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Old 01-04-2009, 02:49 AM   #1
mattmcl's Avatar
Oct 2008
Erie, CO
Posts: 731
Liked 10 Times on 8 Posts

I brewed my first all grain batch today with brew in a bag. Here is the recipe I used (Denny Conn's Vanilla Bourbon Porter):

Amount Item Type % or IBU
11.00 lb Brewers Malt 2-Row (Briess) (1.8 SRM) Grain 64.7 %
2.50 lb Munich Malt (9.0 SRM) Grain 14.7 %
1.50 lb Brown Malt (65.0 SRM) Grain 8.8 %
1.00 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt -120L (120.0 SRM) Grain 5.9 %
0.50 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt - 40L (40.0 SRM) Grain 2.9 %
1.25 lb Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM) Grain 2.9 %
0.75 oz Magnum [14.00%] (60 min) Hops 29.1 IBU
1.00 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00%] (10 min) Hops 5.0 IBU
2.00 items Vanilla Bean (Secondary 14.0 days) Misc
1 Pkgs American Ale (Wyeast Labs #1056) Yeast-Ale

Mash Profile
Name: Single Infusion, Light Body, Batch Sparge
Mash Grain Weight: 17.00 lb
Grain Temperature: 72.0 F
Sparge Temperature: 168.0 F
Sparge Water: 6 gal

Name Description Step Temp Step Time
Mash In Add 21.25 qt of water at 161.4 F 150.0 F 75 min

After primary, slit open 2 vanilla beans. Scrape the insides, chop the pods into quarters, add to secondary fermenter, rack beer onto vanilla. Taste periodically for the correct balance.

Rack to bottling bucket and add 1.5-2.5 oz/gal of Maker's Mark (to your taste). Original recipe called for 10 ml/pint.
This was a pretty heavy grain bill for 5 gallons, but I figured if my efficiency was terrible it would still turn out OK. Everything went surprisingly well. The bag held up, despite a LOT of weight, and didn't melt (I took an angle grinder to a camp grill to make a false bottom of sorts). My propane burner is a frikkin' upside down missile! I heated 8 gallons of tap water to 162 in 15 minutes! I ended up turning the stove all the way down, which was enough to maintain a full rolling boil. The IC worked great and was helped by a fair amount of ice in my garden hose.

Now, when it comes to efficiency, I came out at 53% with an OG of 1.065. Now the recipe calls for an OG of 1.092, but this is a porter so I'm pretty happy with what I came away with.

The only mishap was in raising the bag out of the pot. I constructed my bag like a pillowcase, which allowed the grain to form in one long tube when I picked it up. The ends of the bag spilled out over the kettle, and I lost probably half a gallon. So maybe that would put my efficiency in the 60-65% range, which is perfectly acceptable to me for BIAB.

Things I learned:

Sew the bag in a teardrop shape, so it drains from the bottom of the bag
Buy a decent lighter with an extended tube (lighting that thing takes nerves of steel)
Don't brew in 20F weather.
Plan better for grain absorption and evaporation (I lose a LOT up here in CO).

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Old 01-04-2009, 03:03 AM   #2
BrianP's Avatar
Sep 2007
Dexter, MI, Michigan
Posts: 1,151
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Congrats on your first AG, but I think it would be a whole lot easier with a mash tun. The DYI section has a link to Flyguy's MLT design. For about $50 you have yourself a nice Mash/Lauter Tun (MLT). A good MLT (along with properly crushed grain and good mash pH and proper sparging) can result in efficiencies in the 75-80+ range.

That's a nice brewpot you have there. What size is it?


Fermenter 1: Best bitter (1)
Fermenter 2: Best bitter (2)
Fermenter 3: APA
Fermenter 4: APA

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Old 01-04-2009, 03:09 AM   #3
fifelee's Avatar
Dec 2006
Vaughn, MT
Posts: 1,046
Liked 40 Times on 27 Posts

Looks good. Congrats. I think not being able to sparge (rinse the grain) was the biggest factor in your low efficiency. But you still made beer and that is all that matters.

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Old 01-04-2009, 04:26 AM   #4
mattmcl's Avatar
Oct 2008
Erie, CO
Posts: 731
Liked 10 Times on 8 Posts

The kettle is the 10 gal. economy pot from Austin Homebrew. I was pretty impressed with it.

I plan to set up properly for AG at some point. At the moment though, I'm unemployed and can't justify the extra cost (I got the kettle for xmas, and a friend gave me the burner and lent me his IC).

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Old 09-13-2011, 01:48 AM   #5
Apr 2011
Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Posts: 34
Liked 2 Times on 2 Posts

After I lift the back slightly, I tie a string to one side of the bag and lift the one end so all the wort drains out the other end. I point that end in the kettle. Works great!

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