My biggest error so far has been going too small for boilers, right from the off. It forced me down the route of messing around trying to find ways to increase volume that little bit further, messing around with formulating a grain rinsing (calling it this, as a big part of it was a case of recirculating AFTER the actual sparge, to rinse out every bit of sugar I could) method, not to mention diluting in the FV. All creating more work for myself than doing a simple, true, BIAB. Thing is though, I enjoyed doing it. I've enjoyed the challenge of stretching things that bit further to get better results! Oddly, I always get better results when my wife helps me to dough in (she pours the grain, I stir it in... lol).
My last brew for example, the one my ACE died in the last 5 minutes of the boil on, BIABacus gave some lovely numbers. 80.5% EIB, 84.5 EAW and 82.5 EIF, with 20.5 litres into FV with an OG of 1.060. Took the first post ferment SG today too, and it's down to 1.012. It'll get another 7 days now to rest, then I'll check the SG again see if it's moved any. Purists though would slap my wrist, as to get that I "sparged" with 5 litres, and added another 3 litres a short way into the boil. I was way over target though (target OG was 1.052), so there's an argument that I could have easily hit target OG with a pure BIAB IF I had gone for a decent sized vessel.
I did try brewing a smaller volume by the way. It vanished in the blink of an eye, and left us wanting more!
One thing I have learned experimenting with automation though is, not to rely on it too much. The brew before last I was persuaded to not both stirring at all during the mash, relying on the recirculation instead. My EIB dropped a full 10% from what I usually get when I stir the mash every 30 minutes. What recirculation HAS given me though is much much clearer wort going into the boil! It's put an end to the suspended "flour" from the grain making it into the boil, with the bonus of less scorching. Or, to put it another way, it's a much easier way to vorlauf.
I welcome constructive criticism! Anything that helps me to brew better beer is more than welcome, as this is always my goal. Over the length of this thread you can see that process in action, it took me from producing beer with low efficiency, to massively improved efficiency! Too often if you mention efficiency under 70%, then that you BIAB, you get told that that's just BIAB... There's a myth out there that BIAB has lower efficiency. I used to reduce my numbers when posting elsewhere in case folks though I was making them up.
I increased the intensity of my boils too, from a normal rolling boil for 90 minutes, to one that tried to leave the boiler completely for 70 minutes. Result, haze free beer that tasted way better.
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