The Grainfather

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Lisa J
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Re: The Grainfather

Post by Lisa J » Thu Jun 02, 2016 6:42 pm

Congrats on surviving your first Grainfather brew! I learned a lot with mine.
1. Sparging a huge grain bill takes longer than I thought. Must budget more time on brew day (or add hours to the weekend, that might work...)
2. Big, hoppy IPAs produce huge amounts of filter pump clogging sludge on the bottom of the kettle. Dave Gillett at Everwood has hopefully solved this problem for me with a deep strainer basket that hangs over the edge of the GF and I can just toss my hops into during the boil. Mesh bags will also work here. My pump filter and temp probe were completely buried in sludge, and i really had no choice but to siphon the damn beer into the primary the old fashioned way. It had, in fact, cooled sufficiently, but it wasn't until I stirred it up that I realized the temp probe situation.

Anyhoo... live and learn. Finally mashing in my Berliner Weisse tonight (was supposed to be Sunday...)
On Tap at The Frisky Lemur Pub: Oatmeal Stout; La Belle Saison (Good Robot Femmebot Comp); Frisky Lemur IPA; ESB
Fermenting/Conditioning/Bottled: Frisky Lemur IPA; Rye & Ginger IPA; Team Whitehouse Wet Hopped IPA 2018; Lager-ish American Lime Lager
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Re: The Grainfather

Post by MitchK » Thu Jun 02, 2016 6:47 pm

I never had the pump clog problem even with a 28 hour simmer and 6.5 oz of pellet hops in the boil. Flow was slower but still pumped into the fermenter just fine. You aren't recirculating your wort until its cold are you? You're supposed to chill in-line as it is moved to the fermenter.

I've never found the sparge to take any longer than ramping to a boil - I switch over to "boil" as soon as I pull the grain so its heating up as I sparge and I just leave the grain dripping as it ramps until the dripping stops.

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Lisa J
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Re: The Grainfather

Post by Lisa J » Thu Jun 02, 2016 7:02 pm

MitchK wrote:I never had the pump clog problem even with a 28 hour simmer and 6.5 oz of pellet hops in the boil. Flow was slower but still pumped into the fermenter just fine. You aren't recirculating your wort until its cold are you? You're supposed to chill in-line as it is moved to the fermenter.

I've never found the sparge to take any longer than ramping to a boil - I switch over to "boil" as soon as I pull the grain so its heating up as I sparge and I just leave the grain dripping as it ramps until the dripping stops.
Questions for you then:
1. How long do you recirculate your wort through the chiller before knocking out to the primary? (my temp probe was buried in sludge, which I didn't know until later and the temp didn't budge until I figured that out.) and
2. Do you pour in your sparge water all at oncec, or in increments?

Thanks!!
On Tap at The Frisky Lemur Pub: Oatmeal Stout; La Belle Saison (Good Robot Femmebot Comp); Frisky Lemur IPA; ESB
Fermenting/Conditioning/Bottled: Frisky Lemur IPA; Rye & Ginger IPA; Team Whitehouse Wet Hopped IPA 2018; Lager-ish American Lime Lager
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Re: The Grainfather

Post by SFR709 » Thu Jun 02, 2016 7:16 pm

Hey Mitch,

I'm not sure if you read my post on the previous page, but I was definitely making the mistake of trying to recirculate until all of the wort was cold, thanks for the tip.

Also during the simmer are you recirculating the whole time? And when the simmer is done do you skim the sludge off the top? I simmered with the pump off, I believe this was a mistake.

Cheers,

Scott

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Re: The Grainfather

Post by MitchK » Thu Jun 02, 2016 8:48 pm

I didn't recirc for the simmer, also didn't skim - just stirred it in as I ramped to a boil to prevent a boilover.

My chiller process is basically recirc hot for a bit to sanitize, turn on cooling water, and then as soon as the silicone CFC output is cool to the touch I switch from recirculating to pumping into the fermenter.

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Re: The Grainfather

Post by Lisa J » Thu Jun 02, 2016 8:55 pm

MitchK wrote:I didn't recirc for the simmer, also didn't skim - just stirred it in as I ramped to a boil to prevent a boilover.

My chiller process is basically recirc hot for a bit to sanitize, turn on cooling water, and then as soon as the silicone CFC output is cool to the touch I switch from recirculating to pumping into the fermenter.
Good to know for next time!
Thanks!
On Tap at The Frisky Lemur Pub: Oatmeal Stout; La Belle Saison (Good Robot Femmebot Comp); Frisky Lemur IPA; ESB
Fermenting/Conditioning/Bottled: Frisky Lemur IPA; Rye & Ginger IPA; Team Whitehouse Wet Hopped IPA 2018; Lager-ish American Lime Lager
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Re: The Grainfather

Post by SFR709 » Thu Jun 02, 2016 9:15 pm

Thanks, I'm not sure if mine gunked up more during the simmer because I went to 200F and then decided to do the simmer because it was late, so I then let it go back down to 180 and simmer. Either way though the chiller tip alone would drastically cut down on the amount of time/opportunity the pump has to clog. Thanks.

I like those baskets you mentioned Lisa; the mesh bag was fine too I just tied part of it to one of the distiller latches, but I bet the stainless basket would be much easier to clean and sanitize.
Last edited by SFR709 on Fri Jun 03, 2016 7:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Grainfather

Post by Lisa J » Thu Jun 02, 2016 10:54 pm

SFR709 wrote: I like those baskets you mentioned Lisa; the mesh bag was fine too I just tied part of it to one of the distiller latches, but I bet the stainless basket would be much easier to clean and sanitize.
I'll post when I've tested the strainer basket. I have to say, I've got a mesh bag of dry hop in my Citra SMaSH right now, and I think that alone is a game changer. so I'm holding out hope for the strainer.
:spilly:
On Tap at The Frisky Lemur Pub: Oatmeal Stout; La Belle Saison (Good Robot Femmebot Comp); Frisky Lemur IPA; ESB
Fermenting/Conditioning/Bottled: Frisky Lemur IPA; Rye & Ginger IPA; Team Whitehouse Wet Hopped IPA 2018; Lager-ish American Lime Lager
On Deck: Altbier; NEIPA; Pumpkin Spice Ale

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Re: The Grainfather

Post by spickup » Fri Jun 03, 2016 12:06 am

Lisa J wrote:My pump filter and temp probe were completely buried in sludge, and i really had no choice but to siphon the damn beer into the primary the old fashioned way. It had, in fact, cooled sufficiently, but it wasn't until I stirred it up that I realized the temp probe situation.
It sounds like you might be using the chiller improperly. You shouldn't be recirculating the wort back into the fermenter for longer than is necessary to sanitize the chiller.

Check out this video on the GF counter flow chiller:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=thLj91DR8p4" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: The Grainfather

Post by Lisa J » Fri Jun 03, 2016 6:55 am

spickup wrote:
Lisa J wrote:My pump filter and temp probe were completely buried in sludge, and i really had no choice but to siphon the damn beer into the primary the old fashioned way. It had, in fact, cooled sufficiently, but it wasn't until I stirred it up that I realized the temp probe situation.
It sounds like you might be using the chiller improperly. You shouldn't be recirculating the wort back into the fermenter for longer than is necessary to sanitize the chiller.

Check out this video on the GF counter flow chiller:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=thLj91DR8p4" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Yup. Rookie mistake. Fortunately, not long getting all the right advice on this board!!

Last night I started a Berliner Weisse in the Grainfather, and it couldn't have gone more smoothly. It is kettle-souring now in the GF per Jimmy's instructions on http://www.mashedin.beer" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
On Tap at The Frisky Lemur Pub: Oatmeal Stout; La Belle Saison (Good Robot Femmebot Comp); Frisky Lemur IPA; ESB
Fermenting/Conditioning/Bottled: Frisky Lemur IPA; Rye & Ginger IPA; Team Whitehouse Wet Hopped IPA 2018; Lager-ish American Lime Lager
On Deck: Altbier; NEIPA; Pumpkin Spice Ale

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Re: The Grainfather

Post by elreplica » Fri Jun 03, 2016 6:57 am

I've never had a filtration issue with the GF. I use hop balls and a hop spider. As for recirculating hot to sterilize, I did it once and once only. The heat caused the red line tubing clamp to pop off and after getting it in place without leaking, my wort was at 100F in the fermenter. Someone recommended putting a hose clamp on the line to ensure it doesn't happen again. I just tightened the clamp and had no issues on the next run.
At Bat: several Czech Pils
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In the Hole: Kolsch
Clean Up: Tall Ships Ale clones
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Re: The Grainfather

Post by elreplica » Fri Jun 03, 2016 7:09 am

Gravity Miss

I've only hit my gravity range once in several brews – usually out by a few points. The last one, a Black India Pale Ale – similar to the Kraken one on the Grainfather app recipe (Everwood Dave's) – was off by 10 points! I had to compensate with 1 kg. Of DME and dextrose to bring it to 1060. I'm thinking its a mash/sparge water issue and conflicting values between the manual and GF online calculator. Any thoughts out there?
At Bat: several Czech Pils
On Deck: Cream Ale
In the Hole: Kolsch
Clean Up: Tall Ships Ale clones
On tap: Propeller Pils, Festa Cream Ale

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Re: The Grainfather

Post by elreplica » Fri Jun 03, 2016 7:29 am

Lisa J wrote:
MitchK wrote:I never had the pump clog problem even with a 28 hour simmer and 6.5 oz of pellet hops in the boil. Flow was slower but still pumped into the fermenter just fine. You aren't recirculating your wort until its cold are you? You're supposed to chill in-line as it is moved to the fermenter.

I've never found the sparge to take any longer than ramping to a boil - I switch over to "boil" as soon as I pull the grain so its heating up as I sparge and I just leave the grain dripping as it ramps until the dripping stops.
Questions for you then:
1. How long do you recirculate your wort through the chiller before knocking out to the primary? (my temp probe was buried in sludge, which I didn't know until later and the temp didn't budge until I figured that out.) and
2. Do you pour in your sparge water all at oncec, or in increments?

Thanks!!

Not meaning to butt in here Lisa but any info/ forum on the GF says to keep at least 10 mm (1/2 inch) water above the screen when sparging. The danger apparently is that the hydrostatic pressure can cause the grain to gunk up and result in a stuck sparge. I pour a small sauce pan full of water in at a time from my sparge tank and am working on raising it and controlling the flow with silicone tubing and a small valve.
At Bat: several Czech Pils
On Deck: Cream Ale
In the Hole: Kolsch
Clean Up: Tall Ships Ale clones
On tap: Propeller Pils, Festa Cream Ale

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Re: The Grainfather

Post by SFR709 » Fri Jun 03, 2016 7:32 am

Lisa J wrote:
SFR709 wrote: I like those baskets you mentioned Lisa; the mesh bag was fine too I just tied part of it to one of the distiller latches, but I bet the stainless basket would be much easier to clean and sanitize.
I'll post when I've tested the strainer basket. I have to say, I've got a mesh bag of dry hop in my Citra SMaSH right now, and I think that alone is a game changer. so I'm holding out hope for the strainer.
:spilly:

I kinda like what this guy did with the hop sock/mesh bag around 10:40 of this video:

https://youtu.be/WV8dVWvrpzY" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: The Grainfather

Post by Lisa J » Fri Jun 03, 2016 8:58 am

elreplica wrote:
Lisa J wrote:
MitchK wrote:I never had the pump clog problem even with a 28 hour simmer and 6.5 oz of pellet hops in the boil. Flow was slower but still pumped into the fermenter just fine. You aren't recirculating your wort until its cold are you? You're supposed to chill in-line as it is moved to the fermenter.

I've never found the sparge to take any longer than ramping to a boil - I switch over to "boil" as soon as I pull the grain so its heating up as I sparge and I just leave the grain dripping as it ramps until the dripping stops.
Questions for you then:
1. How long do you recirculate your wort through the chiller before knocking out to the primary? (my temp probe was buried in sludge, which I didn't know until later and the temp didn't budge until I figured that out.) and
2. Do you pour in your sparge water all at oncec, or in increments?

Thanks!!

Not meaning to butt in here Lisa but any info/ forum on the GF says to keep at least 10 mm (1/2 inch) water above the screen when sparging. The danger apparently is that the hydrostatic pressure can cause the grain to gunk up and result in a stuck sparge. I pour a small sauce pan full of water in at a time from my sparge tank and am working on raising it and controlling the flow with silicone tubing and a small valve.
You're definitely not butting in. We've been pouring sparge water in 1- 2 litres at a time, making sure to keep at least a cm of water above the screen. I've heard/read there can be issues with using both too much and too little sparge water at a time. I like the valve and tubing from the HLT idea!
On Tap at The Frisky Lemur Pub: Oatmeal Stout; La Belle Saison (Good Robot Femmebot Comp); Frisky Lemur IPA; ESB
Fermenting/Conditioning/Bottled: Frisky Lemur IPA; Rye & Ginger IPA; Team Whitehouse Wet Hopped IPA 2018; Lager-ish American Lime Lager
On Deck: Altbier; NEIPA; Pumpkin Spice Ale

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Re: The Grainfather

Post by elreplica » Fri Jun 03, 2016 12:27 pm

Good Lisa. We're all walking point on this. Apparently the Godfather of the Grainfather is Ed at Noble Grape in Coldbrook. Although I didn't buy mine from him, he's extremely supportive and knowledgeable. I'm thinking he's used one longer and more frequently than anyone in Canada. I tried a couple of their recipes to get a baseline and support but prefer Everwood's recipes on price point, versatility and cool goodies in stock.ive never heard about sparge water too slow being an issue but could see maybe sugar coagulation that could slow it down if unattended to. I am digging my GF beers but haven't made anything that's knocked me out of the ballpark yet. In fact my best beer to date was an Imperial Blonde Ale extract that I test brewed for a U Brew and Dave at Everwood copied it a lot cheaper. I'm keeping the faith and testing my northern Light Everwood ale from my new kegerator this afternoon.
:spilly:
Last edited by elreplica on Sat Jun 04, 2016 11:35 am, edited 3 times in total.
At Bat: several Czech Pils
On Deck: Cream Ale
In the Hole: Kolsch
Clean Up: Tall Ships Ale clones
On tap: Propeller Pils, Festa Cream Ale

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Re: The Grainfather

Post by MitchK » Fri Jun 03, 2016 12:32 pm

Best beer I've made so far for my tastes would probably be the brulosophy hop test bitter recipe but with cascade as the "hop of choice"

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Re: The Grainfather

Post by Lisa J » Fri Jun 03, 2016 1:01 pm

MitchK wrote:Best beer I've made so far for my tastes would probably be the brulosophy hop test bitter recipe but with cascade as the "hop of choice"
Just for frame-of-reference purposes, what craft/commercial beer would you compare that most closely with, Mitch?

I'm picking up the ingredients for Hoptomology's Flying Monkey Smashbomb Atomic IPA clone tomorrow - hope to get that going on Sunday once the Grainfather is freed up from my Berliner Weiss.

http://www.hoptomology.com/wordpress/wp ... clone.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
On Tap at The Frisky Lemur Pub: Oatmeal Stout; La Belle Saison (Good Robot Femmebot Comp); Frisky Lemur IPA; ESB
Fermenting/Conditioning/Bottled: Frisky Lemur IPA; Rye & Ginger IPA; Team Whitehouse Wet Hopped IPA 2018; Lager-ish American Lime Lager
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Re: The Grainfather

Post by MitchK » Fri Jun 03, 2016 1:05 pm

I don't know if I could compare it that directly to a commercial beer. Less dark caramel flavor than the propeller ESB, and the cascade obviously adds a kinda citrus fruityness that isn't very english.

Combined the cascade hops and toasty maris otter + victory combo made for a beer that tasted very "grapefruit marmalade on toast" in a way I quite enjoyed.

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Re: The Grainfather

Post by SFR709 » Fri Jun 03, 2016 1:53 pm

That sounds awesome Mitch, did you do the simmer on that one? Might be a great next recipe!

Also Lisa did you get your ingredients from Dave for the smash bomb IPA clone?

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Re: The Grainfather

Post by MitchK » Fri Jun 03, 2016 2:23 pm

No, only did the simmer on my unfiltered clone.

Might try it on a scottish 70 or something though.

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Re: The Grainfather

Post by Lisa J » Fri Jun 03, 2016 4:49 pm

SFR709 wrote:That sounds awesome Mitch, did you do the simmer on that one? Might be a great next recipe!

Also Lisa did you get your ingredients from Dave for the smash bomb IPA clone?
Yup, emailed him my order this morning, and plan to pick it up tomorrow. I plan to add Whirlfloc at 15 min and Clarity Ferm (friend w/ celiac), but other than that, I plan to follow the recipe exactly.
On Tap at The Frisky Lemur Pub: Oatmeal Stout; La Belle Saison (Good Robot Femmebot Comp); Frisky Lemur IPA; ESB
Fermenting/Conditioning/Bottled: Frisky Lemur IPA; Rye & Ginger IPA; Team Whitehouse Wet Hopped IPA 2018; Lager-ish American Lime Lager
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Re: The Grainfather

Post by SFR709 » Fri Jun 03, 2016 6:32 pm

Lisa J wrote:
SFR709 wrote:That sounds awesome Mitch, did you do the simmer on that one? Might be a great next recipe!

Also Lisa did you get your ingredients from Dave for the smash bomb IPA clone?
Yup, emailed him my order this morning, and plan to pick it up tomorrow. I plan to add Whirlfloc at 15 min and Clarity Ferm (friend w/ celiac), but other than that, I plan to follow the recipe exactly.

Awesome, I should do the same for my next brew day.

I actually added clarity ferm to my last one for a couple of buddies, hopefully it turns out.

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Re: The Grainfather

Post by lil'wheaty » Fri Jun 03, 2016 11:55 pm

Hey all, my apologies for jumping into the thread late!

New to the forum and just thought I'd speak from my experience with the GF. After 8+ years of brewing (kits/partial mash/BIAB) I finally mustered up the courage to buy one of these bad boys. Picked it up back in late December and have made 12 brews with it - and love it! Immediately had clogging issues even when using a paint strainer bag for the hops though, until I took out the ball/spring check valve near the red-handled ball valve. Also, I had to incorporate some stainless steel wire to keep the removable rubber end of the hop filter from coming off while whirl pooling. Runs like a dream now!

I've made a whole spectrum of styles with my GF so far (including high wheat and flaked oat brews) and have luckily never had any slow or stuck sparge issues, although I did add rice hulls when making a pumpkin (3lbs) ale before - but this was more for my own sanity as I probably didn't need them. I should mention that I built a shelf higher than the tallest part of the GF (while the inner mash portion is extended during sparging) for my HLT. I currently use a 4gal pot from when I use to make partial mashes on the stove as my HLT, which leads me to often use less than suggested amounts of sparge water. I use the online GF calculators for my mash/sparge water, but I usually have to tweak them to keep my sparge water 3.9gal or less which makes my mash levels higher than suggested. This has actually helped with my overall efficiency as well! My HLT is heated using a submersible (electric) water bucket heater I found on eBay and gets my sparge water right around 170F by the time the grains have been mashed (90mins). I also put a ball valve in my HLT and attached tubing to it (resting the tubing's end on the top mash screen of the GF) so I can control the sparge speed throughout - usually keeping the water level continuously 5-10mm. In conjunction with the controlled sparge, 170F sparge water, no more than 3.9gal of sparge water for my 5.5-6gal batches, double crushed grains (first crush = normal, second crush = fine), and always mashing my recipes for 90mins instead of 60mins or less, I consistently now reach my target gravities dead on. I've had a mash efficiency of 91% (+/-1%) and a brewhouse efficiency of 83.5% (+/-0.5%) for the last 7 out of 12 brews. These numbers are based on making a recipe in Brewer's Friend and then punching in the grain weights and batch sizes into the GF calculators and tweaking the mash/sparge volumes. The GF calculators gave me the above efficiency numbers, but Brewer's Friend usually gives numbers 1-3% below those.

The boil doesn't seem to take long to reach even without an insulator jacket of some kind, although I've only ever used it indoors (I may still rig one up in the future to save on electricity). I usually flick it to boil as soon as I pull the grains up for sparging and it takes about 30-40mins to reach 212F. I did forget to heat my HLT one time and sparged with roughly room temperature water (wasn't my sharpest moment, haha), but the efficiency was unchanged....however, it did take FOREVER to get up to boil temp, probably about 60-70mins. Cooling seems pretty easy as I just circulate back into the GF for about 5mins or so to sterilize the tubing, then crank the cold water tap and move the wort outlet hose to a fermenter. The outlet hose for the warm water coming from the chiller gets placed into nearby buckets so I can use it for cleaning equipment. Depending on the time of year, I sometimes need to restrict the wort flow using the red-handled valve to allow more contact time for chilling. Other times I can have both the cold water and hot wort running full blast and get 5.5-6gal of 17-18C wort directly into the fermenter. All-in-all, with clean-up, mashing for 90mins and boiling for 60-90mins, I can get everything said and done in 5hrs-5.5hrs. I'm sure I could shorten things up to well under 5hrs by doing a 45-60min mash, but I did notice a significant drop in efficiency and I don't mind taking the extra time to enjoy another home brew!
:cheers:

Hope this helps!

-Ian W.
Last edited by lil'wheaty on Sat Jun 04, 2016 8:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Grainfather

Post by elreplica » Sat Jun 04, 2016 7:48 am

Thanks for your anecdotes and experience Ian. There's much information here that gives me some ideas and confirmation of my trials...and tribulations.
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At Bat: several Czech Pils
On Deck: Cream Ale
In the Hole: Kolsch
Clean Up: Tall Ships Ale clones
On tap: Propeller Pils, Festa Cream Ale

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