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Old 17-03-2016, 09:40 AM   #1
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This post is a copy. The original thread is here if any one is wondering what any of the tips are specifically referring to

I use my GF a lot, 50+ brews at a guess.
Maybe more as have done 2 brews a day on it on a few occasions.

As you have a newer model you most likely have the new filter and the long rod as a top plug.
Both good to have, the filter is much improved.
The original top stopper is a screw cap bottle top, the kind you get on a miniature spirit bottle.

You say that mashing in took a while and was a bit difficult to stir in.
I will hazard a guess that you didn't have enough strike water in the GF.
They do give instruction as to the amount of strike water to use but it is best to go with what makes sense to you.

With 5kg of grain I would use a 4:1 ratio of water/grist.
So 20l of strike water and 15l of sparge water.
That gives me 30l pre boil volume and with a 60min boil around 24l net into the fermenter.
90min boils will net me less, around 23l but I tend to use a bit more sparge water to bring the pre boil volume up a tad.
31l is about as far as I will go pre boil volume wise as the GF is getting very full and you are less than 2" from the rim.
Turn your back for a second and you will have a BOIL OVER.

A trick I sometimes use which I think you have already latched onto is that the basket can be transferred to another vessel to drain the last litre or two out.
The basket sits perfectly on a 10l plastic fermenter.
More accident than design
I add the extra wort part way through the boil when the volume in the GF has reduced a bit.
If I have enough volume already I can use the extra wort for making yeast starters rather than waste it.

Note: My Friend and fellow GF user prefers a 3.5:1 ratio.
Less strike water, bit more sparge water.
We both generally aim for 30l pre boil.

Also don't give up too early when using the chiller.
I end up with very little liquid in the hops.
You will see foaming in the pipe and assume that you aren't going to get any more wort out but you will.
Also you can tilt the GF to get a bit more wort out.
Tilt towards the pump inlet.

Although since I have been using the new filter I haven't bothered tilting
the GF as it seems to suck almost dry if given enough time.
The wort is sucked slowly through the hops. they act like a wick.
It takes a while but on your next brew day give it an extra few minutes and you will be surprised.

Personally I wouldn't squeeze the hops left behind in the GF as they have acted as a filter medium and will be full of sandy looking trub.
Also if you have used a protofloc they will be covered in protein slime.

The mash/boil switch is a PITA but a necessary evil I'm afraid.
You WILL on many occasions have it in the wrong position.
Waiting for the GF to boil with only the mash element active will take a very very long time !!
Thing is though if you leave the switch in the boil position which gives you full element power. the mash temperature will fluctuate far too much.
I got so fed up forgetting to switch or not being sure what position it was in i plugged my GF into a cheap KW meter and can see at a glance how many watts it is drawing.
2kw or a little over, I see around 2.2 kw and you are on full power
The mash element is around 750w.

Do not wait for the sparge to be done before switching to boil mode.
move the mash/boil switch to boil when you begin sparging and the switch on the controller to II.
This will save you a lot of time.

note: You may have the switch on boil already as it is a time saver if you want to do a mash out.

The chiller is the real star of the show.
Provided it is used as intended.
I say this because there is an often viewed video comparing the GF to an established rival product where the reviewer used the chiller to cool the entire volume of the wort down in the GF.
It sucks at doing that.

You do recycle the wort back into the GF for a short period of time to heat the wort carrying tubing to sterilise it.
During the sterilising the cold water isn't turned on.
Then you turn on the cold water and run the output of the chiller into your FV.
In 30 mins, (can be less if you have cold ground water and run the pump without throttling) you have cooled wort at pitching temps in your FV.
Very impressive if your previous experience has been of immersion chillers

Obviously the colder the ground water the better but you don't need a large temperature differential.

I don't have any problems getting 20c wort using the mains supply to the kitchen..
Keep an eye on the temperature of the wort exiting the chiller into the fermenter and adjust the flow.
I use a laser thermometer, don't know how I managed so long without one.
I sit on my brewing stool and point it around real lazy.

There is more I could add but this post is long enough already.

Happy to share experiences with the GF and answer any questions.
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Old 18-03-2016, 01:21 PM   #2
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Thanks for the tip to regulate flow rate when cooling to get the right temp. It's early days with the grainfather for me and at the moment it dropping the temp too low 14deg C the last one.

Will try this tip on my next brew day, cheers
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Old 18-03-2016, 06:53 PM   #3
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14c is very low.
Assuming you left the valve on the GF wide open (max wort flow) then you will have to reduce the flow on the cold water side to raise temps.

Your cold water must be really cold !!

Have you got the hang of sitting the cooler on top of the lid yet.
The tubing has a mind of its own and you have to be careful not to allow a kink in the wart in tube.
I sometimes have to hold the tubing when tightening down the fitting to avoid it twisting the tube when you get tight.

Oh and the whole valve assembly willl unscrew if your not careful and there is a spring and ball bearing in there.
Guess what happens to the ball bearing when it comes apart !!
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Old 20-03-2016, 12:24 PM   #4
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Yes your right, I'll turn the tap down a little on the input side at least while it's cold outside.

I hadn't noticed a problem with the wort out pipe kinking. I guess it will depend on the position of the fermenter your pumping it into? Yours is a silicon pipe for the wort? I did notice that you have to push the connector down to screw to the recirculation pipe. I clean the spring after every brew. There's usually some fragment of hop in there and even a little will affect reflow rate
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Old 20-03-2016, 08:21 PM   #5
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Mine has the silicon tubes yes.
It is the short silicon tube on the inlet to the wort chiller that can kink.
On the end of the tube is the screw on connector to the top pipe valve.
The center should be free to turn but it jams sometimes when you are tightening down and twists the silicon tube.
Mine didn't do it when new but over time it seems to have become more inclined to jam and twist the tube.
No problem really just means slacking it off a bit, twisting the center till the tube unkinks, and tightening down again.
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Old 27-03-2016, 02:04 PM   #6
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Great write up mate From a fellow GF convert!

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Old 31-03-2017, 10:47 AM   #7
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A couple more tips..

If you are using a large grain bill it can get to be a tiresome act mixing grains in so that they are fully wettened in the basket especially when you get to the 7-8kg amounts as the amount of strike water gets absorbed, you can make the grains a bit easier to stir in by putting the mash water arm into the grains and pump water thru the grain whilst stirring.

Control the flow of the pump when mashing to prevent wort going down the centre overflow pipe, a good draining grain basket should give a good efficiency then.

When cleaning remove the wire basket rest, this will allow you to upend the grain basket and submerse it both ways when running thru your cleaning cycle.

The cooling water is quite hot after leaving the CF chiller, run this into a spare FV or bucket and then use it to pour into the GF for your cleaning, this could also be used as strike water and sparge water if doing a second brew thereby saving a lot of time and expense.
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Old 31-03-2017, 12:13 PM   #8
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My top tips:

If you have the element set to boil, the temp will continue to rise a degree or two over the set temp when stepping (old controller).

To fit the bottom plate to the basket, wet the seal and slide it in vertically before gently easing it in to place by pressing around the edge bit by bit.

Cover the top of the spent grain basket with a bin liner and then tip it upside down to empty the grains.

You use less water if you slow the wort flow rate through the chiller.

Don't accidentally run hot water through the chiller and only realise half way through.

The Blichman Thrumometer is a great way to measure your chilled wort temp and it's shiny!

The cold in hose for the chiller can pop off the barb on the tap side, so watch it like a hawk or secure it with some kind of clip.
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Old 02-10-2017, 01:24 PM   #9
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Not sure if this one has been mentioned before:

While sparging it is hard to read the level of the wort from the inside of the Grainfather with the grain basket in the way, and the top of the wort being all foamy. I like to know if I am getting near to my pre-boil volume.

I found a top tip to get a fairly accurate volume reading is to run a finger down the volume markings on the outside of the GF. when you put your finger to the metal above the level of the wort it will be quite hot to the touch, but not very painful. Slide your finger down the outside (from the 30L mark going down) and when the sensation in you finger changes from 'quite hot' to 'extremely painful' you know you have reached the liquid level and can read your volume from the markings on the outside.

I know everyone's pain tolerance is different, but whatever your tolerance there is a clear difference between the heat of the metal above the wort and the heat of the metal in contact with liquid.

If you have tough steel workers hands, try licking your finger before you slide it down the outside of the GF. Heat transfer through a wet finger is much much greater than through dry finger, and this will increase your finger volume measuring sensitivity (pain) hugely.
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Old 02-10-2017, 02:46 PM   #10
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a blob of blutak inside the lil screw cap secures it to the overflow when pouring in the grain, I have found its can be 'blown off' its perch with the back draft from a grain pour, or just get knocked off by the odd miss aimed grain of malt.

Consider the position of the reset button for the thermal switch.. prop the g/f on a couple of short lengths of 2x2 or similar that will allow you to pop your hand underneath for a quick press, Its got to be way better than hugging a hot full g/f as you drag it to the edge of the base its sat on TRUST ME!!
Normally not a major issue but with a high gravity brew or if you are working out the best settings for a STC1000 with ovbs firmware (One Vessel Brewing System) it can be tripped.

a squirt of starsan lubes the grain tube for seating the silicone gasket encapsulated base and top plates,,

And give the top plate an extra lil shove down with your fingers spread over the plate, dont be fearful of compressing a well mixed in mash..

Double check the probe is well seated and secure as the mash heats up

Post clean stand it upside down for a few hours to help drain the plumbing..

extend the cfc feed hose so you can sit it elsewhere than ontop of the lidded g/f, getting kettle finnings and late hops in thru the lid vent and the slipping side to side cfc is a pita.

with a MK1 hop filter gently open the flow as to minimise the initial suck effect of the pump.

Enjoy brewdays..
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