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General

Is there a warranty on Grainfather products?

We offer a warranty on all Grainfather appliances which you can read about here.

Glycol Chiller

There is some liquid on the floor under my Glycol Chiller. Is my chiller leaking?

Early Edition (Non-LED Touch Panel)

It is highly unlikely that the chiller is leaking glycol. The contents of the puddle is likely to be condensate water which can form on the internal components of the chiller. The base of the chiller has small holes for this condensate water to exit so it does not build up within the unit. In high temperature and/or humidity environments there may be a large amount of condensation which results in a puddle under the chiller. This can easily be dealt with using a towel or mop. if the liquid is glycol it will smell sweet and be slick to the touch.

Touch Panel Edition

It is highly unlikely that the chiller is leaking glycol. The contents of the puddle is likely to be condensate water which can form on the internal components of the chiller. The base of the chiller has small holes for this condensate water to exit so it does not build up within the unit. In high temperature and/or humidity environments there may be a large amount of condensation which results in a puddle under the chiller. This can easily be dealt with using a towel or mop. if the liquid is glycol it will smell sweet and be slick to the touch.

If you suspect that the liquid is glycol, ensure that the glycol filter cap is tightened firmly (hand tight only). If there is still evidence of glycol leaking after doing this, the silicon seal in the glycol filter may need replacing. You can contact Grainfather Customer Support and request a free replacement seal.

Why is my Conical Fermenter not cooling/displaying consistent high temperature when used with the Glycol Chiller?

• The Conical Fermenter Digital Temperature Controller can be set to 'heat only', 'cool only' & programmed to default to the 'heat and cool' setting. Make sure your controller is set to either 'cool' or 'heat and 'cool' by following the Conical Fermenter's instruction booklet.

• Make sure the fermenter number selected on the Glycol Chiller corresponds to the connection port that your Conical Fermenter is connected to.

• Make sure the Conical Fermenter Digital Temperature Controller's connection pins are clean and free of debris/dust at all times. A 'dirty' connection may cause the controller to either lose power or misread and display an incorrect temperature on the display.

Can I use the Glycol Chiller in place of the Grainfather Counter Flow Wort Chiller?

No. These products are for completely different purposes and can not be used interchangeably and may permanently damage the Glycol Chiller if used in this way.

Can I take a specific gravity (SG) reading of my glycol mixture

Yes. The SG of the recommended glycol mixture (33% propylene glycol, 67% water) is approximately 1.030 when measured using a hydrometer at 20ºC (68ºF). At this temperature, if your SG reading is greater than 1.030, your mixture consists of more than 33% propylene glycol and vice versa. Please note that refractometers may not yield accurate SG readings. We recommend using a hydrometer for glycol mixtures.

When I already have one fermenter held at low temperature by the Glycol Chiller and begin cooling another fermenter, the first fermenter rises in temperature significantly. What can I do about this?

To limit the impact of this, try the following:
•When attaching a new fermenter, keep the glycol port corresponding to the first fermenter (already at low temperature) closed, by pressing the number that corresponds to this fermenter. Wait until the Glycol Chiller temperature drops to below the first fermenter’s target temperature before starting to the cool it again.

•Cool the second fermenter in stages. For example; programme the new fermenters target temperature 3ºC below its current temperature and then every 2 hours decrease it by an additional 3ºC until you reach your desired temperature. This will limit the amount the glycol will rise in temperature, so it will not affect the first fermenter. This also aids in stopping air getting into the fermenter through the air lock due to rapid cooling of the beer.

A while after I begin cooling my Conical Fermenter using the Glycol Chiller, the glycol temperature increases drastically. Is this normal?

Yes, this is normal. The highest temperature the glycol reaches will depend on the initial fermenter temperature and the target temperature on the conical fermenter. The greater the difference between these temperatures, the higher the temperature the glycol can reach. Over time the glycol temperature should slowly decrease again.

Do I need to replace the glycol in the fermenter and chiller?

You should not need to replace the glycol mixture in the fermenter. Generally, you should not need to replace it in the chiller either however if you notice the chiller performance having decreased over time it could be due to the mixture getting contaminated or having an incorrect glycol-water ratio. If this is the case, you should replace it with new glycol mixture. If desired, you can also simply replace it every 6 months or so. 

To replace all existing glycol mixture with new glycol mixture, follow the steps below: 


Early Version (Non-LED Touch Panel)

• Attach a silicone hose to the glycol outlet connection of any channel and put the free end into a bucket or sink.  

• Make sure all number buttons are in their OFF positions. 
 

• Connect an M12 power cord from a 
Grainfather Conical Fermenter to the selected channel on the Glycol Chiller and set the fermenter's controller temperature to a value lower than its current temperature. 
 

• Press the corresponding number button to begin pumping out the existing glycol mixture. 
 

• IMPORTANT: When the low glycol indicator comes on and pumping stops, press the number button to turn it off. 
 

• Top up with new glycol mixture as per the instruction manual. 
 

NOTE: If for any reason the low glycol indicator does not come on, do not run the pump for more than 5 minutes

Touch Panel Edition

• Attach a hose to the glycol outlet connection of any channel.

• Put the free end of the hose into a bucket or sink for the glycol mixture to exit into.

• Turn the Glycol Chiller on. Then make sure all number buttons are in their OFF position (unlit).

• Enter pump override mode by pressing and holding the “” button for 5 seconds. The SET button should be flashing to indicate the chiller is in pump override mode. This disables the low glycol level warning and also allows the pump to run without a cooling signal from a Grainfather Conical Fermenter.

• To begin removing the existing glycol mixture from the glycol tank, press the number button on the Glycol Chiller that corresponds to the outlet where you have attached the hose. When the glycol stops flowing, press the number button to stop the pump.

• Turn the chiller off.

• Discard the glycol mixture you have removed from the chiller.

• Before replacing the glycol in the tank, you will need to clean the glycol filter. Remove the white cap of the glycol filter located on the back of the chiller.

• Remove the filter from inside the housing, then rinse with clean water ensuring it’s free from any foreign matter. Replace the filter into the housing and replace the cap tightly.

• You will now need to top up the glycol tank with 6 L (1.6 US Gal) of glycol mixture (consisting of 2 L (0.5 US Gal) glycol & 4 L (1 US Gal) water). Top up as per the Topping Up the Glycol Tank sub-section of the full instructions (page 6).


NOTE: running the pump dry for an extended period of time will cause damage to the pump. DO NOT leave
the chiller unattended when in pump override mode.

I am pressing the power button on my Glycol Chiller and it does not turn on. Why is this happening?

Early Version (Non-LED Touch Panel)

Ensure the unit is plugged inthe power button is engaged and the red backlight is on.  Should nothing happen please contact Grainfather Customer Support. 


Touch Panel Edition

Ensure the unit is plugged in, the power button is engaged and the red backlight is on.  

The Glycol Chiller will turn on with a single, short-press of the power button. Make sure you are not pressing and holding the button as this will not turn the unit on. 

Alternative terms to describe a short-press would be "touch" or "push". 

Should nothing happen after following these steps, please contact Grainfather Customer Support. 

Why is the LED touch panel controller not responding?

It is likely that the Glycol Chiller touch panel is locked. To lock or unlock, press and hold the power button for 6 seconds. If you wish, you can lock the touch panel to avoid accidentally changing the settings. 

My Glycol Chiller doesn't seem to be pumping any glycol to my fermenter. How can I fix this?

Early Edition (Non-LED Touch Panel)

There are number of reasons why this may happen:  
 

• Please check you haven’t turned on your pump without any liquid inside the reservoir. If so, this has possibly damaged your unit.

• Ensure that your Glycol Chiller is receiving a cooling signal from your fermenter, by identifying that the correct number button is pressed and that it has lit up blue. If the button has not lit up blue, check the following:  

• The Conical Fermenter Digital Temperature Controller status shows “cooling.”  

• The M12 power cord has been firmly connected between the fermenter and the glycol chiller.  

• If you just topped up with glycol mixture, then there could be some air bubbles trapped in the pump preventing it from working. Turn the chiller off and wait up to an hour and try again. When topping up the tank in the future, consider pouring more slowly to minimise the amount of air that can get trapped. 
 
• If this is the first time using the Glycol Chiller and you forgot to prime the pump and topped up the tank with glycol mixture instead, there could be a significant amount of trapped air preventing the pump from working. Turn the chiller off. Open the cap on the top of the chiller, then using a siphon, remove as much of the glycol-water mixture as possible from the tank. You can now prime your pump as per the steps found in the Glycol Chiller instructional manual.

There are number of reasons why this may happen:  

Touch Panel Edition

• Please check you haven’t turned on your pump without any liquid inside the reservoir. If so, this has possibly damaged your unit.  

• Ensure that your Glycol Chiller is receiving a cooling signal from your fermenter, by identifying that the correct number button is used and that it has a flashing blue light. If the blue light is not flashing, check the following:  

• The Conical Fermenter Digital Temperature Controller status shows “cooling.”  

• The M12 power cord has been firmly connected between the fermenter and the glycol chiller.  

• If you just topped up with glycol mixture, then there could be some air bubbles trapped in the pump preventing it from working. Turn the chiller off and wait up to an hour and try again. When topping up the tank in the future, consider pouring more slowly to minimise the amount of air that can get trapped.  

• If this is the first time using the Glycol Chiller and you forgot to prime the pump and topped up the tank with glycol mixture instead, there could be a significant amount of trapped air preventing the pump from working. Turn the chiller off. Open the cap on the top of the chiller, then using a siphon, remove as much of the glycol-water mixture as possible from the tank. You can now prime your pump as per the steps found in the Glycol Chiller instructional manual. 

30 L Brewing System

How can I keep my perforated plate seals from coming off when I put the plates in?

There are seals because it is important that the plate is tight on the inside of the basket but this can happen if you try to insert the plates dry.

  • Try dipping them into water before inserting. When you are filling grain into the basket it gets dusty on the sides – this grain flour will also help the plates to slide down easily without the seals coming off. You could even sprinkle grain dust on the seal before inserting.
  • It is also a good idea to ease them in on an angle and then straighten up to make it easier.

My pump is not running 100%, it’s making a humming noise, what’s wrong?

It could be one of two reasons;

  1. The pump has become blocked – did you use the cap or the grain stopper on the overflow pipe when you mashed in? If not, some grain may have gotten into the pipe and may be causing the blockage.
  2. You may have an airlock – this is caused by gas being trapped in the pipe.

For either of these issues we would recommend fixing a hose to your discharge pipe and forcing water back down the pipe to push out any blockages. Once you have done this fill the unit with water and try the pump again. If this still does not work let us know by giving us a quick call or email and we will guide you through the next course of action.

What is the best cleaner to clean the Grainfather with after each use?

  • We recommend using the Grainfather High Performance Cleaner as this has been developed and specifically tested for use with the Grainfather and its soft and hard metals.
  • If Grainfather High Performance Cleaner is not available, use a non corrosive, alkaline cleaner such as PBW. Avoid cleaners high in acid and avoid common household bleach.

Where and how can I get spare parts or upgrades?

If you require spare parts or upgrades you can request these from your local retailer.

30 L Conical Fermenter

Can I do smaller batches than 30 L (8 US Gal) and still expect efficient heating/cooling?

When heating the contents of the fermenter, this will work with any amount of liquid as it heats from the bottom. Anything below 19 L (5 US Gal) for cooling won’t be as effective.

How accurately does the wall mounted thermometer represent the temperature inside the fermenter?

The thermometer accurately reads the temperature at the top of the cone. This is also where the heating unit is located, so when heating the contents of the fermenter, the thermal circulation will keep the temperature fairly even.

How does heating work in the fermenter?

In the cavity of the fermenter between the outer body and cone sits a 30 Watt 12V heating element. Unlike standard heating element/sources that directly heat liquid, this is designed to heat the environment in between the walls of the fermenter, which in turn heats the liquid. It is similar to controlling the temperature in a temperature controlled room. This way, the beer is not heating at a single small point, it is evenly and ‘calmly’ heated.

What volume measurement markings are visible in the fermenter?

The measurements are in both L and US Gal, 15 L up to 25 L and 4 US Gal up to 7 US Gal

Why does the temperature of the fermenter rise above my target temperature in the first few days of fermentation?

When your ambient temperature is lower than your target temperature, you’ll want to use the heating unit to raise the temperature to meet your target. During the active stage of fermentation (exothermic reaction with the yeast), the temperature can rise by a few degrees. This is a common occurence and doesn’t generally affect the beer but if you are worried you could try setting the target a few degrees lower. Alternatively, for accurate temperature control throughout the whole fermentation process, you can hook the fermenter up to the Grainfather Glycol Chiller.

What products can I use to clean my fermenter?

Any fermenter sanitiser will be fine. The fermenter is all stainless steel so as long as it is rinsed properly there won’t be any issues.

Can I bottle directly from my fermenter?

Yes. As with most fermenters if you do not have C02 to push the beer out you will need to lift the fermenter higher. Connect a tube to the sample valve which can be opened and closed. Then fill the bottle with this tube.

I am struggling to harvest the yeast from my fermenter because my yeast dump valve is blocked. What do I do?

In this instance it is likely you are not removing the yeast soon enough in the process. After primary fermentation is complete you should leave it no longer than 2 days before harvesting your yeast. Dumping your yeast regularly will also help with this.

Is there a risk of oxygen contamination after dumping the trub or dry hopping?

Though there is always some risk of oxygen contamination associated with these stages, it is very minimal. When you disrupt the beer in this manner, some dissolved CO2 is likely to escape which will force the oxygen out of the fermenter and a small amount of oxygen can be absorbed by the yeast during active fermentation. As with any fermenter you should be careful to minimize oxygen pick up as much as possible once fermentation has begun.

Does the Grainfather Conical Fermenter have a racking arm?

Yes. The dual valve tap has an arm that extends above the yeast and hops to collect a clear sample.

What is the coldest temperature the Grainfather Conical Fermenter can reach?

4ºC (39ºF) with beer.

What is the height from the bottom ferrule to the floor?

165 mm (6.5”)

When using the Dual Valve Tap, is there enough room to take a sample and dump the yeast?

Yes, to dump your yeast, you will need something similar to a 500 ml (16.9 fl oz.) beaker for collection. If you use something larger to collect your yeast in, you will need 19 mm (0.75”) (internal diameter) tubing for collection. You can take a sample for a refractometer reading from the sample outlet but if you would like to take a sample big enough for a hydrometer reading, you will need a 10 mm (0.39”) (internal diameter) tubing to attached to the sample outlet.

Can I use a blowoff tube with the Grainfather Conical Fermenter ? If yes, how do I set this up?

You will need a fitting that can connect the blow off tube to the 38 mm (1.5” ferrule). We don’t sell this.

Connect Control Box

How far can I be away from my Grainfather but still be connected?

If you are more than 30 m (98 ft) away and your Grainfather is in the line of sight you will still be connected. Indoors it is approximately 10 m (33 ft), dependent on how many walls in the house etc. You don’t need to worry though, if you do happen to go out of range, the timer for your brew session will continue, just any changes you make while out of range will only update once back in range.

My boil temperature is not 100ºC/212°F, how do I change it to suit my area?

A custom boil temperature can be enabled in the menu under settings (called Custom Boil Temperature). Once enabled simply enter your boil temperature.

I have upgraded to the Connect Control Box, what do I do with my Element Variation Switch now?

Simply leave your Element Variation Switch on 'Normal' at all times. The Connect Control Box will change between elements as it needs to instead of you manually controlling this.

Why doesn't the Connect Control Box sit properly on my Grainfather?

The lugs that come on the back of the control box are adjustable. Unscrew them and move them to the other spot that they fit in and this should ensure your Connect Control Box sits nicely in place.

Why is my control box not displaying the right temperature?

This could be for a couple of reasons.

  • You should first check that the cord from the pump and the cord from the element are plugged into the control box fully the correct way around. You should then check that the temp probe is pushed fully into the thermowell and sits tight. If this still does not work let us know by giving us a quick call or email and we will guide you through the next course of action.

Grains and Mashing

Can I step mash in the grainfather?

Yes, this is a simple process of changing the temperature at certain intervals during the mash. The steps generally start with a protein rest and end with a saccharification rest. This method is used to achieve different characteristics in a beer. Follow your recipe instructions for your mash schedule.

What grains are suitable to be used?

  • There are many grains suitable for use when brewing, malted barley oats and wheat are some of the most common.
  • When using the Grainfather, the crush of the grain is what is important – we recommend a crush of 1.27 – 1.4 mm (0.05 – 0.055") for best results.
  • Using a lot of wheat or oats in your mash results in a high amount of ‘beta glucans’ which can create a gummy consistency in your mash. This can lead to stuck mashes or sparges. If you are using a high percentage of oats and grains we would recommend utilising a beta glucan rest in your mash profile (30 minutes at 40°C/104°F)

Do I really need to perform a mash out?

The mash out step stops all of the enzymatic action (preserving your fermentation sugar profile) and makes your grain bed and wort more fluid. A mash out may prevent a stuck sparge by making the sugars more fluid. We recommend doing this but a lot of homebrewers tend to skip the mash out step for most mashes with no consequences.

What is the minimum grain bill I can brew with?

You can use smaller grain bills but you need to make adjustments to your water calculations if you are using a grain bill below 4.5 kg (10 lbs).

  • Please use our brewing calculators to work this out or the specific instructions in your manual for small grain bills.
  • We wouldn’t advise going lower than 2.5 kg (5.5 lbs) of grain. The overflow pipework only goes down to a certain point. The top plate is designed to fit into the overflow inlet which sits on the overflow pipework. So, this means the top plate only goes down as far as the overflow pipework does. This means, with a smaller amount of grain (less than 4.5 kg/5.5 lbs) the top plate will sit a bit higher than the grain bed. You will need to fill it with more water until you see the water reach the top plate. Be sure to record this extra water amount and change your calculation as appropriate as you will need to reduce your sparge volume by this amount.
  • Or alternatively you can use the micro pipework available designed specifically for small grain bills. You should use the standard calculations when using this pipework.

What is the maximum grain bill I can brew with?

The maximum is 9 kg (20 lbs). With a grain bill this size the key is to add the grain very slowly while stirring to avoid dough balls forming. Because there is more grain it will also take a bit longer to gelatinise. You can try and add half of the grain, recirculate and then add the other half.

Do this by;

  • Pouring in half your grain, slowly stir and then attach your recirculation pipe.
  • Do not add the top perforated plate at this stage, start to recirculate making sure that nothing goes through the overflow pipe.
  • Recirculate until the grain level goes down. The grains will start to gelatinise.
  • Once the level has gone down, add the other half of your grain bill – fit the top perforated plate and recirculation pipe and recirculate as normal.

Can I brew different batch volumes?

Yes you can. You will need to ensure you are entering the correct figures in the formula for your water calculations or use our brewing calculators. We also have micro pipework available if you’re wanting to make volumes of 10 L (2.6 US Gal) or less.

What is the correct sized grain crush? And is this important?

Milling increases the surface area of the grain, making the starch more accessible and separates the seed from the husk.

  • Care must be taken when milling to ensure that the starch reserves are sufficiently milled, without damaging the husk, and providing coarse enough grits so that a good filter bed can be formed during sparging. We recommend a medium sized crush for the Grainfather. We have found that the roller mills on a setting of 1.27 – 1.4 mm (0.05 – 0.055 ") to provide the best crush. Roller mills also tend to keep the husk more intact while still crushing the grain effectively.
  • The ideal grain bed will have intact grain husks as this will ensure water permeability. If you have too much “fines” it can cause the grain bed to be impermeable – causing the sugars to get trapped.
  • It is important that the grain used for brewing is crushed to the correct consistency. If the grain is not crushed enough, not enough of the starches will be available for the enzymes to work. If the grain is over crushed water will not be able to correctly flow through the grain and this can cause a ‘stuck’ mash.

What should I do to prevent a stuck mash and sparge?

  • Make sure your water calculations are correct for the Grainfather and that your grain is the correct size crush.
  • If it is crushed too fine you will end up with a porridge-like mixture which won’t allow water to flow through. An ideal milling will break the internal bits of grain into a coarse powder while still leaving the bulk of the husks intact. The husks will form the filter bed for your sparge. It is also important to sparge slowly and perform a mash out.

What should I do if I have a stuck mash and/or sparge?

Give the grain bed a gentle stir with your paddle; try to keep the grain bed intact as much as possible.

My wort is flowing through the recirculation pipe, is this bad? Does this mean I have a stuck mash?

This is fine and will happen occasionally and is nothing to worry about. The reason it happens is because different grains and crushes have different consistencies. We have put this pipe here for this reason – to make sure wort is always recirculating and reaching the element to maintain a constant temperature throughout the wort. We have tested it and even if your wort overflows your brew will not be compromised.

You may find that it is recirculating through the pipe a lot and quickly at first and then slows and settles after a while. This is good. It means that at first the malt is hard for the water to push through, but eventually as parts break down the water will flow more freely through the grain bed than the recirculation pipe.

Sparging

What do I do if my boiler is not heating up?

What do I do if I have a stuck sparge?

What do I do if my controller is not showing HH?

Why has my flow rate slowed/stopped?

How do I use my Grainfather Counter Flow Wort Chiller?

Can I skip the sparging step?

We always recommend to sparge as this will allow you to extract as much of the sugars from the grain as possible – giving you a higher gravity and greater efficiency.

  • You can choose to leave this step out but you will end up with a lower gravity beer.
  • If you want to end up with the same gravity as you would have when you sparged you will need to add 20-25% more grain.

How long should sparging take?

20-30 minutes depending on the type of grain that you’re using. This should not be rushed – the longer the better generally.

Why does my sparge water need to be a specific temperature?

It is generally accepted that up to a point, the hotter your sparge water the better or more efficient. This is generally agreed to be around 75°C (167°F). Above this temperature and tannins from the grain husks become soluble enough to be rinsed into the grain. There has recently been some research to suggest that cold sparging has no negative effect on efficiency (though it may result in poorer wort clarity).

Heating and Boiling

Why is the temperature not getting to 100ºC (212ºF)?

The temperature at which your wort boils is dependant on how high above sea level you live. For every 500 feet you live above sea level your boil temperature decreases by 1°F (0.5°C). 

Why don't the sparge water calculations equal the same on the instruction manual, app and website?

The website has been updated to account for whether you're using a 110V or 220V unit, which would therefore affect the boil off rate (loss of water in the boil). The app currently accounts for the boil off rate of a 220V unit. We plan to update the app to match the website.

It is good practice to get to know your own boil off rate, as other factors can affect it such as your surrounding temperature - particularly if you brew outside, and/or if you use a 110V unit.

The instruction manual explains what the numbers mean and you should always replace the appropriate numbers with those specific to your brew.

 

Is my final volume what I put into the fermenter or what I get out of it?

Final volume in your formula, should be the final volume into your fermenter. For example a standard brew is 23 L (6 US Gal) (or 19 L (5 US Gal) in the USA mostly), that is the volume into the fermenter and you may lose some to the sediment settling in the fermenter.

In the formula you should put this number in plus the amoun you typically lose in the boil to get your preboil volume.

I have a lot of foam forming during the boil, is this normal?

Yes, as your wort comes to the boil foam will appear.

  • You should use your paddle to pat it down otherwise foam will start to rise and form a smooth surface.
  • If the foam suddenly overflows, this is a boil over. If it looks like it is going to boil over, either lower the heat or spray the surface with water from a spray bottle. The foam is caused by proteins in the wort coagulating due to the rolling action of the boil.
  • To try and prevent this you should make sure to stir when bringing the wort to the boil and occasionally while boiling.

How long should it take to get a decent rolling boil?

It should take 20-30 minutes from sparging when using the 220-240v unit or 45 minutes with the 110v unit.

  • One tip is to switch the Grainfather to boil while you are doing the sparge in order to speed up the time it takes to get to the boil. By the time you finish the sparge the Grainfather should be just about at boiling point. Be sure that it does not reach boiling point while your grain basket is still sitting on top.

Why is my control box only showing 98ºC (208ºF) during the boil and not going any higher?

It is worth noting that the control box is bypassed when you switch to boil so you shouldn’t worry as long as you can see the wort is boiling.

Why is my heating element not working? It’s not heating at all.

The Grainfather features a boil dry protection system (safety cut out) which will automatically switch off the element if the water level is too low.

  • To reset the safety cut out, switch the Grainfather off and unplug the unit. Empty out any liquid and press the reset button located at the bottom, underneath the boiler.
  • It is important to scrub the bottom of your Grainfather when cleaning if there is anything stuck to it. If you do not then any spots of proteins may create heat spots, also causing the Grainfather to cut out. It is best to gently scrape the element every now and then during the boiling process to minimise protein build up.

I have noticed that my element has some burnt material on it – is this normal?

Protein build up is quite normal during the brewing process, the Grainfather High Performance Cleaner is specifically designed to remove burnt on proteins.

  • Fill the boiler up with 7.5 L (1.98 US Gal) of water. Add 30 ml (1 US fl oz) of Grainfather cleaner (if using another cleaner, use as directed on the cleaner instructions); remember to set the temperature to 55°C (131°F). See details under the cleaning section of the Grainfather manual.
  • Also don’t be scared to give the bottom and sides a good scrub with a soft bristle brush. If need be you can increase the temperature to 65°C (149°F) and soak for 30 minutes to soften the buildup. It is best to scrape the element every now and then during the boiling process to minimise protein build up.

What is the boil off rate?

For 220v units the boil off is 2 L/hour. For 120v units the boil off is 0.4 US Gal/hour. This is around 7%/hour which is in line with commercial breweries.

Wort Cooling

Why does wort come out in spurts during cooling?

Air sometimes gets trapped in the pump impeller causing an air bubble.

  • Turning the pump off and on again will remove the air bubble.
  • It is good to quickly test the pump before you start the mash. This can be done with the initial mash water.

Why is it taking so long to cool my wort?

For effective cooling you should be running the wort directly into your fermenter – do not recirculate back into the Grainfather. Recirculation is only required for the first 5 minutes of the cooling process to sterilise the inside of the chiller, after this you can transfer the cool wort out hose to your fermenter as soon as it is cold to the touch.

What do I do if my recirculation is blocked?

If recirculation comes to a complete stop:

  • Turn off your pump and remove the recirculation arm.
  • Carefully unscrew the ball valve from the top of the recirculation pipe (the ball and spring are contained within so be careful not to lose these).
  • Check the inside for any obvious blockages and remove this. You can also check down the recirculation pipe.
  • Once any obvious blockage has been removed, reattach the ball valve and recirculation arm and start your pump again.

Hops

Will my filter get blocked up with hops?

If you are worried that the pump filter might get clogged, you can put your mind at ease – with our numerous trials and vigorous testing we have put the Grainfather through, this has never happened and we have tested batches with extremely large hop bills.

  • We recommend making a ‘whirlpool’ prior to chilling which simply means using your paddle to stir the wort in a circular motion. This creates a centrifuge effect and causes the hops to drop from suspension down towards the filter, creating a secondary, natural hop filter.
  • We have designed the Grainfather and the filter so that you do not need to use hop socks or hop spiders. Please note, you should only be concerned if your recirculation actually stops – not if it slows.

    There is no real issue with hop bags or spiders if you wish (though you may experience reduced utilisation) but when you use loose hops they form an extra filtration layer around the pump filter which can help produce clearer wort and you often retain much more hop character in your beer.

How far can I be away from my Grainfather but still be connected?

If you are more than 30 m (98 ft) away and your Grainfather is in the line of sight you will still be connected. Indoors it is approximately 10 m (33 ft), dependent on how many walls in the house etc. You don’t need to worry though, if you do happen to go out of range, the timer for your brew session will continue, just any changes you make while out of range will only update once back in range.

My boil temperature is not 100ºC/212°F, how do I change it to suit my area?

A custom boil temperature can be enabled in the menu under settings (called Custom Boil Temperature). Once enabled simply enter your boil temperature.

I have upgraded to the Connect Control Box, what do I do with my Element Variation Switch now?

Simply leave your Element Variation Switch on 'Normal' at all times. The Connect Control Box will change between elements as it needs to instead of you manually controlling this.

Why doesn't the Connect Control Box sit properly on my Grainfather?

The lugs that come on the back of the control box are adjustable. Unscrew them and move them to the other spot that they fit in and this should ensure your Connect Control Box sits nicely in place.

What form of hops should I be using in the Grainfather?

  • Pellets, whole cones and flowers are suitable for use with the Grainfather.
  • Plugs however are designed for cask dry hopping rather than brewhouse additions so we recommend only adding these as a dry hop addition.

Do I need to use a hop spider or hop sock?

To get the most flavor out of your hops they do need to undergo some level of churning and be in contact with the wort. Using hop socks or hop spiders may actually negatively affect hop utilisation/IBU simply because less surface area will be exposed to the wort.

If you are worried that the pump filter might get clogged, you can put your mind at ease – with our numerous trials and vigorous testing we have put the Grainfather through, this has never happened and we have tested batches with extremely large hop bills.

  • We recommend making a ‘whirlpool’ prior to chilling which simply means using your mixing paddle to stir the wort in a circular motion. This creates a centrifuge effect and causes the hops to drop from suspension down towards the filter, creating a secondary, natural hop filter.
  • We have designed the Grainfather and the filter so that you do not need to use hop socks or hop spiders.
  • Please note, you should only be concerned if your recirculation actually stops – not if it slows.
  • There is no real issue with hop bags or spiders if you wish (though you may experience reduced utilisation) but when you use loose hops they form an extra filtration layer around the pump filter which can help produce clearer wort and you often retain much more hop character in your beer.

Why is my control box not displaying the right temperature?

This could be for a couple of reasons.

  • You should first check that the cord from the pump and the cord from the element are plugged into the control box fully the correct way around. You should then check that the temp probe is pushed fully into the thermowell and sits tight. If this still does not work let us know by giving us a quick call or email and we will guide you through the next course of action.

Fermentation

My beer keeps getting infected - what can I do?

Using stainless steel minimises the risk of infection but you must continue to use good sanitary practices throughout your brewing. If using the dual valve tap make sure this is cleaned between brews too.

Can I add fruit/other adjuncts directly to my fermenter?

It is fine to add adjuncts to your beer in the fermenter. To make cleaning easier and avoid any risks of clogging valves it is best to add these adjuncts in a sanitised nylon hop bag.

I am getting a metallic off-taste in my beer, can this be caused by the fermenter?

If you have followed the cleaning instructions this will not be due to the fermenter. Stainless steel does not impart metallic flavours. This is most likely an issue with your wort or yeast.

Why is my Conical Fermenter not cooling/displaying consistent high temperature when used with the Glycol Chiller?

• The Conical Fermenter Digital Temperature Controller can be set to 'heat only', 'cool only' & programmed to default to the 'heat and cool' setting. Make sure your controller is set to either 'cool' or 'heat and 'cool' by following the Conical Fermenter's instruction booklet.

• Make sure the fermenter number selected on the Glycol Chiller corresponds to the connection port that your Conical Fermenter is connected to.

• Make sure the Conical Fermenter Digital Temperature Controller's connection pins are clean and free of debris/dust at all times. A 'dirty' connection may cause the controller to either lose power or misread and display an incorrect temperature on the display.

Can I take a specific gravity (SG) reading of my glycol mixture

Yes. The SG of the recommended glycol mixture (33% propylene glycol, 67% water) is approximately 1.030 when measured using a hydrometer at 20ºC (68ºF). At this temperature, if your SG reading is greater than 1.030, your mixture consists of more than 33% propylene glycol and vice versa. Please note that refractometers may not yield accurate SG readings. We recommend using a hydrometer for glycol mixtures.

When I already have one fermenter held at low temperature by the Glycol Chiller and begin cooling another fermenter, the first fermenter rises in temperature significantly. What can I do about this?

To limit the impact of this, try the following:
•When attaching a new fermenter, keep the glycol port corresponding to the first fermenter (already at low temperature) closed, by pressing the number that corresponds to this fermenter. Wait until the Glycol Chiller temperature drops to below the first fermenter’s target temperature before starting to the cool it again.

•Cool the second fermenter in stages. For example; programme the new fermenters target temperature 3ºC below its current temperature and then every 2 hours decrease it by an additional 3ºC until you reach your desired temperature. This will limit the amount the glycol will rise in temperature, so it will not affect the first fermenter. This also aids in stopping air getting into the fermenter through the air lock due to rapid cooling of the beer.

Can I cool multiple fermenters at the same time?

Yes, however individual results will vary depending on the ambient conditions, target temperatures, and the number of fermenters connected. It may take an extended amount of time for each fermenter to reach their target temperature.

How does cooling work?

To be able to cool you need the Grainfather Glycol Chiller which is sold separately. In between the two stainless steel walls of the fermenter sits a cooling sleeve (also made of stainless steel). This cooling sleeve is welded onto the inner wall of the fermenter. The cooling sleeve has two holes on each side. The lower one is the entry for the cooling liquid. The upper hole is where the cooling liquid exits/returns to the Glycol Chiller. As the cooling liquid travels through this sleeve, it cools the stainless steel which in turn cools the wort/beer in the fermenter. This cooling sleeve never comes into contact with the wort/beer and is never seen by the user. This means that it is not something that needs to be cleaned or sanitised.

I can’t see bubbling in my airlock, is it fermenting properly?

The purpose of the airlock is to allow CO2 produced during fermentation to escape without allowing anything into your beer. Whilst bubbling can be an indication of active fermentation a lack of bubbling does not mean that fermentation is not occurring. To be sure of fermentation we recommend using a hydrometer.

Cleaning

Why does wort come out in spurts during cooling?

Air sometimes gets trapped in the pump impeller causing an air bubble.

  • Turning the pump off and on again will remove the air bubble.
  • It is good to quickly test the pump before you start the mash. This can be done with the initial mash water.

What do I clean the Grainfather with?

The Grainfather High Performance Cleaner is a CIP (Clean In Place) cleaner specifically formulated to work with hard and soft metals that the Grainfather and the counter flow wort chiller both include. If you cannot get hold of this PBW is a suitable alternative.

The high performance cleaner is specifically designed to remove burnt on proteins.

  • Fill the boiler up with 7.5 L of water. Add 30 ml of Grainfather cleaner (if using another cleaner, use as directed on the cleaner instructions); remember to set the temperature to 55°C (131°F). See details under the cleaning section of the Grainfather manual.

Why is it taking so long to cool my wort?

For effective cooling you should be running the wort directly into your fermenter – do not recirculate back into the Grainfather. Recirculation is only required for the first 5 minutes of the cooling process to sterilise the inside of the chiller, after this you can transfer the cool wort out hose to your fermenter as soon as it is cold to the touch.

I have really badly burnt on protein residue on the bottom of my boiler, how do I clean this?

Protein build up is quite normal during the brewing process, the Grainfather High Performance Cleaner is specifically designed to remove burnt on proteins. If using another cleaner, use as directed on the cleaner.

  • Don’t be scared to give the bottom and sides a good scrub with a soft bristle brush, if need be you can also increase the cleaning temperature of the Grainfather to 65°C and soak for 30 minutes to soften the build up. It is best to scrape the element every now and then during the boiling process to minimise protein build up.

What do I do if my recirculation is blocked?

If recirculation comes to a complete stop:

  • Turn off your pump and remove the recirculation arm.
  • Carefully unscrew the ball valve from the top of the recirculation pipe (the ball and spring are contained within so be careful not to lose these).
  • Check the inside for any obvious blockages and remove this. You can also check down the recirculation pipe.
  • Once any obvious blockage has been removed, reattach the ball valve and recirculation arm and start your pump again.

Efficiency

There is some liquid on the floor under my Glycol Chiller. Is my chiller leaking?

Early Edition (Non-LED Touch Panel)

It is highly unlikely that the chiller is leaking glycol. The contents of the puddle is likely to be condensate water which can form on the internal components of the chiller. The base of the chiller has small holes for this condensate water to exit so it does not build up within the unit. In high temperature and/or humidity environments there may be a large amount of condensation which results in a puddle under the chiller. This can easily be dealt with using a towel or mop. if the liquid is glycol it will smell sweet and be slick to the touch.

Touch Panel Edition

It is highly unlikely that the chiller is leaking glycol. The contents of the puddle is likely to be condensate water which can form on the internal components of the chiller. The base of the chiller has small holes for this condensate water to exit so it does not build up within the unit. In high temperature and/or humidity environments there may be a large amount of condensation which results in a puddle under the chiller. This can easily be dealt with using a towel or mop. if the liquid is glycol it will smell sweet and be slick to the touch.

If you suspect that the liquid is glycol, ensure that the glycol filter cap is tightened firmly (hand tight only). If there is still evidence of glycol leaking after doing this, the silicon seal in the glycol filter may need replacing. You can contact Grainfather Customer Support and request a free replacement seal.

Why is my Conical Fermenter not cooling/displaying consistent high temperature when used with the Glycol Chiller?

• The Conical Fermenter Digital Temperature Controller can be set to 'heat only', 'cool only' & programmed to default to the 'heat and cool' setting. Make sure your controller is set to either 'cool' or 'heat and 'cool' by following the Conical Fermenter's instruction booklet.

• Make sure the fermenter number selected on the Glycol Chiller corresponds to the connection port that your Conical Fermenter is connected to.

• Make sure the Conical Fermenter Digital Temperature Controller's connection pins are clean and free of debris/dust at all times. A 'dirty' connection may cause the controller to either lose power or misread and display an incorrect temperature on the display.

Can I use the Glycol Chiller in place of the Grainfather Counter Flow Wort Chiller?

No. These products are for completely different purposes and can not be used interchangeably and may permanently damage the Glycol Chiller if used in this way.

Can I take a specific gravity (SG) reading of my glycol mixture

Yes. The SG of the recommended glycol mixture (33% propylene glycol, 67% water) is approximately 1.030 when measured using a hydrometer at 20ºC (68ºF). At this temperature, if your SG reading is greater than 1.030, your mixture consists of more than 33% propylene glycol and vice versa. Please note that refractometers may not yield accurate SG readings. We recommend using a hydrometer for glycol mixtures.

When I already have one fermenter held at low temperature by the Glycol Chiller and begin cooling another fermenter, the first fermenter rises in temperature significantly. What can I do about this?

To limit the impact of this, try the following:
•When attaching a new fermenter, keep the glycol port corresponding to the first fermenter (already at low temperature) closed, by pressing the number that corresponds to this fermenter. Wait until the Glycol Chiller temperature drops to below the first fermenter’s target temperature before starting to the cool it again.

•Cool the second fermenter in stages. For example; programme the new fermenters target temperature 3ºC below its current temperature and then every 2 hours decrease it by an additional 3ºC until you reach your desired temperature. This will limit the amount the glycol will rise in temperature, so it will not affect the first fermenter. This also aids in stopping air getting into the fermenter through the air lock due to rapid cooling of the beer.

A while after I begin cooling my Conical Fermenter using the Glycol Chiller, the glycol temperature increases drastically. Is this normal?

Yes, this is normal. The highest temperature the glycol reaches will depend on the initial fermenter temperature and the target temperature on the conical fermenter. The greater the difference between these temperatures, the higher the temperature the glycol can reach. Over time the glycol temperature should slowly decrease again.

Do I need to replace the glycol in the fermenter and chiller?

You should not need to replace the glycol mixture in the fermenter. Generally, you should not need to replace it in the chiller either however if you notice the chiller performance having decreased over time it could be due to the mixture getting contaminated or having an incorrect glycol-water ratio. If this is the case, you should replace it with new glycol mixture. If desired, you can also simply replace it every 6 months or so. 

To replace all existing glycol mixture with new glycol mixture, follow the steps below: 


Early Version (Non-LED Touch Panel)

• Attach a silicone hose to the glycol outlet connection of any channel and put the free end into a bucket or sink.  

• Make sure all number buttons are in their OFF positions. 
 

• Connect an M12 power cord from a 
Grainfather Conical Fermenter to the selected channel on the Glycol Chiller and set the fermenter's controller temperature to a value lower than its current temperature. 
 

• Press the corresponding number button to begin pumping out the existing glycol mixture. 
 

• IMPORTANT: When the low glycol indicator comes on and pumping stops, press the number button to turn it off. 
 

• Top up with new glycol mixture as per the instruction manual. 
 

NOTE: If for any reason the low glycol indicator does not come on, do not run the pump for more than 5 minutes

Touch Panel Edition

• Attach a hose to the glycol outlet connection of any channel.

• Put the free end of the hose into a bucket or sink for the glycol mixture to exit into.

• Turn the Glycol Chiller on. Then make sure all number buttons are in their OFF position (unlit).

• Enter pump override mode by pressing and holding the “” button for 5 seconds. The SET button should be flashing to indicate the chiller is in pump override mode. This disables the low glycol level warning and also allows the pump to run without a cooling signal from a Grainfather Conical Fermenter.

• To begin removing the existing glycol mixture from the glycol tank, press the number button on the Glycol Chiller that corresponds to the outlet where you have attached the hose. When the glycol stops flowing, press the number button to stop the pump.

• Turn the chiller off.

• Discard the glycol mixture you have removed from the chiller.

• Before replacing the glycol in the tank, you will need to clean the glycol filter. Remove the white cap of the glycol filter located on the back of the chiller.

• Remove the filter from inside the housing, then rinse with clean water ensuring it’s free from any foreign matter. Replace the filter into the housing and replace the cap tightly.

• You will now need to top up the glycol tank with 6 L (1.6 US Gal) of glycol mixture (consisting of 2 L (0.5 US Gal) glycol & 4 L (1 US Gal) water). Top up as per the Topping Up the Glycol Tank sub-section of the full instructions (page 6).


NOTE: running the pump dry for an extended period of time will cause damage to the pump. DO NOT leave
the chiller unattended when in pump override mode.

I am pressing the power button on my Glycol Chiller and it does not turn on. Why is this happening?

Early Version (Non-LED Touch Panel)

Ensure the unit is plugged inthe power button is engaged and the red backlight is on.  Should nothing happen please contact Grainfather Customer Support. 


Touch Panel Edition

Ensure the unit is plugged in, the power button is engaged and the red backlight is on.  

The Glycol Chiller will turn on with a single, short-press of the power button. Make sure you are not pressing and holding the button as this will not turn the unit on. 

Alternative terms to describe a short-press would be "touch" or "push". 

Should nothing happen after following these steps, please contact Grainfather Customer Support. 

Why is the LED touch panel controller not responding?

It is likely that the Glycol Chiller touch panel is locked. To lock or unlock, press and hold the power button for 6 seconds. If you wish, you can lock the touch panel to avoid accidentally changing the settings. 

My Glycol Chiller doesn't seem to be pumping any glycol to my fermenter. How can I fix this?

Early Edition (Non-LED Touch Panel)

There are number of reasons why this may happen:  
 

• Please check you haven’t turned on your pump without any liquid inside the reservoir. If so, this has possibly damaged your unit.

• Ensure that your Glycol Chiller is receiving a cooling signal from your fermenter, by identifying that the correct number button is pressed and that it has lit up blue. If the button has not lit up blue, check the following:  

• The Conical Fermenter Digital Temperature Controller status shows “cooling.”  

• The M12 power cord has been firmly connected between the fermenter and the glycol chiller.  

• If you just topped up with glycol mixture, then there could be some air bubbles trapped in the pump preventing it from working. Turn the chiller off and wait up to an hour and try again. When topping up the tank in the future, consider pouring more slowly to minimise the amount of air that can get trapped. 
 
• If this is the first time using the Glycol Chiller and you forgot to prime the pump and topped up the tank with glycol mixture instead, there could be a significant amount of trapped air preventing the pump from working. Turn the chiller off. Open the cap on the top of the chiller, then using a siphon, remove as much of the glycol-water mixture as possible from the tank. You can now prime your pump as per the steps found in the Glycol Chiller instructional manual.

There are number of reasons why this may happen:  

Touch Panel Edition

• Please check you haven’t turned on your pump without any liquid inside the reservoir. If so, this has possibly damaged your unit.  

• Ensure that your Glycol Chiller is receiving a cooling signal from your fermenter, by identifying that the correct number button is used and that it has a flashing blue light. If the blue light is not flashing, check the following:  

• The Conical Fermenter Digital Temperature Controller status shows “cooling.”  

• The M12 power cord has been firmly connected between the fermenter and the glycol chiller.  

• If you just topped up with glycol mixture, then there could be some air bubbles trapped in the pump preventing it from working. Turn the chiller off and wait up to an hour and try again. When topping up the tank in the future, consider pouring more slowly to minimise the amount of air that can get trapped.  

• If this is the first time using the Glycol Chiller and you forgot to prime the pump and topped up the tank with glycol mixture instead, there could be a significant amount of trapped air preventing the pump from working. Turn the chiller off. Open the cap on the top of the chiller, then using a siphon, remove as much of the glycol-water mixture as possible from the tank. You can now prime your pump as per the steps found in the Glycol Chiller instructional manual. 

Why did I get a low starch to sugar conversion?

This could be due to a few factors;

  • Incorrect grain crush
  • Diastatic properties of the grain bill
  • Incorrect mash temperature
  • Wrong mash time
  • Incorrect mash water pH
  • Incorrect mash water calculations
  • Mash thickness

What efficiencies can I expect from the Grainfather?

This depends a lot on your grain bill, grain crush and recipe. In general we can say that our brewers have experienced efficiencies of up to 85% when using the Grainfather.

What should I do if I collect too much wort?

You can boil for longer and boil some of this off so more water will evaporate, giving you a higher OG.

What should I do if I don’t collect enough wort?

Top up the boiler with water but be aware of the changes you will get to your OG.

Calculators

Why don't the sparge water calculations equal the same on the instruction manual, app and website?

The website has been updated to account for whether you're using a 110V or 220V unit, which would therefore affect the boil off rate (loss of water in the boil). The app currently accounts for the boil off rate of a 220V unit. We plan to update the app to match the website.

It is good practice to get to know your own boil off rate, as other factors can affect it such as your surrounding temperature - particularly if you brew outside, and/or if you use a 110V unit.

The instruction manual explains what the numbers mean and you should always replace the appropriate numbers with those specific to your brew.

 

Is my final volume what I put into the fermenter or what I get out of it?

Final volume in your formula, should be the final volume into your fermenter. For example a standard brew is 23 L (6 US Gal) (or 19 L (5 US Gal) in the USA mostly), that is the volume into the fermenter and you may lose some to the sediment settling in the fermenter.

In the formula you should put this number in plus the amoun you typically lose in the boil to get your preboil volume.

Troubleshooting Videos

What do I do if my boiler is not heating up?

What do I do if I have a stuck sparge?

What do I do if my controller is not showing HH?

Why has my flow rate slowed/stopped?

How do I use my Grainfather Counter Flow Wort Chiller?