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Colm89’s “probably should have just bought a grainfather” thread

Started by colm89, November 12, 2020, 02:24:23 PM

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molc

There's a whole thread somewhere on the forums where I've built a full 3V setup with automation. I love the thing, but I'm probably 100+ brews down on a grainfather and I rarely dust off the big rig as it's just too time consuming.

That said, I dont regret building the main rig; it was a lot of fun. Just the most efficient path to beer is the grainfather by far.
Fermenting: IPA, Lambic, Mead
Conditioning: Lambic, Cider, RIS, Ole Ale, Saison
On Tap: IPA, Helles, Best Bitter

colm89

Thanks all for the food for thought, it has of course not helped my decision at all  :D

The boiler arrived yesterday, so I settled in with the remains of my German blonde ale to have a good heart to heart with the buffalo to come to a mutual decision.

We arrived at the conclusion that I'll plough on with the diy plan and if it goes belly up and I survive the electrocutions I'll get a grainfather. I'm a diyer/bodger at heart.

So here he is, the 30 litre buffalo:


colm89

As a start point I need to get an order in for a 1/2" tap kit and a filter of some sort, possibly the one craftyfecker linked, although if I'm mashing in a bag and adding hops in a bag maybe it's excessive?

Also need to order some insulation and aluminium tape.

First brew day with the new boiler is currently planned for tomorrow week, so need to pick up a wort chiller too, as I can't exactly drop this in an ice bath to cool it!

Inky

I'm kinda along the lines of ibecake  I have it in my head that "I can build it" 🤣 it may take me a long time and I'll prob electrocute myself too ha but its the fun of building it too.

colm89

Geterbrewed have a 15% discount on the brew monk, and I came very close to just ordering one, but I'm committed to trying the diy route now.

I have ordered a ball valve and some other stainless fittings from brewbuilder, and need to order some thermawrap!

DEMPSEY

Dei miscendarum discipulus
Forgive us our Hangovers as we forgive those who hangover against us

colm89

Quote from: DEMPSEY on November 16, 2020, 11:07:13 AMPlan a 3 way valve in your build plan

I've ordered a standard ball valve but am curious to hear why I should have gotten one of these?

DEMPSEY

You will find that when you start setting out your plan, a 3 way valve makes it handy to change wort direction from example recirculation to transfer to a boil kettle. If its a 3 vessel design that is. If you plan a BIAB model like a grainfather single vessel then not so much.
 
Dei miscendarum discipulus
Forgive us our Hangovers as we forgive those who hangover against us

DEMPSEY

A pencil an A4 blank book and a rubber is a great start and its cheap too ;)
Dei miscendarum discipulus
Forgive us our Hangovers as we forgive those who hangover against us

colm89

Quote from: DEMPSEY on November 16, 2020, 11:27:56 AMYou will find that when you start setting out your plan, a 3 way valve makes it handy to change wort direction from example recirculation to transfer to a boil kettle. If its a 3 vessel design that is. If you plan a BIAB model like a grainfather single vessel then not so much.
 

Aha, got you, definitely staying with single vessel BIAB initially due to space constraints!

Gerryjo

Like @Bazza I have a Burco but modified with 1/2 SS ball valve,copper manifold and the addition of a 12v water pump rated to 100 degrees and use it for recirculating to a mash tun but it's the same for BIAB.These are cheap and reliable if your interested.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/HSeaMall-Brushless-Submersible-Amphibious-Circulation/dp/B07L89V1N6/ref=sr_1_5?dchild=1&keywords=12v+hot+water+pump&qid=1605617309&sr=8-5

colm89

Not a whole heap to update here, as I wait for a delivery from brew builder and Amazon.

I have removed the original spigot:



And simplified the wiring to remove the thermostat:

Before:


After:


Thermostat out:


In the post arriving at various points this week I have:
1/2" ss ball valve, various 1/2" ss fittings, and a bazooka filter
PID kit, on/off toggle switch, ceramic connector blocks

Spend to date:
BIAB bag - €27.17
Hop bag - €9.95
30L buffalo boiler - €133.08
1/2" tap/fittings/filter - €71.50
PID kit/toggle switches/ceramic blocks - €61.76
TOTAL - €303.46

Current cost of grainfather g30 on geterbrewed - €746.67

Cost delta - +€443.21

I'm not far off the cost of a brew monk, and when I buy a pump and other necessary bits I'll probably tip it over the current cost of the brew monk, but sure look, isn't it keeping me occupied in lockdown  ;D

Shanna

My two cents. I built a four vessel system over time with various mods for automation as three pump input and output, timed start/switch off and temperature threshold switch off. I use it to brew 20 to 40 litre batches of beer. It is a bit of work to set up but mainly because I don't leave everything in place so I disassemble and reassemble  after and before every brew. I can't and won't comment on the grain father as I don't have one. I have heard others talk about the convenience integrated app, automation and even the counter flow chiller all great I am sure. I have also heard others talk about slow times to achieve boil and heat sparge water so that people buy extra pots and extra heat sticks to help speed things up.

My own preference is to do things myself as much as possible and I lucky to have a large brewing space to store and use the system I have. I have learned how to bend and solder copper pipes to make two copper chiller coils, wire up stc 1000 (32 amp) temperature controller and also made a home made PID controller for a fraction of the cost. But really it is not only about money it is for me about being able to tinker and adapt the setup as I like it. I would suspect that there are a lot of home made three vessels systems gathering dust owned by grain father owners that if one made an offer the grain father owners would sell on.

Shanna
Cornie keg group buy organiser, storeman & distribution point
Hops Group buy packer
Regulator & Taps distribution point
Stainless Steel Fermenter Group Buy Organiser
South Dublin Brewers member

colm89

I brewed 10 litres of ipa with this boiler on Friday in its current state (1/2 inch ball valve fitted and thermostat removed), and following the 60 minute boil the plug housing and cable got very warm. The plug pins themselves were too hot to touch.

Google suggests the plug socket itself could be the problem, and it probably is quite old, but changing it is not an option as we're currently in a rental house.

I'm going to try a different socket next time but if it happens again I might give up on the diy route and investigate an alternative. I guess if it's the case that the socket is old causing higher resistance then I'll encounter the same with another electric all in one system?

Shanna

Maybe consult an eletrician or landlord as this could be indicitive of a more general problem with the wiring. Replacing a socket wven in a rented house is not something I would personally give a second thought. I would consider finding the fuseboard and isolate the problem socket by switching off the fuse that controls it and check that all of the connections are good and tight in the socket. Double check for any signs of carbon build up, scorching  or anything that might be oily, greasy or black in colour. If you see that it indicates an overheat and I would get the socket replaced. I recently had this problem in one of the sockets in the shed. What tipped me off was sparking when removing the plug.

As it turned out there was a significant carbon build up. No problem with the device just the socket eventually wore out from 40+ brews with a 2.7kw element plugged in to it. Remember the heaters do heat and it would not be unusual for a water heater running continously for minutes and on all of the time to have some heat.

Also if you could limit the things operating on the same electrical circuit to just your boiler you would reduce the chance of an overload.

Shanna
Cornie keg group buy organiser, storeman & distribution point
Hops Group buy packer
Regulator & Taps distribution point
Stainless Steel Fermenter Group Buy Organiser
South Dublin Brewers member