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Old 10-22-2012, 09:45 PM   #1
mamajack
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Default Wrestling Alligators & Fining a BIAB Rye IPA! Wisdom Needed!

Hey to my fellow brewers!

I'm a newbie and my 5th all-grain batch is/was a Rye IPA. I do 'partigyle BIAB' and read all about rye first. I read the forums here and elsewhere. I used rice hulls, but thought since i BIAB it would not be much of a problem. I also decided to do a beta-glucan rest. Note: i am a woman who brews alone in my city apartment, and though i have good form & ergonomics, i am not very big/strong.

Well HA HA HA!! I felt like i was wrestling alligators! I ended up bruised & battered, including one huge black bruise on my arm and i am thinking 'huh? how did that happen?' Maybe from throwing equipment around all day?! It must have been a 12 hour day from milling to the last pot scrubbing. I think i was in an altered state of consciousness.

Where do i start?

First, i had no idea rye was so hard to mill! i mill finer because i BIAB. It took me forever to set & re-set my roller gap for it. I milled it with my other grains (mistake 1) & ended up having to re-mill about half my total grain, probably leading to too small a particle size. I also milled the flaked rye because someone said he got better extraction (and i am all about extraction, mates!)

Next, my beta-glucan rest failed because my cheap floating thermometer was slow & inaccurate. I mashed thick (1/1) at first because i thought i would do the BG rest and step-increase with boiling water to the sacch rest to my target mash ratio (1.5/1). So after BG FAIL, I added water to mash at 149 average, which went well, but i ended up with a stuck sparge. I usually bag-dunk sparge but *nothing* was draining out of my bag!

Soooo, I drained the mash by hand in batches in a colander & freed my poor BIAB bag (!). Then i batched sparged directly in my brewkettle - pretty hot to prevent more caking, & that went OK. I semi-vorlaufed, i guess, but only a little.

Removed spent grain from the BK & had a great, rolling boil. It took about 40 minutes for my copper coil to cool the wort down to 73 or so - not great, not terrible - but damn if this wort was not SO THICK and full of fine, floury muck. I just could not filter the stuff fast enough, so i said 'what the hell' and just added to my primary and said a little prayer, if you will.

WHO KNEW RYE WOULD BE SO DIFFICULT?!

Ferment has been going well so far (we're on day 3 using WLP001 from a starter and krausen has settled down, airlock affixed, bottom flocculation happening & i've had pretty good temp control from between 67F to 72F). The wort sample I took for my hydrometer - after being refrigerated - was about 50% clear, beautiful, tasty wort - just like i wanted - on top, and 50% thick suspended gunk on the bottom. I got a postboil reading, not sure how accurate it was because of the thick wort. Otherwise, i think this has the potential to be an incredibly tasty beer with a spicy rye heartiness and a floral orange nose.

I think I am going to get only 2 gal of this 4-gal batch because there is so much dreck! And so i want to fine it. I have read whatever I could here about fining rye beers, but i would love some wisdom. I did use whirlfloc but my wort just laughed at it. So far it seems like the best option would be either a kieselsol-chitosan product (KC Superkleer) or just kieselsol (Biofine Clear - so it would be friendly to vegans). I know it might not be perfect, but it was so beautiful coming out of the fridge, separated, so i would love it to be clear. Has anyone used these - can anyone discuss? I don't know if my dreck is primarily particulate, protein or tannin or a combo. I do have a 'tea' taste, but it's not astringent. The UK First Gold hops are kind of orange-pekoe tea like in flavor.

Note: I do not have a kegerator or an extra fridge - i cannot 'cold crash' anywhere but a bucket or my bathtub! And that would mean buying a lot of ice at Safeway & lugging it up 2 flights. Which is ok if it must be so!

Here are my own future lessons I think i am going to apply - what do you think?

1) Have LHBS mill the damn rye separately
2) Don't mill the rye flakes
3) Use a better thermometer and do the damn beta-glucan rest. One dude said he did his for EIGHTY minutes. Is this --- you know - normal?
4) Double my rice hulls to 4% - what the heck!
5) Mash thinner, even for a multi-step mash and even if it means sacch resting with all the water and no sparge (this is BIAB after all).
6) Suck it up and lauter for a half hour with drained wort.
7) Be prepared to be at it all day next time i do this and be prepared to lose a lot of beer to the trub
8) Keep in primary 3 weeks before racking
9) Keep in secondary 2 more weeks to let settle & clear
10) Dry hop for 5 days before fining
11) Fine before bottling

Here's the basic recipe I worked up & my results:

"Don't Tell Me What To Do Rye IPA"

Recipe volume: 4 gallons

70% Maris Otter pale
14% Rye malt
11% Flaked rye
2% Crystal 10
3% Crystal 80
[Rice hulls 2% of rye weight]

60 Min - Centennial & UK First Gold
20 Min - Citra & UK First Gold
15 Min - Whirlfloc
10 Min - Amarillo, Centennial & Citra
Flameout - Amarillo, Centennial, Citra, UK First Gold
Dry Hop in Secondary - Amarillo, Centennial, UK First Gold

Yeast WLP001

Mashed at 149F for 70 minutes
Wort Ph about 5.0
Measured estim boil gravity - 1.063
Measured estim OG - 1.077
Target FG - 1.014 to 1.018
Target IBUs - 70
Target avg ferment temp - 68F

Actual measured extraction efficiency - 85.6%

Any wisdom on success with rye beers, esp if you BIAB, would be great. Any wisdom on fining rye beers, especially. I would like my vegan friends to be able to try but if not that is OK too (the beer is more important than dietary habits!!). You live, you learn, right?!
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Old 10-22-2012, 09:50 PM   #2
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You either keep excellent notes or you have a photographic memory...or both. Kudos on being so detailed in your explanation.

Have you tried twisting the bag to "squeeze" liquid out? Get a good pair of brewing gloves if you're going to handle the bag much, but I got pretty darn good low absorption that way (close to 0.11g/lb.). Flaked grains and rye can be a huge pain, yes. You could try putting them in their own separate bag next time, possibly. They only need to contact the enzyme rich liquids in the mash-tun, not directly touch them.
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Open log Fermenting and gas-can secondary?? I am planning my next brew right now!!
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Old 10-23-2012, 08:11 PM   #3
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I did attempt to squeeze the bag but was not getting much action that way. I have a pair of heatproof BBQ gloves, so could use those & try again. Any thoughts on the other ideas i had - do you think they would be helpful?

Also - would love to hear from you or anyone about fining their rye beers. What worked best?

Thanks, tre9er. ps - yeah, i do write notes. And since i do my own recipes & formulas by hand, i end up with a lot of worksheets - which has been helpful.
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Old 10-23-2012, 08:28 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamajack View Post
I did attempt to squeeze the bag but was not getting much action that way. I have a pair of heatproof BBQ gloves, so could use those & try again. Any thoughts on the other ideas i had - do you think they would be helpful?

Also - would love to hear from you or anyone about fining their rye beers. What worked best?

Thanks, tre9er. ps - yeah, i do write notes. And since i do my own recipes & formulas by hand, i end up with a lot of worksheets - which has been helpful.
Yep. Mill grains separately, especially from different plants. No need to mill flaked grains. Use at least two handfulls of rice hulls. Try the gloves, make sure they're completely waterproof though. I bought some that aren't and let's just say it didn't feel nice. I twist the bag like spinning a bread sack when you lose the twisty-tie, then keep cranking as it puts a lot of pressure on the grist. Also consider letting the bag rest in a colander and go do something else for a while as it drains, similar to what you suggested.

I'm not big on multi-step mashes, so I can't help there...but I've been told that a lower rest can reduce the gooeyness of the flaked grains. Cue someone smarter than me in 3...2...
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Originally Posted by davekippen View Post
Open log Fermenting and gas-can secondary?? I am planning my next brew right now!!
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Old 10-23-2012, 09:24 PM   #5
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Buy a colander that fits over your pot. Lift the bag and put in the colander. Use a pot lid to sqeeze the bag. You can even put it over a big bowl and let it sit and then pour off the collected liquid back to your boil kettle.

The rcipe looks pretty good. I have never had a problem with my rye brews clearing eventually. Just leave it in the fermenter for a little longer and chill for many days before drinking..
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Old 10-25-2012, 02:04 AM   #6
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thanks guys - will try all these things!
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Old 11-20-2012, 05:36 AM   #7
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Well here's an update on my alligator-wrestling Rye IPA! The beer finally cleared on its own. i brew in an apartment and don't usually cold-crash because i have no fridge room, but it's as clear as any of my usual non-fined homebrews.

This turned out to be a really beautiful beer. I ended up double dry hopping with centennial and amarillo whole cone. It's got that lovely floral and citrus nose in quantity - and a hearty, just *tasty* flavor from 25% rye. It's an imperial and ended up at 8.1% but there's no alcohol bite - just a tasty, beautiful brew.

Next time, i'll add more rice hulls, give the beta-glucan rest another try, and squeeze the hell out of my bag with my heatproof gloves! Thanks all. I just bottled today - wish i could share a brew with you!
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Old 11-20-2012, 10:37 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamajack View Post
Well here's an update on my alligator-wrestling Rye IPA! The beer finally cleared on its own. i brew in an apartment and don't usually cold-crash because i have no fridge room, but it's as clear as any of my usual non-fined homebrews.

This turned out to be a really beautiful beer. I ended up double dry hopping with centennial and amarillo whole cone. It's got that lovely floral and citrus nose in quantity - and a hearty, just *tasty* flavor from 25% rye. It's an imperial and ended up at 8.1% but there's no alcohol bite - just a tasty, beautiful brew.

Next time, i'll add more rice hulls, give the beta-glucan rest another try, and squeeze the hell out of my bag with my heatproof gloves! Thanks all. I just bottled today - wish i could share a brew with you!
Unless your malt is undermodified you shouldn't need the beta glucan rest. Eliminating that should make your brew day go smoother. You also shouldn't need the rice hulls since you are doing BIAB as the rice hulls are there only to replace the hulls missing from the rye kernels and would only be useful to a conventional mash tun to create a filter bed. Your "filter bed" is the fine mesh bag with lots of filter area and the possibility to force the wort out by squeezing the bag, something the conventional mash tun users lack.

There isn't anything special about a cold crash settling the beer that time won't. Give your beer time in the fermenter and the yeast settles. Give your bottles time in the refrigerator and any chill haze settles too.
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