The Grainfather and the Spiedel Braumeister are two of the leading all-in-one electric brewing systems currently available.
One was the first ever commercially produced all-in-one electric brewing system, is still made in Germany, and retails for nearly three times as much as its nearest competitors. The other is the Grainfather.
But can the Grainfather meet the high standards that were set by the Spiedel Braumeister? Does the Grainfather make good beer and is it worth buying a Grainfather?
For some of my more DIY-orientated brewing buddies, designing and building their own all-grain brewing setup is half the enjoyment of their all-grain brewing adventure. They will spend hours at the weekend trawling local hardware stores for large kettles, steel pipework, spigots, and all the interconnects and then spend even more hours fixing and welding them all together.
At the end of the process, many of them have built an impressive mini-brew system worthy of a place in most craft microbreweries.
Sometimes commercial brew kits just don’t offer everything you need for your home brew setup. Even I have been known to indulge in the odd spot of DIY. However, I would rather spend my weekends designing and brewing my next IPA beer recipes rather than welding two large brewing vessels together.
Fortunately for the average homebrewer, there are now some very good all-in-one electric brew systems like The Grainfather and the Speidel Braumeister are now available at prices that won’t break the bank (well, the Grainfather at least won’t push your budget too far!).
In this post, I’ll be comparing the two popular brewing systems: the Grainfather and the Braumeister. I’ll explore the features, benefits, and drawbacks of each system to help you decide which one is right for you.
Grainfather vs Braumeister at a Glance
The Grainfather Connect
- SIMPLE AND USER FRIENDLY: The Grainfather is electrically powered and designed to be used indoors; No need for burners or hot plates; just plug in and go; Heating from mash to boil takes as little as 20 minutes; Instructions included; Instructional videos available on manufacturer website
- HIGHEST QUALITY CONSTRUCTION: The Grainfather is made from high quality 304 grade stainless steel with a 8 gallon capacity; designed to produce up to 6 gallons of beer from one brew
- INTUITIVE DESIGN: Programmable step mashing; delayed heating; waterproof digital display in Celsius and Fahrenheit
Speidel Braumeister V2-20L
- All in one all grain brewing system
- Digital controller stores up to 10 recipes
- 220 Volts
|Grainfather Connect G30||Speidel Braumeister V2-20L|
|Capacity||30 L (8 Gallons)||20 L (5 Gallons)|
|Maximum Wort||25 L||15 L|
|Maximum Grain||8 KG (20 lbs)||5 KG (13 lbs)|
|Power||110 - 120 V||220 V|
|Controller||Fully Programmable Brew Schedule||Fully Programmable Brew Schedule|
|Wireless Connectivity||Smartphone Connectivity via Bluetooth||Wifi for Software Updates and Recipe Sync|
|Heating Element||500 & 2000 Watts||2000 Watts|
|Pump||6 Watt 1800 RPM||27 Watt adjustable speed|
|Chiller||Counterflow Chiller Included||Cooling Jacket Welded on|
|Construction||304 grade stainless steel||Stainless steel|
Grainfather vs Braumeister – The Cost
The biggest difference between the Grainfather all-in-one brewing system and the Braumeister is the sheer cost of the unit. While you will find the Grainfather sells for under a thousand bucks, you need to multiply that by at least two to get a comparable size all-in-one brewing system from Braumeister.
The Speidel Braumeister is actually designed and built in Germany rather than being manufactured in China like many of its competitors such as the Grainfather. The quality of German engineering shines through, it’s often called the “Mercedes” of All-In-One Brewing systems, and the Speidel website proudly boasts it’s designed to German Purity laws.
At the end of the day, the all-grain brewing process is about the finished beer you produce rather than how good the equipment looks. Although the quality of workmanship of the Braumeister may last longer, if properly maintained and taken care of, the Grainfather should last just as many years.
Having used both systems, I would always recommend buying the Grainfather at the lower price and using the leftover money for purchasing some extras like a conical fermentation chamber. But if money is no object then the Braumeister may be the way to go, you can even buy larger versions such as the 50 liter for an extra cost.
WINNER – Grainfather
Grainfather vs Braumeister – Ease of Use
The All-in-One electric brewing systems offer a new approach to brewing which simplifies the art of brewing for both beginner homebrewers and more experienced all-grain brewers alike.
Both the Braumeister and the Grainfather come with digital controllers which make accurate temperature control of your wort from boil to fermentation temperature easier.
One of the reasons the Grainfather has such a cult following in the homebrewing world is the Bluetooth connectivity and integration with a mobile app it uses. A Connect Control box is attached to the side of the Grainfather and there’s an app for both iPhone and Android which allows for complete control of the brewing process from your smartphone.
The actual PID controller on the side of the Grainfather is less automated than the app and requires you to adjust the temperature manually with large brew buttons, which can be a pain when compared to the fully automated controller of the Braumeister.
But the app allows you to fill the Grainfather with water the evening before an early brew day and set the timer to automatically start heating up the strike water before you even wake up.
The Connect app allows for programmable step mashing and the logarithms of the PID maintain a more stable heating with power output control. Despite all the advanced features, the app has a simple-to-use, friendly interface for consistent mash temperatures.
The Speidel Braumeister, in its latest versions, has quickly adapted much of the user-friendliness of the Grainfather and its control box now features a clear, easy-to-use, touchscreen interface that is fully programmable for automatic step mashes.
Although there is no smartphone app as of yet, wifi and Bluetooth connectivity allow for updating of the brewing software, and you can connect via a wifi network and a home pc or laptop running Windows.
The more sophisticated interface of the Speidel Braumeister electric brewery is perhaps more suited to the more advanced all-grain homebrewer as it allows for more flexibility including smaller batches of beer.
WINNER – Grainfather
Grainfather vs Braumeister – Features
The Grainfather is a popular all-in-one brewing system from New Zealand that allows you to brew your own beer at home with ease. It’s a compact and portable system that includes a mash tun, a boiler, and a pump, all in one unit. The Grainfather is designed to be easy to use and clean, with the removable grain basket making it a popular choice for home brewers of all skill levels.
The Grainfather is an all-in-one brewing system that includes a mash tun, a boiler, and a pump, all in one unit. Its stainless steel body and digital controller make it a durable and easy-to-use system.
Here are some of the key features of the Grainfather:
- Compact and portable design: The Grainfather’s compact size makes it easy to store and transport, making it an ideal choice for home brewers with limited space or who like to brew on the go.
- Built-in pump: The Grainfather’s built-in pump for recirculation makes it easy to move the wort from the mash tun to the boiler.
- Digital controller: The digital controller with wifi connectivity allows you to easily monitor the brewing status and adjust the temperature of the mash and the boil.
- Compatible with the Graincoat insulation jacket: The Graincoat insulation jacket helps to maintain the temperature of the mash during the brewing process.
- Counterflow wort chiller provided as standard is more hygienic than many other systems which include immersion wort chillers (these make more contact with the boiling wort and can lead to contamination).
- Expandable grain basket allows for higher amounts of grains to be added for high gravity wort production and higher ABV beers.
- Two independent heating elements. The 500-watt element is used at certain stages to avoid minimizing the risk of scorching when a gentler heat is required, while a second 2000-watt element can quickly ramp up the temperature to boil after the mash. Cleverley switching between the two elements means the heating from mash to boil can take as little as 20 minutes.
- Runs from standard 110v household power.
While the Grainfather is a popular brewing system, it does have some potential drawbacks. Here are a few to consider:
- Limited capacity: The Grainfather’s capacity of up to 8 gallons may not be enough for some home brewers who like to brew in larger batches.
- Potential pump issues: Some users have reported issues with the Grainfather’s pump, which can be prone to clogging or failing over time.
- Can’t be used with malt extract kits as the mash and sparge pipes are likely to get blocked.
- Struggles with individual recipes under 5-6 gallons due to the design of the mashing system.
- Sparge water has to be boiled and added separately.
The Braumeister features a stainless steel body, a digital controller, and an amazing built-in pump. It has a capacity of up to 20 liters (approximately 5-gallon capacity), making it suitable for brewing a range of different beer styles. The system is also designed to be easy to use and clean, with a simple user interface and a removable mash tun for easy cleaning.
The Braumeister is a German-made all-in-one brewing system that includes a mash tun, a boiler with a 2000-watt heating element, a boil kettle, and a pump, all in one unit. Its high-quality construction and simple user interface make it a popular choice for home brewers.
Here are some of the key features of the Braumeister:
- Stainless steel construction: The Braumeister is made of high-quality stainless steel, which makes it durable and long-lasting.
- Digital controller: The digital controller allows you to easily monitor and adjust any temperature fluctuation of the mash and the boil.
- Built-in pump: The Braumeister’s built-in 23-watt pump makes it easy to move the wort from the mash tun to the boiler and recirculate to control the temperature of the mash.
- Patented malt tubes gently circulate the base malt through the wort and reduce the chance of scorching the grains
- Removable mash tun: The Braumeister’s mash tun is removable, making it easy to clean.
While the Braumeister is a popular brewing system, it does have some potential drawbacks. Here are a few to consider:
- Price: The Braumeister is a more expensive brewing system than the Grainfather, which may be a consideration for budget-conscious home brewers.
- The Braumeister doesn’t come with a chiller as standard. Although the chiller jacket which is welded onto the latest version of the Braumeister can be effective on full batch size brews, if you are making a smaller brew size it may not effectively cool the wort as quickly as needed.
- Only has a 220-240v power capability so you will need to install a higher voltage socket in most US households.
WINNER – Draw
Does the Grainfather Make Good Beer?
After many successful brews, I would have to say YES! The Grainfather is just as capable of brewing a wide range of beers as the Braumeister but is the more affordable option.
More advanced homebrewers may scoff at the use of a beer brewing device like the Grainfather, but it uses the same brewing techniques as making your own brew system, just all in one unit.
Is It Worth Getting a Grainfather?
If you are strapped for time but still want to find a way to fit some high-quality all-grain brewing into your busy schedule the Grainfather or a similar all-in-one electric brewing system is definitely worth considering.
Although there are cheaper options on the market, many don’t have the additional features of the Grainfather, including the ease of use, wifi connectivity, or built-in counterflow wort chiller.
Complete systems like the Grainfather or Braumeister are more than just a brew kettle with an electric heater bolted on. They include pumps for recirculation of the grains during mashing, automated temperature controllers, and can even add pre-programmed recipes to make the whole brewing process much simpler.
When the amount of space is limited for your brewing equipment, the Grainfather can quite easily sit in the corner of the garage and is even compact enough to take over to a buddy’s house for a brew day. The Braumeister 20L is even more compact and can quite happily sit on a kitchen bench top, although it’s not quite as portable and easy to transport as the Grainfather.
Both the Grainfather and the Braumeister are high-quality brewing systems that are designed to simplify the brewing process for home brewers of all skill levels. While the Braumeister’s high-quality construction may justify its higher price for some users, the Grainfather’s compact size and ease of use may make it a better choice for others.
Ultimately, the choice between the Grainfather and the Braumeister will depend on a number of factors, including your brewing needs, budget, and personal preferences. By weighing the features, benefits, and drawbacks of each brewing system, you can make an informed decision about which one is right for you.
Personally, I would opt for the Grainfather every time as it’s so much more affordable (more money left to spend on the next few batches of beer) and the support service offered by Grainfather is second to none.