Your Feedback and Questions on Using Maxi-BIAB on Mini-BIAB.

Any method that is not a 'full-volume' mash. Usually, but not always, requires more than a single vessel or heat source. Includes traditional, three-vessel brewing.

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Post by Ralph » 7 years ago

Great stuff JD!
It sounds to me as though you're not quite doing a double regular MaxiBIAB here, but a thicker mash (in a tun?), over- gravity boil, then post- boil dilution?

I had a squiz through your adapted spreadsheet, there's the top up addition to the kettle (C20), that should be sparge and not a dilution water addition, right? I need to know more about your setup and process though, but it looks like you've adapted MaxiBAIB to stock BIAB for a double batch.

Some parameters (i.e. efficiencies) are less than predictable, so with MaxiBIAB I've used the full vessels (commonly available) at mashing and sparging, then any slack in efficiency gets taken into account with post- boil dilution to a pre- determined OG. Sometimes the final volume may come in under, sometimes slightly over, but the one fixed parameter is the OG, that's what I like about this method- shouldn't miss the OG target with MaxiBIAB. This comes at the expense of variable diluted volume in the fermenter, but OTOH it is attractive to novices by keeping volumes simple by using full vessels. Well, that's the theory, anyway!
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Post by hashie » 7 years ago

Top stuff JD, sounds like you've got all the bugs out of your spread sheet for it to have worked so well.
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Post by Pat » 7 years ago

JesterDarts,

It is very nice to see you adapting The Calculator to suit your circumstances / situation. It is exactly what The Calculator is meant for. Hopefully other brewers with similiar equipment will be referred to your version.

You mentioned that your evaporation rate is lower than expected. This could be true for small diameter kettles (which urns are) but we need more figures so keep brewing and reporting your results. Of the figures used to determine the formula in the main calculator, only 3 of the 22 brewers had urns and their average evaporation rate on recorded brews was a bit less than the overall average - 9.7%, 12.5% and 14.9% as compared to an average of 16.5%.

Of course, these one decimal accuracy figures reflect nothing at all about accuracy! All we know at this stage is that we do not have enough figures! This is not a BIAB problem, it is a problem amongst all brewers who boil. It would be nice though if us BIABrewers could bring more accuracy to this area.

If anyone has any ideas on how to easily record our figures etc, please let us know here as I can't work out a way of doing this with our current forum software.

Thanks JD,
Pat
Last edited by Pat on 08 Nov 2010, 21:32, edited 5 times in total.
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Post by jestersdarts » 7 years ago

Ralph wrote:Great stuff JD!
It sounds to me as though you're not quite doing a double regular MaxiBIAB here, but a thicker mash (in a tun?), over- gravity boil, then post- boil dilution?
Hi Ralph -

Yes thats right. I mashed in my 40L urn, transferred to a 45L Kettle.
Because I got, 32L or so from the urn, I can 'sparge' with the top up water amount, until I reach a comfortable boiling level (not too full to avoid boil overs). I tried to aim for a mash out temp with the sparge water.
Ralph wrote: I had a squiz through your adapted spreadsheet, there's the top up addition to the kettle (C20), that should be sparge and not a dilution water addition, right? I need to know more about your setup and process though, but it looks like you've adapted MaxiBAIB to stock BIAB for a double batch.
So the wort is overgravity for the boil.

After the boil, I topped up the kettle to absolute maximum and found that I only need about 1.5 - 2 more Litres than this to fill my two cubes.
( I had to add water to the last cube. Next time, i'll add it to the kettle as it drains)
Ralph wrote: Some parameters (i.e. efficiencies) are less than predictable, so with MaxiBIAB I've used the full vessels (commonly available) at mashing and sparging, then any slack in efficiency gets taken into account with post- boil dilution to a pre- determined OG. Sometimes the final volume may come in under, sometimes slightly over, but the one fixed parameter is the OG, that's what I like about this method- shouldn't miss the OG target with MaxiBIAB. This comes at the expense of variable diluted volume in the fermenter, but OTOH it is attractive to novices by keeping volumes simple by using full vessels. Well, that's the theory, anyway!
What I liked most about the spreadsheet, is that I can see what the gravity is meant to be at each step, so i can measure, and adjust if needed with more or less dilution, so I end up with the right amount in the no chill cubes. You could also adjust at the fermenter.
Last edited by jestersdarts on 09 Nov 2010, 05:10, edited 5 times in total.

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Post by jestersdarts » 7 years ago

Pat wrote:JesterDarts,

It is very nice to see you adapting The Calculator to suit your circumstances / situation. It is exactly what The Calculator is meant for. Hopefully other brewers with similiar equipment will be referred to your version.

You mentioned that your evaporation rate is lower than expected. This could be true for small diameter kettles (which urns are) but we need more figures so keep brewing and reporting your results. Of the figures used to determine the formula in the main calculator, only 3 of the 22 brewers had urns and their average evaporation rate on recorded brews was a bit less than the overall average - 9.7%, 12.5% and 14.9% as compared to an average of 16.5%.

Of course, these one decimal accuracy figures reflect nothing at all about accuracy! All we know at this stage is that we do not have enough figures! This is not a BIAB problem, it is a problem amongst all brewers who boil. It would be nice though if us BIABrewers could bring more accuracy to this area.

If anyone has any ideas on how to easily record our figures etc, please let us know here as I can't work out a way of doing this with our current forum software.

Thanks JD,
Pat
OK I'll admit - I havent calibrated my kettle to a measurement!!
All I know it is 45L, where the big scratch is is 32L, the old bung is at 25L, and it'll leave 1.2L when drained completely!

So I could be dreaming with my evap rate... :blush:

I made a stainless dipstick after this brew with measurements on it, so next time, I can start measuring Kettle volumes during.

An area where average figures recorded would be great Pat -
some averages I'd like to know:

Water retained in grain when using squeeze
Evaporation rates
Volume that soaked grain + water will take up

i'm sure i'll think of more.
Last edited by jestersdarts on 09 Nov 2010, 05:16, edited 5 times in total.

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Post by jestersdarts » 7 years ago

A few questions from the weekend:
Will boiling hops in a higher gravity wort affect the bittering / flavour / aroma levels once diluted down?

I added dilution water after the boil straight to the kettle.
It wasnt 100DegC, will this faster 'cooling' of the wort help stop the isomerisation of a-acids for bitterness, dragged out 0 min hop additions etc?
Is this water addition considered "bad" as far as hygeyne goes?
What about topping up with water at the cube? Bad for hygeine?
Topping up at fermenter? Bad for hygeine?


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Post by Ralph » 7 years ago

Quick reply as I have to bail in a few minutes:
Theoretically, hops utilisation reduces by 10% (IIRC) for every 0.010 over 1.050, so yes, there could be some loss of efficacy, however this seems to limited to bittering, not quite as problematic for later additions IMO. Practically though, I don't get hung up over it, you'll get a feel for it after a few batches, part of tweaking to suit your own preferences. If someone else tries your recipe oz for oz and says its just too bitter, then yes perhaps they may have better utilisation. No biggie, tell them to learn to deal with it and they will probably be thankful for the experience later. :whistle:

As far as water just off the boil additions, with MaxiBIAB we don't do it that way, rather make sure the kettle is as full as possible at all times with excess sparge, only halting additions in the last 15 minutes or so to ensure any runnings are pasteurised. Don't know if there's any effect in your case with hot water additions, I wouldn't sweat over it though, chances are it will be fine. I'd be worried about an un- necessary heat expense though- perhaps wait until it cools then add cold water at pitching.

Cold water additions to the fermenter- indeed yes, they do need to be hygienic, but if you can't get clean water into a fermenter then you can't even make a kit beer, so its moot really. No, water additions aren't bad practice in my books, it is horses for courses and is done for a particular reason with MaxiBIAB, in other circumstances it may not be necessary. I don't think we're discussing a MaxiBIAB as far as I can tell, elements of it for sure, but I do need to know more about your particular setup and process though to comment in detail. /bump ;)
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Post by jonesy » 7 years ago

Hi Ralph I was pointed in this direction by PistolPatch last night as im looking at doing my first BIAB next week and was curious about pot sizes that i could heat up on my stove and this looks to be exactly what im looking for it's a great post.
I've already got an aluminium 20 litre pot at home so it looks like i'm ready to go once my fermenter is empty. One question though i was going to try as a first attempt a pretty basic recipe (minimal number of malts and hops) which I think ive found and it has an original gravity of 1.052 so in your calculation of the amount of diluted water to add at the end (Post- boil Specific Gravity / Target Specific Gravity * Post- Boil Concentration = Diluted Volume) am i right in saying that if my post boil is 1.060 and i have 19 litres in the pot i would need to add just under 3 litres 60/52*19-19 or am i way off the mark with that one.

Cheers

Jonesy


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Post by Ralph » 7 years ago

100% Jonesy, you pass the exam! :champ:

Now, even though your pot is 20L, you won't fill it AND have it boiling, so by going with 19L you've allowed some freeboard. Having said that, hot wort will also shrink when cooled, so it will probably end up around 18L if you've got it close to the brim + some freeboard at the end of the boil. Don't sweat over it though, you won't lose any sugars, they're 'fixed' mass- wise. I usually have 16-17L at the end of the boil in my 19L pot, 4kg of grain should yield at least 1.060 and more like about 1.070 if your efficiency is respectable. I seem to get better efficiency with ale malts for some reason, pils can be a bit cantankerous, I won't even begin to speculate why.
Also, don't add any sparge too late in the boil. I boiled an excess all- grain starter wort for over an hour a few weeks ago in a Schott bottle that was then sealed at FO and blow me down if it didn't develop an errant population of something about a week later, so the take- home message was to not add wort just before the end of the boil, the sooner the better. Even if you do lose some volume to evaporation, don't panic as the sugar won't be lost.

Hope it goes well, let us know if you hit any strife! :thumbs:
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Post by jonesy » 7 years ago

I've read that calc in a few other sites Ralph and only now has it dawned on me so maybe you passed :champ:

Im all good to go next week and i'll be posting an update whether it be good bad or
indifferent but im confident of good :P

Cheers

Jonesy


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Post by jonesy » 7 years ago

Hi Ralph and others

I gave this a go yesterday and all went smoothly the only issue/query I had was around the diluted water at the end (i knew that would get me) :)
I was aiming for 21 litres with a gravity of 1.052 and after cooling had about 17 litres in the pot with a gravity of 1.060 so according to my calc i should have added just over 2 and a half litres of water but when i poured my kettle into the fermenter i only got in about 15 litres as the rest was a lot of trub and taking forever to get through the sieve so in the end i whacked in 4 and half litres of water to get it up to around the 20 litre mark. I then checked the gravity and it was 1.050 so maybe my initial gravity check was out or i underestimated the amount that was in the kettle.
Im not worried too much unless you tell me i've totally stuffed it :sad: I'm just curious if whether i should have either spent longer pouring in the trub through the sieve and got a bit more liqour or just added 2 litres and be happy with 17 litres or do what i did and added the 4 litres. Its bubbling away nicely so it seems happy enough.

Cheers

Jonesy


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Post by Ralph » 7 years ago

Some good questions jonesy!
Firstly, Maxi-BIAB is pushing Stovetop brewing's limits, so for your first go at it that's pretty decent, within a few points of your target OG and not too far off volume- wise is just fine. I think that result is, as the Scots would say, "near as sh*t an' a goose!" (i.e. pretty darned close), I very much doubt you've stuffed it at all, so you're to be congratulated- just think about what the alternatives are! :thumbs:
Now, you can drain every drop through the sieve if you really want so long as it remains sanitary (i.e. no drips, condensation, flies etc.), there's no need to rush it, but we do run out of patience eventually. Sometimes it can take half an hour to get it all through and the sieve is full to the brim, all you need to do is remain patient.
This is a bit of a digression, but I feel that just a single plug of whole hops (~15g) is ideal for filtering break, that doesn't quite fill a 6" sieve or colander, allows a single pour but also traps most of the break and other hops debris as well. I've used all whole hops/ plugs and all pellet hops, it is possible in all combinations in between and still traps the break satisfactorily, but the single plug seems to be ideal if you can fit it in to your hops schedule.
With your volumes, DON'T rely on fermenter graduations- they're notoriously inaccurate, so calibrate your vessels beforehand if you're reliant on them for Maxi-BIAB, I suspect (and hope!) you've got a bit more wort in there than you think!* But, the most important factor is the OG, if you're close with that then there's little else to worry about. One of the real features of Maxi-BIAB is being able to adjust to a desired OG rather than rely on an often unpredictable evaporation off rate, that comes at the expense of varying the brewlength, but usually adjusting the grainbill in subsequent batches can fix that too.
Again, congratulations jonesy, what a great job! :drink:

* If you're using a straight- sided stockpot, do it all mathematically with a simple ruler! That's how I calculate volumes, my 31cm diameter stockpot contains 0.76 L/cm! ;)
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Post by jonesy » 7 years ago

Hi Ralph thanks for that i did rush it a bit at the end so the next time i'll take more time and i like the idea of hops for the filtering break one to think about for the future. It all looks like fine in the fermenter so im more than happy.

Thanks again for the tips and details on how to make this happen you've done a great job. :thumbs:


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Post by Ralph » 7 years ago

Thanks jonesy! :cool:

Good luck with it, hope the beer is a cracker and only first of many more to come! :drink:
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Post by Bec26 » 7 years ago

Hi everyone :thumbs:

Ok, read thru the maxi guide and want to give it a crack. a couple of questions though

I want to make Dr Smurto's Golden ale - here's the recipe from the AHB site (hope that's ok) :?:

2.4 kg Weyermann Pilsner
0.8 kg Weyermann Pale Wheat
0.8 kg Weyermann Munich I
0.25 kg Weyermann Caramunich I
20 g Amarillo (Pellets, 8.9 AA%, 60 mins)
15 g Amarillo (Pellets, 8.9 AA%, 10 mins)
15 g Amarillo (Pellets, 8.9 AA%, 5 mins)
15 g Amarillo (Pellets, 8.9 AA%, 0 mins)
11.5 g DCL Yeast US-05 - American Ale
0.5 tablet Whirfloc

This should work shouldn;t it??

To make sure I have it right, after boiling/hops cooldown etc, I just top up to 23l

Sounds good!

Sorry for the newb question!


Cheers
Bruce


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Post by Ralph » 7 years ago

Hey Bruce,
yep, that should float with ease! A shade over 4kg is the sweet spot in a 19L stockpot, should be just peachy in a 20L urn! ;)

Yes, you can just top it up to 23L, but if you measure the post- boil SG then work out the actual diluted volume it means a missed SG target (the bane of All- Grain brewers the world over) is a thing of the past, but it comes at the expense of variable volume.

Let us know if you hit any hurdles! :thumbs:
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Post by jonesy » 7 years ago

Hey Bruce

Im an expert at this as I've now done 4 brews :lol: and I agree with what Ralph has said earlier.

I've always aimed for 21 litres and in my 4 attempts I've ended up between 19 & 21 depending on the grain weight so just stick to the formula and all will be good. Saying all that my first attempt is still in the bottle but the process in the guide is spot on.

Good luck

Cheers

Jonesy


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Post by jonesy » 7 years ago

Hi Ralph

I tasted my first one last night (the one i thought i stuffed up) and even though its only been in the bottle a couple of weeks it was bloody good :yum: . Could have done with a few more hops for a bit more flavour but i guess the beauty is i'll do that next time.

Maybe i should taste a few more tonight though just to make sure that one last night wasnt a one off in the batch :lol:

Cheers

Jonesy


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Post by Ralph » 7 years ago

Well done jonesy!! :champ:
All- Grain is actually quite forgiving and you really have to bollocks things up to make something undrinkable or even worse than many of the commercial beers available in pubs and bottle shops. Now you're up and away, don't be afraid of tweaking that recipe to suit your very own tastes, do several of them is my advice (eg. I'm up to 40-odd batches of TTL and still tweaking it! :drink: ).
Oh yes, and I recommend brewers pay very close attention to quality assurance and acceptance testing, so I'd be sampling it with a little more rigor before finally giving it the all clear! ;)

BTW, this is obviously very pleasing for us to hear about too jonesy, so thanks for sharing. Hopefully other less- confident brewers can understand that MaxiBIAB isn't such an insurmountable challenge, or perhaps even some of the critics can note that it actually works quite well too. :thumbs:
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Post by hashie » 7 years ago

Well done jonesy, I definitely think you need to sample a few more tonight. Just to be sure :)
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Post by jonesy » 7 years ago

And I wasnt going to drink yesterday but as i said to the wife there's people out there relying on my feedback so i have to :drink:

And the feedback is all good. :yum:

Seasons greetings to all

Cheers

Jonesy

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Post by hashie » 7 years ago

Well done jonesy, have a great one.
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Post by Bec26 » 6 years ago

Still waiting on my grain bill, but a question.

A will be no chilling the wort. Is it ok to have a "not full" cube for no chillling (as long as I splash it al around to pastuerise?

Thanks in advance
Bruce


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Post by Ralph » 6 years ago

IMO, its quite alright to partially fill the cube, Bruce. I haven't NCed for a while but when I did seldom was it completely full, and last year one of my lagers treated like this placed 3rd at the state comp, so I've no issues with it. There's lots of guff about expelling every last bit of air, I've seen some folks go to extraordinary lengths to do that, however I don't think it is necessary at all.
Even though I'm cynical about HSA at the home scale, I wouldn't splash it around so much as just turn the cube on its side and rotate every few minutes to ensure all surfaces are pasteurised by the hot wort. Once sealed with the lid, the pressure does build up, it will probably pay to vent it if you've fitted a tap, be very careful that it doesn't pop out under pressure (that's what I use to vent). However, once cooled completely to room temperature the cube will then contract significantly, so it will pay to leave a fair headspace, don't try to squeeze all of the air out is my advice or the cube may rupture.
Last edited by Ralph on 05 Jan 2011, 07:21, edited 5 times in total.
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Post by mrrm1st » 6 years ago

I have a question when it comes to cooling down the boil to pitching temp. I should explain that I have not yet attempted a whole grain brew, so I may have the wrong end of the stick, but I understand that a cold break occurs during the cooling phase and it is desirable to cool the wort to pitching temp as rapidly as possible. Is there any benefit to using an immersion wort chiller over and above cooling the stock pot in cold water in the sink etc or is that not really too important?

As an aside, I have a small suggestion. I came to this site specifically to get a better understanding of maxi-BIAB. Having the maxi-BIAG guide in a sub-forum titled "Mini-BIAB" is a little confusing. I might just be dumb, but I recon having a separate sub-forum for each, or changing the title of this one to Mini and Maxi BIAB would be useful for site navigation.

Excellent and very helpful site though!

Rich

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