2nd BIAB attempt

Post #1 made 2 years ago
Below is the BIABacus output for what I'm thinking of doing next. I'll try and outline the background and thought processes.

I currently have 3 brews at different stages:

* A WilliamsWarn English Pale Ale extract kit that's fully matured (23L batch)
* An experimental 4L batch which was a full boil DME + Galaxy hops, in bottles but still green.
* A BIAB smash batch still in fermenter, again 4L size (pilsner malt + cluster)

All extract kits I've made always end up with an odd taste that I cannot quite put my finger on what it is. The WilliamsWarn kit is no exception, which is why I wanted to try something different.

I also wanted to brew smaller quantities to not end up with 23 L of undrinakble swill in the case I mess up totally. Hence the 4L batch sizes.

I have a 1 gallon (+ a bit) glass fermenter, which is actually an old soft-drink extract container from the 1970s that my dad rescued many years ago. It's in perfect condition, so I use that with a bung and airlock.

About a week ago I got a bag and did a BIAB brew. It's in the last stage of fermenting and I haven't tried it though the wort tasted OK.

I tried my DME + Galaxy experiment on the weekend. It has only been in the bottles for about 2 weeks and I think I detected a hint of priming sugar sweetness, but it was carbonated. It was _significantly_ better than all the kits I've done to date, and after matured will probably pass for a commercial beer!

But the one issue I have with it is that it all feel rather "thin" (for lack of a better word) to drink.

So after some research I decided I'd add some caramalt to my next attempt.

The aim of the recipe is to use a common ale yeast but target the vital statistics for the AABC Style 2.1 Australian Larger. The colour works out _slightly_ darker than the style, but I'm not too worried about that.

Also, for my currently fermenting BIAB recipe, I had the idea that chloramines might have been part of the reason for the weird flavour I was always getting. So I added 50mg of Potassium Metabisulphate to the 10L of water I prepared for the brewing session. I didn't do that for my DME experiment, and it turned out better than fine. So I think I'm going to skip that and see if there is any difference.

Finally, with my stovetop and equipment, it seems my evaporation rate is much lower than predicted by BIABacus. I've underestimated for the next brew by rounding down to the nearest 0.1L/hour from my last attempt (1.15L/h). I figure that if the evaporation rate turns out to be higher than predicted it's easier to add a little water in the last 10/15 mins than remove sugars.

(The misc ingredients don't print right for some reason. They are 1/4 of a whirflock tablet, and 1/4 tsp of yeast nutrient.)

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Recipe Overview

Source Recipe Link:
ABV: 4.1% (assumes any priming sugar used is diluted.)

Original Gravity (OG): 1.042
IBU's (Tinseth): 20
Bitterness to Gravity Ratio: 0.48
Colour: 9.7 EBC = 4.9 SRM

Kettle Efficiency (as in EIB and EAW): 84.2 %
Efficiency into Fermentor (EIF): 75.9 %

Note: This is a Pure BIAB (Full Volume Mash)

Times and Temperatures

Mash: 60 mins at 67 C = 152.6 F
Boil: 60 min
Ferment: 14 days at 19 C = 66.2 F

Volumes & Gravities
(Note that VAW below is the Volume at Flame-Out (VFO) less shrinkage.)
The, "Clear Brewing Terminology," thread at http://www.biabrewer.info/

Total Water Needed (TWN): 6.83 L = 1.8 G
Volume into Boil (VIB): 6.3 L = 1.66 G @ 1.035
Volume of Ambient Wort (VAW): 4.99 L = 1.32 G @ 1.042
Volume into Fermentor (VIF): 4.5 L = 1.19 G @ 1.042
Volume into Packaging (VIP): 4.17 L = 1.1 G @ 1.011 assuming apparent attenuation of 75 %

The Grain Bill (Also includes extracts, sugars and adjuncts)

Note: If extracts, sugars or adjuncts are not followed by an exclamation mark, go to www.biabrewer.info (needs link)

95% Ale Male (BB) (6.3 EBC = 3.2 SRM) 799 grams = 1.76 pounds
5% Caramalt Malt (BB) (40 EBC = 20.3 SRM) 42 grams = 0.09 pounds

The Hop Bill (Based on Tinseth Formula)

14.7 IBU Cluster Pellets (5.4%AA) 5 grams = 0.176 ounces at 60 mins
5.3 IBU Cluster Pellets (5.4%AA) 5 grams = 0.176 ounces at 10 mins

Mash Steps

Mash Type: Pure BIAB (Full-Volume Mash): Saccharifiaction for 60 mins at 67 C = 152.6 F

Strike Water Needed (SWN): 6.96 L = 1.84 G 67.5 C = 153.6 F

Miscellaneous Ingredients


Chilling & Hop Management Methods

Hopsock Used: Y (Pulled 0 mins after boil end.)

Fermentation & Conditioning

Fermentation: US-05 for 14 days at 19 C = 66.2 F

Condition for 14 days.

Special Instructions/Notes on this Beer

Re: 2nd BIAB attempt

Post #2 made 2 years ago
Howdy Aplund,

Great to hear that all signs point to a big improvement! Good job!!! :thumbs:

You had some questions...sorry it's been a day already, and nobody has responded yet. Been pretty crazy here in the USA with the hurricane and whatnot. It's late and this won't be my best "work", but I'll take a stab at a couple things and see if anything helps... :|

Evaporation Rate:
We normally recommend boiling for 90 minutes instead of 60 minutes, and that would have a lot more evaporation. I wonder if that is a reason you didn't have enough evaporation? Did you have a vigorous boil...? If you have difficulty getting it to boil, that is another possible culprit.

Too "Thin" Tasting Wort:
What was your mash temperature? If you were down in the lower 142 deg F range / 61 deg C, you would get more beta amalyse action and this would taste more "thin". 140-150 deg F (60-65 deg C) favors Beta Amalyse. Alpha amalyse takes place much more in the 150-160 deg F range...65 to 71 deg Celcius, and this produces less fermentable wort, but fuller bodied. Not saying this is the culprit, but it is a possibility.

Besides that, adding some Carapils could be a decent idea. Supposed to help get some more foam too, and this is a major reason people use it. Some also use some wheat for that too. Depending on what you are trying to do, if looking for a little bit sweeter wort, could add a small amount of Munich or Vienna malt. But each would make the color darker...Vienna less so than Munich.

Yeast Questions:
Yeast can also make an impact. Did you use US-05 for the last one...? It's a good yeast, but if you wanted your beer to not ferment as fully (and be a little bit sweeter), could experiment with one of the British yeasts that are not as clean and perhaps don't attenuate quite as much...and this can make a lighter in alcohol, but very enjoyable beer. BUT - Definitely if trying to get a crisp, clean "lager" style you do not want to use British yeast. US-05 is much better, and better yet would be a German ale style yeast - like a Kolsch yeast.

And some of the lager yeasts can be used at warmer temperatures too, according to research done recently by the Brulosophy blog. Lager yeast and the German ale yeasts (Kolsch) would be closer to a lager flavor - if trying to get that taste. How is your temperature control for fermentation? Keeping Consistent temp control is a good goal; less potential for getting weird things going on with your beer. Consistent temperature - even if a little off - is more important than nailing recommended fermentation temperature. That said, I still consider "best practice" to ferment lagers at recommended cool temperatures - but have never brewed lagers warm... This is some advice if you want to try brewing one and don't have a temp controlled fermentation chamber. I would try it if I didn't have equipment I have, and put my fermenter in a trash can with water to moderate the temperatures (keep "consistent" temperatures)...

Brulosophy link - one of their lager yeast experiments:
http://brulosophy.com/2017/07/10/fermen ... ian-lager/

I don't know much about your water and how to adjust without some research. For that, could talk to a local homebrew shop, if someone is knowledgeable. Or perhaps you have some quality home brewers there in Brisbane that could help. Unless you live in an area with different water than the rest of the city, the above advice should be good. We have chlorinated water where I live as well, but the water is very soft /good water. I don't normally do anything with my water to adjust - but you may have a totally different situation in Brisbane, Australia...

Hope this helps. Good thing is that whole grain brewing is very flexible and forgiving, and easy to brew good beer. Feel free to ask follow up questions, and one of us will be along to help. And for sure, let us know how it works out!
Last edited by Scott on 12 Sep 2017, 13:59, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: 2nd BIAB attempt

Post #3 made 2 years ago
Thanks for the reply Scott.
Scott wrote:
2 years ago
Did you have a vigorous boil...?
Kind of. I think my stove-top must have some kind of protection in it to stop it going at maximum power all the time. The water boils, but I wouldn't call it vigorous. I've got a propane cylinder that I use for a gas Weber BBQ and I'm wondering if I can locate a not so expensive gas burner that I could use for boiling instead of my stove-top. But for the meantime, the stove-top is OK and I can adjust the evaporation rate in the BIABacus using the values I've observed.
Scott wrote:
2 years ago
What was your mash temperature?
Well, I haven't yet bottled my first BIAB attempt and hence haven't really tried it under field conditions. During the mash, I had some troubles with temperature control. Everything was fine for 66 Celsius to start with but the heat adjustment wasn't set right and it got around 70-71 Celsius at around 10 mins in before I took it off the heat to return to 66-67C. I'm bottling it this weekend and after a couple of weeks I'll know what the results are.

My "other" beer that is already in bottles was a full boil DME only experiment. I'm not totally sure what to say about it as I've just tried one bottle and it was not very conditioned. It seemed to be still a bit thin, but maybe the DME was designed for a different OG than what I started it with (~1040). Though, I now appreciate the role of steeping speciality grains in extract brews.
Scott wrote:
2 years ago
Did you use US-05 for the last one...?
Outside of the kit yeasts I've used in kit&kilo brews, US-05 is all that I've ever used. The yeast variable isn't one I've played with yet.

Temperature control isn't something I really have at the moment. All fermentation happens in an under-stair cupboard. It's right in the middle of the house and has a concrete slab for the floor. It is by far and away the most stable temperature in our house and also has heaps of isolation from all light sources. So I think it's great. The stick on thermometer I have pretty much always reads between 19-21C during fermentation irrespective of what the weather is like. Though in the upcoming summer, I'm expecting it to creep up over that. My plan is to try for evaporative cooling if the temperature is consistently above 21C.

Thanks for the link. I'll have a read of it.
Scott wrote:
2 years ago
I don't know much about your water and how to adjust without some research. For that, could talk to a local homebrew shop, if someone is knowledgeable.
The best I could get for our water analysis is this report (looking under SEQ (Brisbane & Ipswich)), but it seems lacking information in some areas. It does list free chlorine around 2 mg/L and total chlorine around 3 mg/L. These are added to the supply so I'm presuming their variation is minimal. My wife and I both think our tap water smells and tastes like a swimming pool, so we always use a Brita filter jug. But the effectiveness of the filter changes with usage and it's hard to know what you will end up with.

I've also just discovered there is a small local brew shop only about 20 mins drive from me. It seems they don't have a website which is why I didn't know they existed. I'll go check it out and get my ingredients for my next brew.

Finally, one thing I don't have is a way to test pH of the wort. Is this an important variable in all grain brewing? It it worth buying any equipment to test it?

Re: 2nd BIAB attempt

Post #4 made 2 years ago
Sounds like the place you put your fermenter is quite good. The garbage can with water in it and fermenter inside that to moderate temp - if workable (and it may not be) would be better yet (consistent temp). But maybe you are so close and just 1-2 degree variation, may be fine...

On mash - I heat to temp and then turn off heat and wrap in blankets and sleeping bag. Normally have to check temp, partially pull bag and heat in the middle of mash as will have lost a couple or three degrees Fagerenheit. Then lower bag back in, stir wort and recover for second half of mash. I'm brewing with 16 gallon pot out on my back porch and the BIAB bag is suspended when I'm heating the wort just off the bottom of the pot. Have a pulley / tie down with lock arrangement to assist with that.

Yeah, if I thought my water was that high in chlorine I might try to adjust or somehow get rid of it as well. Definitely talk to the local brewing shop.

I've never checked my mash PH to check Fermemtability of wort. Never have had a problem... Should be easy enough to do, if you have some of those strips that change colors. I suppose it wouldn't hurt... :think: Overall I'm not too concerned with it unless you have some strange things going on with your brewing water.
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Re: 2nd BIAB attempt

Post #5 made 2 years ago
Well, I did this brew on the weekend.

Both my first attempt and this brew seem to have significant volumes of kettle trub. I after seeing this in the first brew and I made some attempt to reduce it using whirlpools and holding back more wort in the kettle. But seems to have not made a difference. In both cases I have about 10% at the bottom of the fermentor being trub. Is this a common theme for BIAB where you don't lauter through a grain bed?

I'm still messing up the gravities a bit too. I got the evaporation rate almost exactly on; I put in an evaporation rate of 1.15L/hr and measured 1.17L/hr. The gravity before boil was measured at 1.032 and the estimate was 1.034 which I think is pretty good. But I measured the gravity of the wort at ambient after boil at 1.038 when the estimate was 1.042. Mind you, the gravity measurements are a bit of a pain as I'm using a hydrometer and need to cool the wort sample for the measurement. I can understand the utility in a refractometer.

Because of my efforts to remove trub, I've only ended up with 3.5L in the fermentor. This is going to be a nano-scopic brew.

Re: 2nd BIAB attempt

Post #6 made 2 years ago
Quick answer on the TRUB question...

Are you able to Cold Crash? I have a separate freezer on temperature controller where I can take it down to 32 deg F / 0 deg C for a couple days. It drops the trub and yeast particulates straight to the bottom...so it doesn't matter how much trub was in my beer, little winds up in the keg / bottle. With smaller quantity you may be able to put it in the refrigerator...??? And with this process I don't worry about some trub getting into the fermenter as the cold crash gets most of it and drops it to the bottom of the fermenter.

On the low efficiency, something doesn't sound right. Or mistakes are being made, grain not properly ground, wrong mash temperatures, etc. I do not double grind. With doing 90 minute mash it's not needed for me. Anyway, will let others step in and help as well as I am jammed right now for time...

***EDIT*** Added later with a bit more time. I have never adjusted my evaporation rate in BIABacus. Always take the default. Fairly close for me, +\-. Seems like your #s were not off by much. Small batch size may make measurements more difficult to be accurate (?), and differences get amplified.

And to reiterate on the trub question, if you can "cold crash" the beer at end of fermentation before racking to bottles - don't worry about the trub in the fermenter, pretty easy to keep out when trub is all at the bottom. Putting in your refrigerator should work.
Last edited by Scott on 19 Sep 2017, 22:02, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2nd BIAB attempt

Post #7 made 2 years ago
Scott wrote:
2 years ago
Are you able to Cold Crash? I have a separate freezer on temperature controller where I can take it down to 32 deg F / 0 deg C for a couple days.
Hmm... this is something I haven't given a moment's consideration to at all. I don't have a separate freezer, but being that my batches are in 1 gallon lots at the moment, I could just stick the whole thing in the fridge (here's a terrible pic of the fermenter).

Though, by the end of the fermentation, most of the trub is at the bottom, but there just seems quite a bit of it. I guess my point of comparison is with extract brewing where the trub is almost entirely lees.

I guess what surprises me about the gravity measurements is how the pre-boil gravity was of by 0.002 but the post-boil was off by 0.004 (actually probably a little more) even when the predicted evaporation rate was exactly right. Perhaps it has to do with the cooling. I'm able to cool the boiled wort fairly quickly (~ 30-40mins). But theorising that it is the cooling rate is just a guess.

The default evaporation rate in BIABacus is over double what I've observed, which is why I adjust it. I was looking around for something that might work for boiling with my gas cylinder, but it seems I'd need to part with ~$100 or more to get something large enough. Our electric hob just doesn't able to pump out enough heat to get a vigorous boil.

Re: 2nd BIAB attempt

Post #8 made 2 years ago
Okay, if you are not getting a vigorous boil, that will have a huge impact on your evaporation. May be worth investing in larger equipment... With larger equipment you can make more beer! :thumbs:

It does not surprise me that off by a little after mash, off by double after boil. Sometimes things can work like that...

If trub drops to the bottom - no big deal. And the cold crash - guaranteed - will help lots more with clarity. Give it a try... :drink: Then your trub / clarity concerns totally go away, and you wind up with more beer for your efforts. ;)
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Re: 2nd BIAB attempt

Post #9 made 2 years ago
So I bottled this last night. So far the result has been excellent! Apart from the colour I've almost recreated the local brew here. When I bottled it, all I could think of was being at the football!

Anyway, the FG ended up 2 points below the initial estimate (FG 1.009). Which, given all the strangeness of the OG, is either odd or reassuring.

It only made 6 x 500mL bottles, so the overall efficiency was very poor. But a learning experience.

I'm thinking of getting this for boiling in the future:

https://www.bunnings.com.au/gasmate-3-r ... r_p3180208

The beauty is that it's portable and could be used for other things as well.

I'm also thinking of how to increase volume of the brew. I have a 30L PET fermenter, but the kettle I'm using hold 19L max, so for BIAB the max I could really get into a fermenter would be ~10L ish. Seems kettles are quite expensive too. I'll have to have a think about what to do.
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