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OL 10.5 TTF
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Haven't brewed in 4 years, the old cooler mash tun/propane kettle was an all day event and I don't have that kind of time. Picked up a Grainfather a month ago and already brewed 3 times. You can set the mash temp and walk away for an hour, come back to sparge and boil. Since it's electric I don't have to babysit it like my Blichman propane burner. It's a nice all in one compact system, the included CFC chiller cooled the wort to 65F right into the fermenter.




 

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There is a lot of really cool stuff out now. I still use propane burners and a 3 vessel system. I have a 5 gal batch down to about 4 hours from first burner light to cleaned up.
 

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OL 10.5 TTF
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Discussion Starter #5
There is a lot of really cool stuff out now. I still use propane burners and a 3 vessel system. I have a 5 gal batch down to about 4 hours from first burner light to cleaned up.
That's really impressive, I was close to building/buying a 3V system for the ability to brew larger batches or higher gravity batches. From what I've been reading an 18lb grain bill is about the largest the Grainfather can support for a 5.5/6 gallon batch. So far I've been impressed, hit 85-88% mash efficiency in my first three brews. Can't wait to taste them.
 

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That's really impressive, I was close to building/buying a 3V system for the ability to brew larger batches or higher gravity batches. From what I've been reading an 18lb grain bill is about the largest the Grainfather can support for a 5.5/6 gallon batch. So far I've been impressed, hit 85-88% mash efficiency in my first three brews. Can't wait to taste them.
My 3 vessel system is rednecked together. Some day I need to build a sculpture for it. 200k BTU burners made a huge difference in heating and boiling times and using a pre-chiller on my immersion chiller cut that time to almost a 1/3. It's really just another immersion setup that lives in a bucket of ice/salt water to chill down the cooling water before it enters the immersion chiller in the pot. I originally built that to get lagers down to fermentation temps but now use it all the time.

I like how compact the Grainfather is and the fact you can set it and forget it. Usually my brew days are a ton of running around like a flaming ape followed by periods of nothingness.

85% efficiency is awesome! I have been running right at 75%. 18lb grain bill is still pretty impressive. My 10gal mash tun maxes at 24lbs. Can you run longer boil cycles with it? When I ran my Christmas barley wine, I did a 120 minute boil to get the gravity up and the carmelization to where I wanted it for color.
 

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OL 10.5 TTF
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Discussion Starter #7
My 3 vessel system is rednecked together. Some day I need to build a sculpture for it. 200k BTU burners made a huge difference in heating and boiling times and using a pre-chiller on my immersion chiller cut that time to almost a 1/3. It's really just another immersion setup that lives in a bucket of ice/salt water to chill down the cooling water before it enters the immersion chiller in the pot. I originally built that to get lagers down to fermentation temps but now use it all the time.

I like how compact the Grainfather is and the fact you can set it and forget it. Usually my brew days are a ton of running around like a flaming ape followed by periods of nothingness.

85% efficiency is awesome! I have been running right at 75%. 18lb grain bill is still pretty impressive. My 10gal mash tun maxes at 24lbs. Can you run longer boil cycles with it? When I ran my Christmas barley wine, I did a 120 minute boil to get the gravity up and the carmelization to where I wanted it for color.
You can boil as long as you want. Since it's 120V it does take a while to get up to a boil. I turn the switch to boil when I lift the grain basket up to start sparging, by the time I'm done sparging it's usually close. The only thing it doesn't do is heat your sparge water, I have a separate electric kettle for that.
 

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OL 10.5 TTF
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OL 10.5 TTF
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Discussion Starter #13
What does a set up like that cost??

Have you figured out the cost per beer?
In my opinion you don't save any money brewing your own beer. It's a fun hobby just like cars where you keep buying new equipment and accessories. It's an awesome feeling to brew great beer and share it with your friends. It's fun trying to brew new styles and nail them. The Grainfather is around $800 and my kegging setup cost around $800. I have plenty more in fermenters, fermentation control, ph meter, hydrometers, tubing, air locks, etc. Grain, yeast, hops & minerals cost around $40 for 5 gallons, and I usually brew 7-8% abv IPA's or stouts. You can buy equipment a lot cheaper and piece it together, but I don't have that much free time anymore. I've already run 4 batches through the Grainfather and I'd highly recommend it. If you want to get started I'd recommend a propane burner, large kettle, and extract kits.
 

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OL 10.5 TTF
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Discussion Starter #14
My 3 vessel system is rednecked together. Some day I need to build a sculpture for it. 200k BTU burners made a huge difference in heating and boiling times and using a pre-chiller on my immersion chiller cut that time to almost a 1/3. It's really just another immersion setup that lives in a bucket of ice/salt water to chill down the cooling water before it enters the immersion chiller in the pot. I originally built that to get lagers down to fermentation temps but now use it all the time.

I like how compact the Grainfather is and the fact you can set it and forget it. Usually my brew days are a ton of running around like a flaming ape followed by periods of nothingness.

85% efficiency is awesome! I have been running right at 75%. 18lb grain bill is still pretty impressive. My 10gal mash tun maxes at 24lbs. Can you run longer boil cycles with it? When I ran my Christmas barley wine, I did a 120 minute boil to get the gravity up and the carmelization to where I wanted it for color.
Do you use the 5 gallon corny kegs? I've been tapping some samples with a picnic tap and the dip tube keeps clogging. I used a nylon bag for my dry hopping in the primary, I didn't dry hop in the keg. I'm wondering if I can cut a 1/2 in off the dip tube.
 

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Do you use the 5 gallon corny kegs? I've been tapping some samples with a picnic tap and the dip tube keeps clogging. I used a nylon bag for my dry hopping in the primary, I didn't dry hop in the keg. I'm wondering if I can cut a 1/2 in off the dip tube.
I use 3 gallon and 5 gallon corny kegs - ball lock. If you cut 1/2" off the bottom of the tube, you will leave 1/2" of beer in the bottom which isn't the end of the world. The tubes aren't difficult to remove if you wanted to change it back.

How soon after fermentation was over did you keg? I usually will go 7 days after FG has stabilized and then chill it down in the fermenter to serving temp, dropping 5 deg per day. When I rack it, leave all the trub in the bottom of the fermenter. I built one of these so I don't need to use a siphon:

http://www.love2brew.com/Articles.asp?ID=675

If the beer is fairly clear, I wonder if there is gunk in the dip tube or the fittings that is hosing things up.
 

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In my opinion you don't save any money brewing your own beer. It's a fun hobby just like cars where you keep buying new equipment and accessories. It's an awesome feeling to brew great beer and share it with your friends. It's fun trying to brew new styles and nail them.
Exactly, especially counting your time. If you drink Coors/Miller/Bud you won't save any money at all. If you have a microbrew habit where 6 packs run $8-10 each, you might come out a little bit ahead on ingredients vs. finished product but it would take forever for it to return your investment. It's definitely not something you do to save money on beer.

But... if you want to have a keg of a white IPA, a keg of hard cider, and a keg of 13% barleywine all on tap at the same time, you can't beat homebrewing. (That's what I have on tap right now)
 

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OL 10.5 TTF
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Discussion Starter #18
Another thought on the clog... tear apart the QDs on the fluid side and see if the plunger is hanging up?
Just did that, there was hop gunk in the plunger spring. Everything's flowing well now.
 

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OL 10.5 TTF
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Discussion Starter #19
I use 3 gallon and 5 gallon corny kegs - ball lock. If you cut 1/2" off the bottom of the tube, you will leave 1/2" of beer in the bottom which isn't the end of the world. The tubes aren't difficult to remove if you wanted to change it back.

How soon after fermentation was over did you keg? I usually will go 7 days after FG has stabilized and then chill it down in the fermenter to serving temp, dropping 5 deg per day. When I rack it, leave all the trub in the bottom of the fermenter. I built one of these so I don't need to use a siphon:

http://www.love2brew.com/Articles.asp?ID=675

If the beer is fairly clear, I wonder if there is gunk in the dip tube or the fittings that is hosing things up.
Thanks!! The Pliny was 2 weeks in primary, 1 in secondary dry hopping. Probably 10 days after FG stopped dropping. The Pale Ale was 14 days total in the primary, last 5 were dry hopped. I think I have everything running smoothly now.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Exactly, especially counting your time. If you drink Coors/Miller/Bud you won't save any money at all. If you have a microbrew habit where 6 packs run $8-10 each, you might come out a little bit ahead on ingredients vs. finished product but it would take forever for it to return your investment. It's definitely not something you do to save money on beer.

But... if you want to have a keg of a white IPA, a keg of hard cider, and a keg of 13% barleywine all on tap at the same time, you can't beat homebrewing. (That's what I have on tap right now)

My wife loves Weihenstephaner, $13 for a 6 pack here. Cost me $30 for ingredients including the Wyeast 3068. If I live another 300 years I might recoup the money, lol.
 
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