Guest blog & Review from Lacada Co Operative brewery based in the North Coast of Ireland in Portrush
We’ve been very excited about the Grainfather G70 here at Lacada. We’re upgrading our nano-system and need a solution to brew about 50-55l of beer to trial new recipes. A few of us use the G30 for home brewing so the G70 could be the perfect solution. Its pricy but quality costs:-)
Recently GETERBREWED offered us the chance to trial the G70 so we lept at the opportunity.
With recipe ready we ordered a Fermzilla 55l for fermentation and bought a second hand fridge for temperature control, a snip at £50 from North Coast Auction Rooms.
Saturday would be brew day so we got down the brewery Friday evening to open the box, give the system a good clean and set a timer delay so the mash water would be ready Saturday morning.
On first inspection, it looks a quality machine, many of the G30 weaknesses have been resolved. A clear colourful PID, a bottom plate filter and extra powerful pump. Connecting the device to the internet was simple and within seconds the G70 was downloading the latest firmware updates.
With a recipe already recorded in the online Grainfather app, it was a simple process to kick off the brew day and delay temperature heating until the next morning.
Interestingly the mash/sparge volumes and estimated gravity were different to the Brewfather app but given this is a brand new product we made the assumption that GF would be more accurate.
Saturday morning, as planned, the mash water was up to temperature and we started to mash in. The recipe is a low abv NEIPA so the grain volume is at the low end of the G70 spec 8kg. With grain added we popped on the top plate (much easier than on the G30) connected the recirculation pipe and kicked off the mash timer. We could hear the pump but see no liquid? Strange, it definitely worked last night….
Checking everything was connected and switched correctly. Maybe the filter was blocked? Removing the grain basket and lifting the very heavy G70 high enough so we could drain the liquid, we tried the pump once more and it started to work. Not sure why, but it had started to work again. Good news. With grain basket back in, we proceeded with the mash.
The temperature for this mash is high, 70oC as we want plenty of body in the beer. The temp registered on the PID showed as being 68oC and the heater ono full blast. Within a few mins it had overshot to 73oC but minutes later it was backdown to 68oC. Theres no way the mash temp could fluctuate that much so we could only assume that the temp probe is inaccurate.
Mash complete, we sparged and moved to boil. It took over 90mins to get from 75oC to 100oC, a ridiculously long time so we can only assume the heating elements are under powered. I know similar competing products need special power connections or even two sources so not sure why Grainfather felt the heating elements on the G70 would be OK.
The counter flow chiller was excellent, a single pass for about 2 minutes recirculated back into the GF brought temps easily down to 80C for whirlpool / hopstand. It also easily chilled to pitching temp of 18C in a single pass at nearly full pump throughput into the FV.
However, again, the pump seemed to get airlocked when initially hooked up to the chiller and it took some manual lifting and tilting of the chiller and the lines to try to get it flowing again.
The bottom filter plate was very good when transferring to FV, and the bottom centre drain and bottom tap also very useful when cleaning as everything can be flushed right through and out the bottom.
The brew competed and wort transferred to the fermenter we cleaned up and reflected on the G70. Theres no doubt it looks the part, sure there’s a few questionable design decisions but its a solid professional looking instrument you’d be proud to own.
However, the under powered heating element, inaccurate temperature measurement and the strange pump fault mean that this is not a product we’ll be buying.
Many Thanks to Geterbrewed for allowing us to trial the G70.
The Grainfather Product can be found here: https://www.geterbrewed.com/the-grainfather-g70/