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Old 10-07-2012, 03:39 PM   #1
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Default My First BIAB Experience *PICS*

I usually brew 10 gallon batches every-other-week, mostly using the Batch Sparge method, though occasionally I fly sparge. My typical brew day is right around 6 hours from start to finish and my efficiency averages about 73%. I hadn't planned on brewing this weekend but realized my family had nothing planned, so I figured I'd have some fun trying a few things I'd been meaning to try for awhile: Brew In A Bag, low OG session beer using mostly Munich Light malt, pitching directly from washed and harvested yeast with no starter, and using 100% Perle hops. I'm calling the beer a mOktoberfest, and if all goes well, plan to take plenty to jeffd10's Oktoberfest party in a couple weeks. Here are the details...

As soon as I decided I wanted to brew, I designed the following low OG recipe using BeerSmith:

Brulosopher's mOktoberfest Recipe
Est OG: 1.040 (Actual was 1.035)
Est FG: 1.011
IBU: 23
SRM: 8
Est ABV: 3.8%

Grain
4.75 lbs Munich (10L)
2.50 lbs Pilsner (Canadian)
6.00 oz C60

Hops
14 g Perle @ 50 min
14 g Perle @ 20 min
15 g Perle @ 5 min

Yeast
WLP029 German Ale/Kolsch (harvested and washed, no starter)

EQUIPMENT
15 gallon kettle with ball valve (my boil kettle)
1 large (24" x 24") mesh grain bag
Chugger pump (not necessary)
Plate chiller (not necessary)

I've seen people use a pulley and other gizmos, but I wanted to keep this pretty simple. I only used the pump because I have it, it's certainly not necessary.

PROCESS
I changed my equipment setting in BeerSmith to BIAB and it said to gather the entire water volume into the kettle, essentially making this a "no sparge" brew day. I went with it and gathered just over 9 gallons of filtered water.


While my water was heating, I measured and milled my grains...


...then poured them into my grain bag.


Once my strike water had reached temp (162F for a 156-158F mash), I put the grain bag in the kettle and stirred well.


After about 5 minutes of stirring, my mash was to temp, so I poured myself a Tiny Bottom Pale Ale and relaxed for a bit.


After about 15 minutes I checked my temps and noticed it had dropped about 1 degree, so I laid a sleeping bag over the kettle to preserve as much heat as possible.


Then I had some of my Brulospher's Brown Ale.


Once the mash was complete, I turned my burner on to raise the temp of the wort to 168F for a mash out- this only took about 10 minutes.


I removed the grains and began my boil.


I recently bought these paint strainer bags to use for hops- a maiden voyage.


With about 15 minutes left in the boil, I connected my pump and plate chiller to get everything sanitized- no clogs, the paint strainer bags worked great!


Then I drank this, to stay humble...


While BeerSmith predicted over 80% efficiency, I got right around 65%, which is fine with me. My guess is this was at least partially due to the fact I didn't squeeze the grains or anything. Either way, I then pumped my chilled wort into the fermenter... yep, I still prefer plastic buckets.


Finally, I pitched my yeast and placed the fermenter in the regulated freezer... and again, yep, I always keep cheap beer on hand. Don't hate.


Here's to hoping for best! Also, I like this shot of my brewery at work:


Cheers!

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Old 10-07-2012, 04:10 PM   #2
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Damn that's nice!

Out of curiosity, how did you drain your grains after the mash? Just hold it? How long did it take? etc.

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Old 10-07-2012, 04:19 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwalk4
Damn that's nice!

Out of curiosity, how did you drain your grains after the mash? Just hold it? How long did it take? etc.
Yep, lifted it out and let it drain for a few minutes. Since it was a small grain bill, it didn't take long at all.
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Old 10-08-2012, 12:33 AM   #4
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Nice set up. Looks like you could do regular all-grain with the equipment you have (I'm guessing you have done that). Why did you decide to go the BIAB route? Just to try a new technique? Or to simplify your process?

Just curious.

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Old 10-08-2012, 12:47 AM   #5
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Why 9 gallons of water?

With that little grain, you will lose a couple of quarts. 1.25 gallons in boil off. .25 dead space. Some for teh wort lost to hops.
I'd have gone with 7.25 gallons.

I think you mashed too thin. 36 quarts to 7.25 pounds of grain with enzymes (discounting the C120).


>.Once my strike water had reached temp (162F for a 156-158F mash), I put the grain bag in the kettle and stirred well.
What temperature did you mash at? That thin a mash will denature (actually not protect them from being denatured) your A-Amylase at higher temperatures.

That small an amount of grain will not lower the water temperature so much.

Getting all the dripping out is important. Even a gentle squeeze will get extra sugar.

Was the grain well milled, with a tight crush?


I think if you were to mash at a lower temperature, with less water (sparge for extra efficiency) you would get better results.

BIAB works, but there are things that will affect efficiency. I hope you try it again.

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Old 10-08-2012, 12:59 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by signpost View Post
Nice set up. Looks like you could do regular all-grain with the equipment you have (I'm guessing you have done that). Why did you decide to go the BIAB route? Just to try a new technique? Or to simplify your process?

Just curious.
The only reason I did this was to try something new on a totally unplanned brew day. I usually batch sparge and occasionally fly sparge. It was certainly simpler and I might go back to it for kicks, but I'll stick with batch/fly sparging.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArcLight View Post
Why 9 gallons of water?

With that little grain, you will lose a couple of quarts. 1.25 gallons in boil off. .25 dead space. Some for teh wort lost to hops.
I'd have gone with 7.25 gallons.

I think you mashed too thin. 36 quarts to 7.25 pounds of grain with enzymes (discounting the C120).


>.Once my strike water had reached temp (162F for a 156-158F mash), I put the grain bag in the kettle and stirred well.
What temperature did you mash at? That thin a mash will denature (actually not protect them from being denatured) your A-Amylase at higher temperatures.

That small an amount of grain will not lower the water temperature so much.

Getting all the dripping out is important. Even a gentle squeeze will get extra sugar.

Was the grain well milled, with a tight crush?


I think if you were to mash at a lower temperature, with less water (sparge for extra efficiency) you would get better results.

BIAB works, but there are things that will affect efficiency. I hope you try it again.
God, everything you pointed out was spot on! I was very curious about the large volume of water BeerSmith recommended, but I just went with it because I was sort of in a hurry to get brewing. By the end of the boil I was still at about 8.25 gallons, hence the lower than expected OG. Also, I said I didn't squeeze or anything, but I did actually press the grain bag against the side of the kettle, mainly to relieve my arm a bit. Either way, 65% with that much extra water and no real sparge indicates to me really good efficiency given the proper volumes, no?

Thanks for the feedback, very interesting! Cheers.
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Old 10-08-2012, 01:49 AM   #7
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Well, 24 hours after pitching I'm not seeing any signs of fermentation... no krauesen, not airlock bubbling, nothing. I'm not terribly concerned since I pitched harvested and washed yeast that's about 2 months old and it's currently sitting at 62F- I can't imagine it won't take off at some point. I never dump beer (I've got friends who will seriously drink anything), but if this thing never takes off it may be a first. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

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Old 10-08-2012, 04:07 PM   #8
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Still no signs of fermentation. Yet another reason I'll never wash used yeast again, it's too unpredictable. Ehh, I'm now looking for something to project my annoyance onto...

I think I'll pick up and pitch some Notty this afternoon.

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Old 10-08-2012, 04:53 PM   #9
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Just read this, and sighed... from BYO:

The problem with thin mashes is enzyme stability. Enzymes are less stable in a thin mash and denaturation can become a real problem. The enzyme of concern is beta-amylase, since there is a limiting supply of beta-amylase in comparison to alpha-amylase. If beta-amylase denatures too quickly, then the resulting wort will have a decreased fermentability.

Sh!t

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Old 10-08-2012, 06:30 PM   #10
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I do not recommend using nylon paint strainers during the boil, those temps are too high for a plastic based bag. You can use them for the mash, but I do not recommend it during the boil.

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