First eBIAB

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MVCL

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Hi all,

I have, over the years, got a tremedous amount of tips from HBT and I think it is time for me to start posting and participating. So, here goes ...

I have been doing partial boil extract on and off over the last few years and a buddy of mine inspired me to move to BIAB. However, the winters in Syracuse are too cold for me to consider brewing outdoors with propane, so I went with this eBIAB system. Up until a week ago, we were still waking up to -8* temperatures.

I did a trial run with only water a few weeks ago and it turned the kitchen into a sauna. I literally had to wipe down all the walls as they had condensation running down them in rivers. That is why you see a couple of attempts at trying to control the vapors in the pics. Fan worked surprisingly well, I didn’t think it would get the two foot deep thunderhead clinging to the ceiling, but it did. Other than the vapors, the trial went smoothly.

I was pleased with the first brew (Malty Brown Ale AG kit from MoreBeer) yesterday with the new system. I added a little bit more Dextrose since I have a few pounds left over from when I was bottling, kegging now.

I crushed the malt at the default gap setting with the Barley Crusher mill. I figured I would lower the gap for my next brew if I didn’t hit my target gravity, however to my surprise, I hit 1.067 but was only expecting 1.062. My volumes were dead on thanks to the water only test run that allowed me to predict boil off. So, I apparently was able to extract a little more from the grains than BeerSmith estimated @ 73% mash efficiency.

The only thing that really needs improvement is the chiller. I have a small immersion chiller that I used for my 2.5 gallon extract boils that struggled to cool ~6 gallons to 75* over 45 minutes with 46* water. Not good. I’ll have to work on that part. Thinking about this ... http://jadedbrewing.com/collections/counterflow-chillers/products/the-jaded-cfc I like that it can be cleaned easier than a plate chiller. Water in B'ville is very hard so I'm concerned that a plate chiller wouldn't last very long or might suffer from clogs as the hard water went to work on it over time.

Fermenter is happily burbling away, yeah.

Pics of the day ...

15.5 gallon High Gravity eBIAB setup


Heating Element


Controller holding temp during mash


Using bike stand to drain grains


Attempt To Control Boil Vapor - FAIL


Attempt To Control Boil Vapor - Succeed


Yeah, I know the towel half covering the pot was a long shot, but if it worked and I didn't have to open the window then it wold have been great.

Other than the chiller, the only surprise was the amount of trub. Quite a bit more than extract brewing. I think I got more than I would like in the fermenter and will have to pay more attention to it for the next batch.

Can't wait to find out how it ends up.
 

Rockn_M

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Good Luck!

I did a BIAB on the stove a few weeks ago and the steam was condensing on the windows and window frames and starting to freeze. I've never had that happen before.

I'm not forced to do everything in the garage.
 
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MVCL

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Thanks for posting this. I've been eyeing that system myself. Having used it, do you feel like you got value for your money?
All in all I would have to say absolutely. I considered building something similar myself, however in the end I went with the prebuilt system.

More specifically, here's a partial parts list if sourcing pieces seperately (from High Gravity's site) ...
- 62 QT pot drilled same with heating element: $284
- EBC SV Controller: $495
- Pump: $150

Already were at $929 without hoses, clamps, connecters, temperature probe, drilled lid contraption, etc.

It didn't make sense to me to go down that road unless I was going to build my own controller. I'm not mechanical enough to consider that. Even if I were to build a controller easily I might still have opted for this system and skipped the couple of hundred dollar savings just to get a turnkey solution with support, if needed. High Gravity has an excellent customer service reputaiton.

Everything worked great out of the box, however don't expect to brew with it the day you get it. I strongly reccommend a water only test run to get used to it. A couple of connections did need tightening as well.

I recommend going through this post, it helped me.
https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f170/biab-electric-brewing-system-383137/
 

redwing_al

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I'm curious about condensation as I'd like to do my work in the basement... I have a separate room down there where this would take place and this is the room where our boiler system is (we have hot water heat).

I was thinking that I could run a de-humidifyer before, during and after the brew.

What are your thoughts on an e-baib system in the basement?

thanks
 

Woodbrews

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I just ran a batch in my basement with minimal condensation issues. Relative humidity when I started was 25%, but was 35% when I finished. I had some condensation but not enough to drip back into my boil. I brew in front of a window, but I didn't need to open it this time. In the summer I definitely will have to ventilate out the window or crank up the dehumidifier.
 
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MVCL

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I have the same system and I love it. My best advice is to buy something like this.
http://www.shopperschoice.com/item_...kpid=2071847&gclid=CP2g5rq_jL0CFVKFfgodnQUAiQ

Carefully pull up the cage and slide in the grate. Then get on a stool and smash the hell out of the grains. I use a pitcher to push down on the grain but something larger would be better.
I used a pot lid. The bike stand was more than strong enough to suspend 12.5 lbs (dry weight) of wet grain while i squeezed it, but I didn't go too crazy. I think I got a fair bit though.

06 Squeezing out every last drop_s.jpg
 

Woodbrews

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How did you like using the basket? Did it cause any problems with recirculating? I used a bag only and no issues with scorching. I also used one of Wilserbrewers pulley arrangements attached to a joist. It worked great.


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wilserbrewer

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I'm curious about condensation as I'd like to do my work in the basement... I have a separate room down there where this would take place and this is the room where our boiler system is (we have hot water heat).

I was thinking that I could run a de-humidifyer before, during and after the brew.

What are your thoughts on an e-baib system in the basement?

thanks
I e-BIAB in my basement and use a window fan similar to the picture above with w/ excellent results. I also have a dehumidifier, and would not advise using it for basement brewing. Do you have any windows in the basement, or anywhere near where you will brew? The key is exhaust, even anywhere in the same room will be a tremendous help, those window fans move a lot of air!
 
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MVCL

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How did you like using the basket? Did it cause any problems with recirculating? I used a bag only and no issues with scorching. I also used one of Wilserbrewers pulley arrangements attached to a joist. It worked great.
I didn't have any issues with recirculating. I have read that people who use a very fine bag (fine mesh voile) may starve the pump. So, it is more a function of the bag than the basket. I used the bag that came with it and had no problems at full flow. Do you recirc with the Wilserbrewer bags?

Since this was my first BIAB I've never tried without the basket, but I felt it was very easy to handle.
 

Woodbrews

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I didn't have any issues with recirculating. I have read that people who use a very fine bag (fine mesh voile) may starve the pump. So, it is more a function of the bag than the basket. I used the bag that came with it and had no problems at full flow. Do you recirc with the Wilserbrewer bags?

Since this was my first BIAB I've never tried without the basket, but I felt it was very easy to handle.
I didn't recirc this time around, although I just got a Topsflo pump that I will try next time. I had some temperature stratification that I dealt with by stirring, but a pump would avoid that issue. I'm using Wilserbrewer's bags and ratchet pulley -- very easy to use.
 

NWMushroom

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I like the bike stand idea for drainage. At the moment, I lift the basket out and rest it on a Weber grate - but it can be a struggle due to the weight depending on my grain bill. I might steal your idea and combine it with a pulley for the initial lift-out at least.

When it's on the grate, I do a lot of compression with an oversized plate to get all the wort out of the grains! No issues with astringency.

As for evaporation vapor, when I did a test run in the kitchen it was like a steam room. In my basement though (which is actually above ground), I have lots of large windows which I open all the way and this really helps.

I really like my eBIAB system from High Gravity - I like your red buttons on the controller. Mine came with standard black ones! Boo! It took me a few batches to figure out where to put the power dial to keep consistent temperature during the mash and to get repeatable boil-off during the boil.

Glad you're enjoying the system - next up, you need a brew cart (I use a cheap IKEA kitchen stand)!

Brew on!

PS - I don't think it's even possible to starve the pump on this system during recirculation since even if you have the pump on full bore during the mash (as I do), the sprinkler attachment in the lid prevents the flow from becoming too fast. I'll update you after using one of Wilser's bags which I recently ordered if that ends up making a difference (I doubt it though).
 

Woodbrews

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Thanks for the update on the High Gravity setup. I probably spent as much $$ on building mine as I would have purchasing one from them, but I was more interested in the DIY experience and in working together with my retired electrical engineer Dad. I guess he still knows his stuff - the box worked the first time we plugged it in!

There is definitely a learning curve with any new system. Fortunately, the PID worked exactly as it should and it was not hard to dial in the right percentage on manual to maintain a reasonable boil (equivalent to the power dial on your system).

I'm curious about the shower head attachment on the High Gravity system. Is it attached to a weldless fitting in the lid? And did the system come with any kind of removable fittings for the hoses? Also, did you use an immersion chiller, or something else?

Thanks!
 

wilserbrewer

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Regarding starving a pump on recirc, I believe this issue is more prevalent when using a false bottom rather than a strainer basket. With a basket, there will always be an unobstructed area at the top of the basket / bag without grain that will function as a bypass of sorts, with a FB there will be more possibility of draw down, or pump starving.

Crush is also likely a factor.
 
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MVCL

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Thanks Wilserbrewer, good point, there are probably many factors that would be setup specific that contribute to to that issue.

I mentioned the bag based upon SpaceManSpiff's experiences with this system, he did have starvation issues when using a fine mesh but not with the bag that came with it. He describes the issues he encountered a few times throughout the thread.
https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f170/biab-electric-brewing-system-383137/index8.html#post5581693

Would be interested in trying your bags at some point, lots of people really seem to like them.

I think NWMushroom has a good point as well about the sprinkler head on this system providing a sort of built in flow rate reduction.
 
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MVCL

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I'm curious about the shower head attachment on the High Gravity system. Is it attached to a weldless fitting in the lid? And did the system come with any kind of removable fittings for the hoses? Also, did you use an immersion chiller, or something else?
This piece came assembled. Without taking it completely apart, it seems to be attached to a nipple, which is connected to the Tee connector and temperature probe assembly.

Connectors provided for all hose connections are polysulfone.

I used a small 25' stainless IC that I had been using with my 2.5 gallon extract boils. It struggled hugely to get to pitching temps, leaning towards a counterflow chiller to replace it.

Sprinkler Head_s.jpg


Sprinkler Head Nipple_s.jpg


Tee Connectory assembly_s.jpg
 

Woodbrews

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Thanks for the pictures! I like how they put the temp probe in the recirculation fitting. But one drawback to that design is that it forces you to use the recirculation feature in order to track the temperature. I have mine in a T fitting with my sight glass.
 
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