Those bloody Grainfather silicone seals

Discussion in 'General Home Brew Equipment Discussion' started by Harbey, Feb 11, 2019.

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  1. Sep 20, 2019 #21

    DJDave

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    Agreed those seal are a major design flaw. On my 50th gf brew today and yet another series of attempts to get both seals fitted and in place. I think the seals stretch with age and also the grain tube may go out of true, slightly oval rather than round. I normally ensure the grain tube has good dusting which does help and slide down at an angle before rotating into horizontal but usually takes several attempts.

    I had wondered whether they were actually required and from comments above seems not so may well go that way. I do have to ask why is the bottom one not integral to the tube? ie a bucket with a perforated bottom this would be much better, no dicking about with seals and no risk of the bottom falling out.
     
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  2. Sep 20, 2019 #22

    Harbey

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    I've ended up bending the bottom plate so that it is slightly concave. That way, the seal has a bit more room and isn't being pulled off by the friction with the grain basket. Not ideal, but seems to be working ok.
     
  3. Sep 20, 2019 #23

    peebee

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    Flippin' things; I wired mine on, took about 1/2 hour and I used thin garden wire (could use anything that's convenient). Don't even bother putting one on the top plate. A couple of months ago I'd I've said "use Star San" and "put it in at an angle to start with", but that quickly became irritating and you'll probably have to find a substitute for Star San these days.
    20190920_131713_WEB.jpg
     
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  4. Sep 20, 2019 #24

    DJDave

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    I'd be a bit concerned using anything non food grade.

    After finishing today looked at not using seal at all but think it's a little too small, you have to centre it carefully and I dare say it will move when you add to mash liquor or grain so very chance of a Harbey event and I don't fancy boiling wort going in my direction.

    If I knew a SS spolt welder.........

    I have welded Stainless Steel, Argon Arc if memory serves - was a holiday job many many moons ago in a foundry. Thumping great plates like armour plating to the inside of a machine that sand blasted castings and wore itself away over time in the process.
     
  5. Sep 20, 2019 #25

    peebee

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  6. Sep 20, 2019 #26

    DJDave

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    yea, when I started they had just stopped using slate vessels the older chaps called swimming pools.

    I'd just say not all plastic is food safe and I have no idea what the plastic around garden wire is. The ss wire is definitely worth thinking about
     
  7. Sep 21, 2019 #27

    Jakeyboi

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    I have a grainfather and it’s a bloody crap design, I’ve had the whole lot of grain fall through once, and it always takes me 10 mins or so the get the thing in place. After much ffing my wife googled it and told me to heat the Grainfather and mash water up to 45C then attempt to fit the bottom plate and seal. As the grainfather is warmer it will expand ever so slightly making it easier to fit......

    I’ve also done away with the top plate during the mash, i find that without regularly stirring the grain gets so compacted at the bottom all the mash water goes straight down the overflow pipe, I only put it in place for the
    Sparge
     
  8. Sep 21, 2019 #28

    Deadhead

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    I hate the seal too. Makes me grumpy before I start brewing. Sometimes it seems like a good day for brewing will be because I could get the seal on quickly. If it takes me the entire time it takes for the water to heat up to get it in place, it's a bad day. Wiring it on seems like a great idea, as does making an alternative one with bigger tubing. Hmmm....
     
  9. Sep 21, 2019 #29

    DJDave

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    Going to try combination of Jakeyboi hot grain tube & Hoppy Tommys frozen seal technique next brewday. Forget seal on top but continue to use the perforated disc itself mostly to stop excessive grain going into the overflow.

    I don't get the issue of compacted grain or at least I don't think I do but I do spend a little time giving the mash a good stir so its well mixed before lowering the top plate and try to have this only just touching the well mixed mash. Without the seal it will sit on the grain of course...... hmm
     
  10. Sep 22, 2019 #30

    Harbey

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    Did a 7kg grain bill brew yesterday with my slightly bent bottom (plate). Worked fine despite the weight and i also did a mid-mash stir with no problems. Seems to have fixed the problem for me although it does make it look a little uncared for. I'll try to post a pic.
     
  11. Sep 22, 2019 #31

    Keruso

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    I never have a problem with my seals now, immediately after cleaning the grain basket I put the bottom plate in when it’s all still soaking wet, slide in at an angle and it goes in easy every time without the seal coming off. I find using hot water to lubricate the top plate stops the seal coming off.
     
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  12. Sep 22, 2019 #32

    Mungri

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    That's how I do it. Straight after cleaning, goes in fairly easily.
     
  13. Sep 22, 2019 #33

    peebee

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    Yeah. For how long? Read my earlier reply. When it starts going wrong for you (and those others with their smug replies) see what you think then …
     
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  14. Sep 22, 2019 #34

    Harbey

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  15. Sep 22, 2019 #35

    Peter Scandlyn

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    Looks good Harbs....come to think of it mines like that (must be why I find this topic continues to amuse....)clapaathumb..
     
  16. Sep 22, 2019 #36

    Slid

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  17. Sep 23, 2019 #37

    Harbey

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    I bent it deliberately to make it a little looser.
     
  18. Sep 23, 2019 #38

    Mungri

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    For 30 odd brews so far. Didn’t think I was being smug, it’s just how it works for me.
     
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  19. Sep 26, 2019 #39

    DJDave

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    OK so tried combination of Jakeyboi hot grain tube & Hoppy Tommys frozen seal technique with addition of my own tool to push evenly (bit of beer pipe in circle of diameter to fit snugly in grain tube).

    This worked swimmingly for bottom plate. Disappointing failure on top - wasn't going to use on top plate but decide to use as didn't want the plate just sitting on the grainbed.

    This maybe because manipulating the top plate is a bit awkward as one of the little handles got knocked off. Investigated replacing but £30 a lot for not a lot. Replacing the seal themselves might help and won't break the bank.

    Went back to plan A ie not use the seal and just sit plate on grain bed, didn't like this at all as lots of grain bits were going into the overflow & presume this is not good for pump life longevity & not happy with munched grain in mash.

    Plan C - Bend it like Harbey

    This seems to work well, dumped spent grain back on top and no problems with plate falling through, but there again its not properly wet and as heavy as it would be in practice.
     
  20. Sep 27, 2019 #40

    Harbey

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    "Bend it like Harbey" :laugh8:

    Regarding the grain going down the overflow, try getting a little strainer/sieve and placing it over the overflow. David Heath shows this in lots of his vids, have a look at this at around 9min 20sec.
     

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