Grainfather problems

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robster

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I’m having a horrible experience with grainfather. The pump randomly stops working, doesn’t matter wether it’s a lighter mash, heavy mash or in the boil phase. The design makes it impossible to troubleshoot, I’m now in the middle of a 9 hour brew due to that and have resorted to the old immersion chiller And I will have to dump the beer into fermenter. Is this a common problem?

I’ve adjusted my 2 roller mill to .05
I’ve ran a looser mash than suggested
I use a hop spider
I whirlpool
 

Harry482

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You must be getting a clogged filter. Next time, run it without the rubber end cap on the filter and you shouldnt clog.

I havn’t had that problem. My main issue has been how long it takes to get to a weak boil.

Overall, I’m not happy either. I think it is priced $500 too high. I bought it to save time over brewing on my 3 vessel herms (hoping that I’d be able to brew more if I could have a 4hr brew day). Certainly hasn’t been the case! Def. a much easier and less labor intensive brew day, but same amount of time due to how long it takes to come to a boil. I bought the graincoat - no difference. I’d advise ppl currently looking to buy a similar competitor’s unit and save the $500.
 
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robster

robster

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I feel stupid, but the reddit thread had the answer. The anti-backflow spring was getting clogged. Removed it.
Yeah the boil is pretty weak, I assume that's the max power they can get out of a typical 110v outlet without popping breakers.
 

jlinz

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I feel stupid, but the reddit thread had the answer. The anti-backflow spring was getting clogged. Removed it.
Yeah the boil is pretty weak, I assume that's the max power they can get out of a typical 110v outlet without popping breakers.
That's it! I hear this is the problem all the time, but I personally haven't had an issue with it yet.
 

treacheroustexan

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I had to have grainfather send me a new pump. Email them! On the bright side, my 12 hour brew day cream ale turned out fantastic.
 

chezhed

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Do not use an extension cord with a Grainfather.....and your time to boil and actual boil should be fine...mine (both of them) boil 6.5-7 gallons in 20 minutes without an extension cord....with one took forever. Also, you might check the actual voltage at your outlet....have seen some come in low and owners could not get to boil.
 

day_trippr

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The LoDO folks are all about simmering ;)

The thought of someone using an undersized extension cord on one of these and seeing significant voltage drop as a result is scary...

Cheers!
 

Sadu

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Do not use an extension cord with a Grainfather.....and your time to boil and actual boil should be fine...mine (both of them) boil 6.5-7 gallons in 20 minutes without an extension cord....with one took forever. Also, you might check the actual voltage at your outlet....have seen some come in low and owners could not get to boil.
OK this caught my attention.

I'm about 4 brews into my Grainfather (220v) and the time to reach boil is insane. Even with lid on and towels draped over the top it's around 45 mins. I'm sure it's advertised as being 20 mins to boil.

I brew outside in a moderate climate with an extension cord.

Would the extension cord be responsible for that much voltage drop?
 

jlinz

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OK this caught my attention.

I'm about 4 brews into my Grainfather (220v) and the time to reach boil is insane. Even with lid on and towels draped over the top it's around 45 mins. I'm sure it's advertised as being 20 mins to boil.

I brew outside in a moderate climate with an extension cord.

Would the extension cord be responsible for that much voltage drop?
Probably. It doesn't take me that long to get to a boil. Maybe about 25-30 minutes, and I have the American version.
 

chezhed

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OK this caught my attention.

I'm about 4 brews into my Grainfather (220v) and the time to reach boil is insane. Even with lid on and towels draped over the top it's around 45 mins. I'm sure it's advertised as being 20 mins to boil.

I brew outside in a moderate climate with an extension cord.

Would the extension cord be responsible for that much voltage drop?
Possibly. Unless you are using a short 10/12 gauge wire cord, which is highly unlikely for most homeowners. The length and gauge will dictate the loss....on a 120V system an average 16 gauge cord at 25 feet could drop 5%. A 10 gauge cord would drop about 1%. That's a lot of lost juice.
But on a 220V the loss is about half as much.....sounds to me like you need to check the voltage at the outlet.....
 

kencarman

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I feel stupid, but the reddit thread had the answer. The anti-backflow spring was getting clogged. Removed it.
Yeah the boil is pretty weak, I assume that's the max power they can get out of a typical 110v outlet without popping breakers.

So glad someone else has had problems with the boil. To supplement my third batch which, again, didn't go right, I brewed up a quick batch of extract. I finally had to boil on the stove and keep adding. Yes, the GF was set right. But 2 hours later it only got close to boil through additions.

I have been brewing since 79. I thought I'd make better beer. Instead I'm missing the mark. I decided to try a Saison Ginger IPA: sweet candied ginger sliced and only three very small in the FastFerment. I used about 1.5 ounces hops (I'd have to look back to see what kind. Think alpha was about 10.) and they were almost all at the very end of the boil. I got an extremely bitter, pepper way overboard, mess. Added 1 gallon of my extracted brew: still fermenting. Now it's quite pleasant, though light.

I started all grain about 6 years ago. My only other problem is I seem to be getting tremendous amounts of trub no matter what methods I use. I miss the fun for making great beer.
 

2LiveBrewCrew

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Got a question, Is there a stainless mash paddle that works good in the Grainfather? What is the width of the paddle that will work good for dough balls and good mixing?
 

hopjuice_71

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Got a question, Is there a stainless mash paddle that works good in the Grainfather? What is the width of the paddle that will work good for dough balls and good mixing?
I have a Grainfather and had horrible issues with dough balls when adding the milled grain to the mash water - drove me nuts tossing the spent grain to find big dry chunks of dough. I solved this by employing two things. First, I started conditioning my grain before milling. This literally added only about 3 minutes to prep time but made a huge difference to the "fluffiness" of the milled grain (also reduced all the grain dust flying around, which was a happy side effect). Second, I mill directly into the mash pipe then I slowly lower the mash pipe into the mash water, sort of a form of underletting I guess (this also has the happy side effect of reducing the mess of grain dust and spills, which I invariably had). A very gentle mix is all that is required to homogenize the mash and I haven't had a dough ball since. My mash efficiencies went up and have been much more consistent. So, all I use is just a regular old big stainless steel spoon - no need for a dedicated mash paddle. Even if you buy pre-milled grain my guess is that adding to the mash pipe first then lowering it into mash water would work. Just a thought.
 

SirSpectre

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I haven't any problems with anything except major efficiency/consistency issues. I could get 57% on one brew, and 80% on another with literally no differences.

Boil issues: Try to use a 20 amp circuit and if you need an extension cord, find a 10ga one. If there are other devices on it, it'll also lead to voltage drop. Fans/ lights, refrigerators, etc. I have a dedicated 20 amp for the Grainfather. Boils quick and vigorous.
 

thehaze

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I've used the Grainfather for over 50 batches in almost 2 years and never had any of the issues described in this thread: no doughballs, pump issues, cooling or ramping up to boil temp. taking upwards of 45 minutes.

I use the 220 V version. When you sparge, you need to ramp up the temp the second you lifted the grain basket. My usual efficiency with the Grainfather is somewhere between 74 and 78%. Sometimes lower, due to big grainbills and sometimes higher ( 85% ) due to small grainbill and fine crush.
 

Rev2010

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I haven't any problems with anything except major efficiency/consistency issues. I could get 57% on one brew, and 80% on another with literally no differences.
My immediate guess is you're getting channeling when fly sparging on the brews that are coming out with poor efficiency. If you have another vessel to drain the wort into you can do double batch sparges which would help improve efficiency consistency. You would drain the first runnings into the other vessel, add your first sparge water addition, stir it up, run the pump for a couple of minutes to vorlauf, then drain to the other vessel and repeat. Only real caveat is that you then have to wash that vessel as well.


Rev.
 

SirSpectre

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My immediate guess is you're getting channeling when fly sparging on the brews that are coming out with poor efficiency. If you have another vessel to drain the wort into you can do double batch sparges which would help improve efficiency consistency. You would drain the first runnings into the other vessel, add your first sparge water addition, stir it up, run the pump for a couple of minutes to vorlauf, then drain to the other vessel and repeat. Only real caveat is that you then have to wash that vessel as well.


Rev.
Ive thought about this. I am 90% sure the issues I have are from sparging. I have another kettle I can drain into, but I'm not entirely clear on what the process would be to sparge more.
 
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