Grainfather Vs Braumeister
This is a write up on an side-by-side brew day conducted on January 8th, Kerry on the Grainfather Vs yours truly on the Braumeister. We both did the same recipe with a view to comparing the process, ease of use, efficiency and (of course) the taste.
And the winner is:
Well, I don't know yet. Taste of the beer will be a factor and it's not ready yet but let's have a look at the 2 systems from a few different perspectives:
Both look sexy and blingy but the BM wins hands down. No question.
Ease of use:
It was my second time using the BM and Kerry's first time using the GF. Both had little niggly issues during the day which would not have occurred if we had read the instructions properly, or had a little more experience. The BM has a programmable temperature control which would automate step mashing - a slight advantage maybe?
Both have a few issues, mostly around how to handle the hoppier beers we seem to like brewing here in NZ. The GF has a small perforated screen on the pump intake which will restrict the pump intake - not a good idea. The BM has an optional (expensive) hop blocker on the outlet tap which has a much larger surface area so it will clog less often.
The BM pushes recirculating wort up through the grain bed whereas the GF pulls the wort down through the grain bed. I prefer the BM in this respect as the GF pump running full bore tends to compact the grain bed (again not good for the pump)
Both systems require an additional source of hot water for 'sparging'.
Both systems are easily capable of producing 23L of wort. The GW will fit a larger grain bill - maybe 1.5 to 2KG more than the BM - and is therefore capable of stronger beers.
The GF was more efficient on the day., by a decent amount too but I'll put some of this down to user error. 23L of 1.060 vs 24.5L of 1.052. This was partly due to the amount of wort lost to hop trub I suspect. While neither system was very adept at handling a 150g hop bill, the GF came out tops in this respect.
Definitely the BM. Solid, rugged, hardy, built to last. The GF is a third of the price but you can definitely see the difference in the materials and parts used. I would expect he BM to be still as good as new after 5 years with minimal servicing but the GF will need a bit more TLC. The GF wort chiller for instance works well but is fairly fragile, however the BM doesn't have a wort chiller included in the base price.
Horses for courses here, the BM is German made and three times the price of the Chinese made GF. Gun to my head, if I was going to buy one, it would be the GF, and spend another $100 getting an immersion chiller. The BM doesn't have a lot of kit included with the $3K base price, no immersion chiller or hop blocker, but both can be purchased as extras. If you're the type to drive a Merc, then you might buy a BM.
I'll let you know when the beers are pouring...