The GrainFather

All equipment-related discussion

Moderator: Brandon

User avatar
mchrispen
Apprentice Brewer
Posts: 167
Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2016 2:15 pm
Location: Austin, TX
Contact:

The GrainFather

Postby mchrispen » Thu Apr 28, 2016 10:16 am

So I can keep brewing in the extreme heat of summer, I purchased a GrainFather.

System Description: Essentially a 8.5 gallon coffee urn, with two elements (1600W, 400W, 120V). It has a little pump plumbed into the side to allow for circulation, and is essentially a Brew in a Basket system. There is about 1.5 gallon dead space under the basket, so a rough water/grist ratio of 1.75 qt/lb is recommended. With the basket inserted (a mesh false bottom, with a center malt pipe, and a mesh mash cap), a circulation "arm" allows wort to circulate through the mash basket. The malt pipe is there to account for overflow and to prevent pump over and burning the elements. Pump rate is controlled with a simple ball valve. Lauter occurs where the basket is removed and allowed to drain. It is lifted into position and balanced onto the urn below. Sparge water is then introduced manually, trickles through the mash into the urn. The design does allow wort to fall several inches (problematic).

The computer is essentially an STC-100 to control and maintain mash temperatures, with manual switches and temps. Step mashing is very easy. There are automated mods available that fully control the pump and heating, but they are expensive.

For a cheap brew rig - I like it. The question is how will it work in a LODO environment.

Procedurally, I am less concerned about the circulation, that can be controlled and splash-less (or minimized). The sparge is tough. The basket is not large enough for an no-sparge method. And with the fall of the lauter runnings into the kettle, there is no way to mechanically manage that process. I am thinking that a slightly higher dose of MBS in the sparge water might make sense to scavenge free O2.

Plan to take some measurements in a week or two on that system and get the baselines.
User avatar
mchrispen
Apprentice Brewer
Posts: 167
Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2016 2:15 pm
Location: Austin, TX
Contact:

Re: The GrainFather

Postby mchrispen » Thu Apr 28, 2016 12:44 pm

I didn't mention the boil. For a 120V system, the 1600W provides a hard simmer. I get far less boil off than my propane system, about 0.5 gallon per hour. Some of this is the tall kettle format, smaller diameter than my keggles.
wobdee
Assistant Brewer
Posts: 331
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 5:25 pm
Location: Western WIS

Re: The GrainFather

Postby wobdee » Thu Apr 28, 2016 1:34 pm

Can you lift that basket with a pulley system a little at a time to keep the splashing down to a minimum? This is what I do with my Braumeister instead of just lifting it up into its normal resting position and letting it rain down. I don't sparge so you may have to expirement a bit with that.

Why is the basket so high off the bottom? Maybe you can modify that?
User avatar
mchrispen
Apprentice Brewer
Posts: 167
Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2016 2:15 pm
Location: Austin, TX
Contact:

Re: The GrainFather

Postby mchrispen » Thu Apr 28, 2016 3:54 pm

I brew inside - wife would murder me for putting a pulley in the kitchen. But that is a good point. I need to think on that a bit. Perhaps just lifting it out and into a bucket to lauter, and gently add that back into the boil would suffice. Minimize the sparge liquor requirement with a thinner mash.

It's how it sits on a wire rim, same as the part that holds the feet of the basket during lauter. I would have to replace the entire basket, which also might work. A good BIAB bag and filter.
Bryan R
Braumeister
Posts: 882
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2015 9:27 pm

Re: The GrainFather

Postby Bryan R » Thu Apr 28, 2016 3:57 pm

A simple 2x4 hangman gallow type thing with the pully would work as well.




-German Brewing Founder- :tu
User avatar
mchrispen
Apprentice Brewer
Posts: 167
Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2016 2:15 pm
Location: Austin, TX
Contact:

Re: The GrainFather

Postby mchrispen » Thu Apr 28, 2016 4:27 pm

Gallows humor? Wife would hang me!

But yeah I get what you are saying. I have a dedicated cart for it - I might be able to jury-rig something.
User avatar
mchrispen
Apprentice Brewer
Posts: 167
Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2016 2:15 pm
Location: Austin, TX
Contact:

Re: The GrainFather

Postby mchrispen » Fri May 06, 2016 2:19 pm

So I am just into the boil. Managed to get a pre-boil DO of 0.70 ppm! I had kind of given up as holding the basket and lautering without splashing was nearly impossible. Use the PROPER LODO doses, pre-boiled, etc. So that is a win. I need some kind of stand, like you mention to make sure I am not killing my back and allow a properly slow lauter (I rushed). I think next time I will move the sparge water into a bucket and just dunk the basket and let it carefully drain - I lost a lot of efficiency today.

Best Bitter, and very happy with the gravity sample.
wobdee
Assistant Brewer
Posts: 331
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 5:25 pm
Location: Western WIS

Re: The GrainFather

Postby wobdee » Fri May 06, 2016 8:54 pm

Nice! Sounds like the sulfites were doing their job.
User avatar
mchrispen
Apprentice Brewer
Posts: 167
Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2016 2:15 pm
Location: Austin, TX
Contact:

Re: The GrainFather

Postby mchrispen » Sat May 07, 2016 4:01 pm

I think so. Makes me less nervous about using for 5 gallon batches.
wobdee
Assistant Brewer
Posts: 331
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 5:25 pm
Location: Western WIS

Re: The GrainFather

Postby wobdee » Sat May 07, 2016 5:35 pm

I wonder if you could do a higher gravity mash, skip sparge and add boiled deoxy water to your boil to dilute instead of messing around sparging?

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests