Winter has finally beaten me...BIAB test

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Onkel_Udo

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I have been a 3-tier, 10 gallon brewer since 1995 with a couple of hiatus. I wish the information on BIAB existed when I started.

So this, the second of two, horrible winters has convinced me I need an indoor brewing solution. I am currently doing a boil test on my gas stove with my 8 gal SS turkey fryer pot. Time to "strike" temp for 4 gallons (should I choose dunk sparge) was 40 minutes so I am pleasantly surprised. This is all before insulating the pot with bubble wrap.

I am thinking the first should be a simple house beer that is on the border between a dark mild and a stout...simple 1.045 OG beer. The goal is a 5-gallon post-fermentation volume. If the stovetop test works...I have small plans.

My real goal is to turn the same pot into a 120V/20Amp 5-gallon eBIAB, no chill for winter basement brewing. I will test it with my existing high watt density 2000W element but the goal is to install one of the full SS LWD 2000W elements but I suspect I will need to supplement with a second element to initiate boil...hope to find I am wrong. Assuming normal loses I need to boil 7.2 gallons.
 

BreezyBrew

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I started doing this, not, because of the cold of winter, but the heat of summer :) August is brutal down here. I say go for it! I have so much fun brewing indoors, brewday is really enjoyable.

The one thing I say to plan for is low efficiency... like 55-60%. Other than that, you'll have a great time!!
 

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I started doing this, not, because of the cold of winter, but the heat of summer :) August is brutal down here. I say go for it! I have so much fun brewing indoors, brewday is really enjoyable.

The one thing I say to plan for is low efficiency... like 55-60%. Other than that, you'll have a great time!!
Ufda.

Are you doing a "standard" crush?

You have to mill that stuff to powder and squeeze the bag like it owes you money. I got 60% with a "bad crush" and 76% with a good amount of flour in there.

No bitterness/tannins detected using this method. Might want to give it a shot.
 

BreezyBrew

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Are you doing a "standard" crush?
I don't have any notes on the crush, but I would say my gap on my Barley Crusher was around .35 and I got about 60%. Just my experience. I don't BIAB regularly.
 

Psylocide

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I don't have any notes on the crush, but I would say my gap on my Barley Crusher was around .35 and I got about 60%. Just my experience. I don't BIAB regularly.
Just for a point of reference, this is my 60% efficiency crush vs. my 76%.

Quite noticeable.




vs.






I also squeeze the bag during the sparge until it no longer drips when I hold it up.
 
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Onkel_Udo

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Wahoo! Boil of 7 gallons stovetop in under 2 hours with 52 degree water.
 
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Onkel_Udo

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I also squeeze the bag during the sparge until it no longer drips when I hold it up.
My non-BIAB Crush is a lot like that! I am going to try the dunk sparge first time around just because.
 

Psylocide

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My non-BIAB Crush is a lot like that! I am going to try the dunk sparge first time around just because.
I do a combination.

I put the bag in my bottling bucket, stretch it over the mouth and pour sparge water over it while stirring.

Then I dunk it a few times, then I squeeze the bejeezus out of it. I use a grill tray for veggies (metal with holes) over the bottling bucket. Set the grain bag on there and squeeze all the juice out using the lid from my BK.
 

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My real goal is to turn the same pot into a 120V/20Amp 5-gallon eBIAB, no chill for winter basement brewing. I will test it with my existing high watt density 2000W element but the goal is to install one of the full SS LWD 2000W elements but I suspect I will need to supplement with a second element to initiate boil...hope to find I am wrong. Assuming normal loses I need to boil 7.2 gallons.
Could you do 240v/30A off of either your electric clothes dryer or oven? I'm using my dryer outlet in the basement with a 5500W element and just went from 42°F to mash temp in ~20 minutes, then another 10-15 minutes for boil. (Edit: that's with about 9 gallons)

Ufda.

Are you doing a "standard" crush?

You have to mill that stuff to powder and squeeze the bag like it owes you money. I got 60% with a "bad crush" and 76% with a good amount of flour in there.

No bitterness/tannins detected using this method. Might want to give it a shot.
I've always gotten around 75% with standard LHBS crush. My Barley Crusher at home is set to around .024", and I do get a good bit of dust, but my hulls are still pretty well intact.

I do a combination.

I put the bag in my bottling bucket, stretch it over the mouth and pour sparge water over it while stirring.

Then I dunk it a few times, then I squeeze the bejeezus out of it. I use a grill tray for veggies (metal with holes) over the bottling bucket. Set the grain bag on there and squeeze all the juice out using the lid from my BK.
I picked up a few frosting buckets from my local grocery store's bakery department. Three food grade plastic buckets, all nested together. The middle bucket has a ton of holes drilled into it, so the top bucket is the plunger, the middle bucket is the strainer, and the bottom bucket catches the runoff.

Let the grain bag drain over the kettle for a couple minutes, then place into strainer bucket. Don't squeeze too hard too fast or you might overflow the middle bucket and waste wort, or put the strainer and plunger buckets into a large pot that'll catch it all.
 

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I've always gotten around 75% with standard LHBS crush. My Barley Crusher at home is set to around .024", and I do get a good bit of dust, but my hulls are still pretty well intact.
Cool. I think I could mill it even finer yet... not so worried about shredded husks.

My 76%er was actually a 30 min mash, so that was a nice result.
 
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Onkel_Udo

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Could you do 240v/30A off of either your electric clothes dryer or oven? I'm using my dryer outlet in the basement with a 5500W element and just went from 42°F to mash temp in ~20 minutes, then another 10-15 minutes for boil. (Edit: that's with about 9 gallons)
I can create a 220V 50Amp circuit if I want but my house is "all gas". I am quite experienced with electrical work in 4 countries though I am by no means a licensed electrician (long story). I am trying to avoid a control box so I either have to do the creative wiring that another member (sorry I forgot who) suggested that uses a 5500W element at 1/4, 1/3, 1/2 or full power by flipping standard 115V 20 Amp switches or or I am going with two 2000W elements on separate circuits. I have no alternative use for a 240V outlet in my basement (lots of use for it in the detached garage but that requires trenching).
 

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No creative wiring required IMO unkel udo, frankly that switching of stepped power input is a waste of time IMO.

Please start with a larger pot, 10 gallon minimum IMO. You can get a 10 gallon aluminum pot for thirty bucks. A basic e-brew pot is best to have plenty of headspace, and let it boil. With a smaller pot, you will need to finely tune the boil, not so with a larger kettle. If you have 2 20 amp circuits, that's all you need for 10 gallon batches.

I have used basic 2000w inexpensive HWD elements since the dark ages of electric brewing and have only scorched one batch through my own negligence.

IME, 3000w, or two 1500w elements is well matched for 5 gal batches, and 4000w is adequate for 10 gal batches. My simpleton approach is to merely match the wattage to batch size running the elements at 100% without a controller.

If you are going to continue stovetop, a heatstick or hot rod will reduce your heating time drastically.
 
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Onkel_Udo

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No creative wiring required IMO unkel udo, frankly that switching of stepped power input is a waste of time IMO.

Please start with a larger pot, 10 gallon minimum IMO. You can get a 10 gallon aluminum pot for thirty bucks. A basic e-brew pot is best to have plenty of headspace, and let it boil. With a smaller pot, you will need to finely tune the boil, not so with a larger kettle. If you have 2 20 amp circuits, that's all you need for 10 gallon batches.

I have used basic 2000w inexpensive HWD elements since the dark ages of electric brewing and have only scorched one batch through my own negligence.

IME, 3000w, or two 1500w elements is well matched for 5 gal batches, and 4000w is adequate for 10 gal batches. My simpleton approach is to merely match the wattage to batch size running the elements at 100% without a controller.

If you are going to continue stovetop, a heatstick or hot rod will reduce your heating time drastically.
Currently this is just an experiment. I have the kettle (now wrapped in two layers of bubblewrap). It came with a Basket. I have a paint strainer bag. I have a high output NG burner on the stove. I want to see if I can do an honest to goodness 5 gal keg worth of all grain while cleaning my house.

7 months out of the year I use my brewing time to play with the dogs, work on the race car or clean the garage. My system is that "dailed in" that I get a lot done on a brewday...except in winter when the garage door stays closed and even my Bernese Mountain dog just goes outside to pee.

I agree that the ultimate goal is to take one of my keggles and turn it into a two-120V element combo kettle...eHLT three season and BIAB kettle for one season. Alternatively, I would get a 20 gal kettle, mount two elements and put a false bottom above them so it could alternate between MLT and BIAB kettle.

Currently I run through about 10 gallons of beer a month plus 10 gallons for each race weekend (three times per year). The last two winters I just could not keep up.
 
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Onkel_Udo

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:off:

I totally had to go googling on this one. I thought it might be an abbreviation for something else. Interesting Scandinavian background on this expression.

#knowingishalfthebattle
How far south of the Mason Dixon line are you?
 

jtratcliff

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If you are going to continue stovetop, a heatstick or hot rod will reduce your heating time drastically.
+1 to this

I just used a cheapie 1000w heat stick in addition to my gas stove for the first time... Made quite a difference in time to mash temp, time to boil, and vigor of boil.

Well worth the $15 i paid :) for it...
 

RandallFlag

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How far south of the Mason Dixon line are you?
Very far from the MDL but right next to you in KY....and dealing with 17" of snow that we can't really handle down here. :) Good thing for me that I'm already an indoor brewer.

EDIT: Scratch that. Looks like Hammond, IN is basically a Chicago suburb so I am waaaayyyyy away from you.
 
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Onkel_Udo

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Very far from the MDL but right next to you in KY....and dealing with 17" of snow that we can't really handle down here. :) Good thing for me that I'm already an indoor brewer.

EDIT: Scratch that. Looks like Hammond, IN is basically a Chicago suburb so I am waaaayyyyy away from you.
Even a different time zone!

Hammond is to Chicago what Newark is to NYC...less the big hair.

Ufda is common in all the northern "Scandahovian" farming states. You even hear it in Eastern Washington after a few beers and only in the over 70 set.
 
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Onkel_Udo

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+1 to this

I just used a cheapie 1000w heat stick in addition to my gas stove for the first time... Made quite a difference in time to mash temp, time to boil, and vigor of boil.

Well worth the $15 i paid :) for it...
Oddly, total brew session time...in winter...indoors...not much of a concern to me. The only thing that would concern me is having to babysit it or having inconsistent results. I have every Sunday off and my day consists mostly of doing laundry and cleaning the house...it would be nice to brew simultaneously.
 

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With that attitude, indoor BIAB should be very easy...put on strike water relax have coffee....dough in relax take a shower. Pull the bag when you have time....set the stove med high and when it boils that's fine. Add boiling hops and let it boil nice and slow, add finishing hops and flame out......let kettle sir till your at about 160 them add your last charge of hops and set the kettle outside for a few hours and you will be ready to pitch yeast.....you wanna make it real easy, pitch yeast directly in the kettle, ferment for ten days and keg.....ufda!
 
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Onkel_Udo

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With that attitude, indoor BIAB should be very easy...put on strike water relax have coffee....dough in relax take a shower. Pull the bag when you have time....set the stove med high and when it boils that's fine. Add boiling hops and let it boil nice and slow, add finishing hops and flame out......let kettle sir till your at about 160 them add your last charge of hops and set the kettle outside for a few hours and you will be ready to pitch yeast.....you wanna make it real easy, pitch yeast directly in the kettle, ferment for ten days and keg.....ufda!
So far, that is how the brew day is going.

3:30 Turn on stove on medium, let the dogs out, start the coffee machine
3:40 Grind grains
3:50 Check temp and stir like mad
3:55 Dough in at 159...end up at 148, drink coffee
4:00 Overshoot on the heat up and add a couple of ice cube to end at 155
4:05 Re-check temp, drink coffee, start heat sparge water, drink coffee
4:10 Watch TV, drink coffee

Have to work on my temp control but with two layers of refletix, mash has not lost a degree at 5:00
 

RM-MN

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So far, that is how the brew day is going.

3:30 Turn on stove on medium, let the dogs out, start the coffee machine
3:40 Grind grains
3:50 Check temp and stir like mad
3:55 Dough in at 159...end up at 148, drink coffee
4:00 Overshoot on the heat up and add a couple of ice cube to end at 155

4:05 Re-check temp, drink coffee, start heat sparge water, drink coffee
4:10 Watch TV, drink coffee

Have to work on my temp control but with two layers of refletix, mash has not lost a degree at 5:00
I'm not sure I would worry much about overshooting your temperature. If your grains are milled fine your conversion would be done in the 5 minutes you were having the temperature climb plus many of us are finding that our wort turns out more fermentable than predicted based on the temperature of the mash. More work needs to be done to explain why.
 
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Onkel_Udo

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Not getting a vigorous boil at 7+ gallons but it is more than enough. My pre-boil gravity was 1.035 so I think I am going to nail this pretty close.
 

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Not getting a vigorous boil at 7+ gallons but it is more than enough. My pre-boil gravity was 1.035 so I think I am going to nail this pretty close.
You could try partially covering the top with your lid. Leave enough to allow steam to escape, but it will definitely help your boil strength by retaining some heat.
 
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Onkel_Udo

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You could try partially covering the top with your lid. Leave enough to allow steam to escape, but it will definitely help your boil strength by retaining some heat.
Meh,just going to do a longer boil. As the gravity increases and volume decreases the boil will get more vigorous. Like I said,this is a no-hurry brewing method for me.
 
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Onkel_Udo

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Holy Asian Carp! My Brewhouse efficiency is over 80% per Brewers Friend.

And now we wait...to no-chill cool.
 
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Onkel_Udo

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I did make the error of not accounting for the no-chill in my hop schedule. Such low grav beer is gonna be bitter!

So if you wanted to add aroma to said beer as a dry hop...too dark for an ordinary bitter, too low alcohol for a black IPA...so I guess it would be call a Hoppy Session American Brown Ale (SRM is about 22)? OG should be 1.045 with an ABV of about 4.2% and I am guesstimating the IBU's at 57'ish with Magnum and First Gold plus some "spent" Amarillo used as a dry hop in a prior beer.

I am guessing Fuggles? Hallertau?
 

RM-MN

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I did make the error of not accounting for the no-chill in my hop schedule. Such low grav beer is gonna be bitter!

So if you wanted to add aroma to said beer as a dry hop...too dark for an ordinary bitter, too low alcohol for a black IPA...so I guess it would be call a Hoppy Session American Brown Ale (SRM is about 22)? OG should be 1.045 with an ABV of about 4.2% and I am guesstimating the IBU's at 57'ish with Magnum and First Gold plus some "spent" Amarillo used as a dry hop in a prior beer.

I am guessing Fuggles? Hallertau?
Oooh, I'm thnking that that would be more bitter than I would like. Would adding lactose make a difference?
 
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Onkel_Udo

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Oooh, I'm thnking that that would be more bitter than I would like. Would adding lactose make a difference?
i am going to let run its course and ferment...then decide.
 
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Onkel_Udo

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OK, no-chill in an insulated pot is nerve-racking. When I went to bed at 9 it was still at 140 f (we were actually warm yesterday) but since it was to well below freezing I brought it in for the night (house is kept at 60 f) and at the fake 5 AM it was at 110 f. It is out on the deck now and should be close to pitching temp in another hour or two.

So, yeah on one of those days that isn't going to break freezing, I might do it again but there is no way I am fermenting in the pot with something like S-04 if it holds temp that good!

I am thinking I will, as time and budget allows, convert my boil keggle to eBIAB (two 2000W elements so it can boil outside or in the basement) as it could still just be a boil kettle the rest of the time. I am thinking I can re-use the basket I have. Honestly, If I can match that type of efficiency ramped up to 10 gallon batches and up to 1.060 batches.
 

RM-MN

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Hop oils will continue to add bitterness until the wort is under about 180 so if your recipe calls for a flavor addition at 10 minutes and you no chill, you might have to add them after the wort has cooled for a couple hours or more.

My pot is a thin stainless steel and it still takes a long time to chill. When the temperature is below zero and the wind is 20mph or more, I can expect to wait nearly 4 hours. If I pour the boiling wort into a bucket fermenter and set it in a 62 degree room it will take about 30 hours to cool.
 
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Onkel_Udo

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Hydrometer sample at pitching had me .001 or .002 over so again, excellent efficiency.

It was bubbling away nicely 5 hours after pitching last night but I fear the temp int he basement will be slightly low (53 f) for Notty to do its job once the first 48-72 hours is up so bringing it upstairs to my cold closet (usually about 61 f) Wednesday night.

Overall, I consider this a success. I need to refine a few of my processes but none of my fears were realized:

Stove was able to achieve and maintain a boil
Efficiency was excellent
Did not make a big mess

Before the next attempt, since winter appears to be finally over, I will make some minor equipment changes. If I stay 5-gallon I will absolutely just add a 2000W element and ball valve to the 8 gallon pot (this can then double as my HLT when I three tier). If I choose to ramp up to 10 gallons I will convert my current boil keggle to electric with two 2000W elements and widen the opening so my my basket can fit. The basket will get SS bolts for legs to keep it off the element.
 

RM-MN

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Hydrometer sample at pitching had me .001 or .002 over so again, excellent efficiency.

It was bubbling away nicely 5 hours after pitching last night but I fear the temp int he basement will be slightly low (53 f) for Notty to do its job once the first 48-72 hours is up so bringing it upstairs to my cold closet (usually about 61 f) Wednesday night.

Overall, I consider this a success. I need to refine a few of my processes but none of my fears were realized:

Stove was able to achieve and maintain a boil
Efficiency was excellent
Did not make a big mess

Before the next attempt, since winter appears to be finally over, I will make some minor equipment changes. If I stay 5-gallon I will absolutely just add a 2000W element and ball valve to the 8 gallon pot (this can then double as my HLT when I three tier). If I choose to ramp up to 10 gallons I will convert my current boil keggle to electric with two 2000W elements and widen the opening so my my basket can fit. The basket will get SS bolts for legs to keep it off the element.
I think this is a good idea but even 61 may be too cool. Give the beer a couple days there then warm it even more. Mine usually stay at 62 for 5 to 7 days and then may go straight to 72. The off flavors are created pretty early in the fermentation so if you control the temperature then you need not worry about them. http://www.brewgeeks.com/the-life-cycle-of-yeast.html
 
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Onkel_Udo

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I think this is a good idea but even 61 may be too cool. Give the beer a couple days there then warm it even more. Mine usually stay at 62 for 5 to 7 days and then may go straight to 72. The off flavors are created pretty early in the fermentation so if you control the temperature then you need not worry about them. http://www.brewgeeks.com/the-life-cycle-of-yeast.html
Yeah, I just have gotten so used to S-04 that does OK but slow fermentation at 53 f but the internal temp is probably more like 58-60 f. I haven't enough experience with Notty but the three batches I have done only raise the beer temp about a degree. I pitched at 68 f and since fermentation was still going well this morning, not worried about "primary" stalling
 
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Onkel_Udo

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Well I ended at 1.012 so again a bit high.

Hydrometer sample did not taste overly bitter. Skipped my planned dry hopping out of impatience and lack of cornies. Carb'ed it as if it really were a an ordinary bitter and put three gallons in my Tap-a-draft bottle sand 1.3 gallons in bottles.

Biggest negative other than total yeald so far verse my 3-tier is the amazinging amount lost in fermentor. Two reasons:

My three tier I easily left an inch in the bucket because I left all the hops and cold break in the kettle. With my current set-up, it is not possible for me to do so as I cannot use my leaf hops as a trub filter.

I used a lot of pellet hops in hopesof "whirlpooling" the hops and trub into a cone...just did not happen.

Trying a version of my RyePA on Tuesday. This is my "lawnmower beer" and between friends an I we already burned through 9 gallons in 3 weeks.

Will 22% flakes Rye cause issues with the draining and subsequent dunk sparge process?
 

RM-MN

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Well I ended at 1.012 so again a bit high.

Hydrometer sample did not taste overly bitter. Skipped my planned dry hopping out of impatience and lack of cornies. Carb'ed it as if it really were a an ordinary bitter and put three gallons in my Tap-a-draft bottle sand 1.3 gallons in bottles.

Biggest negative other than total yeald so far verse my 3-tier is the amazinging amount lost in fermentor. Two reasons:

My three tier I easily left an inch in the bucket because I left all the hops and cold break in the kettle. With my current set-up, it is not possible for me to do so as I cannot use my leaf hops as a trub filter.

I used a lot of pellet hops in hopesof "whirlpooling" the hops and trub into a cone...just did not happen.

Trying a version of my RyePA on Tuesday. This is my "lawnmower beer" and between friends an I we already burned through 9 gallons in 3 weeks.

Will 22% flakes Rye cause issues with the draining and subsequent dunk sparge process?
Rye gets really sticky/gooey but you have a bag for your filter and can squeeze the wort out if you need to. I doubt that you would need to with only 22% rye but when I used 60% rye I sure did.

You have a choice when you use your 3-tier system. You can leave some of the trub behind in the kettle or you can put it all in the fermenter. One way or another you are going to lose some. I'm of the opinion that leaving the trub behind loses more beer because the trub won't have settled out as much so there is wort in there that could have become beer. If you have the room in the fermenter and give it time to settle and compact there I think you lose less.
 
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Onkel_Udo

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I'm of the opinion that leaving the trub behind loses more beer because the trub won't have settled out as much so there is wort in there that could have become beer. If you have the room in the fermenter and give it time to settle and compact there I think you lose less.
I think this depends on what method you use to leave that trub in the kettle. In my case I have a SS scrubber pad over the end of my dip tube that goes to within an 1/8" of the bottom of the keggle. I have to use a minimum of 2 oz of whole hops per batch as these create my filter. The only thing I leave in the kettle is spent hops and break material.

I was not complaining about the break int he bucket but it really does change the calculation of where the wort needs to end up on those gallon markers on the bucket!
 
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Onkel_Udo

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Second test batch went both better and worse than the first. This was a RyePA/lawnmower beer with 9.25#'s of which 2#'s were flaked rye.

I hit my mash temp much closer this time being at 150 when shooting for 152. Bumped the burner for just one minute and hit 152 and stayed there for 45 minutes.

Boil went much better as well because I left the lid on (stressing the whole time about a hidden boil over) until it actually was boiling. Even returned to boil in about 10 minutes when I dropped my immersion chiller in to sanitize it.

The two problems this time were learning curve related. I needed more water in my main kettle and less in my dunk sparge pot. Not sure if it was the extra # of grain or the flaked rye soaking up more water but the 2.5 gallons in the dunk sparge pot was about .5 gallons too much making it impossible to reasonably stir the grains. I also ended up about .25 gallons low on my total pre-boil volume.

Apparently 12# of ice in the recirculating immersion chiller loop is way too little for 6 gallons of wort in an insulated pot but it did get me below 130 f so I just set it outside to cool the rest of the way. Was still at 90 f this morning.

Brewhouse efficiency was 78%. One more experimental batch and I will be ready to pull the trigger on converting one of my existing keggles to a combo eBIAB 10 gallon system for winter and 10 gallon eKettle for the other 7 months.
 
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