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DGW

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I hadn't looked into the distilling hoods because of the problems I've been reading about removing them to add hops and other additives (this was also mentioned on putting the steam condenser on the kettle lid). I've been thinking the best spot would be high up on the side, less chance of steam burns. I know a lot of brewers are adding their condensers there, but have no idea if this would practical with the GF. I'm getting ready to sell my single tier, 3 kettle system to go e-BIAB, so all information I've been able to gain is by other posters.
 

Chorgey

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I have not had any steam issues brewing inside with the GF.
I would like to be so lucky. When I first got my GF, I ran a test to see how everything worked, all the windows in the kitchen and dining room steamed up. I will probably end up brewing in the garage or outside, which defeats the purpose.
 

DGW

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My garage has low drywall ceilings--I live in SW florida so the humidity is bad anyway in the summer. I'd almost bet $ without some kind of venting or a steam condenser I'll have a problem. With the low ceilings, winter could also be a problem. Where I would be brewing is about 12 ft from the garage door, far enough away that I can just visualize water dripping on my head lol. I'd try it out first just to see, the GF are pricey enough though that I don't want to have to try venting outdoors.
 

DGW

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If no one knows, I'll give Bobby at Brewhardware a try. I've been looking at his Steam Slayer as being a good option to buy (when it's back in stock). I'm concerned that adding a steam condenser may drop the boil capacity to much and I have an idea he'll know the answer.
 

sketchykg

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FYI - A new 220V GF is coming to the USA.. was announced in the Homebrew Con Online Q&A. Based on the commentary, it will be a whole new unit, and not just a new controller. As well, sounded like the 220V unit would be dedicated to 220, not switchable to 110. Not a lot of details.
 

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Grainfather died today during the boil, just stopped heating. Reset is not tripped. I'm trying to save the batch on the stovetop atm. I'm out of warranty. What are the chances they fix/replace my unit?
 

couchsending

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Grainfather died today during the boil, just stopped heating. Reset is not tripped. I'm trying to save the batch on the stovetop atm. I'm out of warranty. What are the chances they fix/replace my unit?
Depends on what’s wrong with it.. when this happened to me and it wasn’t due to the controller melting the heating plug it was cause the reset switch got fried. Turn it over and take off the bottom panel. It should be pretty obvious if it’s the reset switch, mine was in some stage of melting. You can either bypass the reset/safety switch or buy another one that’s similar on Amazon for next to nothing. You’ll have to do some digging to find the exact part but I found it by just googling “Grainfather reset switch replacement” or something along those lines. I bypassed mine for like 2 years and the house didn’t burn down. Ended up putting a replacement switch in after a while.
 

skleice

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Depends on what’s wrong with it.. when this happened to me and it wasn’t due to the controller melting the heating plug it was cause the reset switch got fried. Turn it over and take off the bottom panel. It should be pretty obvious if it’s the reset switch, mine was in some stage of melting. You can either bypass the reset/safety switch or buy another one that’s similar on Amazon for next to nothing. You’ll have to do some digging to find the exact part but I found it by just googling “Grainfather reset switch replacement” or something along those lines. I bypassed mine for like 2 years and the house didn’t burn down. Ended up putting a replacement switch in after a while.
Tx. When I finish this batch, I'll do some surgery...
 

Beeru

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All these posts about the GF breaking in various ways has me worried. Does anyone know of any tricks to improve the longevity of the GF? Any preventative measures to take to avoid potential disasters ?
 

Jag75

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All these posts about the GF breaking in various ways has me worried. Does anyone know of any tricks to improve the longevity of the GF? Any preventative measures to take to avoid potential disasters ?
Not sure . I've have mine for about 3 yrs with no issues . I just plug right into the wall socket and hope all goes smooth . I don't know if people have issues with extention cords or not .
 

BrewBrains

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Grainfather died today during the boil, just stopped heating. Reset is not tripped. I'm trying to save the batch on the stovetop atm. I'm out of warranty. What are the chances they fix/replace my unit?
They've been good to me when I had problems. Replaced the whole unit when that reset switch died, and the chiller when it leaked, even when it was a replacement unit. Still chugging along after several years.
 

skleice

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Depends on what’s wrong with it.. when this happened to me and it wasn’t due to the controller melting the heating plug it was cause the reset switch got fried. Turn it over and take off the bottom panel. It should be pretty obvious if it’s the reset switch, mine was in some stage of melting. You can either bypass the reset/safety switch or buy another one that’s similar on Amazon for next to nothing. You’ll have to do some digging to find the exact part but I found it by just googling “Grainfather reset switch replacement” or something along those lines. I bypassed mine for like 2 years and the house didn’t burn down. Ended up putting a replacement switch in after a while.
I removed the base, but don't see any signs of melting. To by pass the reset, do I just remove the white wires that lead to it, or do I have to rewire something? I sent off an email to GF.
 

couchsending

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I put a ridiculous amount of batches through my first one. Yeah it had some issues but they were mostly related to the control box but they had since been address by GF. For the amount of use it got I wasn’t bummed about any of the other things that went wrong. Not that I expected them but they were easy fixes and for as much as I used it I’d say it was rather dependable. I managed to find a second unit that was just the base with nothing else for cheap so I bought that and use the rest of first units used parts. Been going strong with no issues since.

I don’t abuse my gear but I’m by no means extra careful.

I will say that glass lid has got to be the most durable thing I own. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve dropped that thing and I swear as it’s half way to the ground I wonder if this is the time it breaks... hasn’t yet.

The one thing that really sucks is if you drop the grain basket. Or it just tips over. It goes out of round really easy which in turn makes getting the filter plates on a huge PITA.
 

couchsending

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I removed the base, but don't see any signs of melting. To by pass the reset, do I just remove the white wires that lead to it, or do I have to rewire something? I sent off an email to GF.
you just connect the two wires that go into it, bypassing the reset.

If it’s not melted or deformed I doubt it’s that. Mine was very obviously screwed.

Not sure what would cause it otherwise.
 
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Grainfather died today during the boil, just stopped heating. Reset is not tripped. I'm trying to save the batch on the stovetop atm. I'm out of warranty. What are the chances they fix/replace my unit?
I just had that happen to me this week, except that I got it working again by pushing the heater plug into the controller box more firmly. I heard a little bit of a crackle, which worried me (I stood back for a few moments waiting for a bang and flash of light, but nothing happened).

I realize that's probably the first thing that you tried, but I'm just adding a data point that sometimes the failure isn't obvious. I don't think the issue is the connection between the plug and socket, but after opening the controller box, I'm not seeing any obvious failure around the receptacle, hopefully it won't be "spectacular" when it goes. I'm kinda jumpy about electricity (no pun intended).

Rick
 

skleice

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I just had that happen to me this week, except that I got it working again by pushing the heater plug into the controller box more firmly. I heard a little bit of a crackle, which worried me (I stood back for a few moments waiting for a bang and flash of light, but nothing happened).

I realize that's probably the first thing that you tried, but I'm just adding a data point that sometimes the failure isn't obvious. I don't think the issue is the connection between the plug and socket, but after opening the controller box, I'm not seeing any obvious failure around the receptacle, hopefully it won't be "spectacular" when it goes. I'm kinda jumpy about electricity (no pun intended).

Rick
I just double checked with my fingers crossed, but no go. I'm think I'm just gonna bypass the switch and see what happens.
 

skleice

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Just posting to say that I received a reply from GF in under 24 hrs. Even though I'm out of warranty, it seems they are still willing to look into it. They asked a bunch of questions and asked me to perform some tests. 👍🏻
 

nursedude

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All these posts about the GF breaking in various ways has me worried. Does anyone know of any tricks to improve the longevity of the GF? Any preventative measures to take to avoid potential disasters ?
I bought my GF used from a guy who claimed to have about 50 batches through it. In the three years since, I have brewed 56 batches. I have never had an issue with it. It looks practically new and functions perfectly.

About a year ago I ended up taking the pump apart to clean it, but that was more a function of too many whole leaf hops and no hop spider than a real issue.
 

ihavenonickname

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Just making sure you all are reporting experience from the 110V US version? Bc that seems to be the only one with issues. I had my plug melt to the controller after 12 brews, they sent me a new one they say they fixed the hot co troller issue and have had no issues for 25 brews. I added a second heating element so that may have taken some load off the element.
 

phishie

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Just making sure you all are reporting experience from the 110V US version? Bc that seems to be the only one with issues. I had my plug melt to the controller after 12 brews, they sent me a new one they say they fixed the hot co troller issue and have had no issues for 25 brews. I added a second heating element so that may have taken some load off the element.
I had this happen as well and they replaced mine for me sending me a new controller and a shell that I moved the parts over to (for the new heating element). That happened back in 2018 and prior to shipping me the new one they first validated my controller was in a certain lot considered faulty.

Unfortunately during a brew yesterday it happened again, the plug and controller fused together and the heating element stopped working... although the controller and pump still function. I pried them apart and reconnected them and then the heating element started working again but I'm nervous to use it anymore. I contacted support and hopefully they'll still provide some help.
 

ihavenonickname

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Follow up with us, I’m interested how long they are willing to deal with this mess for. I’ve been considering changing to a different system Before it dies again.
 

skleice

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So, after various emails, photos and videos, Grainfather is going to replace the unit. The customer service was excellent throughout the process. Can't wait to get the new one and get back to brewing!
 

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I’ve had the blue tube on the wort chiller crack in two places now. The first time it was fine because it was near the end and I could break it all the way and reattach it. This time it’s in the middle, and reattaching it would make it too short. Has this happened to others? what do you do to fix it ?
 

Harleybrew32

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I had my reset burn one of the terminals, all i wanted was a new reset but the sent me a new boiler. customer service at Morebeer and grainfather was awesome.
 

phishie

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I had this happen as well and they replaced mine for me sending me a new controller and a shell that I moved the parts over to (for the new heating element). That happened back in 2018 and prior to shipping me the new one they first validated my controller was in a certain lot considered faulty.

Unfortunately during a brew yesterday it happened again, the plug and controller fused together and the heating element stopped working... although the controller and pump still function. I pried them apart and reconnected them and then the heating element started working again but I'm nervous to use it anymore. I contacted support and hopefully they'll still provide some help.
Great support, they're sending me another unit & controller.
 

Willee

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Many brews over the few years I have had my GrainFather.
Perhaps just lucky but it works just fine.
If the heating element goes it is all most impossible to replace as it is bonded to the bottom of the vessel.
There are other units that are made identical to the GrainFather but are about one third the price.
I also own a German made 20L Braumeister system and every part of it is replaceable.
German Engineering rules.
 

Pkrd

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If the heating element goes it is all most impossible to replace as it is bonded to the bottom of the vessel.
Was about to clear out some of my BIAB stuff but I think I'll hang onto it for when the inevitable happens.

Good Black IPA brew last night on the GF. I usually put the bittering hops directly into the boil but this time I used the hop spider for all the hops. Strong flow through the chiller.
 
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I am not sure if anyone has posted on this thread and if so disregard, but I just bought a Gigawort to help out speed up the process with brewing and cleaning and used it yesterday. It worked out great. I did half of my water in the Grainfather and the other half in the Gigawort and had my mash water good to go from 88 degrees to 152 in 15 minutes, then did my sparge water in it vice on a propane burner which was awesome. Then I used it for clean up, had 4 gallons at 140 degrees for cleaning so I could do 2 gallons of pbw, dump, then 2 gallons of fresh water. It made it really easy.
 

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I am not sure if anyone has posted on this thread and if so disregard, but I just bought a Gigawort to help out speed up the process with brewing and cleaning and used it yesterday. It worked out great. I did half of my water in the Grainfather and the other half in the Gigawort and had my mash water good to go from 88 degrees to 152 in 15 minutes, then did my sparge water in it vice on a propane burner which was awesome. Then I used it for clean up, had 4 gallons at 140 degrees for cleaning so I could do 2 gallons of pbw, dump, then 2 gallons of fresh water. It made it really easy.
Hi Garrett, and welcome to HBT! Thanks for the post. I looked at the Gigawort, but honestly, it's another piece of gear that I really don't need cluttering up my "brewery" (aka garage.) It sounds like you have a pretty good idea how to use it. I could really see the appeal if you do a lot of partial volume boils, or extract with steeped grains as the price point is obviously well below that of the GF, and it seems less cumbersome than a turkey fryer set up. So, how long have you been brewing on your GF?
Ed
 
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Hi Garrett, and welcome to HBT! Thanks for the post. I looked at the Gigawort, but honestly, it's another piece of gear that I really don't need cluttering up my "brewery" (aka garage.) It sounds like you have a pretty good idea how to use it. I could really see the appeal if you do a lot of partial volume boils, or extract with steeped grains as the price point is obviously well below that of the GF, and it seems less cumbersome than a turkey fryer set up. So, how long have you been brewing on your GF?
Ed
Ed, good evening and thank you, I got my GF set up in December after I saw it at the Great American Beer Festival. I was sold. I live in Key West so I was very impressed by the Glycol chiller as it is always hot and it is a game changer. I also live in a very small house here in base housing so if I could eliminate a few pieces of gear like the 8 gallon SS Brew Tech Pot, propane tank and burner, I am all for it. I totally understand about not wanting another piece of gear and my wife just looked at me when it arrived gave me the "do you need that" look and I just looked at her and said as long as you are drinking the beer, yes :). Again I only used the Gigawort once but it was great to help out speed up the process. I have only done 12 batches on the GF and I love it. Hopefully I can find a better way to get the lower screen on with the gasket, that is a pain and really drives me crazy. Cheers!!
 

RedlegEd

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Hi Garrett,
Thank you for your service and please thank your bride for supporting you! I remember the only time we actually got into post housing (waiting lists at CONUS installations can be crazy long,) it wasn't much to write home about. In any event, it seems like you're off to a good start with your GF. I've had mine for about five years and love it. They replaced the kettle once for a faulty reset switch, and the controller a couple of times, but other than that, it's been a real pleasure and makes really good beer (I like to think I help a little in that regard.) :) Actually, I'm currently drinking a nice, malty Scottish Ale that I brewed a couple of months ago.

If you are having trouble with the lower screen, let me offer some advice. First, just like in Steve Miller's "Jungle Love"...."everything is better when wet". So make sure you get the the grain pipe nice and wet...now here's the trick. Put just the gasket on the bottom screen (not the overflow pipe.) Hold the screen vertical and push it to the bottom then rotate it into a horizontal position. If the pipe is wet, it should slide right into position. Then you can then add the overflow pipe and tighten the nut on the bottom. Always gently lower the grain basket into the kettle, letting it settle into the water. If you push or rush it, it could blow the seal. Anyway, that's how I do it and I don't have the issues others seem to have with the gasket. I'll be happy to share any other tips and tricks I've picked up over the years that'll make your brew day go easier and hopefully keep it an enjoyable hobby and not a chore.
Regards,
Ed
 

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I just had a terribly inefficient thought. Anyone use the chiller connected to the hot tap for speeding up the heating of the mash water?
 

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It is my understanding that a PID controller is supposed to compensate for lead / lag times in a process.
The delay time for the on / off of the coil power would be factored as if it were part of the delay of temperature verses applied power to to a heating element regardless of what that heating element is.
That is one of the things a PID controller does ... compensates for lag times avoiding overshoot of temperature.
Sometimes there is a bit of tuning of the PID parameters required and that seems to be what needs to be done to yours.
I cant give you the specifics as I do not know your PID unit but there is information out there somewhere about adjusting it.
You did a great job on your build and I can see you know a bit about process control so I am sure you will get it perfected over time. Please continue to share that information and keep everyone posted about what you learn.
 

Mobstar

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Been using my 110V GF for 2 years now...
I figured that I should bring this thread up to date by saying how awesome this little machine is!

I've heard people complain that it takes too long to heat up the mash water.. but the latest revision and some before that have a start timer.. so you can set your timer so that your water heats up in time for your brew day. I tend to set it up at night before going to bed, then.. the mash water is ready for me when I'm ready to brew. I also purchased the brew jacket which really helps keep the heat in!

I've seen people complaining about indoor condensation.. I don't have this issue because I built an exhaust system with an inline vent that sucks the moist vapors and sends them right outside. The worse in the winter. often, the vapors turn to liquid before reaching outside and causes some water buildup in the flex pipe. What I've done is made a drain hole where it just drips in a bucket.

It think going with the GF was the best move by far.. I even bought the alembic dome and started making spirits.. YUMMY!!!
 

Beeru

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Been using my 110V GF for 2 years now...
I figured that I should bring this thread up to date by saying how awesome this little machine is!

I've heard people complain that it takes too long to heat up the mash water.. but the latest revision and some before that have a start timer.. so you can set your timer so that your water heats up in time for your brew day. I tend to set it up at night before going to bed, then.. the mash water is ready for me when I'm ready to brew. I also purchased the brew jacket which really helps keep the heat in!

I've seen people complaining about indoor condensation.. I don't have this issue because I built an exhaust system with an inline vent that sucks the moist vapors and sends them right outside. The worse in the winter. often, the vapors turn to liquid before reaching outside and causes some water buildup in the flex pipe. What I've done is made a drain hole where it just drips in a bucket.

It think going with the GF was the best move by far.. I even bought the alembic dome and started making spirits.. YUMMY!!!
I would just reiterate this whole thing. I’ve had mine for 4 years now. I’ve had a few issues, like the wort chiller hose just snapping in half eventually, and the chiller only brining it down to 70-80 degrees. And the pump can get frustrating at times, but I haven’t had to replace anything. And the update to the app was disappointing and had a lot of bugs.

However, overall it’s been such a great machine, especially for brewing in a suite without a garage or dedicated brew area. I also have the alembic still (pot and column style) which has worked amazingly well.

One tip I would highlight is to get yourself the false bottom designed for the Robobrew and put it under the grain basket during the mash. It helps catch a lot of the particulate matter and hops (if you don’t use bags or a spider) before going to the regular filter. it’s prevented a lot of clogged pumps for me.
 

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Great support, they're sending me another unit & controller.
This same thing happened to me yesterday. On my 40th batch in 3 years... And it didn't die during brewing.. it was during the cleaning cycle. Only running at 135f The heating element quit...but pump and controller still working. Had to really work to pull the plug out and can see its melted a little bit next to the prongs. Put it back together and though the heating element seems to be working again... I'm a bit nervous about it. Sent my email to GF support a few hours ago. Fingers crossed.
 
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