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Grainfather G30 Connect Review: A System You Can’t Refuse
The popularity of all-in-one homebrewing systems has exploded in recent years. The Grainfather, one of the pioneers, remains at the top of its class in terms of quality and popularity. The Grainfather G30 Connect is the result of years of research and development. It represents the gold-standard for single-vessel homebrewing systems.
Sleek, well-built, and easy to use, the Grainfather G30 Connect is great for novice and expert homebrewers alike. Out of the box, you’ll get a high-quality all-in-one homebrewing system that produces amazing quality beer with precise control. We highly recommend this product and haven’t found much to fault it, even at its higher price point.
Read on to find out what makes this product stand-out and whether or not it’s right for you.
The Grainfather G30 Connect comes with everything you need to start brewing. Assembly is quick and easy. There are only a few loose pieces that you need to put together. All it takes is a Phillips head screwdriver and an adjustable wrench. The included instructions are clear and straightforward. If necessary, you can check the Grainfather website for a detailed video on the assembly.
In the box, you’ll get the following:
- The Grainfather boiler assembly including the 1800 RPM magnetic drive pump and 1600W integrated electric heating element
- Connect Control Box
- Tempered glass lid
- Grain basket with top and bottom grain filter perforated plates
- Adjustable overflow pipes
- Pump inlet filter
- Counterflow chiller
- Recirculation arm
The first thing you’ll notice when you set up the Grainfather is the high-quality construction. The majority of the metal components are 304 stainless steel. 304 is a great material for brewing equipment because of its durability, corrosion resistance, and ease of cleaning. The plastic pieces, such as the controller box, are made of durable plastic. There are no cheap feeling connections or flimsy pieces to worry about – this unit is built like a tank.
The Grainfather G30 Connect holds a total liquid volume of 30 liters, about 8 gallons. During the sparge, you need a few inches of space at the top of the boiler. Accounting for this, the Grainfather makes about 6 gallons of post-boil wort for most styles. You can mash up to 20lbs of grain – great for high gravity beers.
The grain basket has a tight-fitting perforated plate that holds the grain during the mash. There isn’t much, if any, grain that makes it through this filter so you can be sure the wort is clear from grain bits after sparging. The mash efficiency is high and consistent due to wort recirculation through the grain bed. During the mash, the pump pulls wort from the bottom and sends it through the recirculation arm at the top of the grain bed. The flow rate is easy to adjust with the included ball valve.
The grain basket comes with a sturdy handle to help lift it for the sparging process. Like every all-in-one system, you need to remove the entire grain basket for draining. This can be very heavy and hot so be extra careful when performing this step.
The 1600W electric heating element provides enough power to get the wort up to a slow rolling boil quickly and efficiently. Hopping can be done directly into the boiling wort but we recommend using a hop spider. The included pump filter is small and has a tendency to clog during chilling and transferring.
The Grainfather uses a counterflow chiller to get the wort down to yeast pitching temperature. The chiller is sanitized by recirculating boiling wort for a few minutes at the end of the boil. Once the boil is over, the water flow is turned on to begin chilling. After recirculating a few minutes, the wort can be pumped directly into the fermenter.
The brain of the Grainfather lies in the control panel called the Connect Control Box. Bluetooth connects the control box to your smartphone where you can input recipes using the Grainfather connect app. Every aspect of the brew day can be controlled via the app, most importantly the mash rests and boil length.
Recipes can be designed on the Grainfather connect app or you can import recipes from BeerSmith BeerXML. Further, there is a Grainfather online community with hundreds of shared recipes that can be easily downloaded.
If you don’t want to use the app, you can control the brew directly on the control box.
Another great feature for busy homebrewers is the delayed mash heater. You can set a timer on the Grainfather to start heating the mash water so it’s ready to dough-in when you wake up in the morning!
The Grainfather G30 Connect is a smooth operating piece of equipment. We really like the compact design and ease of use. It is great for beginner brewers and experts alike – but some of its features aren’t for everyone.
- Great build quality.
- Consistent and repeatable results.
- Recirculating mash for great efficiency.
- Easy to use and the included instruction manual is thorough and straightforward.
- The controller is elevated and easy to read. Many all-in-one systems have a controller at ground level. The Grainfather’s controller can be used without bending over!
- Mash can be programmed so you don’t have to be constantly looking over the system. You can monitor the brew’s progress easily on the app.
- Easy to clean.
- Compact and great for smaller spaces.
- Full control over recipes – not limited to kits.
- Pump filter at the bottom is small and tends to clog. We suggest using hop a spider (not included with the Grainfather).
- No slight glass so you can’t see the volume while sparging.
- Not as vigorous a boil as higher power systems such as propane burners.
- 5-6 gallon batches maximum. There is no room for upgrading.
- There have been many known software issues with the Grainfather connect app. Frequent updates have been improving stability and functionality so we hope this continues to get better.
- For experienced all-grain homebrewers, the Grainfather is not as hands-on as traditional three-vessel systems. It’s sometimes too easy to brew!
Cleaning the Grainfather is really quick and easy. They sell a specialized cleaning product called Grainfather High-Performance Cleaner, but you can also use PBW.
A simplified CIP (clean in place) cycle is initiated by the control box. The cleaning solution is recirculated through the chiller and recirculation arm for 15-20 minutes. The cycle is then repeated with fresh water to rinse. The CIP takes care of almost all of the cleaning so you don’t have to do any scrubbing.
The whole cleaning process takes about half an hour.
The Grainfather Connect app has a growing community. The recipe creator lets you design your own recipes from scratch. There is a large variety of recipes on the cloud that you can brew or edit to make your own. The app syncs with the Grainfather control box to effortlessly program your brew. There is also a large community of homebrewers to connect with, share ideas, and give or receive feedback.
The mobile app is free for all Grainfather users. As mentioned, there are some issues with the app’s stability and functionality. It is definitely usable but don’t be surprised if you run into technical problems now and then. The app is frequently updated with bug fixes, so that’s reassuring moving forward.
The Grainfather is the best all-in-one brewing system for homebrewers. The high-quality design and seamless functionality make brewing quick and fun. The level of control and consistency will definitely please advanced brewers.
We recommend this product to any homebrewer – from beginner to expert. However, if you are looking for something more automated check out our review of the best automated brewing systems.
BSGi NZ Limited, the company that makes the Grainfather, is headquartered in New Zealand. It is not clear where the equipment itself is manufactured. We do know it’s made from high grade 304 stainless steel and high-quality components.
The Grainfather G30 Connect can produce batch sizes up to 6 gallons. For larger batch sizes, look into the Grainfather G70 which can produce up to 16 gallons of beer.
The Grainfather G30 Connect produces consistent brewhouse efficiency of about 80%. The recirculating mash and precise temperature control make it easy to dial in consistent results.
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