Off the shelf AG systems

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jgriffin

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Hi Guys,

I'm just getting back into brewing. Previously I had a home-built AG setup, this time I'm leaning towards something pre-built. I doubt I have intentions of highly complicated multi-step mashes any time soon, so have been looking at single vessel systems, although I'm not wedded to them.

I've been looking at the Grainfather a bit, how do people here still feel about the after extended use?

Are there any other systems I should be looking at instead? Words from the wise?
 

Uncle Fester

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Hi Guys,

I'm just getting back into brewing. Previously I had a home-built AG setup, this time I'm leaning towards something pre-built. I doubt I have intentions of highly complicated multi-step mashes any time soon, so have been looking at single vessel systems, although I'm not wedded to them.

I've been looking at the Grainfather a bit, how do people here still feel about the after extended use?

Are there any other systems I should be looking at instead? Words from the wise?
I cant fault the Guten 50l. Attaching an old stillspirits column to the lid was a bonus as well.
 

jgriffin

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I cant fault the Guten 50l. Attaching an old stillspirits column to the lid was a bonus as well.
So.. am I wrong in saying the Guten is pretty much the same thing for half the price? Obviously it uses an immersion chiller rather than a CFWC, and the programming is manual rather than via an App, but what else is different?

I've seen in the Guten thread someone upgraded it with a SmartPID which gives WiFi access to Brewfather or some other app anyway which would still be cheaper than the Grainfather...

Am I missing something else?
 

sp0rk

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So.. am I wrong in saying the Guten is pretty much the same thing for half the price? Obviously it uses an immersion chiller rather than a CFWC, and the programming is manual rather than via an App, but what else is different?

I've seen in the Guten thread someone upgraded it with a SmartPID which gives WiFi access to Brewfather or some other app anyway which would still be cheaper than the Grainfather...

Am I missing something else?
The Guten controller sucks nuts, the element isn't very low watt so it gets some crud cooked on (mine has never been burned, just started to cook on), the pump can clog from time to time, the chiller sucks, stuck sparges can happen
Oh and cleaning takes longer

Buuuuuuut it's cheap and it works if you just deal with the small issues
I really only use my 80L biab kettle when I want to do higher gravity double batches or barleywines etc where I may do reiterated mashes and want that extra volume
Or on the rare occasion that I want to do 2 brews at once, either single batches for myself or 2 x doubles for when mates come over for brew days
 

Cloud Surfer

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I bought a Grainfather conical fermentor with the glycol chiller. It’s an expensive setup, but the quality is obvious and I would buy the same gear if starting over again.

Soon after I migrated to AG and couldn’t see the value in the Grainfather all in one. I bought the BrewZilla 65 and it has been a great piece of kit for a third the price of a Grainfather. The Grainfather has a better fit and finish, but I’ve made beer that’s done well in comps using the BrewZilla. The end product is what I care about and the BrewZilla is capable of making great beer.
 

BrewLizard

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Another advantage of the Grainfather is that it comes in a 30 L version, which is presumably better for small batches than the 40 L Guten, without going for the eye-wateringly priced 20 L Braumeister.
 

jgriffin

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Thanks All.. more thinking / research time is needed it seems.

If anything, I was leaning towards as compact a system as I can. I also want to minimise modifications to make reliable and easy to use. I hate to think how much i used to stuff around (and spend) endlessly modifying my gear.

I'd also rather make 2-3 batches smaller batches of different beer than large batches.

I liked the size of the Grainfather 30 but the older BT controller and the centre pipe is turning me off.. the 40L grainfather doesn't seem quite sorted yet software wise based on YT reviews and seems significantly larger and less bench friendly. The Guten has a cheap element i'm reading so cleaning is a pain...
 

sp0rk

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Thanks All.. more thinking / research time is needed it seems.

If anything, I was leaning towards as compact a system as I can. I also want to minimise modifications to make reliable and easy to use. I hate to think how much i used to stuff around (and spend) endlessly modifying my gear.

I'd also rather make 2-3 batches smaller batches of different beer than large batches.

I liked the size of the Grainfather 30 but the older BT controller and the centre pipe is turning me off.. the 40L grainfather doesn't seem quite sorted yet software wise based on YT reviews and seems significantly larger and less bench friendly. The Guten has a cheap element i'm reading so cleaning is a pain...
Just remember that your volume size needs to include the water that will be retained by your mash, water that will be boiled off and the volume of your grain
I generally mash in with 32L of water, and most mash bills are around 5kg, so putting my volume kind of close to 40L as it is
 

Half-baked

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For me the big selling point for the Brewzillas over the others is the new boil extender. It means the base unit is quite compact, but for $50 you can increase the volume by 33%.
I know it’s not a big deal for you now, but gives you options down the track. (FWIW, I used to be of the same mind as you are now, but circumstances have changed and I can brew less, so now interested in bigger batches)
 
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hezzer

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Hello jgriffin
I'm not sure how much you want to spend but I can put in a recommendation for the 20L braumeister. Expensive I know but it is a hobby not a business and after 150 brews, it's going fine. No stuck mashes and good for 1065 and a full corny at the end. Well built. I sold my GF fermenters/chiller and replaced with a small SS unitank and D20 chiller - pleased with that after a year.
 

jgriffin

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Thanks @hezzer . TBH I reckon if I can fill a 9L Corny, I'd be happy. Gone are the days where I could go through a 19L corny in a week, these days I'm a more "select" drinker. I'd rather 3 smaller kegs of different styles than two of the same.

I didn't think budget was really an issue until I looked at those Braumeister's. Holy heck! $2700 just for the vessel?

On another note, I was also looking at the GF fermenter and glycol unit.. now you've got me wondering with the reference to some other alterative? What was wrong with the GF fermenter?
 

stevonz

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Another advantage of the Grainfather is that it comes in a 30 L version, which is presumably better for small batches than the 40 L Guten, without going for the eye-wateringly priced 20 L Braumeister.
The have two 46L versions now. S40 which at $700 is competing with brewzilla and guten on price and G40 which is a smaller version of the G70.
 

BrewLizard

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I just noticed the S40 doesn't have PID control. If that means it only has bang-bang control (similar to the Guten and Brewzilla), then I'd have to question why anyone would would spend the extra $300 to get a product with a Grainfather badge that isn't functionally any better than the cheerful Chinesium alternatives we've come to know and love.

Seeing as it's only a firmware/software thing, it's clearly a move to push sales to the G series. Time will tell if it works for them.
 

ozdevil

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I just noticed the S40 doesn't have PID control. If that means it only has bang-bang control (similar to the Guten and Brewzilla), then I'd have to question why anyone would would spend the extra $300 to get a product with a Grainfather badge that isn't functionally any better than the cheerful Chinesium alternatives we've come to know and love.

Seeing as it's only a firmware/software thing, it's clearly a move to push sales to the G series. Time will tell if it works for them.
i would have to agree specially at current prices you can purchase the 65 litre and can expect change from the price grainfather is
 

Sidney Harbour-Bridge

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Hello jgriffin
I'm not sure how much you want to spend but I can put in a recommendation for the 20L braumeister. Expensive I know but it is a hobby not a business and after 150 brews, it's going fine. No stuck mashes and good for 1065 and a full corny at the end. Well built. I sold my GF fermenters/chiller and replaced with a small SS unitank and D20 chiller - pleased with that after a year.
One for sale on here today, a bargain by the look of it.

 

Neil Buttriss

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Keg-King have some pretty good deals at the moment on complete systems, that include all you will need. Worth a look I reckon
 

jgriffin

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Gee I have a good wife. I went to the LHBS and came home with a G30, a conical fermenter and the sparge heater, bags of grain etc and her reaction? “Awesome can I help”.
First brew in over a decade going down today, wish me luck!
 

yankinoz

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Gee I have a good wife. I went to the LHBS and came home with a G30, a conical fermenter and the sparge heater, bags of grain etc and her reaction? “Awesome can I help”.
First brew in over a decade going down today, wish me luck!
Do you have any tips to share on partner-training?
 

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