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Old 11-26-2012, 03:34 AM   #1
amh0001
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Default Help me improve my process (Pictures!)

Hello all,

I wanted to create a thread detailing my entire process so I could hopefully improve it. I feel like 70% of my beers come out okay, 25% bad or flawed. And about 5% great. I want to increase the greatness! I also really want to simplify my process. Please feel free to add any questions, comments, or suggestions.

I have been brewing beer for almost 2 years with a 1 year hiatus in between. I have brewed approximately 35 batches of beer. Many have been on an ever changing system as I have re bought and re done my system. I currently do 2.5 or 3 gallon batches, and I am thinking of trying no chill. This is about my 4th brew on this exact set up. I had a lot of hiccups today which I will add. I took pictures to show, but I had to do them from my phone in one hand and brewing in the other. Today's Batch took about 5-6 hours to brew/clean.

Okay my recipe today is based off of NB's Oatmeal cookie BIAB.

Recipe: BIAB Oatmeal cookie

Recipe Specifications
--------------------------
Boil Size: 4.40 gal
Post Boil Volume: 3.65 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 3.00 gal
Bottling Volume: 2.78 gal
Estimated OG: 1.067 SG
Estimated Color: 35.3 SRM
Estimated IBU: 36.4 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 65.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 76.0 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients:
------------
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
5 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) UK (3.0 SRM) Grain 1 56.6 %
1 lbs Munich Malt (9.0 SRM) Grain 2 11.3 %
1 lbs Oats, Flaked (1.0 SRM) Grain 3 11.3 %
1 lbs Special B Malt (180.0 SRM) Grain 4 11.3 %
8.0 oz Brown Malt (65.0 SRM) Grain 5 5.7 %
5.3 oz Pale Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM) Grain 6 3.7 %
1.00 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] - Boil 60.0 Hop 7 26.2 IBUs
1.00 oz Styrian Goldings [5.40 %] - Boil 10.0 mi Hop 8 10.3 IBUs
0.06 oz Cinnamon Stick (Boil 5.0 mins) Spice 9 -


Mash Schedule: BIAB mash at 154
Total Grain Weight: 8 lbs 13.3 oz


Okay to start. I used RO water and added 1 tsp of Calcium chloride to 5 gallons.


This is my 6 gallon stainless steel kettle and Banjo Burner. Once I added the tinfoil it helped the burner really work. Without the foil it would take twice as long to heat water.


Added what beer smith calculated to the kettle used a paint stir stick to measure. I start the banjo burner to get the water warming to mash temp.


Here is my grain storage, getting ready to measure my recipe and mill.


I use this large kitchen bowl on top of my scale and measure my grain.


grains in the mill.


grinding at half speed.



Here is my crush I leave it at stock setting.


add the oats un milled

Now, I though I had enough grains for this recipe but I found out as I was measuring I did not and this is what my recipe turned into. This usually doesn’t happen but I bought these ingredients about 4 batches ago. Only a month or two ago tho.

Ingredients:
------------
Amt Name
5 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) UK (3.0 SRM)
9.7oz Munich Malt (9.0 SRM)
1 lbs Oats, Flaked (1.0 SRM)
14.2oz Special B Malt (180.0 SRM)
8.0 oz Brown Malt (65.0 SRM)
5 oz Pale Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM)


I checked my water temp and saw it was too hot when I was finished milling. This happens a lot I need to really lower my heat.


add some ice to cool it down.


grab my bag to line the kettle


add some 5.2 stabilizer to the grains prior to mashing in.


Ok I usually average about 1 degree loss per pound of grain. I am shooting for 154, but this is the temp I got to before I mashed in.


Mash in


stir well for any doughballs. I love how creamy this is looking. I hope the beer comes out creamy.


okay when I first mashed in I was around 156 so I needed to cool it down, I added some more ice and unfortunately got half a degree too low. I decided to let it sit here because I dont want to add heat to the bottom because im scared of melting the bag. I have a veggie steamer to put in the bottom. but im still scared of melting the bag so I dont use it.


I drape a snowboarding jacket over the top to help insulate.


I usually mash for 1 hour but I ended up letting this one go for 75 mins. Here is the ending temp.


pull out the bag. I will squeeze the bag try and get more out and I think this makes a difference. If I don’t squeeze it there is like 1/3 a gallon left in that sucker plus i'm sure lots of sugar. This is hot and sticky but it works.


heres the wort. Start the heat and get ready to test our pre boil gravity


Drop a bit onto the refractometer.


So the refractometer shows around 15 Brix which = 1.061

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Ingredients: Jamil's Taddy Porter, O'flannagin stout, 15 min extract pale ale.
Primary: BIAB Oatmeal Cookie
Kegged: Strawberry Blonde, Pale ale, Apple Cider, Pumkin ale.

"....yeast have to start growing an army to best eat the sugar, so they have a wild orgy and then make a bunch of yeast babies." - Revvy
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Old 11-26-2012, 03:35 AM   #2
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\
got the wort boiling. Sprayed with water to prevent boil over. Now time for our 60 min hops.


add them in



now about 30 minutes into the boil my propane tank runs out. I go ahead and switch the tanks and get it going again. In the mean time I took a refactometer sample to see how my boil off was effecting it. It came out to 17 Brix = 1.069. I was aiming for an OG of about 1.066 so I added some water (about 1/3 of a gallon) to compensate with the boil off. I know this could effect hop utilization but I wasn’t too worried.


20 minutes left add the wort chiller, no wirlfloc needed seeing as this is a dark beer.


I tasted the wort and it tasted pretty bitter so I waited to add my second hop addition at 5 minutes instead of 10. added in these.


I also added in a bit of nutrient


flame out dropped in 2 cinnamon sticks. They were a little old so I went with 2 instead of 1.


now my tap water dosent really get below 68 so I have added a pond pump the this bucket to suck water into the intercooler and then I can add ice near the end to get it down.


I stir the wort really good to get it moving around the intercooler and then spray some tin foil with starsand and cover up. I not worried about any DMS, plus its not completely tight.


get my carboy with sanitizer going.


I saved this ice packs from when I get shipped my yeast.


throw them into bucket to chill the wort down even more. At this point worts been chillen for about 25 mins.


while im waiting I went online to check my efficiency, and it came out good 74%. I average between 70-80%


I dump the water out of the carboy into this tub to sanitize my other stuff. O2 injector and funnel and airlock. The wort cooled to 68 and I dumped it into the carboy with the funnel.


one of the cinnamon sticks got stuck in the funnel. Kinda like a hop back but for cinnamon lol.


there she is.


check out mr malty pitching rate calculator. Now. Seeing as I usually only make half batches 2.5 I dont use a starter I just use one tube of liquid yeast. I like not having to make starter as it saves time. I also usually make worts around 1.040-1.50 so it seems okay to me. Seeing as I do this, I decided to use 2 tubes of Cal Ale. I didnt have Nottingham or NB's neobritania.


I know im over pitching here a bit.


I use whats left at the bottom of the kettle to take a hydro reading. To my surprise it was lower than I expected! Dont know what happened there, bummer. Oh well 1.062 will do. Also the sample did not taste at all like cinnamon so I will probably add some to the keg.


add about a minute of O2 and slosh it around.


put it in the ferm fridge with the johnson controller set to 67 and let it sit.

I checked the beer about 12 hours later and didnt notice sings of fermentation. I checked again 24 hours after pitching and I had a nice layer of brown bubbles on the top.

I plan to let it go for a full 2 weeks and then see if its dropped clear. Then keg it up.

Ok and that's all folks!
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Ingredients: Jamil's Taddy Porter, O'flannagin stout, 15 min extract pale ale.
Primary: BIAB Oatmeal Cookie
Kegged: Strawberry Blonde, Pale ale, Apple Cider, Pumkin ale.

"....yeast have to start growing an army to best eat the sugar, so they have a wild orgy and then make a bunch of yeast babies." - Revvy
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Old 11-26-2012, 04:07 AM   #3
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your grind looks a bit floury. try conditioning your malt.

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Old 11-26-2012, 04:38 AM   #4
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Grain may just be double milled?

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Old 11-26-2012, 06:42 AM   #5
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Thanks for the comments. I only single roll it on the stock setting. What do you mean by condition?

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Ingredients: Jamil's Taddy Porter, O'flannagin stout, 15 min extract pale ale.
Primary: BIAB Oatmeal Cookie
Kegged: Strawberry Blonde, Pale ale, Apple Cider, Pumkin ale.

"....yeast have to start growing an army to best eat the sugar, so they have a wild orgy and then make a bunch of yeast babies." - Revvy
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Old 11-26-2012, 11:50 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amh0001 View Post
Thanks for the comments. I only single roll it on the stock setting. What do you mean by condition?


about twenty minutes before milling I like to add 2%, by weight, of water to my grain.

I mix it around, make sure it's completely distributed, and by the time I am ready to mill it's ready.

makes the husks more supple, allowing them to pass through more intact while still crushing the grain. You get a better grain bed because the husks are what act like a filter and I find that I have less flour/dust created when I do it this way.
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Old 11-26-2012, 11:54 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by runningweird View Post
your grind looks a bit floury. try conditioning your malt.
He's brewing in a bag, that looks good for that. If you mill the grain fine for a conventional mash tun you get problems lautering or a stuck sparge but with BIAB that isn't a problem and tends to give higher efficiency.

Since you have the brewing frig and a controller you might get a better tasting beer if you ferment between 62 and 64 for the first 5 days and then let the beer come to room temperature for then next 2 weeks. That initial time in the fermenter is where the off flavors develop and controlling your temperature lower then eliminates them but the yeast tend to shiver when the easy sugar is gone and quit a little too soon. Warming them up helps to complete the process and makes the beer mature quicker.
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Old 11-26-2012, 03:41 PM   #8
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My only concern would be that you are taking the beer in the bottom of your vessel for a hydro reading. This isn't a problem unless the mixture is not thoroughly mixed. If you have a lot of sediment still in suspension it could mess with your readings.

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Old 11-26-2012, 04:03 PM   #9
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Everything looks good to me, except the very last step - I think 67F on the Johnson is too high. I set mine low - like 58-60. I figure the yeast are warming that up with their crazy activity by a good 5-8 degrees. I like to ferment cold.

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Old 11-26-2012, 05:00 PM   #10
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WLP001 is very forgiving of warmer temps provided they are 'stable' temps. With the temp probe taped to the carboy, you're fine. I personally usually ferment at 64-65 with that yeast, but there's NO problem fermenting at 67 with WLP001 considering you're using a temp controller.

I didn't see anything wrong with your brewing process. My best advice is to just brew more using the same setup. You'll find what things you can do on brew day to smooth out some of the kinks and become more efficient. That will lead to smoother and less stressful brewdays, which are more enjoyable. Usually you'll make better beer too.

One word of advice: Don't judge a beer's bitterness by tasting the pre-fermented wort. All pre-fermented wort tastes bitter.

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