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New Grainfather Conical Fermenter

Discussion in 'Gear and Equipment' started by Exile, 13/8/16.

 

  1. EalingDrop

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    Posted 30/11/17
    Well, that'll make life too easy wouldn't it? :) Great tip! TBH At $99 for the cooling kit, it should probably have come with it.

    It's only water for the moment and the Inkbird is set at 1c so not worried about feeezing. I'll be working towards getting it to cold crash, and been told it needs to go below freezing in the water bath to achieve cold crash temps (circa 0c ) in the conical.

    To do this I need to get that water bath below freezing but I can't get my head around seeing frozen water moving. I will make a sample of the 20% metho (as suggested by LCycles) in a Tupperware and see if it works.
     
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  2. paulyman

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    Posted 2/12/17
    The quick release connections that come with the cooling kit should allow you to disconnect without leaking glycol. At least the ones I got with the chiller do.
     
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  3. EalingDrop

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    Posted 2/12/17
    Not from the hose but from the conical. When the red line is disconnected the lower one will drain.

    Currently that's the least of my problem.
    The water bath in the ghetto glycol has half frozen and the Inkbird was registering 4c at the bottom. Unfortunately the top layer of the water bath is frozen solid with the pump in it.
     
  4. EalingDrop

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    Posted 4/12/17
    In an effort to melt that ice, I used a spare pump and ran it through the a wort chiller. It took 10 mins to cool from 30c down to 18c. Much faster than chilling with tap water and rescued the GF cooling pump as a result. Turns out to be a great solution for fast wort chilling in the summer!

    LCycles, I'll need to hit you up on some more info on making GLYCOL. Is it as simple as 20% Metho?

    Can't find anything in AHB. Would prefer food grade glycol, and from what I've read, Diggers Metho is fairly safe as they don't contain Methonal, instead uses Ethanol.

    Also wondering if this solution has any impact on the pump which is plastic.
     
  5. Bridgey23

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    Posted 6/12/17
    EalingDrop I see what you mean now about the glycol coming out of the fermenter when disconnected. One of my fermenters does the same the other one is like paulyman's and doesn't leak. Seems the connections for the fermenter that came with the glycol chiller don't leak and the ones supplied with the extra glycol hoses pour out when disconnected. They are different one set has like a valve the other is just open.
    I will be contacting Grainfather to see if they can replace the connections that don't let the glycol out. Seems rather pointless having to drain the glycol every time I want to move it to clean.
     
  6. EalingDrop

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    Posted 6/12/17
    The blue line entering the fermenter is lower than the red out coming out, and it makes sense to have a check valve. I never knew they weren't suppose to drain when you unplug it. Thanks for the insight! Will chase it up with the supplier.
     
  7. EalingDrop

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    Posted 15/12/17
    Bridgey23, how did you go with the outlet fitting on the Grainfather? I asked my supplier (DistilleryKing) and they said GF will be sending one.

    The conical is holding temperature well, and I rarely hear the cooling kit come on which is impressive as ambient temp is high 20's lately. Dry hopped with 100g plus hops and no issues draining. The heavy spring on the dump tap takes getting used to and can quite easily open too much without experience. Tap area is tight and looking at extending the legs to create some room.

    A few days a ago, with nothing to lose, I decided to put the Ghetto Chiller on a Cold Crash test. Expectations was low as previously the system reached equilibrium at only 12.8c.
    But with some adjustments to the position of the temp prob/hose line etc, it's chilled to a respectable 6.5c. I can't understand why the water bath is 1c and the fermenter can't get lower than 6.5c though. Maybe conical surface is warming up too quickly in spite of the double wall design.

    I'm only 2.5c away from the lowest programmable temp (4c) on the conical controller. Keen to achieve the 4c though.
     
  8. peteru

    Here, taste this!

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    Posted 15/12/17
    Maybe a thermometer / probe calibration is in order, just to make sure that the temperature figures you are getting can be trusted.
     
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  9. Bridgey23

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    Posted 15/12/17
     
  10. Bridgey23

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    Posted 15/12/17
    Oops sent that last one too
    early.
    Yeah EalingDrop I contacted Grainfather and my hoses will be replaced when available. Apparently there's was some mix up and Grainfather were supplied with some of the wrong type.
    I have had a couple of problems with the chiller so not really able to comment too much on its operation other than so far this is an excellent unit and once my issues have been fixed I think it is going to be a great addition to my brew house.
    Grainfather are working through it with me and hope to be running at capacity again soon.
    The tap is awesome for dumping yeast and dry hopping, agree it's a bit tight on space below the tap. Longer legs would have been better.
    Good idea to calibrate temp to peteru. I haven't done that yet.
     
  11. EalingDrop

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    Posted 15/12/17
    Would be nice to not worry about the glycol (in my case water) draining out from the fermenter body, but if that doesn't come through, I'll just put a reducer nipple (3/8 > 1/2 in) + cistern tap on it, which would be less likely to get bent as the 90 degree angle would be closer to the body instead of the weird arms sticking out like a scarecrow it is atm.

    I'd like to test the accuracy of the Conical's lower temp reading and will find out that this weekend during bottling. If it's not accurate, I'm not sure how you can calibrate the GF conical's controller...maybe it's hidden in the settings (I hope).
     
  12. find_another_slave

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    Posted 11/11/18
    Apologies for dredging up this old thread, but I've just gone through my first ferment using the GF Conical and cooling pump kit. Ferment was handled at well with "ghetto chiller"
    ie water set at 2 degrees in my old ferment freezer (chest freezer that was my keezer, using the font hole for hose access). It came time to cold crash...started well...and tapped out at 10.5 degrees. So upped the stakes - increased water volume, chucked in heaps of ice. Water temp 0.2 degrees. I also fashioned a ghetto conical coal out of a $3 yoga mot I found at the op shop. Off we went again. Tapped out at 7.1 degrees! I decided to let it run overnight, early AM i saw indeed it had finally made it to 4.1. Happy days. Until I looked later, and saw the temp rising, despite the pump running 0.2 degree water through constantly. I had some stuff to do during the day, so by the time I got to keg it (i'd had enough fighting it by this point), it was back up to 8 degrees! So obviously ambient plays a big factor, and makes me wonder what chance I will have if I ever find myself trying to crash in summer when the night temp stays up over 20!

    So obviously - the GF Glycol chiller is an option - a fricking expensive one. Instinctively, another option is to find an upright fridge/freezer I can put this in to crash it. I feel conflicted about this as 1, it'll mean another fridge/freezer, and two, it just seems like it's defeating the purpose. Very tempted to flick it, and go SS Brewtech route in a temp controlled fridge. Issue with this is that the fermenter was a birthday present from my wife...she'll understand, but you know...

    Super impressed with yeast dump - couldn't believe how much came out (and how much was left in the end - whole cone was chockers, and I was dumping schooner glasses full at a time every couple of days). I also discovered I need the longer dip tube, for the same reason.

    Anyways, would be very interested in hearing/seeing others experiences since this thread. I did find to stop the leaking out of the fermenter body when the hoses are disconnected, if you pull the pump end out of the water(BEFORE you disconnect the hoses), it did drain into the bucket, but is there a way of achieving this on the chiller?
     
  13. EalingDrop

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    Posted 27/11/18
    My setup hold it's at 4c at (25c ambient).
    The large volume of water (big Bunnings flexible bucket) in the ghetto chiller is set at 2c as the ENTIRE freezer plate is submerged in the bath.

    You shouldn't need to worry about water coming out of the jacket, Grainfather supplied me with a new non return hose fittings, and all you do is disconnect the hot (Red hose) first then the cold (Blue hose).

    If adding fruits like Blackberries, beware when using the dump valve as the small seeds get trapped to create a small gap for the beer to seeped out. I had no issues using a muslim cloth although had concerns with the fruit pillow blocking the beer pick up tube, this is unfounded.

    Minor issue is you can't dump the spent fruit before cold crashing and utilisation of clearing agents like Biofine might be less effective.

    A summary page for the ferment settings would be nice to have.
     
  14. find_another_slave

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    Posted 27/11/18
    Yeah, I had a 30L fermenter full of water running at 0.2 - may have been a slight differentiation between the the pump imput temp and the probe - not a lot I'd think - but the bit that spun me is that it couldn't hold against rising ambient. It's in a chest freezer so no freezer plate.

    I will have to enquire about the non-return valves, though the process I put in my last post gets rid of virtually all the liquid, and at this stage - it's still water. (a tiny bit still comes out )

    Question - given where the temp probe is - would you think if the cone was chock full (ie the full 5L), of yeast/Trub/hops, and no clear beer - would that have any effect on temp readings/crashing ability? ie is it harder/easier/the same to crash with the probe buried in sh!t?

    On a side note I've got a couple issues with the Dual valve tap which GF (well Bevie) have kindly offered to replace for me (Leaks from weird places). Fingers crossed my third ferment will be hassle free.
     
  15. EalingDrop

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    Posted 28/11/18
    In post #39 the white flexi bucket is 42L, I've upgrade to a 60L since. I guess it's a combo of bigger thermal mass and direct chilling. The minor issue is a pool of water from condensation, which is leviated by the cooling sleeve.

    The yeast cake/trub or whatever solids doesn't affect the temp prob. I've never seen the temp change when dumping yeast, which should expose the prob to clear beer.

    A bit naughty, but I keep a bit of pressure in mine using a water bladder to catch Co2 - connected through the bung. This helps when cold crashing and reduce esters during ferment. I've be got it marked out how tightly to screw the tap in so excess pressure is released.
    20180928_174731.jpeg
     
  16. bradobrew

    Pro Pro

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    Posted 28/11/18
    My conical lasted 1 brew. On the 2nd ferment I noticed my tempreture reading was going up and down and eventually came up with a temp sensor error. I opened it up and found glycol water mix
    inside, unforunately a few drops on the electronics and now the cooling pump dosent turn on. Tracked down the leak to a pinhole in the weld on the out post
    After pulling it apart I found out its pretty flimsy and basic. Decided to go the ss brewtech path and grabbed a unitank and the FTSs2 controller, double the price but I figure it will last twice as long.
     
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