Grainfather!!

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johndan

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Worked!

The most difficult part is getting the plastic rings Grainfather uses instead of hose clamps to fasten the silicone tubing to the pump and pipes. They're just hard plastic rings and I cracked one of them pushing them down onto the pump housing. I'll replace it with a hose clamp before the next brew.

I'm seven or eight brews in with the Grainfather and I think I'm finally figuring out a workable system. (I'm not completely dim—I have a PhD. But it's in Rhetoric, so basically I can argue until the cows come home but I have no useful, hands-on skills…) I started last week's session at around 7:30 AM and was done with everything, including cleanup, by around 1:00 PM, including about a half hour futzing around with the pump

- Johndan

 

TuOwl

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Hello,

First off if this is not where this goes let me know and I will move it to the appropriate spot.

Yesterday I did my first ever brew of any kind and used the Grainfather to do it. Went with an Allagash Saison clone recipe. Something easy to start. I had the following questions for those who have brewed on the grainfather:

1. Is it normal to have a lot of and I mean a lot of grain in the wort? Just running one of those handheld cooking strainers through the boil it would come up covered in grain. At one point I got another bucket out and used the sparge arm to run it into that while putting a strainer under it and I'm getting a ton of grain. This backfired because I cooled down the wart and it dropped below a boil.

2. After mashing in and stirring to make sure the grains are soaked in you then put the top plate on and recirculate. Are you stirring the mash below at all after that? The pump kept sounding like it was getting clogged (making a chugging sound) so i would stir the mash (which would have a ton of wort sitting on top of it) then after i stirred that wort would drain to the bottom. Is stirring the mash too much the cause for getting the grain in? I didn't have the valve on the pump fully open and forgot to take the ball and spring out that everyone says to do.

3. When it was time to sparge i lifted the basket and almost nothing started coming out. It was a trickle if that. I stirred the mash some and then it started flowing out. Is this normal? I feel like all of this moving of the stuck mash is causing grain to get into my wort.


It was a fun day and cooling this thing down was a dream with the ground water being 50 degrees up here in the northeast. By the time it came out the CFC it was at 65 degrees. The good news is all of this and somehow I hit the OG i was suppose to based on the recipe. This most likely was because I accidently knocked the malt pipe into the mash when stirring. This Saison will have a hint of iron to it.

All help is really appreciated and I look forward to being active on here.
 
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Hello,

First off if this is not where this goes let me know and I will move it to the appropriate spot.

Yesterday I did my first ever brew of any kind and used the Grainfather to do it. Went with an Allagash Saison clone recipe. Something easy to start. I had the following questions for those who have brewed on the grainfather:

1. Is it normal to have a lot of and I mean a lot of grain in the wort? Just running one of those handheld cooking strainers through the boil it would come up covered in grain. At one point I got another bucket out and used the sparge arm to run it into that while putting a strainer under it and I'm getting a ton of grain. This backfired because I cooled down the wart and it dropped below a boil.

2. After mashing in and stirring to make sure the grains are soaked in you then put the top plate on and recirculate. Are you stirring the mash below at all after that? The pump kept sounding like it was getting clogged (making a chugging sound) so i would stir the mash (which would have a ton of wort sitting on top of it) then after i stirred that wort would drain to the bottom. Is stirring the mash too much the cause for getting the grain in? I didn't have the valve on the pump fully open and forgot to take the ball and spring out that everyone says to do.

3. When it was time to sparge i lifted the basket and almost nothing started coming out. It was a trickle if that. I stirred the mash some and then it started flowing out. Is this normal? I feel like all of this moving of the stuck mash is causing grain to get into my wort.


It was a fun day and cooling this thing down was a dream with the ground water being 50 degrees up here in the northeast. By the time it came out the CFC it was at 65 degrees. The good news is all of this and somehow I hit the OG i was suppose to based on the recipe. This most likely was because I accidently knocked the malt pipe into the mash when stirring. This Saison will have a hint of iron to it.

All help is really appreciated and I look forward to being active on here.
The mash consistency should resemble oatmeal or porridge . It should be pretty thick.
I always put rice hulls in my mash to help with the pump circulation. This will also help a little for the sparge. The rice hulls don't affect your recipe BTW, I add about 1 or 2 handfulls.
During the mash depending on flow rate I normally don't open the pump valve all the way. Keep an eye on the overflow, you want the water to be just below the drain pipe as if it goes over the drain pipe you'll just be recirculating water without absorbing much from the grains.

Also when you get to the sparge step, skip the grainfather step of counting the water added so you can start the boil right away. The first time I didn't realize this and ended up wasting a bunch of time.

David Heath on Youtube has some good videos. This is a good one:

Good luck!
 

skleice

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Hello,

First off if this is not where this goes let me know and I will move it to the appropriate spot.

Yesterday I did my first ever brew of any kind and used the Grainfather to do it. Went with an Allagash Saison clone recipe. Something easy to start. I had the following questions for those who have brewed on the grainfather:

1. Is it normal to have a lot of and I mean a lot of grain in the wort? Just running one of those handheld cooking strainers through the boil it would come up covered in grain. At one point I got another bucket out and used the sparge arm to run it into that while putting a strainer under it and I'm getting a ton of grain. This backfired because I cooled down the wart and it dropped below a boil.

2. After mashing in and stirring to make sure the grains are soaked in you then put the top plate on and recirculate. Are you stirring the mash below at all after that? The pump kept sounding like it was getting clogged (making a chugging sound) so i would stir the mash (which would have a ton of wort sitting on top of it) then after i stirred that wort would drain to the bottom. Is stirring the mash too much the cause for getting the grain in? I didn't have the valve on the pump fully open and forgot to take the ball and spring out that everyone says to do.

3. When it was time to sparge i lifted the basket and almost nothing started coming out. It was a trickle if that. I stirred the mash some and then it started flowing out. Is this normal? I feel like all of this moving of the stuck mash is causing grain to get into my wort.


It was a fun day and cooling this thing down was a dream with the ground water being 50 degrees up here in the northeast. By the time it came out the CFC it was at 65 degrees. The good news is all of this and somehow I hit the OG i was suppose to based on the recipe. This most likely was because I accidently knocked the malt pipe into the mash when stirring. This Saison will have a hint of iron to it.

All help is really appreciated and I look forward to being active on here.
All signs point to your crush being too fine.
 

sgreene820

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I finally bit the bullet and took the bottom plate to the mash bin in to a local machine shop to have it trimmed ever so slightly (a little over 1mm). The whole assembly now works like it was intended, without pulling the silicone gasket off the edge of the plate when I lowered it into position. I wonder what the manufacturing tolerances are on that part? Cost me $30, but saved me constant frustration. Also hoping less "bypass grains" end up in my wort!
 
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Snuffy

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I finally bit the bullet and took the bottom plate to the mash bin in to a local machine shot to have it trimmed ever so slightly (a little over 1mm). The whole assembly now works like it was intended, without pulling the silicone gasket off the edge of the plate when I lowered it into position. I wonder what the manufacturing tolerances are on that part? Cost me $30, but saved me constant frustration. Also hoping less "bypass grains" end up in my wort!
I've been able to work it out by dipping the plate + gasket in Starsan to make it slippery and then heat the mash pipe in the water a bit so it expands slightly and *viola* in she goes with minimal cursing. How were you getting "bypass grains"? Do you mean the bits n bobs that run down the overflow tube or actual grain getting past the bottom plate somehow? I added the overflow filter and have had no problems with that. Actually could have done w/o it just by adjusting the flow to where wort makes the plunge but the bits stay put.
 

sgreene820

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I've been able to work it out by dipping the plate + gasket in Starsan to make it slippery and then heat the mash pipe in the water a bit so it expands slightly and *viola* in she goes with minimal cursing. How were you getting "bypass grains"? Do you mean the bits n bobs that run down the overflow tube or actual grain getting past the bottom plate somehow? I added the overflow filter and have had no problems with that. Actually could have done w/o it just by adjusting the flow to where wort makes the plunge but the bits stay put.
I think I was getting bypass grains in the wort from the fact that I could only get the silicone gasket to stay in place about 1 tries out of ten. My working theory is that I was just on the wrong side of manufacturing tolerances, it was just too tight!
 

Snuffy

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I think I was getting bypass grains in the wort from the fact that I could only get the silicone gasket to stay in place about 1 tries out of ten. My working theory is that I was just on the wrong side of manufacturing tolerances, it was just too tight!
Yeah, sometimes you gotta wonder how the GF engineers put together that wacky gasket setup and then inserted it and said, "That's it!". Possibly the same guys who said, "Handles? Who needs handles? Nobody will lift it".
 

Snuffy

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Yeah, sometimes you gotta wonder how the GF engineers put together that wacky gasket setup and then inserted it and said, "That's it!". Possibly the same guys who said, "Handles? Who needs handles? Nobody will lift it".
Makes damn good beer tho...
 

phbern

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I put the plate with the gasket in the freezer for about 10 min. Slides in pretty easily.

Have any of you been able to get a Tilt to work with the Grainfather app? I can get mine to work with Brewfather and Google sheets (their default), but not GF.
 

Snuffy

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I put the plate with the gasket in the freezer for about 10 min. Slides in pretty easily.

Have any of you been able to get a Tilt to work with the Grainfather app? I can get mine to work with Brewfather and Google sheets (their default), but not GF.
Yeah. Mine works with the GF app. You gotta modify the Tilt settings based on the instructions you get when you add the Tilt as equipment in the GF app.
 

DuncB

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Worked!

The most difficult part is getting the plastic rings Grainfather uses instead of hose clamps to fasten the silicone tubing to the pump and pipes. They're just hard plastic rings and I cracked one of them pushing them down onto the pump housing. I'll replace it with a hose clamp before the next brew.

- Johndan
I have found that cable ties work really well to secure silicone tubing to the pipes. They don't rust and aren't so fiddly.

Tip from a Guten user!
 

phbern

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Yeah. Mine works with the GF app. You gotta modify the Tilt settings based on the instructions you get when you add the Tilt as equipment in the GF app.
Yup. Did that a couple of times, on different devices, even. A few people on the GF Facebook group have said they can't get it to work, either. Even GF support couldn't figure it out.
 

skraeling

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old testing numbers
Bit of an update to this. I now have a 220v grainfather. Some comparisons versus my old 120v unit.



120v: no graincoat
135->152* = 17min
152->212* = 44min

120v: graincoat
135->152* = 11min
152->212* = 34min

220v: no coat
135-> 152* = 7:19min
152->212* = 30min

220v: coat
135-> 152 = 7:24min
152-> 212 = ~30min

135-152 (coat vs no coat) on the 220 are honestly within margin of error for me starting the timer.

seems its mostly for looks so you dont accidentally burn yourself leaning against bumping against it, or honestly a little bit of protection for the control box (does seem to shield it some from heat) and or the unit itself as its pretty padded.

Seeing as how they are 27.00 on amazon still a decent upgrade and it does look nice.
 
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DuncB

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Made my vessel coat out of an old sleeping mat ( foam type) makes a big difference and also taking it off once flame out occurs.
I do also have pipe insulation cable tied onto the recirc arm and a bit onto the silicone tube. Handy to hold some of the tube out of the malt pipe by resting it on the lid hole edge or the side of the vessel.
 

Shuasha

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After 4 years and 40+ brews I had the control box fuse the heater plug then the safety switch started tripping when heating plain water. I sent the support team an email, they replied with a ton of questions. I'm certainly out of warranty so let's see what happens.
These are pretty ridiculous issues issues to have, they aren't really even moving parts.
 
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