Prior to yesterday I had only made extract beers (from Northern Brewer and Midwest Supplies).
I did a stove top Brew in a Bag (BIAB) all grain 5 gallon Kolsch.
(thanks to all the great information on this website, and also BIABrewer and Aussiehomebrewer. I'd never have heard of this, or attempted it without your help.)
I had the grains DOUBLE crushed (crushed twice)
(Background (skip past this to see the brew summary):
My favorite beers are IPAs and I have been disappointed with the 4 IPAs I have brewed from extract. I assume the extract is fresh, but somehow the beer doesn't taste that good to me, though my wife thinks they are ok. I've had other home brewers taste the beers and they thought they were ok, no obvious flaws. I wanted to try all grain to see if there is a difference, but I didn't want to buy all the equipment. Which lead me to stove top BIAB)
Because of the limitations I faced (a stove that does not have powerful burners) I used two 5 gallon pots , plus a bunch of other pots to hold water.
I split the grain into two 5 pound amounts and placed them in tow bags - a Nylon bag from a yard sale and a $8 cotton bag form Bed bath Beyond. I had tested both for their ability to allow water to flow easily, but during actual practice the Nylon bag was a disappointment, as it held wort causing me to spend a few minutes holding it, pressing it, shifting it. I know tight weave can be a problem, but in the test it worked fine.
I used a 1.5 quart / pound ratio. The bags (24 x 36) were too big for the pots so I clipped them to the sides with 4 metal binder clips each.
I heated the water to 162, poured it into the pots, stirred it up with a big plastic spoon. There were no problems with dough balls, but with such a big bag, and it being clipped on (no dunking) it was a bit harder to stir, since there are all sorts of folds. But it seemed to work ok.
I covered them up with a towel and let them sit. Stirring every 15 minutes and adding heat if needed. I did not mash out at 170.
After an hour I lifted the bag, drained it (the cotton bag drained MUCH faster), place the bag on the oven rack over the sink, and pressed down on it. I got a lot of the wort out of the grain.
Then I heated another 12 quarts, and placed each bag in that water at 160, with the heat gradually rising to 170 over a 10-15 minute period.
The traditional BIAB uses all the water in one pot, I was limited by my stove and pot size, so I did this 2 step method.
For BIAB where you have to hold a HOT bag I got a $6 pair of heat resistant neoprene gloves (sorry, i cant find the link). They came in handy!
I did a stove top boil in the 2 pots, using a hop bag.
At the 5 minute mark I added yeast nutrient and whirlflock.
The evaporation rate of the two 5 gallon pots was a bit more than I expected, perhaps 3 quarts during an hour boil. I had planned on 2 quarts each. I squeezed the wort out of the hops bag.
Since I don't have a wort chiller, I placed each pot in the double kitchen sink in water, and replaced the water every 10 minutes, three times. After 45 minutes the pots were no longer warm to the tough, but probably still warm, say 100F.
Then I poured the wort into the fermentor. (hot break included, I'm hoping when I bottle the Whirlfloc will cause it to settle in the Trub)
It turns out I was 2 quarts short 4.5 gallons, as my evaporation rate was higher than expected. So I added in 2 quarts of cold water.
I shook the plastic bucket for 45 seconds.
I used my refractometer and measured the starting gravity - around 13.5 Brix or 1.054 SG. The kit says 1.042 - 1.046 at 70% efficiency. So I seem to have achieved over 80% efficiency, probably due to the double crush.
Then I oxygenated it. Maybe I dont need to shake it first, but I figured that shaking it gets some oxygen in the wort, and then oxygenating it on low for a minute will help get the O2 level to a good level.
I decanted my starter and poured in the yeast. (even if the temperature is 90F, I think thats ok before fermentation). I continued cooling the wort by placing the fermentor in a hefty bag, and into a garbage can that held cold water (water and frozen plastic jugs). I used 2 bags, so the water would not touch the temperature strip (fermometer). It cooled down quickly to 62, which is fine for Kolsch yeast. This was at 3PM
Next morning at 7AM the air log was bubbling away.
This took a fair amount of time, and was a bit stressful, as I would occasionally mis temperatures and have to adjust. The boiling/prep was a few hours, and cleanup and cooling the yeast, and pitching added another hour.
I'd say the brew day was 5 hours (and some stress from messing up the temperatures).
I have a 16 pounds of grain Bourbon Barrel Old Ale (MidWest) to brew in a week or two. I'm a bit worried about using 60% more grain. I'm almost thinking of using three 5 gallon pots.
I can see the benefit of an outside propane burner, a 15 gallon pot (in case I want to brew 10 gallons), and a wort chiller. But before I spend the money, I want to see how this all grain beer tastes.
What are your experiences?