I think I had way too many firsts last Sunday. First brew in the new brewspace, first use of a new eBIAB keggle, first batch brewed on an electrical system period, first use of a new grain mill (Millars mill
ehhh) first time BIAB brewing, first wheat beer, first no chill. It was a very odd brew day.
Recipe: Simple Wheat
6 pounds Rahr 2 row
5 pounds Wheat
.75 oz Hallertau 45 minutes
.25 oz Hallertau 10 minutes
1 whirlfloc tablet 15 minutes
Munich dry yeast rehydrated
Mash at 153 - 60 minutes
Mash out 168 for 10 minutes
Squeezed the snot out of the bag
90 minute boil to 5.5 gallons
No chill and pitched at 63 degrees.
Problem 1. My old electric drill just didnt have the horses to turn the mill, so I had to call up a buddy to bring over a bigger drill. Did a double crush to be safe. Not a big deal, kind of a plus because I have to (get to!) buy a new tool. Right before the second crush as I was pouring the grain back in the hopper, the hopper came off the mill and spilled 6 pounds of grain on the floor. Yikes. Observing the newly discovered 1 minute rule, swept them back up and put them in the hopper. Fortunately I had just swept the floor.
Problem 2. I quickly discovered that the temp reading on the brewmation love control was about 20 degrees higher than the analog thermometer (recently calibrated in icy distilled water) mounted on the keggle. A test over the top with a handheld thermometer confirmed the analog thermometers reading. How do you adjust the electronic readings? Ill need to call Kevin at Brewmation and see.
It could be that the thermowell is too close to the element. As you can see, it extends across the element and is about an inch higher. The installation instructions said to mount it one inch higher. Because of the length, no matter where its placed, it will cross over the element, and with the grain bag on top, Im sure its pushing down directly on the element. Here's the placement:
Problem 3. The element had a bunch of slimey gunk on it which I assumed to be hot break and hop residue. I wiped it down, but didnt clean it with the plan to pull the element and give it a scrub this week. This morning I found those flakes shown above. Looks like scorched charred flakes. Is that what scorching looks like? I couldnt smell any scorching during the boil and smelling those flakes, I can't smell char or anything really.
Problem 4. Two bathfans, which each have 100 cfm mounted above the keggle will make insane condensation. Spent the boil wiping drips away before they fell back into the pot. Scrapping the bath fans and getting a squirrel cage fan and home built hood. Hard lesson learned there.
Problem 5. It just never smelled like boiling wort at any time during the process. Is that because of the wheat grain bill? Was it because of the large amount of water that's used for BIAB diluting odor? The hydrometer wort smelled fine and I didn't note any odd flavors. Looks like a wheat and I hit my predicted OG more or less! I was paranoid that with the crush problems and thermometer weirdness I didn't get good conversion. Suppose to be 1058, closer to 1059-60.
Just rehydrated the Munich dry yeast, hit the wort with a minute of pure medical grade o2 for 60 seconds at 1lpm. Made a nice frothy wort for the yeasties. Sitting pretty at 63 degrees.
Despite all the problems that need ironed out in the process I'm really happy with the result so far, but bummed I promised all this to my buddy who helped build my brewhouse. Not telling him, but I'm holding back a couple bottles for me. Heh.