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Vincenzo

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All,



I have a question or two about BIAB and brewing wheat beers in particular.

I have been brewing BIAB for a few years now and probably have 100 or so brews under my belt at this stage, mostly Neipa, Weissbiers, Saisons and Triples. I recently decided to change from gas burner to electric brewing to allow step mashing etc. I built a control panel using an Auber EZ Boil, and installed a 5500w element in a 50lt kettle, with a pump for recirculation during mashing. The resulting brews have overall been easier, with better control and provided good results- with the exception of Weissbiers.

In the past – using the gas burner - I never had a problem with scorched brews, but the last 3 Weissbier recipes have all been scorched. I have been very aware the grind of the wheat, of controlling the power output from mashing to boil, and also of the pump recirculation volume, and I was happy that none of these were responsible for the scorching.

So, I tried another Weissbier brew last week. This time , I milled the gain bill quite coarsely, and sifted the grains to separate any flour from the bill. I mashed as normal- with 4 steps from 40c – 76c, and after a total of 85 minutes I lifted the Brewbag out of the wort , and this time decided to transfer the wort from one kettle to another to inspect the bottom of the kettle and see what was scorching.

On the bottom of the kettle was at least 13mm ( ½ inch) of white deposit- I assume flour – and this was on the element also – so it would naturally burn when the power was turned on- even though I have been careful to use reduced power bringing the wort to the boil. However , removing this would not only reduce the proteins contained in the wort, but lower the OG, and all that that entails.


My questions are: – is there a solution that would allow me to continue to electric BIAB ;is there something I should be doing to mix the wort more to ensure that the deposits are mixed into the wort better, and would this even help at all – or does this deposit (flour) settle out again? Should I consider moving to a 2 vessel approach to avoid the issue , but I would still have to retain the proteins etc in this deposit ? How does this work in a conventional mash tun / boil kettle set-up – are these deposits left behind ?
 

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McKnuckle

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Any protein in that mash trub constitutes solids that are not going back in and benefiting your finished beer. If carried to the boil, protein would precipitate into hot break material. I'd reckon that the muck is primarily starches and grain solids.

You are depicting exactly why I personally moved from BIAB to 2V brewing. I am definitely put off by the muck at the bottom of the BIAB mash tun, which many (most?) never even see because they go straight to a boil. Ever since I tried lautering into a second vessel over a fine filter, I can't seem to go back to straight BIAB.

A true false bottom that covers the entire mash tun bottom with a drain/dead space underneath seems to be required for clear wort within the single vessel. Bags and baskets with side holes don't allow for complete grain bed settling and containing the small bits on top. Baskets with holes on the bottom only, however, do, because it is essentially the same as a false bottom within the confined basket.

It might be possible to improve this with extended vorlaufing, but the outflow into the top of the mash would have to be very gentle, and you'd have to at least partially pull the bag/basket to provide a reasonably solid surface for the particles to settle on. Otherwise they'll just flow out the sides again.

I use a bucket filter (75 micron) to lauter into prior to boiling. I'm actually planning to experiment with doing that within the single vessel, to see if I can get most of the sediment up off the bottom.
 
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Vincenzo

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Any protein in that mash trub constitutes solids that are not going back in and benefiting your finished beer. If carried to the boil, protein would precipitate into hot break material. I'd reckon that the muck is primarily starches and grain solids.

You are depicting exactly why I personally moved from BIAB to 2V brewing. I am definitely put off by the muck at the bottom of the BIAB mash tun, which many (most?) never even see because they go straight to a boil. Ever since I tried lautering into a second vessel over a fine filter, I can't seem to go back to straight BIAB.

A true false bottom that covers the entire mash tun bottom with a drain/dead space underneath seems to be required for clear wort within the single vessel. Bags and baskets with side holes don't allow for complete grain bed settling and containing the small bits on top. Baskets with holes on the bottom only, however, do, because it is essentially the same as a false bottom within the confined basket.

It might be possible to improve this with extended vorlaufing, but the outflow into the top of the mash would have to be very gentle, and you'd have to at least partially pull the bag/basket to provide a reasonably solid surface for the particles to settle on. Otherwise they'll just flow out the sides again.

I use a bucket filter (75 micron) to lauter into prior to boiling. I'm actually planning to experiment with doing that within the single vessel, to see if I can get most of the sediment up off the bottom.
I agree with your points- and especially that most BIAB brewers don't see the trub at the bottom of the kettle, but I'm still puzzled as to why more BIAB brewers don't experience the same level of scorching with wheat beers ?
 

jdudek

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I've had a scorched beer before. It happened when I milled really fine and had a pretty crappy bag. You could see the flour seeping out of the bag when the crush grain was put in (dry).

I have a wilser bag now. I still crush fine-ish... 0.035. Never scorched since. I've done a couple of wheat beers w/o issues.

so maybe your bag is not of the best quality?
 

Toto's

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I brew a weissbeer 2 weeks a go.
BIAB on a gas stove. I never have any depisit. I have a false bottom and recirculate the worth with a pump.
I am no physic expert but could it be that by heating with an electric element it create less water mouvement because heat spread in many directions compared with a gas heating where the heating come only from the bottom and create more circulation so deposit dont have chance to fell in the bottom and accumulate.
Could it be possible?
 

Jayjay1976

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I brew with twin 1600W elements and have had two incidents of scorching, one quite severe. I blame it on sticky proteins dripping from the bag and coating the elements, the scorching occurring as soon as the elements are energized. I was also using paint strainer bags. I use a Wilser bag now, and when mashing high protein grain bills I stick to a single infusion temp and disable the elements for the duration of the mash. When it's time to mash out I stir the bag vigorously, twisting it up one direction and then the other for a couple of minutes to create turbulence below the bag and clearing the elements. Then I flip on the elements to ramp up to mash out. No more scorching.
 

NewJersey

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I'm a dozen beers into brewing on a 5500w eBIAB and have never experienced scorching.
I thought that was a problem for way older elements/PIDs
 

RM-MN

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I brew with twin 1600W elements and have had two incidents of scorching, one quite severe. I blame it on sticky proteins dripping from the bag and coating the elements, the scorching occurring as soon as the elements are energized. I was also using paint strainer bags. I use a Wilser bag now, and when mashing high protein grain bills I stick to a single infusion temp and disable the elements for the duration of the mash. When it's time to mash out I stir the bag vigorously, twisting it up one direction and then the other for a couple of minutes to create turbulence below the bag and clearing the elements. Then I flip on the elements to ramp up to mash out. No more scorching.
When doing BIAB mash out isn't needed. Just pull the bag of grains and start heating toward boil.
 
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Vincenzo

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I'm a dozen beers into brewing on a 5500w eBIAB and have never experienced scorching.
I thought that was a problem for way older elements/PIDs
I have dozens of brews also - but this only occurs with wheat beers- where more than 50% of the grain bill is wheat - otherwise no issue
 
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Vincenzo

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I've had a scorched beer before. It happened when I milled really fine and had a pretty crappy bag. You could see the flour seeping out of the bag when the crush grain was put in (dry).

I have a wilser bag now. I still crush fine-ish... 0.035. Never scorched since. I've done a couple of wheat beers w/o issues.

so maybe your bag is not of the best quality?
I had a standard BrewBag and was worried that the fine mesh would be restricting the flow and causing a shortage of liquid under the bag, so I bought a new Brewbag 400micron - intended for recirculation :BIAB Recirculation Brew Bag 57L | Craft Hardware. So I don't think its the bag .
 
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Vincenzo

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Any protein in that mash trub constitutes solids that are not going back in and benefiting your finished beer. If carried to the boil, protein would precipitate into hot break material. I'd reckon that the muck is primarily starches and grain solids.

You are depicting exactly why I personally moved from BIAB to 2V brewing. I am definitely put off by the muck at the bottom of the BIAB mash tun, which many (most?) never even see because they go straight to a boil. Ever since I tried lautering into a second vessel over a fine filter, I can't seem to go back to straight BIAB.

A true false bottom that covers the entire mash tun bottom with a drain/dead space underneath seems to be required for clear wort within the single vessel. Bags and baskets with side holes don't allow for complete grain bed settling and containing the small bits on top. Baskets with holes on the bottom only, however, do, because it is essentially the same as a false bottom within the confined basket.

It might be possible to improve this with extended vorlaufing, but the outflow into the top of the mash would have to be very gentle, and you'd have to at least partially pull the bag/basket to provide a reasonably solid surface for the particles to settle on. Otherwise they'll just flow out the sides again.

I use a bucket filter (75 micron) to lauter into prior to boiling. I'm actually planning to experiment with doing that within the single vessel, to see if I can get most of the sediment up off the bottom.
Could the position of the outlet on the side of the brew kettle be too high ( 30mm from the base) and cause a dead spot under this level, allowing all the deposits to settle below this level, and further not allow passing of the deposited material back through the pump and into the grain bag to be filtered out more ?
 
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Vincenzo

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Could the position of the outlet on the side of the brew kettle be too high ( 30mm from the base) and cause a dead spot under this level, allowing all the deposits to settle below this level, and further not allow passing of the deposited material back through the pump and into the grain bag to be filtered out more ?
as in - would a dip tube located close to the bottom help ?
 

BarryBrews

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I would check all your mashes for sludge and develop a method to eliminate it in your boil. Whether there's enough sludge to cause scorching (covering the element) or not, the sludge is made of grain particles and most brewers like to avoid grain in the boil.

The problem you have with element scorching and not with propane is due to the large difference in energy per square inch. The element is about 60 square inches compared with the kettle bottom at about 230 square inches, or whatever your actual measurements might be. Then when you consider heating through the kettle sidewalls and the overall faster rate which elements heat you can see that propane is way more gentle on your wort.

The best remedy is recirculating the wort in a separate mash tun and running clear wort into your clean boil kettle. I use a false bottomed mash tun and a 200 mesh brew bag. If you like to step mash, consider a RIMS (tube) from brewhardware.com. I have one and leave it in line with my pump throughout the brew day. The RIMS tube performs many tasks, assist the BK in heating the strike water, can step your mash temperature (mine's ~ 0.5F/min), can perform the mash out function (>165F) while pumping wort from the mash tun to the BK, and then can assist the BK element bringing your wort to a boil faster. I would also recommend SCR voltage regulators over the common PID's due to their simplicity of operation and for their continuous and even heating characteristics. A RIMS tube is a real time saver and great for mash temperature control.

You probably already save a ton of time with 5500 watts in a 50 liter kettle!

BTW, I never have grain nor flour in the bottom of my mash tun. If your pump rate is fast enough and the grain bed is allowed to function without stirring you will get the same result.
 
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jdudek

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I had a standard BrewBag and was worried that the fine mesh would be restricting the flow and causing a shortage of liquid under the bag, so I bought a new Brewbag 400micron - intended for recirculation :BIAB Recirculation Brew Bag 57L | Craft Hardware. So I don't think its the bag .
Not sure I follow your comment. You said you bought a bag with bigger holes. So why do you conclude that it's therefore not the bag? bigger holes would mean stuff gets through, and thus pointing to the bag being a potential issue. Apologies if I misunderstood what you said somehow.
 
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Vincenzo

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Not sure I follow your comment. You said you bought a bag with bigger holes. So why do you conclude that it's therefore not the bag? bigger holes would mean stuff gets through, and thus pointing to the bag being a potential issue. Apologies if I misunderstood what you said somehow.
I meant that I have 2 types , both good quality from BrewBag , of different micron weights , and it doesn't seem to make any difference - I get the same results with either. I initially thought that the smaller 200 micron bag was restricting g flow, and therefore allowing more deposit to accumulate- and that a higher flow bag would help - but it made no difference . Before I give up single vessel brewing for wheat beers, I am going to try and eliminate as much of the dead space under the false bottom, by fitting a dip tube close to the bottom, and see if I can get the deposit to circulate back into the grain bed and perhaps be filtered more effectively?
 
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