The Grainfather

Discussion in 'General Beer Brewing Equipment Discussion' started by DoctorMick, Jan 2, 2015.

Help Support The Homebrew Forum UK by donating using the link above.
  1. Jan 2, 2015 #1

    DoctorMick

    DoctorMick

    DoctorMick

    Senior Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2014
    Messages:
    2,424
    Likes Received:
    689
    Location:
    Telford
    So, I've been doing some research and pricing up all of the equipment I'd need to move from kits to AG. For a pretty basic setup I think I'd need:

    - Boiler with fittings (£183)
    - Mash tun with decent capacity (£90)
    - Sparge arm (£25)
    - Chiller (£78)

    All that adds up to over £370 which, to be honest, is a little more than I was expecting when I started looking. I'm aware that I could reduce the cost of some of the items but I'd like to buy decent quality so I don't have to keep replacing or find I don't sufficient kit for high ABV brews.

    Anyway, I've seen The Grainfather advertised on quite a few sites for £595 and always liked the look of it but thought I'd be unable to justify the price but that was based on my initial (completely made up) estimate of £200 for the all grain kit. Now that the cost difference isn't as much as I was expecting I'm not seriously considering making the investment.

    Has anyone else looked in to these (or other similar systems like the Braumeister (which I definitely can't justify!!!) and would recommend them? Are there any compelling reasons not to go with an all in one system? I can see quite a few pros and cons so far:

    Pros

    • It should make a brew day easier
    • Less chance of me making mistakes with the brew
    • Recirculation - which I wouldn't have with my basic setup
    • Less space needed
    • Easy to clean
    • It should longer than the basic 3 vessel setup above
    • I quite fancy trying my hand at distilling at some point which this would allow me to do (after spending another £250 mind).

    Cons

    • More expensive
    • If something goes wrong it'll probably cost more to fix
    • I'd have to be able to heat the sparge water separately but I already have a pan big enough for this and my hob should be able to cope

    Come on, someone convince me! :-)
     
  2. Jan 2, 2015 #2

    BeestonHop_John

    BeestonHop_John

    BeestonHop_John

    Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2015
    Messages:
    100
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    Nottingham
    hi, I bought my AG equipment from here:
    http://www.art-of-brewing.co.uk/acatalog/Online_Catalogue_Beer_Mashing_Equipment_16.html
    The boiler is used as a mash tun as well as a boiler which saves on space & cleaning; and all the other stuff on the page you need combined cam to just less than £213, so almost exactly your made up estimate! :-D
    I have now done 4 AG brews with the boiler & it works really well - latest had over 5kilo of grain & it coped perfectly well; it gets to a rolling boil quickly too.

    That said I have also been considering the grainfather, so if anyone has any experience of using it, I'd be interested to hear it.
    cheers, John
     
    Mattshed likes this.
  3. Jan 2, 2015 #3

    Dads_Ale

    Dads_Ale

    Dads_Ale

    Crafty Brewer Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2013
    Messages:
    1,611
    Likes Received:
    770
    Location:
    Berkshire
    Firstly must say that if I hadn't bought a new S/S boiler recently then I would have given the Grainfather a try.

    The reviews I have seen look good with a few minor niggles related to the quick release fitting and relatively small capacity.

    The biggest problem I see is that production is based in NZ (china) and although there are authorised distributers it may be difficult to get any spares, especially if it all goes **** up.

    All in all I would still get one but I am a sucker for this type of thing.

    ps. you can cut your AG budget significantly with a bit of DIY on the mash tun and wort chiller. I find my converted 25ltre FV with a false bottom and bit of insulation stuck round the outside is good for 7% 25 litre final volume. You can also knock up a counterflow wort chiller for the cost of 5m copper pipe (8mm), a bit of hose pipe and a few fittings.
     
  4. Jan 2, 2015 #4

    DoctorMick

    DoctorMick

    DoctorMick

    Senior Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2014
    Messages:
    2,424
    Likes Received:
    689
    Location:
    Telford
    @BeestonHop_John - thanks, the main thing that pushed my price up was a 50l boiler and larger capacity mash tun so I could do higher ABV brews.

    @Dads_Ale - That is a fair point about spares, but they're a fairly established company so I'm hoping it won't all go horribly wrong for them. I'll drop a line to one of the UK distributors and see if they'll carry any spares as well as the cleaning products.

    I don't have the skill set (or the inclination truth be told) to go down the DIY route, I'd get p**sed off and make a mess of it. :lol:

    Decisions, decisions...
     
  5. Jan 5, 2015 #5

    DoctorMick

    DoctorMick

    DoctorMick

    Senior Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2014
    Messages:
    2,424
    Likes Received:
    689
    Location:
    Telford
    Well, I've made my mind up and I'm going for it...fingers crossed it's as good as it sounds, I'll let you all know how I get on with it.
     
  6. Jan 5, 2015 #6

    hambrook

    hambrook

    hambrook

    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2014
    Messages:
    66
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Emsworth, Hampshire
    I'm at the same decision point; I've watched loads of demo's on the Grainfather and the two issues seem to be the connectors being fiddly and the hop filter which has holes as large as to not really be of much use; then the price £595. I think I'd rather spend half of that on a Boiler / Mash Tun 2 vessel solution. Especially with a Buffalo 40 litre S/S boiler being £99 and a simple tap swap out to make it a boiler / wort boiler......
     
  7. Jan 5, 2015 #7

    DoctorMick

    DoctorMick

    DoctorMick

    Senior Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2014
    Messages:
    2,424
    Likes Received:
    689
    Location:
    Telford
    Apparently the UK version has had some of the issues from the initial release ironed out, not sure exactly which though. I know the recirc pipe leaked for most people on the initial version so I hope that's sorted.

    I've bought 10 muslin bags for a fiver to get around the hop problem, apparently you get an awful lot of trub without due to something I don't fully understand.

    It's convenience that won the day for me, I'd imagine it'll take quite a bit of effort out of the brew day. I'm also hoping it'll be of higher quality and last longer than the setup I intended to buy but that remains to be seen.
     
  8. Jan 5, 2015 #8

    hambrook

    hambrook

    hambrook

    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2014
    Messages:
    66
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Emsworth, Hampshire
    Please report on your experience with it; I THINK the UK are getting 50 in February; there was some early offer of £570 on one of the UK sites. Even after forking out £595 you will still need an urn for the Sparge water; the one in the video looks v.similar to the £95 Buffalo Boiler so £690 total cost http://youtu.be/j0rIV0wCokE?t=7m56s
     
  9. Jan 5, 2015 #9

    DoctorMick

    DoctorMick

    DoctorMick

    Senior Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2014
    Messages:
    2,424
    Likes Received:
    689
    Location:
    Telford
    I'm hopeful that my cooker top will be able to heat the sparse water in a massive pan that I have. Because of the recirc, I believe you need a smaller quantity of sparge water than you would using traditional methods.
     
  10. Jan 5, 2015 #10

    hambrook

    hambrook

    hambrook

    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2014
    Messages:
    66
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Emsworth, Hampshire
    Calculation from the linked video:

    Screen Shot 2015-01-05 at 21.21.31.png
     
  11. Jan 5, 2015 #11

    hambrook

    hambrook

    hambrook

    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2014
    Messages:
    66
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Emsworth, Hampshire
    I've emailed them to see if they can do a Stainless Steel version of the boiler. Don't like the idea of boiling for 90 mins in plastic.

    EDIT: No they only do Plastic boilers; just not happy with all the warnings about boiling plastic and PTFE nasties.
     
  12. Jan 6, 2015 #12

    DoctorMick

    DoctorMick

    DoctorMick

    Senior Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2014
    Messages:
    2,424
    Likes Received:
    689
    Location:
    Telford
    Thanks, I remember seeing that a while ago. Working it out, for a 4kg grain bill I'd need to be able to heat 16.9 litres for the boil and for a 6kg grain bill I'd need 13.1...I'm pretty sure I can manage that on the cooker....fingers crossed! :lol:
     
  13. Jan 6, 2015 #13

    hambrook

    hambrook

    hambrook

    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2014
    Messages:
    66
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Emsworth, Hampshire
    @DoctorMick Who did you order from in the end? I only saw one early offer price of £570 and everyone else seems to be pitching for the same profit margin price of £595 :roll: I just wondered if a better deal could have been had if a few of us placed an order...
     
  14. Jan 6, 2015 #14

    DoctorMick

    DoctorMick

    DoctorMick

    Senior Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2014
    Messages:
    2,424
    Likes Received:
    689
    Location:
    Telford
    BrewUK, solely because I've ordered from them before and been pleased with the service.
     
  15. Jan 15, 2015 #15

    Fletch

    Fletch

    Fletch

    Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2014
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    West Hallam, Derbyshire
    I'm at the same stage too. I'm currently doing extract brews, but looking to progress to all grain. I don't have much space to brew in so I think the GF is ideal (Braumeisters are too expensive, I think).

    I can use the 30L pan I use for extract brewing to heat the sparge water, so I won't be wasting any existing kit. Very interested to read your thoughts on the GF if you take the plunge!
     
  16. Feb 3, 2015 #16

    DoctorMick

    DoctorMick

    DoctorMick

    Senior Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2014
    Messages:
    2,424
    Likes Received:
    689
    Location:
    Telford
    Well its February at last so it can't be long now! :D So I can familiarise myself with the equipment I've ordered a BrewUK Double Citra IPA kit and a Vanilla Porter kit, once those are done it'll be time to get adventurous.
     
  17. Apr 8, 2015 #17

    Cornish Knocker

    Cornish Knocker

    Cornish Knocker

    Shandy Pants

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2013
    Messages:
    155
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Behind You
    Doctor - Did yours arrive or are you still in the waiting room?

    The more I investigate the G/F the more I want one.
     
  18. Apr 8, 2015 #18

    DoctorMick

    DoctorMick

    DoctorMick

    Senior Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2014
    Messages:
    2,424
    Likes Received:
    689
    Location:
    Telford
  19. Apr 9, 2015 #19

    hambrook

    hambrook

    hambrook

    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2014
    Messages:
    66
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Emsworth, Hampshire
    I think the Grainfather shows great promise; but a few niggly user reports and built on the other side of the planet and a very new product meant I went of the Braumeister; yes it costs DOUBLE the grandfather but German made, quality made, excellent customer support and, right now, a bit of a steal to order from Belgium with the £ : Euro so strong.
     
  20. Apr 9, 2015 #20

    Crystal_Ball

    Crystal_Ball

    Crystal_Ball

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2014
    Messages:
    322
    Likes Received:
    41
    Location:
    Harlow
    I had been looking at the grainfather on a couple of euro sites yesterday with the same thought of the strong euro exchange rate. What website did you use as I couldn't find one in English!
     

Share This Page