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Old 05-30-2011, 01:03 PM   #1
MonkHeDo
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Default First time All-grain BIAB, with photos

Ok so so here we go. Yesterday I brewed my Amber Waves Independence Ale. Got my $36 POS turkey fryer from Wal-Mart, assembled without instructions because none were included. Amazed I didn't blow myself up yesterday.

6lbs Belgian Pale Ale Malt
4oz Briess 2-row Caramel 10
1lb Briess 2-row Caramel 40
4 oz Briess Victory Malt
1 lb Munich
8 oz Biscuit Malt
2 lbs Crisp Amber
2 Bags Wyeast American Ale II
.75 oz Northern Brewer @60 mins
.5 oz Williamette 30 min
05 oz Williammette 15 min

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Old 05-30-2011, 01:12 PM   #2
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Default Mashing the grains

So far so good. This being my first time a spent the first 20 mins just smelling the mash. and sampling the cream ale form my last extract batch. I was able to keep the temp at 150 for about 20 mins. I used four gallons of water to mash with. In hindsight, I had room enough to use 5 gallons easy, which I will do next time. (7.5 gallon brewpot) I started out thinking I would mash with 4 gallons and sparge with 3. Next time it will be 5 and 2.

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Old 05-30-2011, 01:19 PM   #3
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Default And then it all went to hell...

And then suddenly it got away from me. Temp slipped below 150 so I added more flame. For 5 minutes it was fine and stable, and then suddenly it jumped up to 175 degrees at one point. I turned the flame off and it continued to rise to around 190 so I panicked and put it in an ice bath instead of just adding more water, which in hindsight would have got it down faster. Took me about 10 mins to get it back down to 150. I took the pot out of the ice bath and just set it back on the burner, lid on and flame off.

I started heating my sparge water and hauled ass to the store to get more ice.

When I got back I was right at the end of my mash time. I didnt think I had enough time for a mashout, and with my other temperature snafus I had no idea what that would do to the beer at this point. So I picked up the grain bag and put it in the colander to drain into the brewpot. The sparge water wasnt nearly hot enough yet, so I let it heat while I squeezed the bejeezus out of that bag. All I got out of it was 3 gallons or so of wort.

You'll notice there are no pictures of these steps. That's because I had passed the point of calm, detached journalistic pictorial documentation and was using a lot of profanity.

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Old 05-30-2011, 01:24 PM   #4
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Default Sparge

Since I only got 3 gallons of wort out of the mash, I added another gallon to the 2 I had heating in the 5-gallon sparge pot. At this point I am about 15 mins behind schedule on getting the boil started. While I waited on the now 3gallons to get up to 170, I go back outside and try to get a little more wort squeezed out of the grain bag. I end up dropping it back in the wort. /facepalm I take it out and let it drain again.

The temperature of the wort has dropped down to about 130 at this point.

I finally got the sparge water ready, and when dunking the grain bag in, it overflowed like crazy. I let it steep for 10 mins and then drain it.

I add the sparge water to the brewpot and I get maybe 5.5 gallons of boil volume, when I was supposed to be at 6.41 according to beersmith. Argh.

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Old 05-30-2011, 01:33 PM   #5
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Default The Boil (finally)

Thank you Zombie Jesus, I am finally at the boil.



After all my tribulations, I console myself with more beer. At this point I add the Northern Brewing hops.

So I have about 5 boilovers all-together. All through the mash, this propane burner worked like a champ. It stalled maybe twice during the mash.

Yet during the boil, I could NOT keep the damned thing lit. I finally resorted to holding the starter button down with my finger. When I started to smell the flesh cooking (wasnt feeling much by this point), I switched to using my grilling fork I was using for a mash paddle (it was the only thing long enough, really) to hold down the button. When my back started to hurt, I used my foot to hold down the grilling fork to hold down the starter button. And then inspiration struck:



At a certain point, as more beer is consumed, I go from smart to stupid and then all the way back around to clever.

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Old 05-30-2011, 01:38 PM   #6
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Dude...you need to check out my posts on how to fix that ghetto burner so that you don't cook your hand again. I did it to my WAL MART Burner and it ran like a champ. The reason your was going out is because of that stupid timer/thermoregulator. Just check out my DIY All Grain equipment setup post to see how to modify your burner.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/all-...-cheap-239296/

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Old 05-30-2011, 01:43 PM   #7
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Default Lessons learned

So I end up with about 4 gallons of wort. I get it in the fermenter and place the fermenter in an ice bath to get it down. It takes me about 40 mins to get it down to 75 degrees. And I pitch the yeast. At that point I figured it's close enough, I am beyond ready for a shower and food. I leave some of the ice bath in the plastic tub and put the fermenter in its closet with a wet t-shirt on it to get it down to 70 degrees. This morning the airlock is bubbling away nicely.

So here's what I took away:

1. Mash with 5 gallons instead of 4; sparge with 2
2. Use flame more sparingly during the mash
3. Keep cold water on hand for temperature emergencies
4. Get bigger brewpot!
5. Use the lawnchair trick throughout the boil. Or get a better burner!

Any other lessons I should take away?

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Old 05-30-2011, 01:44 PM   #8
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I just e-taped my safety switch.

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Old 05-30-2011, 01:46 PM   #9
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That sounds really easy mcaple. Thanks! I am probably the least handy DIYer on here, but I think I can handle that.

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Old 05-30-2011, 02:11 PM   #10
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Make sure to stir a lot when you're raising the heat and checking the temperature. That's why it jumped in temp so quickly, gotta get that mash homogenized.

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