This post is a copy. The original thread is here if any one is wondering what any of the tips are specifically referring to http://www.thehomebrewforum.co.uk/showthread.php?p=568592#post568592 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.