State of the first Grainfather brew

This is what the fermentation bin looked like this morning


the gravity was 1013 – and as far as I can see fermentation has stopped. Possibly because a heat-belt managed to keep the liquid at 24C during the whole period.

I am looking forward to testing the brew – but this is the most patience testing part of brewing as it needs at least a week in secondary fermentation and aging.

The upcoming JeeNode Zero • JeeLabs is at it again!

Jeelabs (the people that renewed my interest in electronics and micro controllers) have been quiet for a couple of years, but it look like they are back again, with a very much updated version of my favourite micro controller, the Jeenode.

I highly recommend following the excellent series of articles from them : 

The upcoming JeeNode Zero • JeeLabs: “The upcoming JeeNode Zero Dec 21, 2016

Lately, I’ve been keeping busy with a brand new board. It’s called the JeeNode Zero:

Shown here is the ‘rev3’ prototype, and it’s starting to shape up nicely. Sooo… without further ado, let me tell you more about it:

Working on the JeeNode Zero – Wed Some specs and comparisons – Thu This node speaks Forth (and C) – Fri Taking the JNZ rev3 for a spin – Sat JNZ testing and availability – Sun This isn’t about being the first or cheapest ‘node’ out there, in fact this isn’t about any.

The JeeNode Zero is about creating exactly the node I’ll want to use for my projects. My hope is that this week’s articles will also help explain what is guiding my preferences and choices, and where it might lead to.


Our cat now has a GPS tracker

I know – this sounds silly, but anyway:

We lost both of our old cats this year, and by pure coincidence we got a new cat 2 weeks ago – it’s a cat that was living outside a OAP home where my mother-in-law lives. The cat had been bullied by another cat at the home, and has been living outside for the last 6 months. It made a appearance a few weeks ago and my wife offered to give it a home with us.

And so Neffie move in to our home, and has started adopting us, as cats do.

Last week she managed to escape when a caller came to the door, followed by a anxious chase around the neighbourhood – without us managing to find her. And as a result we bought a GPS tracking collar from after some discussions around the size of the collar. This was the smallest one we could find on the market.

Here she is

IMG 3723

And you can see why we were concerned – the collar is not exactly small. We were afraid she would not take to it.

But there has been absolutely no problems, she does not seem to mind the collar at all, and gladly let us change the battery every 3 days. 

It is a small price to pay for keeping the family happier that they know where she is, and that she has not gone back to her old woods.

Yesterday brew

Yesterdays brew was a “Landlord style All grain mash kit” from The Home Brew Shop.


First brew on Grainfather, bought at Home Brew Shop at the same time as the Grainfather.
Mash start

Mash start 18:15
Mash finish 19:45
Boil start 21:30
First hop 21:30
Second hop 22:20
Copper finings 22:20
End of boil 22:30
Fermentation start 22:45
Starting gravity 1042
Mash water calculated to 15 litres
Sparge water calculated to 16.5 litres (According to booklet (28 -15) + (4.3 * 0.8) = 16.44, same result as if using calculation in leaflet, but this specified “pre-boil volume) which was almost impossible to measure properly).
Heated 17 litres of spare water.
At end of boil boil added 1.5 litres of water to get enough in pot prior to cooling, to give 27 litres in kettle.
Cooled down to 24 C into fermenter – worked out very easily and well.
Added yeast Safale 04  to fermentation bin, 22.5 litres – OG of 1042 (recipe states 1041 as ideal).

Grainfather missing parts – and how to fix

We picked up a new Grainfather Connect on the morning of the 24th – and brought it home.

In the afternoon we decided to put it all together to make sure that we had all the required bits to do our first brew at a later stage during Christmas.

Unfortunately we found 2 pieces missing – the temperature probe cover and the fastening bit for the same. This was not ideal – so we called the shop. But they were closing in 20 minutes, and would not open until the new year. We were told to send them a email explaining the problem, and they would contact the importer in the new year. The missing bits fit in through a hole close to the bottom of the grainfather to measure the temperature of the liquid close above the heating element.


But we still wanted to do our test brew, and not waiting for the new year to do this. So we came up with a plan where we used the following 

IMG 3732

It’s a bung from a mini cask, and it turns out that the plug fits perfectly into the hole, and with a couple of rubber seals, and w hole drilled through the plug it all made for a leak-proof mounting of the temperature probe like this


And from the inside


Which meant that we were ready to do our first test brew.


And as a update – the first brew worked out perfectly!