Grainfather (Power Issues-Weak Boil)

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by portdawg66, Dec 5, 2016.

  1. portdawg66

    portdawg66 New Member

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    Fellow Brewers... particularly those using the Grainfather All-In-One System. I've been home brewing since the late 90s. As I get older, I find the tediousness of brew day is becoming more and more painful. I have brewed with the Speidel Braumeister and have had great results. However, it's very price restrictive. The best alternative for me, appears to be the Grainfather. I've done a great deal of research, and think this is my answer to a much less complicated brew day. However, of all the pros & cons, one that I find most troubling, is that the US version is painfully under-powered. Mash temperatures don't seem to be a problem. But getting to, and maintaining a robust boil seems to be an issue. I've heard that at best, it's gets hot, and will get to a boil, but not the rolling boil necessary for brewing. I've heard you can buy and/or make an insulated jacket, that helps the pot retain much of its heat. But other than that, no real solutions. Does anyone else using the US version have this problem? Is this a model/year problem that no longer exists? What have you done to overcome? I'd be grateful for any/all insight. Want to know before I make the investment. Thanx!
     
  2. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Move to Australia where you can use all 240 of our volts that will get that puppy boiling lol :p.
    I hear there is a high and low switch on it eh? 500whatt and 2400whatt.
     
  3. portdawg66

    portdawg66 New Member

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    I hear ya' man, and you can be sure, I wish that I could! Took a vacation a number of years ago to Cairns... didn't want to leave! BTW way, lived in England for four years, back in the late nineties (when I started brewing). They have 220 voltage and I wouldn't have the problem there either. Cheers, mate!
     
  4. Gerry P

    Gerry P Active Member

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    People who use 240v elements in their fancy electric breweries say it's fairly inexpensive to have an electrician put in a 240v outlet. Judging from the price of some of those electric systems, those guys probably light cigars with $100 bills so idk what their idea of inexpensive is...a few hundred bucks maybe..?
     
  5. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    he now lol ..... I put in my own my self, 2 rather, one in the garage and one out on the back deck where I brew and if you know what your doing its not that expensive
     
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  6. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    I'm wondering then how do you Americans go with your electric kettles/jugs they boil pretty quick eh? Most 240v kettles in Aus are 2400whatt units. So I'm wondering what an American kettle specs are? So 110v what whattage? It would be more eh?

    There is a fella in Aus who uses cheap 7$ kettles and DIY wires them into his brew kettle then using an variable voltage unit adjusts voltage to second element to control boil. I was going to go this way when making my keggle but valued my life more than my need to make beero_O:rolleyes:
     
  7. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    I have 30 amp 5500 watt elements running on a 240V system, the same power as the dryers and stoves here
     
  8. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Most mains are 10amp here maybe 15amp in ya shed. 30amps is really pumping I bet it to doesn't take to long to reach mash temp on them big Gunns there Ozark :p. Next step up would be 3 phase power I'm thinking that's what the comercial brewery's are using?
     
  9. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    #9 Ozarks Mountain Brew, Dec 5, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2016
    I have a rather different system than most, without knowing or seeing how I brew it can be confusing but I heat 20 gallons of water up to 165 before I add it to the mash tun and that takes about 20 minutes from the 50 to 60 degree ground water but I added 3 layers of insulation to my pots so that helps


    I didn't make this drawing up but this is how I brew
     

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  10. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    I think I'd like to see you brew one day. Try to wrap my head around that!
     
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  11. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Yea pretty cool system incorporating coil for heating and cooling now I see why you have such large volumes of water moving through your system Ozark. I think I'll stick with my one kettle brewery for the time being. Still is see how you could acieve a stable mash Temp throughout brew and being able,to transfer liquid through your pumps is a win also you sterilise to your system as you brew cool !
     
  12. Gerry P

    Gerry P Active Member

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    I have no idea what I'm doing lol. I was looking at those Sabco and Ruby St. type systems recently, then went out and bought a Power Ball ticket. I didn't win.
     
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  13. Tar and Feather'em

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    Why not switch to brew in a bag? Been doing it for a while now with great results. One pot, one burner, and low cost.
     
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  14. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    with you on that one mate. Same system one keg one bag and a gas burner loving it! I'm a simple minded fella with a simple minded setup:).
     
  15. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    #15 Ozarks Mountain Brew, Dec 8, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2016
    the grain father is an advanced brewing in a bag, really brew in a basket but the op is right 115 power is not strong enough to brew normally, if you could modify it to use 2 elements from different breakers or step up to 240v then your fine but a 15 or 20 amp set up just doesn't cut it
     
  16. Gerry P

    Gerry P Active Member

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    I started doing all-grain with BIAB, but after one batch switched over to mashing in a cooler followed by fly sparging. I know I'm probably in the minority, but I found that dealing with the bag was a bit more of a hassle than dealing with a mash tun and sparging. I got 10% higher efficiency right off the bat when I switched, which was a plus. I intended to batch sparge, but ended up doing sort of a modified fly sparge that I found explained here in detail with diagrams. It worked well so I still use it: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=75454
     
  17. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Well,you learn a new technique every now and again that looks the go there Gerry so you suspend that bucket over your mash tun and add sparge water to bucket which slowly drips into mash tun maintaing an inch or two above grain bed.
     
  18. Gerry P

    Gerry P Active Member

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    I put a colander in the opening of the Igloo mash tun (with banjo screen), open the valve a little faster than I would if I was fly sparging the usual way (not too fast though), then immediately start dumping 185 deg. sparge water into the mash tun with a pyrex measuring cup. My goal is to get all the sparge water into the mash tun as soon as possible, after which I walk away and let it finish draining into my boil pot. It ends up looking like the diagram the guy included in the thread I linked above. It takes under 30 minutes (guesstimate) and my efficiency is in the mid-high 70s.
     
  19. Gerry P

    Gerry P Active Member

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    @Trialben Just to be clear, I use the same general concept but I don't use the hanging sparge bucket.
     

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