Hooked, looking to get into all grain, but...

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by jdwebb, Jan 10, 2017.

  1. jdwebb

    jdwebb Member

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    I am considering a Grainfather setup since I don't have a lot of space. I am retired, started doing extract kits several months ago with great success. Does anyone have an opinion on the Grainfather?
     
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  2. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    A bag is a lot cheaper. If you have a 40 qt pot, that's all you need to do Brew in a Bag. From what I've read here, a grainfather is very much like BIAB.
     
  3. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    #3 Trialben, Jan 10, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2017
    Last time I checked a grainfather setup cost $1200i I bought a second hand keg $50 I bought a three ring gas burner $60. I bought 2 meters of Swiss voile and got mother in law to sew me a big tea bag $20. I built a brew stand out of scrap timber lieing around home wacked a concrete slab on top and I was rocking.

    It's your call for sure Jd Webb heck you probably don't want to muck around building all these things so a ready to go grainfather might be your best bet.

    There is another automated brew unit German made braumeister. I think you can get two sizes with this unit.
    https://www.speidels-braumeister.de/en/home.html
     
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  4. nzbrew

    nzbrew Active Member

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    #4 nzbrew, Jan 10, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2017
    I know a lot of people who got into allgrain with the grainfather (I'm in NZ where it was first launched). Can't think of anyone who is not pleased with their decisions. There's a Facebook group for grainfather users, join it and have a look. There's a couple of guys who post videos that you can watch too.

    The only negative I've heard is the US version (110v) can be a bit light on power for the boil.

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/grainfather/
     
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  5. The Brew Mentor

    The Brew Mentor Well-Known Member

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    My suggestion to anyone fairly new to the hobby would be to expose yourself to as many different brewing set ups as possible before making any commitment on your own set up.
    Get involved in a local HBA and find out when others are brewing and then ask to go and help out.
    Research different equipment and processes and if possible, brew with or on them.
    Don't rush into anything because there are many ways to skin a cat and 1 way is not the only way or right for everyone.
    In the mean time work on cold side process, sanitation, etc.
    Have fun and make beer!
    Cheers!
    Brian
     
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  6. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    I second that. Getting to know the fundamentals of the process is important and having a very simple set up, along with taking good notes, can help to focus on details instead of figuring out a particular system to start. I made some very good beers in smaller batches with a 4 gallon pot and a paint-strainer bag from Home Depot. There's a lot of satisfaction in doing something well with very simple tools.

    That being said, there is real advantage in not nickel-and-diming on your way to the inevitable end result of a more elaborate set-up. The caveat there is that after some success with BIAB brewing in 5-gallon batches, you may decide that you'd prefer to step past the Grainfather and go to a larger and more capable system.

    If money isn't an obstacle, you'll end up with some very nice equipment. Starting with something simple to get a better idea of things might be a good intermediate step. My guess that since you've been doing extract kits for a while, you've probably stepped up to full-boil batches and already have equipment and capacity to do some all-grain, if perhaps on a slightly smaller scale.

    Best of luck!!:)
     
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  7. BoomerBrian

    BoomerBrian Active Member

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    I would recommend starting out with Brew In A Bag and upgrading from there. Of course it also depends how big of batches you are wanting to brew. Wouldn't do BIAB for anything over 5 gallons. I do 2 gallon batches and it is simple and easy to make great beers.
     
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  8. Gerry P

    Gerry P Active Member

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    First off, welcome to homebrewing!

    Grainfather seems to have a lot of fans, and if I decide to go the automated route some day I'll buy one. Unless I strike it rich, in which case I'll be giving Sabco a call.

    I brewed extract for a long time, and just switched to AG a couple years ago. It isn't nearly isn't as complicated as I originally thought, especially if you do BIAB. Once I did a BIAB batch I realized that conventional sparging methods are pretty simple too.

    Recently I made a diagram that hits the main points of AG brewing, or at least the way I do it with a round beverage cooler and a couple pots, to jokingly illustrate how easy it is. As you can tell by the state-of-the-art graphics, I spent a lot of time working on this. I call it "The Super-Mega Comprehensive Guide to All-Grain Brewing, Deluxe Edition."
    AG brewing.jpg
     
  9. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    I actually went from extract to a RIMS system based around Sabco's mash tun (best mash tun ever!). I built it myself and it still ran @ $1500 to go all grain that way. It's not something I would recommend to someone just getting into home brewing, but it work extremely well for me.

    The best way to go all grain is do as much research as you can, find what works best for you and your situation and pull the trigger on it. My first couple of beers on my new setup were a s%$# show, but once I figured it out, I would never go back.
     
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  10. Brew Cat

    Brew Cat Active Member

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    The grain father is brew in a bag or actually basket. It's automated so may slow the learning curve. The downsize is its only five gallon brewery if I'm not mistaken. It is compact though. I agree do some biab and then decide.
     
  11. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    I would imagine that the product comes with a good set of instructions. There is a ton of information that one would need to know in order to know everything there is to know about brewing beer. At the same time, you really don't need to know a whole lot to brew a great beer. I don't know a phenol from an alkali. This is a hobby where one can dive in just as deep as he wants to, both knowledge and money wise. I'm sure some great brews have been produced by those who have a "Press button, get beer" mentality. I could never have an in depth discussion with someone at a homebrew meeting, I'm not that knowledgeable. But I like how I brew, and I like what I brew.
     
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  12. Ozarks Mountain Brew

    Staff Member

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    also the US made grain father is only 115v and only has a 1600 watt element which is very slow to boil, I tried using a 1500 watt element and hated how long it took to boil and even then it was a very weak boil then tried a 2000 watt element and that held a better boil but still to too much time to get to that point, the European model has better power
     
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  13. Brew Cat

    Brew Cat Active Member

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    I actually read the instructions once. If you follow them step by step you will make good beer I'm sure. I understood the process because I'm a brewer I'm just saying it would be nice to know the what and why before you drop your coin. I do biab now but I cut my teeth with a mash tun and glad I did because if you want to go to batches bigger than five or ten gallons you would know how to do it. Plus when you do go to breweries you will understand the equipment. I don't think you need to know all the scientific stuff but you will be a better brewer with some knowledge of the process at least.
     
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  14. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    I guess it comes down to what you want to get from this Homebrewing hobby. I want to know all there is to know about all different styles of beer and the pros and cons of making them. Each to their own there is more than one way to make great beer and more than one system to get you there:).
     
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  15. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Personally, I like having to baby-sit the process a little. I sort of appreciate the built-in chaos of the natural processes or mashing and fermentation and feel sort of cheated if everything is to clean-cut and uneventful. :)
    I think that systems like the Grainfather really appeal to those who are fastidious and results-oriented. That's what makes good, consistent beer, though. ;)
     
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  16. Brew Cat

    Brew Cat Active Member

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    That is why I never bothered doing extract. Just started doing all grain. I like making wort. I like being involved
     
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  17. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    It's part of the zen of my brew day, moving stuff around, measuring, tweaking, cleaning.... If I just chucked everything into a processor and pushed a button, I'd have to seriously consider giving the hobby up and just buying beer.
     
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  18. Mark D Pirate

    Mark D Pirate Well-Known Member

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    Could never go with a fully automatic system , i'd like to upsize my boil kettle but i do like the hands on approach
    Zen and the art of brewing ?
     
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  19. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    That, and the feng shui of my brewery.
     
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  20. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    my system is not at all automated, you have to babysit it to some degree but very precise, I like that I can tune it to do anything, I like that even more :cool:
     
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