3 vessel system or Grainfather?

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ches501
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3 vessel system or Grainfather?

Post by ches501 » Fri Jul 08, 2016 10:36 pm

Evening all.

So I've got to the stage where I have saved the cash to buy some kit to start all grain brewing. I've spent hours looking on the web at the options available but I am still not sure which way to go. I would appreciate any opinions on what people feel is the best way forward, and apologies in advance as I'm sure these questions will have been asked before...

First question - do I buy a 3 vessel stainless system or go for a Grainfather? To be honest I can see pro's for both options.

Then, if I go the 3 vessel route, do I go gas or electric??

Cheers

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thepatchworkdoll
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Re: 3 vessel system or Grainfather?

Post by thepatchworkdoll » Fri Jul 08, 2016 11:24 pm

Hi Ches

go the extra mile and get yourself a Spiedel Braumeister. its a fantastic bit of kit. mind you in all fairness every system will make good beer if you are a decent brewer.
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patch

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3 vessel system or Grainfather?

Post by ciderhead » Sat Jul 09, 2016 2:35 am

BM if you are more interested in brewing beer rather than fettling.

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Re: 3 vessel system or Grainfather?

Post by alexlark » Sat Jul 09, 2016 7:51 am

Have you considered BIAB?

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Re: 3 vessel system or Grainfather?

Post by Pinto » Sat Jul 09, 2016 8:09 am

All stainless 3V or a Ghetto build out of what you can salvage/buy cheapest ?

All brew good beer, but as mentioned, a 3V is a lot more "hands on" than the click and forget system. However, in it's favour its by FAR the cheapest "pence-per-pint" bit of kit (other than BIAB) - the Grainfather being steep and the Braumeister obscene in this aspect (yes, the Miser force is STRONG in me - you'd need to brew over 1,000 pints in a Braumeister to bring the price-per down to match ales bought in a shop ! ). As Alex mentions above, BIAB is another even cheaper, simpler option (and ideal when you want to try something out or make a quick, smaller volume brew without the hastle of getting all your kit out :) )

Just to add to your confusion more, you can also find a lot of home built "braumiser" all in one vessels if you have an aptitude for tinkering - Barneey's thread on the matter is a superb resource; or you can add automation via pumps, RIMS/HERMS and arduino process control to your 3V....

On matters of heating a 3V, where are you going to brew ? All electric is easy and convenient but needs access to a decent heavy duty electricity supply - which can be expensive infrastructure to build. Gas is portable, can be used anywhere but needs protecting from drafts and adds extra issues to kit building.

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Re: 3 vessel system or Grainfather?

Post by irv » Sat Jul 09, 2016 9:04 am

Have you tried all grain brewing before? as you don't need to spend a fortune to try it, then if you decide you want to continue you can buy lots of shiny things.

google "Babbs System Wars - Ghetto" videos

ches501
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Re: 3 vessel system or Grainfather?

Post by ches501 » Sat Jul 09, 2016 9:09 am

Thanks for the replies everyone - more things to think about.....

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Re: 3 vessel system or Grainfather?

Post by Hairybiker » Sat Jul 09, 2016 10:06 am

If you have the money go for the Grainfather.
I will have mine for a year next month. Not had a bad brew from it yet.
I also have a 3V system up for sale ;-) A lot cheaper than the GF.

3V gives you more flexibility but the GF makes it easier.
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vacant
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Re: 3 vessel system or Grainfather?

Post by vacant » Sat Jul 09, 2016 10:29 am

I started brew-in-a-bag (BIAB) eight years ago with a 60ltr plastic euro-bucket and a net curtain for the grain held in place with bungees strapped around the top. By far the cheapest way to AG and easy to put together. I still use that combo once in a while.

But, but, but .... over the years I have picked up cheap a shiny mash tun, shiny boiler, five cornies, made a brew fridge, bought a reverse osmosis water system. I love it, I can brew for two cornies (38 ltr).

I guess we need to know more about you. Budget? Perfectionist with no spare time? God at DIY or can't wire a plug? Kyle_T sold his BM recently as he missed the tinkering (according to his post on craft brewing).
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Re: 3 vessel system or Grainfather?

Post by Haydnexport » Sat Jul 09, 2016 10:52 am

I've been brewing all grain just over a year i think, first couple were old keggle and net curtain biab , made a mess and had a hell of a day , thought it wasnt for me , BUT i tried the lager 6 weeks later , and it was amazing. I think i'd have gone for a grainfather straight off the bat if i knew how good it turned out , but having said that im in the middle of upgrading to a 100l 3v setup so i can brew a good batch of my favourite while i can still brew 20l - 40l on my old gear to fine tune recipies , the biggest restraint on the all in ones is how much you can do in one go.

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Re: 3 vessel system or Grainfather?

Post by bigtoe » Sat Jul 09, 2016 12:45 pm

For 23L to 25L and less brews for me the Grainfather won out while i was researching and can be had for under 600 quid now if you search around. Its seriously efficient also which helps you get the best from your brewing and everything you need is right there in the box.

I even brew kit beers in mine, partial mash, oats steeped etc, really good for Cooper stout tweaks etc.

Only issue...25L brews are a real push sometimes, very close on overflowing,a 3 pot system could brew more in one go.

Also if space is an issue as it is for me...everything packs up into the GF for storage. ;)

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Re: 3 vessel system or Grainfather?

Post by Secla » Sat Jul 09, 2016 5:08 pm

I think doing it all again I'd probably go with a all in 1 system. I went 3v for the flexibility and hands on aspect and I can produce higher gravity beers ! In reality I don't really brew higher gravity beers and the extra work means I get to brew less often !

I guess it depends what you want out of it at the end of the day

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Re: 3 vessel system or Grainfather?

Post by mbarn » Sat Jul 09, 2016 9:31 pm

Grain father or Braumeister. I chose the BM over the GF, only because of the greater control. Since GF are bringing out a new controller, it could be real competition for the BM.
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Re: 3 vessel system or Grainfather?

Post by Matt in Birdham » Sat Jul 09, 2016 10:21 pm

As others have mentioned, it really depends on what you are looking for. If you just want to brew beer, and have little interest in the tinkering side of things, then get one of the all-in-one systems - I don't think you can go wrong with any of them. If you enjoy tinkering (and many of us do), then building a system is a lot of fun (but won't get you better results). The simplest and cheapest set up is probably a 2 vessel system, with the good old fashioned converted cooler for a mash tun and a "bucket of death" boiler. If you get a big enough mash tun, you can "full volume mash", which means that you can use your boiler to heat your mash liquor, add it to your cooler, mash, and drain back to the kettle, without needing a third vessel to heat sparge water. Even simpler (in some ways) is to BIAB, although in this case you will need to either insulate your boiler or provide another means of keeping your mash at temp.

On the electric/gas issue my feelings are stronger :) Having brewed on gas for a few years, I've now gone electric (induction) and won't ever be going back. Gas is noisy, expensive (in bottles, at least), hot and requires good ventilation - plus it comes with the added pain in the backside of having to replace gas bottles (often at crucial moments). Electric is better in every respect as far as I am concerned, although things might start to get a little trickier if you want to brew bigger batches.

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Re: 3 vessel system or Grainfather?

Post by chastuck » Sun Jul 10, 2016 10:38 am

I built a stainless steel 3 vessel system with pumps and a CFC. Well actually it may be a 4V, as I have a 100L boiler as well as a 75L one and use whatever is matching my brew length. It uses Blichmann pots and is a clone, with my alterations, of The Electric Brewery system. I also just recently bought a 50L Braumeister.

What is the best to use? Well, it all depends really, and in my case it depends on space. I have no permanent brewing area - no garage, or large shed for instance. So what I have to do is store everything in my cavernous loft and drop it all down bit by bit with an electric winch when I need to use it. If I could have had a permanent set up with all the stainless steel vessels kept in-situ. I would never have purchased the BM. The 3V system also looks so much better! I much prefer the hands-on approach needed for a 3V system and I think it makes slightly better beer. However, it is so much easier to set up, use, and to clean the BM. Also the overall brewing process is a little quicker. So in conclusion, the only advice I can offer is to check your space and setting up requirements. If space is at a premium and you want something that can be put away quickly get a BM or GF. If you want total control and have the space for a permanent set up, go for a 3V. Have a look here at my 3V system: http://www.beohhasbrewhouse.co.uk. I have to erect an 8ft x 12ft gazebo to use it in.

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