 gallon BIAB batches on my stove. No recirculation, just do a dunk sparge in a side pot. Its so simple, I very seldom have any problems and the beer comes out pretty good. But I've looked into the Grainfather, and the alternatives and if I was going to spend $1,000 on a system I'd go with the WortHog from High gravity Brewing or something similar. The main reason I'm against the Grainfather and similar units is that the heating elements and other components aren't easily repaired/replaced if something goes wrong. The Wort Hog uses a heating element from Blichtman and a controller that is built in their shop. There are several producers that do the same thing and use off the shelf components. Shop around before you pull the trigger.
:mug:
 
OP
MotoGP1000

MotoGP1000

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Dec 14, 2015
Messages
151
Reaction score
15
I'm an inside brewer doing 2.5-4 gallon BIAB batches on my stove. No recirculation, just do a dunk sparge in a side pot. Its so simple, I very seldom have any problems and the beer comes out pretty good. But I've looked into the Grainfather, and the alternatives and if I was going to spend $1,000 on a system I'd go with the WortHog from High gravity Brewing or something similar. The main reason I'm against the Grainfather and similar units is that the heating elements and other components aren't easily repaired/replaced if something goes wrong. The Wort Hog uses a heating element from Blichtman and a controller that is built in their shop. There are several producers that do the same thing and use off the shelf components. Shop around before you pull the trigger.
:mug:
I noticed in research that issue with the Grainfather and heating element. Basically it’s done if the element goes. Still watching tons of YouTube reviews
 
OP
MotoGP1000

MotoGP1000

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Dec 14, 2015
Messages
151
Reaction score
15
I totally agree with @Sammy86 , you'll never regret going AIO. I also don't have a grain father, I wanted the simplest no frills system available and so went with the no pump version of the Brewers edge mash and boil. It fit my needs and wants perfectly and I can't see myself ever using anything but an AIO ever again. I always brew indoors and love the ease of use and simplicity.

That said, any new system will be different from what you are used to, and every AIO system has it's own limitations and idiosyncracies that you will have to learn and work into your process. There is a learning curve where you will learn that system and tweak your process and recipes until you get everything in sync to achieve your desired results. You can brew great beer in all of these systems no matter what bells and whistles they have. I've brewed crystal clear beers that you could read a newspaper through on my system using only manual circulation, and my normal BH efficiency is in the 75 - 78% range on every batch.

The other thing I'd say is, if you normally brew 5-6% abv beers don't buy a system sized to brew the 11% beer you want to brew every couple of years. Once you learn the system and fine tune your process on it, you can brew that 11% beer on the smaller system by adjusting your process and/or the recipe. And the bigger system, IMO, will be a PITA when you are brewing your average beers. Just my opinion though.

Cheers!
Grainfather has a 15lb grain limit?
 

Coastalbrew

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 26, 2018
Messages
826
Reaction score
561
I noticed in research that issue with the Grainfather and heating element. Basically it’s done if the element goes. Still watching tons of YouTube reviews
Look around on here for threads about people who have had issues with their system and how the manufacturer has handled it. In most cases the CS on these systems is very good across the board.
Grainfather has a 15lb grain limit?
Take a look at the recipes you like to brew and see if that is enough capacity for you and your average batch size. I typically do 3.25G batches in my M&B and have never filed the grain tube more than half way with any of those batches. Overall capacity can also be an issue if you want to try to continue doing full volume brewing.
 

Go4wide

Member
Joined
Oct 3, 2021
Messages
10
Reaction score
3
I've owned the US 5gal 110V Grainfather system for a few years and done a few dozen batches without incident. I don't have any experience with other AIO systems so I can't comment on which is best. I just know mine works fine and I am completely satisfied with the purchase ($800 on sale). I also purchased their sparge water heater. Brewing indoors is terrific. Cleanup is a breeze. I like the controller's bluetooth feature and the integration with their website. I consider myself an experienced novice brewer so consider the source of this response. :)
 

seabrew8

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2010
Messages
1,070
Reaction score
157
Location
Newfoundland, Canada
I'm an inside brewer doing 2.5-4 gallon BIAB batches on my stove. No recirculation, just do a dunk sparge in a side pot. Its so simple, I very seldom have any problems and the beer comes out pretty good. But I've looked into the Grainfather, and the alternatives and if I was going to spend $1,000 on a system I'd go with the WortHog from High gravity Brewing or something similar. The main reason I'm against the Grainfather and similar units is that the heating elements and other components aren't easily repaired/replaced if something goes wrong. The Wort Hog uses a heating element from Blichtman and a controller that is built in their shop. There are several producers that do the same thing and use off the shelf components. Shop around before you pull the trigger.
:mug:
In a similar vein Bräu Supply as a really nice looking unit, pricey however. Clawhammer supply as well but the basket holders look to be a 2 man job to setup.

However, I've had my grainfather a longtime now, i have the one with the original controller. I made well over 100 batches in that thing.

If it kicks the can i will mostly like get the 220V 5 gallon grainfather again.

Maybe they will start to sell the unit without the counter wort chiller, which i don't need. The original unit was probably released 5 or more years ago. Its definitely a step above anything from kegland/robobrew, they have all kinds of upgraded versions of their products for a reason. They rush to market to fast IME with their first plastic fermenter that you can use for pressure fermentation. I really never liked that thing, its cheaply made.
 
Last edited:

Montyjb

New Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2014
Messages
4
Reaction score
2
I have a US 5 Gal 110V system as well. I've done 25-35 batches thru it with no issues. I watched the thread about controller plug sockets overheating and was very concerned when I noticed mine showed some of the same signs == and it was LONG out of warranty.
I contacted GF customer service and they shipped me a new vessel (complete) at no charge, and without me asking.
 

BrewAgain

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2020
Messages
79
Reaction score
44
I made about 45 batches on the 120v 5 gallon version. Then while heating my mash water, the smell of burning plastic filled my brewspace. On the plus side, GF did replace the boiler and controller with the updated version. 20A plug and heavier boiler cable. It looks good. My concern is what would have happened if I did not check on the water? The app would allow for that. Other than that plug issue, it's a great system. And they do have excellent customer service.

The grain limit is very close to #20 if care is taken when mashing in.
 

Jag75

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Mar 24, 2018
Messages
6,577
Reaction score
2,846
Location
Taft
I can't tell you exactly how many brews I have on my GF , but it's quite a bit . Never been an issue , good quality imo. Love the app as well. It's been spot on . I've had 16# grain bills and has worked out.
 
Top