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Old 01-29-2012, 02:02 PM   #11
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Everything went very smooth and as expected except for when I pulled the grain bag/basket out after mash out and was going to dump spent grain, there was an additional gush of wort that spilled out (maybe a pint).

Was this the reason for low efficiency? Besides that, I think I did everything else by the book.
Wort will continue draining from the grain for up to an hour sometimes. After I lift and squeeze as much as I can from the grain, I set the grain basket in a big plastic tub to collect any remaining wort that may drain later. I'll then add this collected wort back to the boil kettle to get every bit that I can.

Congrats on your first BIAB. It looks like you're off to a great start!
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Old 01-29-2012, 03:48 PM   #12
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Haha! Give me a little credit guys! The garage door was opened numerous times during this brew and the man door behind me was open the whole time. Thanks for the heads up though. The cooling wort bucket also did have water in it and it was up to the wort level, you just gotta remember thats a 62qt pot and there's only 5 gal of wort in there. The chunks of snow up to the top were for the picture purpose. As for the grain, I think you guys are right, my grain was crushed at my LHBS and I should have asked for a finer crush. My next step is a grain mill! Next time I'll squeeze more. Does starting with less water and sparging a little make a big dif?

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Old 01-29-2012, 04:30 PM   #13
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My post was as much for other new brewers as you and I'm glad you had the door opened. I'm not sure how much difference you get from the smaller start volume/sparge but my last one I did that way got me 85% efficiency. It might have been the grain bill, the crush, the temperature control during the mash....you know, too many variables to be sure. You don't have to spend a fortune on a grain mill. Since you are using a bag with a fine mesh you don't have to depend on having good husks to form a filter in the grain bed so you can use a cheap knock off Corona mill. I haven't even motorized mine but I'm thinking about it. I usually grind the grain while my water is heating to strike temperature. I've always finished the grind before the water was hot but your burner might be faster than mine or you may have a larger grain bill. My grain mill looks like this one. http://www.amazon.com/Hopper-Cast-Gr...7858194&sr=8-3

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Old 01-29-2012, 08:01 PM   #14
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Thanks for the mill insight. Another thing I noticed was that most biab recipes I see start with 7.5 gallons h20 and that's for a 5.5 gallon boil. I started with 8 gallons and barely got 5 gallons to boil. That's got to be an indicator that my mash was subpar. I also know that using such a large pot for only 5 gallons to boil accounts for much more boil off. The propane fryer is surprisingly easy to control boil intensity and I had a nice slow rolling boil, so I thought it wouldn't be that big a deal. Maybe it is. So is it safe to say that if I crush finer and squeeze more my issue will be resolved? Heat sparge to 175ish, mash at 154 and mash out at 170 still a decent range? I really tried to get my temps perfect and I think I should have been paying more attention to the " richness" and quantity of my mash. Judging by my numbers, do u think this will still be a tasty brew? I just hope it doesn't turn out like my last AG brew, all hops, no body, cuz that beer was lame.

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Old 01-29-2012, 08:21 PM   #15
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If your thermometer was accurate so you really did mash at 154, I'd drink that beer. I even drink mine that accidently was mashed at 148 due to a thermometer problem but I wish I had checked the thermometer before I mashed.
the fact that you started with 8 gallons and only had 5 going into the boil says that you left a lot of wort in the grain bag. Squeeze it hard. Pretend you are Scrooge McDuck squeezing a penny. Make that grain squeal!

I don't do a mash out, I sparge (just started doing this) with cold water so I can get the bag of grains cool to squeeze. It seems to work fine.

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Old 01-29-2012, 09:35 PM   #16
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Your setup looks allot like mine (although I ordered a Bag online custom made for my kettle). I use Brewing software and always calculate for 8 gallons water in my 10 gallon kettle since I can't hold all the water/grain at one time, then add water later based upon the software. If you use standard mill on the grain you will get low 60s effeciency (the software can help w/that).. just add more base grain to get you to where you need to be. I also do a Mash out to 170 degrees and lightly squeeze the bag; that gives me always 5 more points OG! It really makes a huge difference. One more thing; I notice no wrapping on the Kettle.. I use and old blanket wrapped on/over kettle to hold heat in

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Old 01-30-2012, 04:20 AM   #17
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Good to know. I use Brewmate and it's a great program but doesn't have nearly the info Beersmith does, but hey it's free. Is Beersmith what you use? Also, I would definitely like to get into milling myself but I don't quite understand the fining process. Is there a number or value that biab grain should be set at? How do you know what's too fine or coarse? Does mashing a more concentrated wort and then adding water change the beer? I'm still learning a bit here and don't quite get how you know your efficiency If you top off later. So say I mash a beer and my efficiency is 70% but it's only 4 gallons won't adding another gallon later lower that number?

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Old 01-30-2012, 10:46 AM   #18
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I don't do a mash out, I sparge (just started doing this) with cold water so I can get the bag of grains cool to squeeze. It seems to work fine.
Sparging with cold water? I understand about protecting your hands, but you're leaving a lot behind if you're not rinsing with mash-out temperature water or higher. You need to get those sugars more solvent and liquid to rinse them out. I can't imagine that cold water would do that. That is part of what a raised mash out temp is for.
I've used the wife's silicon cooking gloves to do 'the squeeze'. Probably any type of rubber glove with be useful.
OP, 7.5 gallon strike water is general. You need to calculate strike amount based on boil off and grain absorption.
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Old 01-30-2012, 11:22 AM   #19
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Sparging with cold water? I understand about protecting your hands, but you're leaving a lot behind if you're not rinsing with mash-out temperature water or higher. You need to get those sugars more solvent and liquid to rinse them out. I can't imagine that cold water would do that. That is part of what a raised mash out temp is for.
I've used the wife's silicon cooking gloves to do 'the squeeze'. Probably any type of rubber glove with be useful.
OP, 7.5 gallon strike water is general. You need to calculate strike amount based on boil off and grain absorption.
Dang, is that why my efficiency was only 85%?

When you do a traditional mash tun you need the hotter sparge water since you are using only gravity to extract the sweet wort but when you squeeze the bag of grain, you get most of it out regardless of the temperature. I find that lowering the temperature lets me squeeze harder and longer so the grains are pretty dry.
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Old 01-30-2012, 11:25 AM   #20
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Dang, is that why my efficiency was only 85%?

When you do a traditional mash tun you need the hotter sparge water since you are using only gravity to extract the sweet wort but when you squeeze the bag of grain, you get most of it out regardless of the temperature. I find that lowering the temperature lets me squeeze harder and longer so the grains are pretty dry.

Use a couple of pan lids and "press"... no hot wort. And, Mashing out gives me 3-5OG as compared to just pulling/squeezing the bag.
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