Dedicated Grainfather Guide, Problems and Solutions Thread

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TK1

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Hi all,

I'm getting back into brewing after a house move and a few year's hiatus. Lots of posts to catch up on and things to re-learn.

Anyway, I'm on tank water now, so looking to be water-wise about how I brew (although nice pure water to start things off with!). The biggest waste I had was running water through the CF chiller. Even if I collect it, I need to cool it and pump it back into the tanks which isn't ideal. And rather not use dam water in case there's a leak/cross-contamination. So I wondered if the glycol chiller could be hooked up to run coolant through the CF chiller?

May be impossible or a bad idea - I don't have the glycol set up or new fermenter yet, but may head down that path one day. This would give me a reason to invest in one, and save water. Or is the way to go to set up a recirculated cooling system, maybe pumped into an esky/barrel full of ice blocks or something??

Couldn't find anything in this thread on it, so thought I'd ask.

Thanks,
Darren
 
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Hi Darren,
I had the same problem with running the CF chiller on tank water. An additional issue I had was that is summer the water would come out of the tap quite hot (> 30 degrees C) so the cooling was not very effective.

My solution was to buy a submersible pump off ebay
https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/SUBMERS...D-SWIMMING-POOL-UPTO-8M-217L-MIN/254364004753
(I chose the largest pump option 217l/min) and I run this in a barrel of water to which I add blocks of ice to offset the heat from the CFC. I am glad I went with the largest pump option because the CFC does require a decent head of pressure to move water through it at an acceptable flow rate.
This setup works quite well and at the end of the brew day I have a barrel of warm water to help with the cleanup. Hope this helps.

Cheers,
Max
 

hezzer

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Hi all,

I'm getting back into brewing after a house move and a few year's hiatus. Lots of posts to catch up on and things to re-learn.

Anyway, I'm on tank water now, so looking to be water-wise about how I brew (although nice pure water to start things off with!). The biggest waste I had was running water through the CF chiller. Even if I collect it, I need to cool it and pump it back into the tanks which isn't ideal. And rather not use dam water in case there's a leak/cross-contamination. So I wondered if the glycol chiller could be hooked up to run coolant through the CF chiller?

May be impossible or a bad idea - I don't have the glycol set up or new fermenter yet, but may head down that path one day. This would give me a reason to invest in one, and save water. Or is the way to go to set up a recirculated cooling system, maybe pumped into an esky/barrel full of ice blocks or something??

Couldn't find anything in this thread on it, so thought I'd ask.

Thanks,
Darren
Hello Darren
When I was using tank water for a chiller coil, the out flow went straight back into the house downpipe collector box. Maybe I'm missing something but it was dead simple and I wish I had it now (on town water). I have a GF glycol chiller with two of their conical fermenters and I think it would be tricky to rig up the glycol chiller to work with an immersion coil. The electrics are set up so that the demand to open the chiller flow comes from the controller box on the fermenters. The good news is that the wort can go into the fermenter in the mid 30s and then the chiller will reduce the temp down to pitching fairly quickly (35 to 18 about an hour). This allows the town water to work the immersion chiller all year. FYI I don't have a GF chiller coil, just a home made copper one which goes into the BM.
cheers H
 

TK1

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Thanks Max and Hezzer, maybe I was over-thinking it. I figured if the glycol unit could be hooked up to the CF chiller it would have been done before. Still considering one to control a fermenter down the track, so good to know how it works.

Appreciate the link Max, a drum with ice and immersion pump may be the way to go. I was concerned if I pumped it back into the water tank at too high a temp then it might promote growth or something (although it gets warm on a hot day). I guess if left to cool I could then use the pump to drain it into the tank as Hezzar did. Alternatively, using a drum of iced water means I could re-use that elsewhere or perhaps run it for a few brews before changing.

Now I just need to build some benches and set everything up again...

Cheers,
Darren
 

raturay

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I'm looking to update my original Grainfather controller to the current bluetooth model. Do you think I can safely assume that it will fit and work okay on my March 2016 Grainfather.

I've tried the help function on Grainfather's web site to no avail so far.

Cheers
Ray
 

Chridech

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I'm looking to update my original Grainfather controller to the current bluetooth model. Do you think I can safely assume that it will fit and work okay on my March 2016 Grainfather.

I've tried the help function on Grainfather's web site to no avail so far.

Cheers
Ray
It will fit. The Bluetooth controller sits on top of the bracket/handle instead of inside it. The Bluetooth controller is shipped with the screws used to hang it from the GF in the wrong position (at least they were for mine). You will need to move the screws into the alternate holes so the new controller sits in the correct position on top the bracket. Mash/boil switch set to boil always.
 

raturay

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It will fit. The Bluetooth controller sits on top of the bracket/handle instead of inside it. The Bluetooth controller is shipped with the screws used to hang it from the GF in the wrong position (at least they were for mine). You will need to move the screws into the alternate holes so the new controller sits in the correct position on top the bracket. Mash/boil switch set to boil always.
Thanks.
 

Coxy

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Just finished my second brew on a 2nd hand GF. I knocked the end cap off my filter with the paddle when whirlpooling and had some minor clogging issues. Had to remove the ball and spring valve at the top of the recirc column to get it going again (sorry, pump). I'll probably use a hop spider next time (I have one lying around, just haven't been using it) as extra security, and this will also reduce losses to the hoppy trub. I was wondering, though, during final transfer to FV, do others tip the GF a bit so the pump inlet can get more liquid out before it starts sucking out air? This would obviously improve BH efficiency a bit, but it seems a bit hacky to do this with a unit that's supposed to be designed as ready-to-go. I apologise if this has been asked before in this thread, but it's 88 pages long, and I can't seem to work out how to search for text within a single thread. It wasn't mentioned in the page 2-4 discussion about filter/pump clogging from hoppiness (where people mention using a hop spider is good).
 

nickbone1986

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Just finished my second brew on a 2nd hand GF. I knocked the end cap off my filter with the paddle when whirlpooling and had some minor clogging issues. Had to remove the ball and spring valve at the top of the recirc column to get it going again (sorry, pump). I'll probably use a hop spider next time (I have one lying around, just haven't been using it) as extra security, and this will also reduce losses to the hoppy trub. I was wondering, though, during final transfer to FV, do others tip the GF a bit so the pump inlet can get more liquid out before it starts sucking out air? This would obviously improve BH efficiency a bit, but it seems a bit hacky to do this with a unit that's supposed to be designed as ready-to-go. I apologise if this has been asked before in this thread, but it's 88 pages long, and I can't seem to work out how to search for text within a single thread. It wasn't mentioned in the page 2-4 discussion about filter/pump clogging from hoppiness (where people mention using a hop spider is good).
I do tip my unit, but I'm greedy. In regards to the filter being knocked off, try turning it around and wedging the silicone end cap against the temp probe - works a treat and no need for the hop spiders (never used one and I regularly use 200 - 300g of hops per batch).
 

raturay

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I've been guilty of tipping the GF at times but find that it's to no real advantage. I think it has only been in situations where I wasn't getting enough volume in the fermenter. Sometimes I find my boil-off can be more than planned. But as I said I find very little advantage in the amount of additional wort that you can get.
 

WEF

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Just finished my second brew on a 2nd hand GF. I knocked the end cap off my filter with the paddle when whirlpooling and had some minor clogging issues. Had to remove the ball and spring valve at the top of the recirc column to get it going again (sorry, pump). I'll probably use a hop spider next time (I have one lying around, just haven't been using it) as extra security, and this will also reduce losses to the hoppy trub. I was wondering, though, during final transfer to FV, do others tip the GF a bit so the pump inlet can get more liquid out before it starts sucking out air? This would obviously improve BH efficiency a bit, but it seems a bit hacky to do this with a unit that's supposed to be designed as ready-to-go. I apologise if this has been asked before in this thread, but it's 88 pages long, and I can't seem to work out how to search for text within a single thread. It wasn't mentioned in the page 2-4 discussion about filter/pump clogging from hoppiness (where people mention using a hop spider is good).
Also look into getting the false bottom from kegland, i also secured my filter on with a stainless steel zip tie as it can still dislodged with the false bottom present. I also lost my black rubber end cap for the filter so decided to replace it with a stainless mesh screen also zip tied on. The hop spider does help but only captures about 40% of the hops.
 

Chridech

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Just finished my second brew on a 2nd hand GF. I knocked the end cap off my filter with the paddle when whirlpooling and had some minor clogging issues. Had to remove the ball and spring valve at the top of the recirc column to get it going again (sorry, pump). I'll probably use a hop spider next time (I have one lying around, just haven't been using it) as extra security, and this will also reduce losses to the hoppy trub. I was wondering, though, during final transfer to FV, do others tip the GF a bit so the pump inlet can get more liquid out before it starts sucking out air? This would obviously improve BH efficiency a bit, but it seems a bit hacky to do this with a unit that's supposed to be designed as ready-to-go. I apologise if this has been asked before in this thread, but it's 88 pages long, and I can't seem to work out how to search for text within a single thread. It wasn't mentioned in the page 2-4 discussion about filter/pump clogging from hoppiness (where people mention using a hop spider is good).
Flipping the filter over so that the end cap is wedged against the temperature probe avoids the cap being dislodged for the most part, save an extremely vigorous whirlpool. The bottom screen hack is an option for some but I’ve chosen not to modify my GF too much and it’s been fine. I’m in the camp of using a hop spider (Mangrove Jacks model) and it works. I do sometimes tip the GF to get an extra litre or two of wort if the volume is looking low. But I’ve adjusted most recipes to aim for a final volume of 25L in the fermentor which is probably a better solution.
 
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Flipping the filter over so that the end cap is wedged against the temperature probe avoids the cap being dislodged for the most part, save an extremely vigorous whirlpool. The bottom screen hack is an option for some but I’ve chosen not to modify my GF too much and it’s been fine. I’m in the camp of using a hop spider (Mangrove Jacks model) and it works. I do sometimes tip the GF to get an extra litre or two of wort if the volume is looking low. But I’ve adjusted most recipes to aim for a final volume of 25L in the fermentor which is probably a better solution.
Go to David heaths blog page and look at his modifications to his Grainfather system. should solve most of your problems.
 

BKBrews

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Just downloaded Beersmith 3 after using Beersmith 2 for years and it's doing my head in.

I have set it up so that the mash water mimics what the grainfather calculator indicates, however the sparge is exactly 3.41L more than grainfather indicates (which directly correlated with the kettle deadspace).

Any ideas how I can fix this in BS3?
 

BKBrews

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Just downloaded Beersmith 3 after using Beersmith 2 for years and it's doing my head in.

I have set it up so that the mash water mimics what the grainfather calculator indicates, however the sparge is exactly 3.41L more than grainfather indicates (which directly correlated with the kettle deadspace).

Any ideas how I can fix this in BS3?
Figured it out - you have to move the 3.41L mash deadspace loss to the recoverable mash deadspace field. All back to normal!
 

RRising

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Suppose i should ask this here rather than its own thread.

I am thinking of upgrading to a Grainfather Connect from a Robobrew V3, i have had a bit of trouble with my RB from bent screens to foam boiling over and creating a huge mess and getting hops in the wort.

I am trying to weigh up the pros and cons of upgrading. The main pro i can think off is the app connectivity, it should make setting programs and checking on temperatures easier. Cons is that i already have a similar system.

Any advice on why i should or shouldn't upgrade.
 

Coxy

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I have Grainfather v1, without the bluetooth connect unit. I doubt I'll upgrade, because I find pressing a few buttons on a unit to change the temp vs a few buttons on my phone to be not much different. It's a pretty big outlay to move from an RB to a GF just to get a phone app controller. You are talking about buying an entire Grainfather, or can you retrofit the GF control unit onto a Robobrew?

Pros:
- You get to use your phone to change the temperature instead of walking 5m over to the unit
- You can program in a multi-rest mash program so that the mash timings are perfect
- Presumably you can look at the mash temp data later if you're into that kind of thing

Cons:
- $$
- Grainfather Community phone app is balls. There may be other 3rd party apps that are better, though.

Personally I'd say it's a waste of money, but if you've got cash to burn and nothing else to upgrade in your brewery (fermenter, kegging sytem, etc), then I guess go for it.

> I have had a bit of trouble with my RB from bent screens to foam boiling over and creating a huge mess and getting hops in the wort.
A GF connect unit isn't going to save you from a boilover that I can see.
 

timneva

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Have you tried the brewfather app? I've used it with the grainfather as a manual brewing tool, but now use it on our bigger kits. As far as I'm concerned it kills any other brewing app out there. Doesn't sync with grainfather yet as far as i know - but kills any other app in terms of managing brewing end to end and controlling it manually is better IMO anyway, regardless of your brewing kit - inventory, planning, water profiling, brewing, fermenting, scaling up or down, cost etc etc.
I'm not affiliated in it in any way - just like a good bit of kit that works ;-)
 

postmaster

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Suppose i should ask this here rather than its own thread.

I am thinking of upgrading to a Grainfather Connect from a Robobrew V3, i have had a bit of trouble with my RB from bent screens to foam boiling over and creating a huge mess and getting hops in the wort.

I am trying to weigh up the pros and cons of upgrading. The main pro i can think off is the app connectivity, it should make setting programs and checking on temperatures easier. Cons is that i already have a similar system.

Any advice on why i should or shouldn't upgrade.
I make the move when they first come out an never regretted it. I have had absolutely no problems with the bluetooth app and if you import your recipe from BS or BF or do it on the GF recipe tools It will prompt you for every step.
 

NorEast Brew

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Hey everyone! Thanks for having me. Hope this is the appropriate spot to ask this question.
Looking at cold crashing in a GF conical fermenter. Worried about suck back of sanitiser fluid out of the airlock. Was thinking of sealing the fermenter prior to cold crash to avoid this but then worried about creating a vacuum and crushing the fermenter in. Can't find any specs of what negative pressure it will tolerate without damage. Then had a thought that I could add CO2 (and pressure) prior to sealing the fermenter and while googling found the GF conical fermenter pressure transfer device. Does anyone have any experience with this and does it sound crazy to use it this way? Bonus is can do pressure transfer to keg also. Looks like they're about a hundred bucks so not cheap but might be a cool bit of kit. Thanks in advance!
 

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