First BIAB - think i stuffed it up somehow

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First BIAB - think i stuffed it up somehow

Post by redlegger » 7 years ago

Hey guys, Here is run down of my first brew day yesterday, please analyze and give constructive criticism :)

OK, recipe i used was Smurto's Ale from the AHB website

Weyermann Pilsner 2.4KG
Weyermann Pale Wheay 0.8KG
Weyermann Munich 1 0.8KG
Weyermann Caramunich 0.25 KG

Amarillo Hops
20G @ 60Mins
15G @ 10Mins
15G @ 5Mins

OK, so this is what i did.

Added water to kettle (33.25 Litres, hopefully to finish with 19L for the keg, figures done using the spreadsheet on biabrewer.info), bought up to strike temp of 68Deg C, poured in grain while agitating with mixer.
Checked Temp and was steady @ 66Degrees
At the 1 hour mark, temp had dropped by 3 degrees, lit burner for 5 mins, turned it off when temp got to 66Degrees, but the temp continued to rise to just below 70 Deg C

After 90 minutes, lifted bag onto skyhook, twisted and wringed the bag to get most of liquor out.
At this point my neighbour came over and held me up for 15 minutes, so i was a bit slow to get the heat back on.
So, From the end of the mash it took half an hour to get the liquor to a rolling boil. (emptied grain from biab bag at this point)

Added hops @ 60minutes, 10 Mins & 5 Mins (hope were added into the emptied out voile bag).

Once the boil was finished i removed the all the hops from the wort( in the bag the hops had kind of expanded in a mushy clump?) .
I then drained the keg via the ball valve on the bottom, into my cube.
Final volume is approx 21.5 litres
OG is 1.047 .

Everything went well i thought, until i tasted it, and then smelt it after my sample had cooled off..... YUK! on both counts. The wort smells burnt (almost like i have burnt the hops) and it tastes just the same, a little burnt and not nice at all? Is this normal? I dont think so?

Some other notes:
1. When i opened the hops out of their foil packaging (not vac packed, just a foil bag) , they smelt like weeds (not pot lol but weeds you pull out of the garden, sorry but thats the best way i can describe it lol) and not a very nice smell at all, is this normal? Do i have bad hops?
2. I havent go the measurement for 'volume into boiler' i do have a mark on the keggle so i can measure this tonight if required.
3. I have never AG brewed or used hops before so im kind of flying blind with what is normal, are the hops supposed to expand into a mush like they did in my bag?
4. The wort is very very cloudy with lots of sediment, is this normal?

Ill list my equipment here that i used for the brew
1. 55 Litre converted keg, ball valve installed on the bottom. (installed with a bulkhead connector, sealed with fibre washers)
2. 3-Ring camper burner
3. 2 mtrs silicone hose for draining the wort
4. Swiss Voile grain bag
5. Candy thermometer (havent got one of the S/S half round ones that is recomended, need to find one for next time)
6. Mash paddle is a converted bbq scraper (long handled)

My original gravity os 1.047 , final volume is about 21.5 Litres (cube is full and i have a 1.25ltr water bottle full.

Any feeback people is much MUCH appreciated :)

Cheers
Andy

P.S. Sorry for the rushed format of the post, but im really eager to find out what i have done wrong :)
Cheers!
"I like beer. On occasion, I will even drink beer to celebrate a major event such as the fall of Communism or the fact that the refrigerator is still working.”Dave Berry

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Post by hashie » 7 years ago

I can't see anything that you have done wrong.

The hops don't sound right. They should smell fresh and delicious (just don't try and eat one, yech!) I wouldn't but them unless they were vacuum sealed and in a fridge at the least. I keep mine in the freezer.

Yes they do turn to mushy gloop, no problems there.

The flavour of un-fermented wort is not nice, very bitter, very sweet and sometimes a bit roasted (my observations)

So having it smell or taste burnt is not un common because there would be a certain amount of caramalisation during the boil, not much, but some.

Is your thermometer digital or mercury? When I used a digital thermometer I found it would continue to rise after the burner was turned off, but since using a mercury thermometer, it stays at the temp obtained when the gas is turned off.

At the end of the day, pitch some yeast into it, let it ferment out and then see how it tastes. It might just be the best beer you've made to date. If you have to toss it, it was a learning experience.

Cheers
"It's beer Jim, but not as we know it."


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Post by dick » 7 years ago

It sounds like you did OK. Did you raise the bag when you lit the burner and applied the heat? Did you mix thoroughly when heating the mash? Did you find any charred material on the bottom of your kettle?

You say that your wort is very cloudy and it could be that you have a lot of kettle trub in your wort. I don't think that this will ruin the beer but it does taste nasty. It is best to use a whirfloc before flame out and then whirlpool and aim to get only clear wort in your cube.

So far there is nothing to say that it won't turn out great.

Cheers
Dick

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Post by redlegger » 7 years ago

Thanks for the quick replies guys.

1. my thermometer is mercury, but it was only $6 and i havent calibrated it, something i definatley need to improve on
2. i think nearly all the trub went into the cube :( hope this doesnt wreck it, can i clear it oncei have cubed it? or just siphon when i remove from fermentor?
3. I did not raise the bag when i lit the burner, but i did make sure i agitated

Thanks fellas!
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Post by hashie » 7 years ago

The trub isn't really a problem. It will give you an extra thick layer on the bottom of your fermenter. Some schools of thought believe it is a good yeast nutrient. So I'd just dump the whole lot into your fermenter and then rack into secondary after a few days to get your beer off all the trub.

Everything else is not a problem, although you do get what you pay for...~$6 for a thermometer?!?
"It's beer Jim, but not as we know it."

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Post by jimmysuperlative » 7 years ago

RDWHAHB ;) ...It looks great for a first effort redlegger! Congratulations BTW! ...you've probably pointed out the main areas for refinement yourself. Get yourself a decent thermometer! :roll: But, look, everything else went well, good gravity, good method, good fun and hopefully great beer.
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Post by PistolPatch » 7 years ago

Congrats RL :)

Looks like you did everything perfectly.

Those hops sound very suss. What colour were they, who did you get them from and what size pack was it?

Only other thing AI can think of is the bag material. Got a pic at all?

You've done really well doing this all by long distance.

Top job!
Pat
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Post by dick » 7 years ago

Yeah, I should have added that the trub isn't a big problem. As others have said, it will settle out and racking after 4 days or so will pretty much eliminate it altogether.

Be sure to check the attenuation (need OG and FG to calculate this) because this will give you an idea of how the mash went. My first two attempts at all grain was the same recipe as you used. Yes I got some kettle trub in the fermentor, yes I got a low FG because the mash temps dropped quite a bit during the mash and despite my panic over all this the beer turned out great.

As Jimmy said, RDWHAHB. :D

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Post by redlegger » 7 years ago

PistolPatch wrote:Congrats RL :)

Looks like you did everything perfectly.

Those hops sound very suss. What colour were they, who did you get them from and what size pack was it?

Only other thing AI can think of is the bag material. Got a pic at all?

You've done really well doing this all by long distance.

Top job!
Pat
Thanks guys,your reassurance will ensure that i have a good nights sleep tonight :)

Yeah the hops really didnt seem right to me Pat, maybe i have this perception that they are sposed to smell really nice? 'MintsauCe' from AHB has some amarillo so ill head over to his house later this week and give his a whiff. (that doesnt sound to good does it lol)
Here is a pic of them, i got them from Ray at TWOC last week and i have kept them in the fridge (just moved them to freezer after doing some research today)
19042010(002).jpg
Here is the pic of the bag, it's made from voile.
19042010.jpg
Thanks Pat, everything i have done so far is because of your help and your guide, so cheers to you mate!

I have a question about my ferment temp control, if you think this is better off in another thread, please move it over :)

I only have a chest freezer at the moment without a fridgrmate or thermostat for it. If the temp fluctuates between 16-24 degrees during the ferment, will this adversly affect the brew? It wont be at the higher temp for very long, only for maybe an hour or so before i get home from work (for lunch) before i switch the freezer back on again and get it back down to about 16 (i have a thermostat coming so this wont last forever thank god).

Just a thought about this... the air temp in the freezer will obviously rise, but do you think the brew temp will take much longer to reach the higher air temp? Hmm ill check this tomorrow and report back.

Cheers for your patience fellas :) I tend to ramble random thoughts this time of night :P

Andy
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Last edited by redlegger on 19 Apr 2010, 21:27, edited 10 times in total.
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Post by wizard78 » 7 years ago

G'day RL,
First off congrats on your first Biab, I'm not far behind you, Fingers crossed I will have mine done by this weekend (not the first time I've said that :x :) ).
On the temp control, it will take while longer for the brew to warm up due to it thermal mass, but you may be able to keep the temp down abit longer if your able to chuck a couple of frozen water bottles or ice bricks in the freezer.
Cheers Brad
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Post by Ralph » 7 years ago

Yeah Andy, fluctuation in the freezer temp is not ideal, but it is really the actual wort temp that matters. A fermenter- full of wort is an enormous heat store in comparison to the air in the freezer (like thousands of times greater, or more- air is just a bit less dense and has a much lower specific heat than water even though there's more of it in the freezer), so it it won't be going through those cycles anywhere near as much, and hence folks use thermowells etc for the controller's sensor.

If you think the wort is fluctuating too much, it may be better to just use frozen bottles of water to regulate the cooling. Probably reducing the change rate as the ferment ends (less heat is generated by the exothermic process of fermentation as the yeast runs out of sugars to process) but this will also depend on ambient temps at the time.

Don't panic, it should be no biggie, but your new thermostat will make quite sure of it!

Edit: Clarity and facts!
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Post by mike » 7 years ago

It does sound to me like something is not right with your hops. I use amarillo quite a bit and they don't smell like weeds. Mine smell pretty floral and a bit citrusy. As far as temp control, nothing improved my beer more than when I got proper temp control. I use a Ranco single stage unit and tape the temp probe to the side of my carboy. I cover the probe with insulation so that it reads the temp of the carboy and not the ambient temp of my fridge.


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Post by crundle » 7 years ago

+1 for temperature control improving beer.

You can also use a simple timer plug in the meantime to keep the freezer running for one hour out of 4 or 5 during the day, and perhaps one hour in the night depending on where you live to help keep it fairly constant.

The thermal mass of a fermenter is fairly huge, and can be improved upon if you wrap the fermenter in a towel or similar to further insulate it from the changing temperature of the air around it.

On my understanding, the more constant the temperature the better, but reducing the swing in temperature will definitely be of assistance.

Your brew day sounded great, but the hops do sound a bit suss. Ferment it out and see what you get, DSGA is a very forgiving recipe.

cheers,

Matt

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Post by redlegger » 7 years ago

OK guys, i checked the 7 day SG reading last night, it was at 1.015, estimated OG is 1.012 so not to far to go. A couple of questions...

1. The clarity or lack of is concerning me, the wort has all the clarity of a glass of orange juice, will this improve with crash chilling for a few days before i keg it? (i was thinking of using gelatine as a clearing method)
2. The smell is fantastic, however there is a slight aftertaste, dunno how to describe it, but i think it may be the hops (still tastes a little burnt, but no where near as bad as when it went into the fermenter), will this continue to improve?
3. The recipe called for 2 weeks in primary, is this always necessary? Say if my SG is constant over three days, before the two weeks is up, should i still leave it in the fermenter for the two weeks?
4. The recipe also says 2 weeks in secondary, can someone explain this to me? Is it 2 weeks in a secondary container or 'cube' if so, is it chilled for two weeks ?

Cheers everybody

P.S. Another note, the temp has been no higher than 19deg for the whole ferment, but mostly it has been around 16-17deg, is this acceptable for the style?
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Post by wizard78 » 7 years ago

G'day RL,
Sounds like things are going well for you there. I have found an aftertaste when tasting samples of my wort during fermentation aswell, I believe it is the hops, I think that things just haven't had enough time to amalgamate.
My fermentation method tends to be:

Ferment untill achieved consistant readings.
Crash chill to 2 deg C (I was racking to cube, but just did it in my primary last brew)
Add gelatin when chill temp achieved and leave for 24-48 hrs
Rack to Keg and gas

I only just started using the gelatin method, but find it clears the brew beautifully and quickly. I think you can get the clarity from cold conditioning but it will take longer.
Hope this helps.
Cheers Brad ;)
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Post by BobBrews » 7 years ago

3. The recipe called for 2 weeks in primary, is this always necessary? should i still leave it in the fermenter for the two weeks?
4. The recipe also says 2 weeks in secondary, can someone explain this to me? Is it 2 weeks in a secondary container or 'cube' if so, is it chilled for two weeks ?
RL
Recent studies have shown that the time in the primary is not as critical as once thought. If you are not in a hurry (supplying a mates party) Two or three weeks is not going to effect the beer’s taste. In fact most people that were involved with the testing preferred the beer that sat in the primary three or more weeks. The extra time let the beer finish and clear on its own.
If you are kegging then the secondary is not needed. If bottling you may use the secondary (fermentation bucket) but if you left the beer in the primary long enough than just siphoning the beer carefully will get it done. Your beer will be perfect.
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Post by Beachbum » 7 years ago

I was listening a while ago to a "Jamil" show about American Ambers, and he admitted, to my surprise, that he usually bottles or kegs straight out of primary. I nearly always cold crash my beers in plastic jerry cans because, as they are 'skinny' I can fit 3 of them in my lagering fridge. However I recently kegged an Irish Red straight out of Primary and it turned out the clearest keg beer.
Apologies, I know I shouldn't be posting pictures like this at 8.30 AM (Aussie East Coast Time) :lol:
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Post by hashie » 7 years ago

Is that a Daihatsu Charade in the background?

Nice beer!
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Post by Ralph » 7 years ago

Beachbum, is that the 1084 batch which was fermented slightly warm? If so, I can attest to the quality taste, t'was just delicious!

I seldom move any ale out of primary before bottling these days (except for the bulk priming transfer, of course).

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Post by Beachbum » 7 years ago

hashie wrote:Is that a Daihatsu Charade in the background?

Nice beer!
Off topic: Yes a genuine 1990 3 cylinder job. Its sole job is to go to the station and back twice a week, it only does about 3k a year. Better fuel economy than a Prius. :D It's also deceptive - nearly every day I get 4wds pulling up next to me at the lights impatient to get past my pipsqueak heap of old junk, and when I floor it the bloody thing takes off like a Mini Cooper, you can't burst those 3cyl engines.
Ah the looks of hatred when I glance in the rear view mirror :lol: :lol:

Ralph, that's the one that got away on me when I was having a fridge emergency, it started at around 26 and never got below 22. It was done and dusted in about 4 days and I just kegged a couple of days later. Guinness lets their yeast rise to mid 20s and I wonder if this is related to the Guinness strain.
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Post by hashie » 7 years ago

Beachbum wrote:
hashie wrote:Is that a Daihatsu Charade in the background?

Nice beer!
Off topic: Yes a genuine 1990 3 cylinder job. Its sole job is to go to the station and back twice a week, it only does about 3k a year. Better fuel economy than a Prius. :D It's also deceptive - nearly every day I get 4wds pulling up next to me at the lights impatient to get past my pipsqueak heap of old junk, and when I floor it the bloody thing takes off like a Mini Cooper, you can't burst those 3cyl engines.
Ah the looks of hatred when I glance in the rear view mirror :lol: :lol:
I had one myself, same colour and all, it went like a rocket. Although I did get scared when Kangaroos started jumping in front of me :shock: so I up graded to a Telstar!
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Post by Ralph » 7 years ago

I'm still struggling with 'Telstar' and 'upgrade' in the same sentence! :shock: And that's from a Barina owner!
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Post by hashie » 7 years ago

It was an upgrade from 3 to 4 cylinders ;)
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Post by redlegger » 7 years ago

Success!
All my worrying over this (my first) batch for nothing!
Kegged it today on my lunch break, force carb'd and then tasted it (oops :P).
MMMM yumm! So this is why people get addicted to this hobby!
If a nub like me can make great tasting beer, then anyone can!
Im stoked! Thanks for everyone for all you help!

Hopefully lloydies kolsch turns out as well!!

Thanks again for everyones help to allay my initial woes.

A very happy
RL

P.S. Another brew this weekend needed i reckon.... as i had These arrive today, gonna mount them on my chest freezer for now (until i get my new shed and bar later in the year :) )
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Post by Stitch » 7 years ago

Good to hear RL. I had some dramas with this recipe. Not the ingredients themselves, but lets just say the HBS in this area is a joke lol. No ale yeast whatsoever, so I had no other option other than using an out of date Belgian strain. This of course was before I was full bottle on culturing from Coopers Bottles. I may have to re-visit it.
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