Brewing kit

 

Living in a one-bedroomed flat, I have to do all my brewing in the kitchen, preferably when I have the place to myself. This rules out anything larger than a standard 25L/5 UK gal setup, or any bulky 3-vessel systems. For many years I used a 30L plastic boiler bucket and mashed the grains in a bag suspended in it (BIAB). This worked fine, but involved draining the wort into another bucket while sparging, then transferring it all back to the boiler to boil it with the hops. I would then cool it, and then rack it off the trub into a fermenting bucket.

Much later, I got a coolbox mash tun- a standard coolbox with a copper manifold connected to a tap, which allows the mash to drain through the small cuts in the pipes, into the boiler.

However, this is all quite space and time consuming, and inevitably makes a mess as 20+L of hot wort gets poured between buckets. It is also heavy work lifting these vessels, and my back is not great these days. For these reasons, I was very excited to hear about the Grainfather coming on sale. This is an all-in-one stainless steel mash tun and boiler, with a recirculation pump and accurate temperature control, and an excellent counterflow chiller that allows a transfer of hot wort directly to the fermenter ready to pitch the yeast. It was not long before I took the plunge to invest in one, and it has transformed my brewing experience completely for the better! Now I can do the whole thing in one corner of the kitchen, with no mess, and the temperature control and streamlined process frees up a lot of time to do other things during the different stages. Now I can do the whole process from starting the mash to pitching the yeast in about 4 hours, and another hour to clean up. It also gives incredibly high efficiencies of conversion of grain starch to sugar, and very reproducible results.

The Grainfather

The Grainfather set up in my scullery.

 

Nice clear wort

Nice clear wort

 

Sparging with the Grainfather

Sparging with the Grainfather

The boil

Boiling the wort

Cooling the wort after the boil, while transferring to the fermenter.

Cooling the wort after the boil, while transferring to the fermenter.

Conical fermenter

My shiny conical fermenter takes pride of place in the hallway! I can upwardly regulate the temperature with a heating belt connected to an STC1000 thermostatic controller. I’ve been busy here- you can see my plastic fermenting bucket is also full!

 Posted by at 2:33 pm

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