All-grain brewing is the crème de la crème of home brewing and not that much unlike the kind of process that you would see in a brewery. While many home brewing kits will give you decent homemade brew, the results often fall short of what you could achieve with a good all-in-one brewing system. Our Grainfather review will show you the advantages this setup can give you over many alternatives.
All-grain brewing gives you maximum control of the mouth-feel, aroma, flavor, color, and many complexities that go into a great brew.
Many homebrewers shy away from all grain brewing and prefer extract and partial mash brewing largely because of the cost and time investment required for all grain brewing.
All-in-one brewing systems have proven to be a game-changer in the homebrew niche, allowing everyone from the novice to the seasoned brewer total control over the brewing process while automating many of the difficult and delicate procedures that make this type of brewing inaccessible in the first place.
We reviewed the Grainfather All-in-One Home Brewing System to see if it meets our expectations of a good all grain home brewing set up.
How the Grainfather All-in-One Home Beer Brewing System Works
Without giving away too much this early in the review, the Grainfather is very easy to use. This system is so easy to use that even a novice with zero prior brewing experience can get to work soon after un-boxing, and with only the included directions.
The first step is to input the correct settings in the controller depending on your recipe. Here, you can adjust the desired temperature for mashing or bypass the temperature control all together to bring the water to a boil. A beeping alert lets you know after every step in the brewing process is completed.
Follow the directions in the instruction manual for mashing. This process is quite straightforward with the Grainfather. Simply set the mashing water temperature, place the parts in the correct order including inner basket, overflow pipe cover, and after adding the grain, insert the top perforated plate, and overflow inlet. All the parts fit perfectly and do not require special tools or equipment to install.
There are two options for sparging with the Grainfather depending on whether or not you are using a stainless steel fermenter. The Grainfather will maintain a consistent temperature once you are done with the mashing so you don’t have to worry about timing the sparge water to coincide exactly with when you finish mashing. Overall, the sparging process is as easy as lifting the basket and locking it in place.
Again, boiling the wort after sparging is easy and the system will alert you once the boil is completed. Meanwhile, the final cooling process is straightforward with few attachments.
The true beauty of the Grainfather (this is a good looking unit with its brewery-style stainless steel aesthetic) lies in its features. The manufacturer has done a great job of balancing between automation and giving users manual control over the brewing process which is not always an easy balance to achieve.
All-in-One Homebrewing System
The natural place to start when evaluating the Grainfather is that this is an all-in-one system. This means that you don’t need separate equipment for all the major stages of brewing including mashing, sparging, and boiling the wort. It is easy to feel like you are in a brewery when setting up and using the Grainfather.
The brewing system also saves you a lot of time. Brew day could easily take an entire day from start to finish which is hardly feasible for most people in today’s fast-paced world. You can attend to your chores while the system runs, and an alert will let you know when you are ready for the next step.
Additionally, the Grainfather is quite compact which saves you space as opposed to having separate equipment for the entire brewing process. Not everyone can afford to have a dedicated shed or room for brewing.
We could say that the Connect Controller is at the heart of the Grainfather. This is where you input your recipes and control the brewing process.
The control box is quite easy to use even for people who are not technologically inclined. The sparsely adorned interface only has the essential controls such as heat and pump buttons, set button, and up/down arrows for manual adjustment.
The display is equally minimalist and shows the essential information such as target temperature, current temperature, brew session, and power to the heating element.
Don’t worry if you feel like you need more information or more control than is offered here. You can opt for the newer model Grainfather Connect.
- SIMPLE AND USER FRIENDLY: The Grainfather is electrically powered and designed to be used indoors;...
- HIGHEST QUALITY CONSTRUCTION: The Grainfather is made from high quality 304 grade stainless steel...
- INTUITIVE DESIGN: Programmable step mashing; delayed heating; waterproof digital display in Celsius...
This is essentially the same brewing system except that the controller is Bluetooth enabled and pairs with iOS and Android. Pairing your devices is as easy as tapping a button.
The Grainfather App offers all the information you would ever need regarding your brewing progress including mashing steps, mash duration, target temperatures, hop schedule, boil length, and much more.
You can also control all the functions from your app, including pre-setting the time when you want the unit to turn on.
The Grainfather is easily one of the best-built all-in-one home brewing systems in its price range.
The 304-grade stainless steel body holds up well to bumps and bruises and sits steadily on the floor with little fear of tipping over throughout the brewing process. Sparging can be especially tricky on these types of units but the Grainfather All-in-One holds the weight admirably.
The internal components are equally well built. The self-priming pump provides excellent beer clarity and performs its other functions including chilling the wort and transferring to the fermenter quickly and efficiently.
This unit goes through all the processes admirably, and more importantly, allows for consistent and repeatable results once you perfect your recipe.
Self Cleaning Unit
Cleaning your equipment after brew day could easily make you swear off brewing (for a little while at least) and is easily the most undesirable part of making homebrew.
Cleaning the Grainfather All-in-One is as easy as you could hope for. Aside from a little light rinsing and scrubbing of the grain basket and boiler, attaching the chiller and recirculation arm recalculates hot water through the system to clean it.
Shortfalls of the Grainfather
It is difficult to fault the Grainfather while remaining objective. This all-in-one brewing system delivers on its promises all things considered.
This is however a pricy unit and some people may argue that it would be nice to see more automation at this price range. While this would be a fair assessment, additional automation at this point would take all the fun and craftsmanship out of brewing.
Final Thoughts on the Grainfather All-in-One Brewing System
The Grainfather is a great brewing system through and through. The equipment is simple to put together and the assembled unit is small enough to fit in your kitchen.
The brewing system strikes the perfect balance between automation and hands-on brewing so that you aren’t overwhelmed by the process while at the same time the unit allows you to feel like you sufficiently participated in the brewing.
The brewing process is seamless start to finish especially with the help of the app. You can expect consistent results once you have finessed your recipe, and look forward to hitting your brewing target numbers consistently.
Easy cleanup is a huge plus that makes the Grainfather overall a great all-in-one brewing system to have at home. It has certainly earned its hefty price tag all things considered.