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Old 06-20-2011, 02:19 PM   #1
tonyolympia
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On Fathers' Day, for my fourth batch ever and my first all grain brew, I went BIAB. It was a little bit of a fiasco. My five-year old and 17-month old did not appreciate daddy's intense focus on brewing, and they made things hell for my wife. The 1 ounce bag of loose Simcoe I got from Brewcraft turned out to be .75 ounces. It was the only hops I had, and so will undoubtedly undermine my IBUs and possibly leave my beer imbalanced. The chickens got loose in our fruit and vegetable beds just as I was whirlpooling and getting ready to rack to my carboy, adding a lot of stress to an always stressful moment. My tubes got clogged with hops cones, and I had to break the racking system down and restart the siphon a few times. I would not be at all surprised if infection was introduced at that point. Swirling up my starter, I made the mistake of corking it tightly and shaking vigorously. The result was a yeast champagne-spray all over my face and the kitchen floor.

Still, I'm VERY excited about all the things that went RIGHT on this brew day. My brand-new immersion chiller brought 3 gallons from boiling to 68 F in 10 minutes. Mashing and rinsing with BIAB was an absolute dream. I hit my temps perfectly, and lost barely 1 degree in an hour with the mash kettle in the oven. And even though I checked the hydrometer 5 times, and I've run the calculations backwards and forwards, I still have trouble believing it: my mash efficiency was 97%. BIAB is everything they say it is!

It blows my mind that when planning malt quantities for my next batch, I get to plan on at least 90% efficiency. I will also use hops bags, keep more hops on hand, and I won't shake my yeast starter violently prior to pitching.

As a Fathers' Day gift, my wonderful, beautiful wife gave me a gift certificate to one of our two LHBS. Even better, she made two paintings for me, which will be the graphics for my six-pack cartons. When I brew an American style, it will be labeled under one brand, "Cygnet Ale." When I brew a European style (less often), it will be labeled under another brand, "Agnus Ale." The two brands are an homage to my daughters' nicknames.

Provided that this batch isn't infected, in a few weeks I may be bottling the first issue of Cygnet American Pale Ale. As I type this, the yeast is going nuts in the carboy next to me.

Cygnet American Pale Ale

2.5 Gallon batch (3.8 gallon pre-boil, 3 gallon post-boil)
OG 1.055
~27 IBU
~8 SRM

4lb 2-Row Malt
0.75lb Munich Malt (10 L)
0.25lb CaraPils
(All crushed for BIAB)

Mash at 154 F

.25 oz loose Simcoe - FWH
.25 Simcoe - 10 minutes
.25 Simcoe - 1 minute

Boil 60 minutes

Ferment at ~68 F with Wyeast 1272, American Ale II

(Sorry for the orientation of the photo... not sure how to rotate)


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Old 06-20-2011, 02:26 PM   #2
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Hey Tony, when you say 97% efficiency, are you saying that you hit 97% of your target gravities or you had a brewhouse efficiency of 97%? Was the certificate rockytop or healthcrafts?


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Old 06-20-2011, 02:39 PM   #3
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That's mash/lauter efficiency only. With a maximum 1.049 SG for this grain bill, I got 1.048. I way OVERshot my target gravities, since I was planning on only 75% efficiency.

Certificate is for Healthcrafts. I'm psyched to use it.
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Old 06-20-2011, 02:44 PM   #4
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Congrats.....I am starting BIAB with a fresh, shiny keggle next weekend after 10 extract batches under my belt, and I'm excited with your results!
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Old 06-20-2011, 04:44 PM   #5
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I'm assuming (because I do not know) that BIAB is "brew in a bag"? If so, can someone point me to a good post discussing the ins and outs?
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Old 07-17-2011, 08:04 PM   #6
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For posterity's sake, I wanted to come back here and report that I discovered that my hydrometer was reading incorrectly when I took my gravity reading for this batch. My efficiency, after calibration, was not 97%, but 89%.

On the next batch it reached 93%. Not too shabby. I'm sold on BIAB.
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Old 07-17-2011, 08:37 PM   #7
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What is Biab?
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Old 07-17-2011, 08:40 PM   #8
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Thanks for the update, I was going to mention something before, but decided to overlook it. Many times people's volumes are not right as well.
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Old 07-17-2011, 08:58 PM   #9
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Just did a mash on British 2row and got exactly 50%. Jeez! Looked at my grain and much of it was still whole! Any suggestions on grinding? I am very confident of temp and volume.
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Old 07-17-2011, 09:00 PM   #10
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Get your own mill. Thats the only way to be sure about crush, which IMHO is the most important efficiency determinator.


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