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landoa

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Hello,

I brewed an American IPA a week ago and would like anyone's opinion on how to manage gravity when I brew next week.

I used this recipe: American IPA Recipe - BeerCraftr's 1 Gallon Beer Recipes

The OG at the end of the mash was catastrophic: 1.020 (target was 1.070). Since I measured when the temp was around 150F, the OG was no doubt higher (1.030??), but I didn't do the calculation at the time. I was expecting low efficiency with BIAB, so I had DME on hand. I calculated that I needed 600 grams (eek!) but added just 500 because it already seemed like too much. Needless to say, I overshot the target OG. I measured after the boil and it was at 1.080.

I have grains for the next three batches that were already milled (the LHBS wouldn't grind for BIAB or run it through twice). So, next time, I will make these adjustments:
  • add more grain than in the recipe. but how much more would you suggest?
  • do a proper mash out (I skipped the step in the first batch)
  • the recipe called for 9.25l of strike water for the mash. perhaps I should mash in, say, 7l of water and sparge the BIAB at 170F at the end of the mash with 2.25l?
Should I check the OG before the boil? If necessary, should I add DME before or after the boil?

The final gravity target is 1.015. Since there is not actually that much beer, I am hesitating to test OG several times, but suppose I have to in order to find the correct moment to bottle it up. Or, would it be safe to leave it in the fermenter 3 weeks, without testing OG, and try to bottle?

Here's next week's brewday recipe: American Pale Ale II Recipe - BeerCraftr's 1-Gallon Beer Recipes

Thanks for any tips!
 

jtratcliff

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Biggest culprit for low efficiency in BIAB is the crush... If you can't control the crush, then you may need to extend mash time or
add more grains (2 row) to compensate... Brew software will help with estimating your efficiency and figuring out how much extra to add to hit the target OG with your efficiency...

Since it's only a 1 gallon batch, you could also pulse your grains in a blender or food processor. The good thing about BIAB is no stuck sparges, so you can crush really fine w/out worry.

for $30-40-ish (or less, depending what you already have laying around) you could could make yourself an ugly junk mill... corona mill in a homer bucket ... My Ugly Junk- Corona Mill Station... then you would be the master of your own crush
 
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landoa

landoa

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Biggest culprit for low efficiency in BIAB is the crush... If you can't control the crush, then you may need to extend mash time or
add more grains (2 row) to compensate... Brew software will help with estimating your efficiency and figuring out how much extra to add to hit the target OG with your efficiency...

Since it's only a 1 gallon batch, you could also pulse your grains in a blender or food processor. The good thing about BIAB is no stuck sparges, so you can crush really fine w/out worry.

for $30-40-ish (or less, depending what you already have laying around) you could could make yourself an ugly junk mill... corona mill in a homer bucket ... My Ugly Junk- Corona Mill Station... then you would be the master of your own crush
Thanks for these tips! I will look into getting my own mill.

For my next batch, what do you think about this?

I will blend the grains a bit more with a blender
I will add more grain than what is required in the recipe
Maybe I should also try this?
  • the recipe called for 9.25l of strike water for the mash. perhaps I should mash in, say, 7l of water and then sparge the BIAB at 170F at the end of the mash with 2.25l "clear" water?
Or, should I pick 1 or 2 out of those three modifications?

Cheers
 

Immocles

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The OG at the end of the mash was catastrophic: 1.020 (target was 1.070). Since I measured when the temp was around 150F, the OG was no doubt higher (1.030??), but I didn't do the calculation at the time. I was expecting low efficiency with BIAB, so I had DME on hand. I calculated that I needed 600 grams (eek!) but added just 500 because it already seemed like too much. Needless to say, I overshot the target OG. I measured after the boil and it was at 1.080.
Pre boil readings can be notoriously inaccurate. Did you stir to mix up the wort before taking the sample? Granted, stratification shouldn't be a huge deal with a small batch, but I imagine it could still happen. But you're gravity could have been a little higher if the wort wasn't mixed well, plus at that temperature, it was probably in the mid 1.030s.

add more grain than in the recipe. but how much more would you suggest?
It seems like the upcoming recipe is figuring at about 80% efficiency, if my math is correct(and it might not be...ive had a few). When I brew stovetop 1G batches like these, I get around 70-75% efficiency. Every system is going to be different, though. Part of brewing is dialing in your process on your equipment and being able to replicate the results.
As stated above, crush/milling is huge in biab. I use a corona mill I ordered online and it works wonderfully. Also agree with the suggestion on brew software. Its a great tool to use for recipes and organizing information from brew days.

If I were to add any grains, I would add 4oz or so of base malt to it. I'd leave the crystal as its written. Again, every system is different, but when I'm looking for a beer around that gravity and volume, I generally use about 2.5lb grain total.

  • do a proper mash out (I skipped the step in the first batch)
  • the recipe called for 9.25l of strike water for the mash. perhaps I should mash in, say, 7l of water and sparge the BIAB at 170F at the end of the mash with 2.25l?
I used to do a dunk sparge on 3G stovetop brews, but I never bothered on my 1G batches. I just did the full volume mash, no mash out, and squeezed the bag. On the 3G recipes, I normally dunked into a side pot heated to ~170F and added that to the boil kettle, though. It did eke out a few percentage points. I've since gone to full volume on everything.

The final gravity target is 1.015. Since there is not actually that much beer, I am hesitating to test OG several times, but suppose I have to in order to find the correct moment to bottle it up. Or, would it be safe to leave it in the fermenter 3 weeks, without testing OG, and try to bottle?
It's always a good idea to take the hydro sample at bottling. Some folks take 2-3 samples over the course of three days to make sure things are consistent. I take one at bottling to make sure I'm where I expect to finish, and go from there. You'll get the hang of knowing as you gain experience. I also don't rush things, and generally my beers are in the fermenter for 17-21 days, which is plenty more than the average brewer.
You could look into a refractometer for small batches. It needs a correction formula in order to estimate the FG, but works well for readings prior to fermentation.
 

RM-MN

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the recipe called for 9.25l of strike water for the mash. perhaps I should mash in, say, 7l of water and then sparge the BIAB at 170F at the end of the mash with 2.25l "clear" water?
Sparging will always get you more sugars from the grain but you don't need to use 170 degree water for that. Take the water straight from your tap (if not chlorinated, otherwise use part of a Campden tablet to remove the chlorine) as the hot wet grain will warm the water considerably and you will extract the same amount of sugar without having to heat the water.

It's always a good idea to take the hydro sample at bottling. Some folks take 2-3 samples over the course of three days to make sure things are consistent. I take one at bottling to make sure I'm where I expect to finish, and go from there. You'll get the hang of knowing as you gain experience. I also don't rush things, and generally my beers are in the fermenter for 17-21 days, which is plenty more than the average brewer.
You could look into a refractometer for small batches. It needs a correction formula in order to estimate the FG, but works well for readings prior to fermentation.
Good advice. I have only had one stuck ferment but had I not taken the hydrometer reading before bottling to realize this I could have had a bunch of bottle bombs.

Using a refractometer really cuts down on the loss of beer. I always use mine for the pre-boil reading but not for the final gravity. If all you care about is whether the beer is done fermenting, taking 2 or 3 refractometer readings will tell you if the gravity is stable. You only need to use the correction formula if you need the FG to compute the ABV.
 

BrewnWKopperKat

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Since there is not actually that much beer, I am hesitating to test OG several times, but suppose I have to in order to find the correct moment to bottle it up. Or, would it be safe to leave it in the fermenter 3 weeks, without testing OG, and try to bottle?
Starting out, focus on brewing well (and safely), then focus on yield.

If your plan is to brew 5 gal batches, don't spend much time on "loses" in 1 gal batches.

If you decide to continue to brew "one-gallon" batches, choosing to brew to a final outcome (6-pack, 12-pack) starts you down a path of scaling the recipe to account for "loses" in the brewing process.

Since it's only a 1 gallon batch, you could also pulse your grains in a blender or food processor. The good thing about BIAB is no stuck sparges, so you can crush really fine w/out worry.
Be careful here - if the grain is crushed too finely, one can end up with grain on the bottom of the kettle.

Using a refractometer really cuts down on the loss of beer. I always use mine for the pre-boil reading but not for the final gravity. If all you care about is whether the beer is done fermenting, taking 2 or 3 refractometer readings will tell you if the gravity is stable. You only need to use the correction formula if you need the FG to compute the ABV.
Additionally, one could take a single hydrometer reading after the refactometer suggests specific gravity is stable and the beer has finished fermenting. The measurements could then be used to confirm the refractometer conversion was reasonable.
 
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landoa

landoa

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Pre boil readings can be notoriously inaccurate. Did you stir to mix up the wort before taking the sample? Granted, stratification shouldn't be a huge deal with a small batch, but I imagine it could still happen. But you're gravity could have been a little higher if the wort wasn't mixed well, plus at that temperature, it was probably in the mid 1.030s.


It seems like the upcoming recipe is figuring at about 80% efficiency, if my math is correct(and it might not be...ive had a few). When I brew stovetop 1G batches like these, I get around 70-75% efficiency. Every system is going to be different, though. Part of brewing is dialing in your process on your equipment and being able to replicate the results.
As stated above, crush/milling is huge in biab. I use a corona mill I ordered online and it works wonderfully. Also agree with the suggestion on brew software. Its a great tool to use for recipes and organizing information from brew days.

If I were to add any grains, I would add 4oz or so of base malt to it. I'd leave the crystal as its written. Again, every system is different, but when I'm looking for a beer around that gravity and volume, I generally use about 2.5lb grain total.


I used to do a dunk sparge on 3G stovetop brews, but I never bothered on my 1G batches. I just did the full volume mash, no mash out, and squeezed the bag. On the 3G recipes, I normally dunked into a side pot heated to ~170F and added that to the boil kettle, though. It did eke out a few percentage points. I've since gone to full volume on everything.


It's always a good idea to take the hydro sample at bottling. Some folks take 2-3 samples over the course of three days to make sure things are consistent. I take one at bottling to make sure I'm where I expect to finish, and go from there. You'll get the hang of knowing as you gain experience. I also don't rush things, and generally my beers are in the fermenter for 17-21 days, which is plenty more than the average brewer.
You could look into a refractometer for small batches. It needs a correction formula in order to estimate the FG, but works well for readings prior to fermentation.
Thanks Immocles, great tips!
 
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landoa

landoa

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Sparging will always get you more sugars from the grain but you don't need to use 170 degree water for that. Take the water straight from your tap (if not chlorinated, otherwise use part of a Campden tablet to remove the chlorine) as the hot wet grain will warm the water considerably and you will extract the same amount of sugar without having to heat the water.



Good advice. I have only had one stuck ferment but had I not taken the hydrometer reading before bottling to realize this I could have had a bunch of bottle bombs.

Using a refractometer really cuts down on the loss of beer. I always use mine for the pre-boil reading but not for the final gravity. If all you care about is whether the beer is done fermenting, taking 2 or 3 refractometer readings will tell you if the gravity is stable. You only need to use the correction formula if you need the FG to compute the ABV.

Since the boil follows the sparge, I thought i'd need hot water anyway, so that's why i mentioned the 170F. sparge water. I guess letting the hot grains "heat" the water could save a bit of time/energy.

If using a hydrometer or refractometer, is it possible to use the spigot in the fermenting/bottling bucket? I guess the spigot needs to be sanitized first?
 
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landoa

landoa

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I'm all for measuring gravity, but, typically, if the beer sits around for three weeks in the fermenter, won't most types have finished fermenting by then?
 

ArizonaGoalie

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I would get a mash tun before I got a mill. Then you wouldn't have to worry about the crush.
 

madscientist451

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First of all, you did good on your first brew, the mash didn't work out, but you had a plan to deal with it and you made it work.
I started out with BIAB , went to 3 vessel, now I'm back at BIAB again.
Here's how I would proceed based on what I've learned over the years.
Temperature swings are a problem with your mash and finished beer. Brewing one gallon batches doesn't provide sufficient thermal mass for the temperature to remain constant for very long. So, move to 2.5 gallon batches, all you need is a cheap 16 quart pot from Walmart, which is about $20. Start with 3 gallons of water and skip the sparge, just use a strike water calculator, throw your grain in and stir it quickly and then put the lid on, wrap it up with an old coat and don't mess with it for a couple of hours or even overnight.
When its done, stir the grains a little more, dunk the bag up and down a few times like a tea bag, pull it out and let it drain into another vessel through a colander. Crank up your heat and start the boil, add about 3 quarts of water during the boil and you'll end up with about 2.75 gallons of wort, which is about right for a 2.5 gallon batch. I use an electric stove with a ceramic top and the heat holds pretty good for the first 45 mins or so, but then starts to drop off after that. I generally hit my numbers every time using this method.
 

RM-MN

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Since the boil follows the sparge, I thought i'd need hot water anyway, so that's why i mentioned the 170F. sparge water. I guess letting the hot grains "heat" the water could save a bit of time/energy.

If using a hydrometer or refractometer, is it possible to use the spigot in the fermenting/bottling bucket? I guess the spigot needs to be sanitized first?
The spigot needs to be sanitized after you take the sample unless you plan to return the sample to the fermenter. I wouldn't recommend returning the sample.
 
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