Grainfather conical fermenter

Help Support The HomeBrew Forum:

Polcho

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2021
Messages
191
Reaction score
85
Location
Doncaster
Does anybody have, or know a bit about the fermenter.
I have a couple of questions before my next brew.
 

pdh3137

Active Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 9, 2020
Messages
23
Reaction score
7
Location
Worthing
Hi Polcho
I have a couple of these, I’m no expert but can try and answer any questions you have
 

Polcho

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2021
Messages
191
Reaction score
85
Location
Doncaster
Great, thanks.

I've only done a few festival kits, but I'm really pleased with the control over the temperature. It ran away with me with the heating pad.

So, the sample facility at the bottom:
When I use this, it tries to suck in air from the airlock. Should I be taking the bung out before I sample?

The trub dump valve:
Do you use this? I'm not sure if it's worth it since the hops are in the bag.
Again the air gets sucked back through the airlock.

When you transfer to the barrel, do you use a standard syphon, or use the sample nozzle with a hose?

Have you used the cooling pump with the cold water facility?

I want to get all this sorted out before I buy the all in one.

Many thanks.
 

peebee

Out of Control
Joined
Aug 15, 2013
Messages
2,284
Reaction score
1,080
Location
North Wales
Great, thanks.

I've only done a few festival kits, but I'm really pleased with the control over the temperature. It ran away with me with the heating pad.

... (see below)

I want to get all this sorted out before I buy the all in one.

Many thanks.
So, the sample facility at the bottom:
When I use this, it tries to suck in air from the airlock. Should I be taking the bung out before I sample?

It will (it must!). Loosen the bung unless concerned (in which case consider pressure ... as below).

The trub dump valve:
Do you use this? I'm not sure if it's worth it since the hops are in the bag.
Again the air gets sucked back through the airlock.

I used to, but don't bother now. I got the "pressure transfer" extras so I still have an option to empty the fermenter in case sediment over tops the beer outlet and prevents it working: But that has never happened.

When you transfer to the barrel, do you use a standard syphon, or use the sample nozzle with a hose?
Use the "sample nozzle" I never thought of it as a "sample nozzle"; its the "racking valve". I do use a small 12V pump as fermenter stays on floor. Currently playing with "food-safe" (i.e. not cheap Chinese) diaphragm pumps to transfer to keg. Pumps are tricky if bottling.

Have you used the cooling pump with the cold water facility?
??? I did use the pump in the kit for a glycol cooler. You can use it to pump cooling water from a bucket (needs to be changed regular, or bucket kept in fridge) but have since used the 12V cooling signal to trigger a shelf-cooler (much cheaper than their glycol cooler!).
 

pdh3137

Active Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 9, 2020
Messages
23
Reaction score
7
Location
Worthing
Hi Polcho
Im pretty happy with mine...I manage to keep fermentation temps in the ballpark but not tried to cold crash.
So in answer to your post
Yep, same here, I just spray the lid with starsan and then release a couple of the lid catches. I do the same when I use the dump valve, and I usually only use this the day before kegging and there’s usually a bit of dead yeast etc.
I have mine on a worktop so kegging day I just attach a hose to the sample valve and release the lid.
I have the cooling kit and it works pretty well, again, I’ve not tried to cold crash but ferment in my garage and on the hottest day it does a good job. I half fill a fermenting bucket with water and then Chuck in two 2 litre bottles of water that are frozen....they need changing every couple of days so I keep spares in the freezer.
As I say...I’m no expert so any advice gratefully received from other members 👍
 

Polcho

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2021
Messages
191
Reaction score
85
Location
Doncaster
Great, thanks guys. So using the fermenting bucket and frozen bottles, would be fine from morning to after work, tea time?
 

Mike_Burton

Active Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2020
Messages
49
Reaction score
9
I use a cool box with a couple of frozen bottles in it as the cooling medium. Unless it’s a really hot day and I’m out for an extended period, it generally lasts me being at work
 

Martin O

Active Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2019
Messages
87
Reaction score
39
Rather than using a standard bung/airlock I attach a tri clamp with a barb fitting and use it as a blow off tube. After around 4 days fermentation I attach the tube to a myler balloon which collects the c02 from fermentation when I use the transfer valve to take samples, bottle or keg the only thing that is sucked back is the C02 from the balloon.
 

Polcho

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2021
Messages
191
Reaction score
85
Location
Doncaster
Thanks for that Martin.
I think I get the idea. I haven’t seen a tri clamp or a Mylar ballon. I’m trying to visualise it set up. If you have a photo of your set up, that would be great.
 

Regfixit

Active Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2021
Messages
37
Reaction score
21
Location
Handforth
I've used the cooling kit and been really impressed with it. Like Peebee, I have a beer chiller already so use the signal from the cooling kit to turn on my cooler and use the recirculation water from that to chill the fermenter. I did a cold crash with 18C ambient and was able to get the fermenter down to 3C. I'm next going to make a lager where the lower temp will be essential.
When taking samples I just make sure to pour slowly from the racking valve so as to not back bubble too quickly through the airlock that it goes into the beer. Although, having said that I put just plain water in the airlock as I don't think steriliser solution is really going to do anything to air bubbles coming back inwards and I'd rather not risk getting it into the beer if I am a bit careless.

Regarding the cold crash Mylar balloon, I'd seen a video of this - basically getting one of those foil balloons normally filled with Helium, empty it and then connect a tube from airlock/barb to the balloon. The idea of using Mylar balloon is that it won't have much resistance to being filled like a rubber balloon would. This thread discusses that in more detail.

For racking I am using kegs so I just fill keg with CO2 and then connect the gas in of the keg to the airlock bung so it avoids any air getting to the beer. See below - airlock removed and replaced by gas line from keg. There is also a bouncer filter before the keg, but that was really just as I needed to reduce from 1/2 inch diameter tube from fermenter to 1/4 inch on beer out/in to keg.
IMG_8792.jpg
 

Martin O

Active Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2019
Messages
87
Reaction score
39
This is the tri clamp with blow off tube which I attach to a big balloon
IMG_20210414_212455.jpg
 

Dilettante Brewing

Active Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2021
Messages
24
Reaction score
7
I’d be interested to understand in a bit more detail how you wire up the cooling kit so as to get the cooling signal from the GF to switch on a Maxi cooler. This would save £££ over the glycol chiller!

Otherwise agree with what others have said re: taking samples, dumping the trub and racking off. Worth not dumping too much trub though. I reckon the volume below where samples are drawn off is 1L so this is what you will lose from the starting volume in the fermenter. You can have some gunk in that litre and still get clear beer racked off.
 

Regfixit

Active Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2021
Messages
37
Reaction score
21
Location
Handforth
I’d be interested to understand in a bit more detail how you wire up the cooling kit so as to get the cooling signal from the GF to switch on a Maxi cooler. This would save £££ over the glycol chiller!
The cooling kit comprises a splitter cable for the grainfather power supply, a submersible pump and 2 hoses plus brass fittings to attach to the fermenter. The splitter cable gives a female 2.1 mm female jack plug that is intended to connect to the pump. When the GF calls for cooling this cable is powered with 12v DC tip positive. I connected a splitter cable to this with one lead going to the pump, which is immersed in the water bath of my chiller, and the other going to a SSR which switches the cooler on. The SSR is about £10 from Amazon. My cooler is a Lindr CWP-100 which uses an Aluminium block rather than an ice bank and so within a few minutes of turning on is already cold. I'm not sure how long a MAxi takes to cool down, but I guess if it's turning on and off over a period of time the lag wouldn't matter as ice bank would have built up.
 

Dilettante Brewing

Active Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2021
Messages
24
Reaction score
7
The cooling kit comprises a splitter cable for the grainfather power supply, a submersible pump and 2 hoses plus brass fittings to attach to the fermenter. The splitter cable gives a female 2.1 mm female jack plug that is intended to connect to the pump. When the GF calls for cooling this cable is powered with 12v DC tip positive. I connected a splitter cable to this with one lead going to the pump, which is immersed in the water bath of my chiller, and the other going to a SSR which switches the cooler on. The SSR is about £10 from Amazon. My cooler is a Lindr CWP-100 which uses an Aluminium block rather than an ice bank and so within a few minutes of turning on is already cold. I'm not sure how long a MAxi takes to cool down, but I guess if it's turning on and off over a period of time the lag wouldn't matter as ice bank would have built up.
Thanks Regfixit - interesting to hear how you do it and that you are using the GF pump to circulate the water from the water bath in the chiller. Your chiller sounds like an awesome bit of kit with a dual use.
 

Latest posts

Top