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Brewing a robust porter and need some advise on kettle top up water...BIAB

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Washington_Brewologist

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According to beersmith, for the 13.81 Lbs of grain I need for my recipe, I would need 10.13 gallons of available space in my Kettle/Mashtun. I'm currently brewing with a 10-gallon kettle so I know that something needs to be adjusted. Also should mention that this is the first recipe I'm doing that calls for a 90-minute boil and I'm doing no-sparge BIAB. My question is:

Is it safe to just use the kettle top-up feature on beersmith to adjust for this? I currently have the kettle top up water set to 1.25 gallons and it seems to have put all of my volumes within a reasonable range. Mash Volume @8.82 with the adjustment.
(seems too easy)

Also, how should I go about adding brewing salt additions to the kettle top up water? My previous brewdays had me adding my salt additions directly to the mash. My mind is telling me that simply adding the brewing salts to the full strike water volume
(8.99 gallons) then just pouring off 1.25 gallons to save for the boil should work. What do you guys think?



Amt Name Type # %/IBU Volume
11 lbs Brewers Malt 2-Row (Briess) (1.8 SRM) Grain 1 79.6 % 0.86 gal
1 lbs Caramel/Crystal Malt - 40L (40.0 SRM) Grain 2 7.2 % 0.08 gal
1 lbs Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM) Grain 3 7.2 % 0.08 gal
8.0 oz Barley, Flaked (1.7 SRM) Grain 4 3.6 % 0.04 gal
4.0 oz Black (Patent) Malt (500.0 SRM) Grain 5 1.8 % 0.02 gal
1.0 oz Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM) Grain 6 0.5 % 0.00 gal

1.00 oz Northern Brewer [8.50 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 7 27.5 IBUs -
0.50 oz Cascade [5.50 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 8 8.9 IBUs -
1.10 tsp Yeast Nutrient (Boil 15.0 mins) Other 9 - -
0.28 tsp Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 mins) Fining 10 - -

 

RM-MN

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What is your batch size?
What is your expected efficiency?
Who mills your grain?
Is doing this "no-sparge" critical?
Do you really need a 90 minute boil?
 
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Washington_Brewologist

Washington_Brewologist

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What is your batch size?
What is your expected efficiency?
Who mills your grain?
Is doing this "no-sparge" critical?
Do you really need a 90 minute boil?

What is your batch size?
This recipe is for 5.5 gallons, 0.5 gallons loss to chill and the fermenter.
What is your expected efficiency?
I could definitely use some advice on how to properly calculate this. This will be my 11th batch and I started using beersmith about 2 batches ago. Is there any way I can gauge what my expected efficiency should be based on my previous brew days?
Who mills your grain?
I mill my grains at the LHBS. I always run it through twice because I heard that us BIAB brewers can get better efficiency that way.
Is doing this "no-sparge" critical?
I don't know what you mean. My method so far has been:
1.Heat Strike water
2.Mash in & add brewing salts
3.Mash Out and drain grain bag and give it a squeeze
4.Boil
I've heard that sparging isn't really necessary when doing BIAB. I'm curious to see how you feel about it.

Do you really need a 90 minute boil?
I'm curious about this as well. I found this recipe on this forum and it had tons of comments talking about how good this recipe was. So I guess I just assumed that everyone was following the recipe as suggested. Why would someone want to do a 90 minute boil?
 

RM-MN

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OK, you don't know what efficiency to expect for this batch...or any other batches as the LHBS mill can be set anywhere and changed without notice. If the mill is set much too wide, even double milling will have little impact as whole grains can slip through. Lets just assume you will likely have between 65 and 75% brewhouse efficiency. When you have this batch brewed, having taken accurate notes on quantities and the OG you got you will have a better idea.

When you remove the bag and squeeze it you get a certain amount of the possible sugars but the grains and any residual water will still have sugar. More of the sugars can be retrieved by pouring water over the bag of grains or dunking it in water, then squeezing it again. You don't have to do this sparge step but it will raise your brewhouse efficiency.

Mash out isn't needed. If your grains are milled as they should be, conversion will have been completed before the end of the mash period so there will be no conversion left to stop by doing a mash out.

A 90 minute boil does a couple things. One is to darken the wort and increase the flavor complexity. The other is to boil off excess water. I'd plan to use less water and only boil for 60 minutes or less. Let your choice of grains get you the complexity and color.

I won't go through the math to get an idea on what efficiency was expected but with my very fine milling I get such a high brewhouse efficiency that I would expect to only use 8 or 9 pounds of the brewers malt. For your setup, maybe 10 pounds of brewers malt and reduce the water so everything will fit into your 10 gallon kettle. Hopefully someone else will jump in with more suggestions.
 

chickypad

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Sparging isn't necessary, but as RM-MN mentioned you can do it with BIAB and it will increase your efficiency a bit. Maxing out your kettle room because you are aiming for a big beer is a perfect reason for adding a sparge step. Personally I find dunk sparging easier than trying to pour over, and for me at least it gets better efficiency. For example if you mash with just 5.5 gals you could plan to dunk sparge with 4.5 gals in a 6.5 gal bucket and still have enough room to stir really well. So drain/squeeze the bag normally after mash, dunk it in the bucket with the sparge water, stir the crap out of it, then lift and drain again, and add that sparge to the kettle. If you average about .07 gal per lb absorption that should get you about 9 gal for the boil. Might be cutting it close but you can add some of the sparge part way into the boil off if you want. Or better yet, as above there is no reason to do a 90 min boil, if you cut it to 60 you can use a little less water.
 

Todd820

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Mash out isn't needed. If your grains are milled as they should be, conversion will have been completed before the end of the mash period so there will be no conversion left to stop by doing a mash out.
So I get that conversion should be complete, but isn't part of the benefit of raising temps for a mash out to "thin" the wort so you get better sugar extraction? If that is fiction, I sure as heck will stop spending time 10 minutes a batch stirring in a steam cloud.
 
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Washington_Brewologist

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Sparging isn't necessary, but as RM-MN mentioned you can do it with BIAB and it will increase your efficiency a bit. Maxing out your kettle room because you are aiming for a big beer is a perfect reason for adding a sparge step. Personally I find dunk sparging easier than trying to pour over, and for me at least it gets better efficiency. For example if you mash with just 5.5 gals you could plan to dunk sparge with 4.5 gals in a 6.5 gal bucket and still have enough room to stir really well. So drain/squeeze the bag normally after mash, dunk it in the bucket with the sparge water, stir the crap out of it, then lift and drain again, and add that sparge to the kettle. If you average about .07 gal per lb absorption that should get you about 9 gal for the boil. Might be cutting it close but you can add some of the sparge part way into the boil off if you want. Or better yet, as above there is no reason to do a 90 min boil, if you cut it to 60 you can use a little less water.
Does it matter what temp the dunk sparge water is?
 

chickypad

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Nope you can sparge with room temp water if you want, though it will take longer to get your boil going. For beer wort we are way under the saturation point so you don't need higher temps to extract more sugars.
 

LittleRiver

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...isn't part of the benefit of raising temps for a mash out to "thin" the wort so you get better sugar extraction? If that is fiction, I sure as heck will stop spending time 10 minutes a batch stirring in a steam cloud.
RM-MN nailed it.

At the end of the mash, hoist the bag and immediately fire the burner. Let gravity drain the bag while the wort heats to a boil, and as it boils. Let the bag drip till it stops (it will take half an hour or more). No mash out, no squeezing. Simple, easy, and effective. Try it, you'll like it.

I have my mill set to .025", and get about 83% efficiency, so I can easily hit or exceed the ABV target of "normal" beers without sparging. If I want a bigger beer I always have the option of sparging, but normally I just don't bother.

No mash out, no squeeze, and no sparge makes a very simple and enjoyable brew day, and the beers taste great.
 

wilserbrewer

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I would try to avoid top up water when possible. Seeing as your kettle will be slightly over capacity, I would withhold some water and do a sparge.

This can be as simple as holding back a 1/2 gallon and simply slowly pouring it over your grain suspended grain bag and allowing it to drain to your kettle.

With a higher gravity batch, a larger sparge will help efficiency and give you a better shot to hit gravity.

Reserving 2 -3 gallons for a batch sparge will likely increase your gravity ABV substantially vs topping the kettle w water.

Personally I avoid pouring water into the kettle, not much harder to pour it through the grain :)

Or more simply, withhold a gallon and mash in, then add remaining water to fill the kettle, this will get you very close to your needed 10.13 gallons of mash needed. Always easier to max out your kettle this way than accidentally mashing 10.3 gallons in a 10 gallon kettle is very messy lol.

Love you guys reporting volumes to two decimal places or hundredth of a gallon :)

For all tents and porpoises your mash is 10 gallons, get it done.

Cheers!
 
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Washington_Brewologist

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RM-MN nailed it.

At the end of the mash, hoist the bag and immediately fire the burner. Let gravity drain the bag while the wort heats to a boil, and as it boils. Let the bag drip till it stops (it will take half an hour or more). No mash out, no squeezing. Simple, easy, and effective. Try it, you'll like it.

I have my mill set to .025", and get about 83% efficiency, so I can easily hit or exceed the ABV target of "normal" beers without sparging. If I want a bigger beer I always have the option of sparging, but normally I just don't bother.

No mash out, no squeeze, and no sparge makes a very simple and enjoyable brew day, and the beers taste great.
Dude! Thank you so much. Just got done doing everything above and increased my Mash efficiency to 76.4% which is way up from last time!! Thank you guys for all your help!
 
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