by Deborah Mitchell
grainfather all in one brew system
What is the Grainfather?

You must have lived under a rock if you’ve followed homebrew over the last few years and haven’t come across the Grainfather! If somehow you’ve not seen this before, the Grainfather is the All-in-one brewing system. You can mash, sparge and boil in a single vessel and they even include a super-efficient counter-flow chiller – not enough? The even have free recipe software and a Bluetooth enabled control box so you can plan your brewday and then control it from your phone.

Why an All-in-one Brewing System?

The biggest advantages of having an all-in-one system are things like space saving, time saving, more control, less to clean and the ease of using in doors.

The Grainfather is an electric, pump driven system which allows you to have a recirculating mash whilst maintaining the heat perfectly. This helps get the most out of your malt and is so easily repeatable – imagine making the best beer ever and being able to make it again and again! If you want the same level of control from a three-vessel system, you would probably need herms pots, insulated mash tuns, countless valves, elements and it would probably cost a hell of a lot more when you add it all up.

The Grainfather takes away none of the fun – sure it helps control a few things, but you’re still creating your exact recipe, still mashing in, sparging, throwing in the hops etc… it’s proper brewing and I doubt you’d find a single user that disagrees with this. It also pretty much cleans itself – just rinse out after use, heat some water, put everything you used back in. Then throw in their High-Performance cleaner, connect the chiller and switch the pump on. You can expect to be finished and tidied away within 4-5 hours without rushing or stressing at all. All of the fun, less of the mess.

Why the Grainfather?

There’s other all in ones on the market that cater for different budgets. Some benefits the Grainfather offers include the most advanced, user friendly controller on the market, along with the software to go with it. It makes use of a PID algorithm, so where as other systems power is either on or off, the Grainfather reduces power sent to the element as it approaches the desired temperature, so it doesn’t overshoot. It then regulates the elements to accurately keep it stable. You can reduce the vigour of the boil if you want to and even change what the system recognises as your boil temperature (handy for those who live high up). An added bonus for me is the ability to tell the controller when to switch on the heat. I often brew first thing in the morning so set up the night before and wake up to my strike water heated, ready to mash in. It saves time and allows me to be finished and tidied away well before lunch.

The chiller is a real step up from the standard immersion coils – you pump your wort straight into the fermenter via the counter flow chiller (essentially a heat exchanger), running cold water through the other fittings. It remarkably chills from boiling to room temperature on its journey through and you can pitch your yeast straight away when the wort is all in your fermenter. Depending how cold your ground water is, it can chill a 23l batch in as little as 10 minutes.

The build quality is excellent compared to some budget systems and the modular design allows you to upgrade your brewery when something that interests you comes along. They don’t leave customers behind – for example, the recent change from a manual control box to the Bluetooth connect box mentioned above is available for users with older models.

The customer service is also really important to the folks at Grainfather. They have guys in the UK as well as New Zealand and any issues are dealt with quickly and efficiently – the warranty is 2 years for your peace of mind. We know guys that have clocked up well over 300 brews in the two and a half years on the market and still going strong – that would be a life times use for many of us!

I could go on all day about the Grainfather, but a lot of it’s already been said elsewhere. The countless user videos on youtube, the blogs, forum posts and chatter on social media are overwhelmingly positive which is a real testament to the guys at Grainfather. It’s been designed by brewers for brewers and it really tells!

What about Grainfather Ingredients?

Geterbrewed have specific Grainfather recipe packs but you can also retrieve a full catalogue for recipes from the Grainfather app and use the custom grain kit recipe service to build those recipes

Genuinely one of the best options for anyone interested in getting into all grain brewing