When I first started brewing (with extract) brew days were about 3 hours, and I was only “active” for about one hour. Pretty easy 🙂 When I switched to all-grain (no-sparge) brew day became nearly 5.5 hours and about 1.5 active hours. I loved the new beers but longed for the simplicity of extract brewing.
This is when I started to notice some of the automated systems. And for me, the Grainfather was the perfect fit. The length of brew day remains pretty much the same, but because of the automation I’m only active for about an hour and there are some long breaks where I can trust the system to maintain temperatures.
I haven’t yet taken advantage to the “delayed start” feature, which would allow me to schedule when the strike water should be heated. In theory I could heat all of my water, pump some of it into a separate vessel (to be used later for sparging) and then get started with mashing … this would shorten brew day to about 4 hours. The only downside is that I need to schedule a start time 🙂
If you’re interested here are some further details / breakdown of the timing of things https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1JJBYsOIo5wXXeCrtQU-kQXKJWPo6kBfnRBOvrqk4XfQ/edit?usp=sharing