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Old 09-23-2013, 07:40 PM   #1
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Default tips to improve biab effeciency

done my first biab brew yesterday and my effeciency was pretty bad at 55%, i didn really squeez the bag that much for fear of tannings, could this be a problem? also i used pilsner malt and did a 60 min mash at 154F i think i read somewhere that pilsner needs to be mashed for a long time? would a mash out help and how would i perform one?

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Old 09-23-2013, 07:43 PM   #2
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Make sure you get your grain double milled (milled twice). Stir your mash every 15 minutes or so. Squeeze the heck out of the bag. There are multiple threads on here about tannins not being produced by squeezing but more from tempurature.

Also...when u use pilsner, from what I remember, you need a boil of 90 minutes to rid of potential DMS. Not sure about the mash time.

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Old 09-23-2013, 10:19 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by irishrover32
done my first biab brew yesterday and my effeciency was pretty bad at 55%, i didn really squeez the bag that much for fear of tannings, could this be a problem? also i used pilsner malt and did a 60 min mash at 154F i think i read somewhere that pilsner needs to be mashed for a long time? would a mash out help and how would i perform one?
A mash out might help a little bit, but you are only going to squeeze a few points out of that. Like what was said above, stir every 15 minutes so the enzymes have access to all of the sugars. This will help a lot.

As for double milling, it can help. However, I BIAB and only mill once and get 80% efficiency. I stir every 15 mins, perform a mash out, and then squeeze the heck out of the bag (never had a problem with tannins).
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Old 09-23-2013, 10:33 PM   #4
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+1 on stirring. I break my mash up into 15 minute intervals and fire up the burner between each one to recover any lost temp. I stir the entire time that the flame is on, which is 2 or 3 minutes. At 154, a 60 min mash should've been fine, but with that said, I usually do 75 minutes minimum, and longer when mashing at lower temps. I have found that some of my best efficiencies have come when I mashed longer than usual, so I think the length of the mash can make a difference. As far as I know, Pilsner does not require a longer mash, but you should give it a 90 minute boil to ensure that all of the precursers for DMS are boiled off. With a decent crush and plenty of stirring, you should be hitting 80%.

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Old 09-23-2013, 10:35 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by irishrover32 View Post
done my first biab brew yesterday and my effeciency was pretty bad at 55%, i didn really squeez the bag that much for fear of tannings, could this be a problem? also i used pilsner malt and did a 60 min mash at 154F i think i read somewhere that pilsner needs to be mashed for a long time? would a mash out help and how would i perform one?
Did you sparge at all? When I use BIAB, I generally do a "batch sparge" in 160 - 165 degree water - since the wort you pull out of the initial mash is small compared to the usual boil volume, this is pretty easy. I use about 3 gallons for my batch sparge . .. it increases my efficiency significantly.
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Old 09-23-2013, 10:46 PM   #6
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Did you sparge at all? When I use BIAB, I generally do a "batch sparge" in 160 - 165 degree water - since the wort you pull out of the initial mash is small compared to the usual boil volume, this is pretty easy. I use about 3 gallons for my batch sparge . .. it increases my efficiency significantly.
I do a small "pourover sparge," a couple gallons of 160F water. I just scoop up some with a 1qt. pyrex measuring cup and slowly pour it over the bag, moving the stream around to cover well. After that, I squeeze the bag like it owes me money.

I get around 75-80% efficiency with this.
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Old 09-23-2013, 10:56 PM   #7
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I have found these things to push my BIAB efficiency upward by quite a bit. My mash efficiency in the high 80s, occasionally in the 90s depending on the gravity of the beer I'm going for. Last batch was supposed to be 1.088, I got 1.090 OG without breaking a sweat.

1. Use an accurate thermometer so you're not mashing at temps all over the place.
2. Mash with full volume of water for 60-90 minutes. This helps keep temps stable, too. I mash-out at 168 for 10 minutes or so and this may or may not have an efficiency boosting effect. I feel that it makes the grains easier to squeeze out, YMMV.
3. Be accurate with weighing grains. What the shop put on the bag may not be right.
4. Agitate the mash thoroughly with a whisk and monitor temp every 10 minutes, adjusting if needed.
5. Squeeze the bag to hit your boil volume, squeeze more if you don't hit your pre-boil OG. You can always evap a bit before you start the boil to reduce volume and pick a few points up.

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Old 09-25-2013, 10:23 PM   #8
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thanks for all the tips ill be sure to implement these in my next brew hopefully it works out cheers.

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Old 09-26-2013, 02:07 AM   #9
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1) The crush: This has a bigger influence than you might think. Where are you getting your grains? Are they setting the mill to a more narrow gap (I set the one at my LHBS to .033" for a single pass) than they would for a mash tun brewer who is concerned with stuck sparges? Can you get them to double mill it? You want a good crush with no whole kernels. Some flour is fine. Some BIAB folks crush really fine with lots of flour.

2) Stir, stir, stir. A full 9-10 minutes at dough-in and then a few stirs during the mashing time.

3) Squeeze that bag like it owes you money. Get all of the goodness out of it that you can. Fear of tannins from squeezing is something of a boogeyman in homebrewing.

I get a pretty consistent 75-76% brewhouse efficiency on my E-BIAB system, although it provides the advantage of recirculation (via a pump) of the wort back over top of the mash.
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Old 09-26-2013, 06:38 AM   #10
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I'm not sure about my LHBSill try find out but if I can't get a finer grain would you recommend goin at them with a rolling pin?

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