First BIAB Brew - Coffee Porter - Plan and a couple of questions

Post #1 made 1 month ago
Hi Everyone,

I'm planning to brew my first BIAB batch shortly, and am just planning the process. I'd appreciate if someone could have a look and any suggestions are welcome. (I've done a couple of kits before, process went okay but flavour wasn't great.)

My recipe and grains are based on an AG kit from the malt miller - https://www.themaltmiller.co.uk/product ... ellbinder/

This comes with a fixed amount of grain (5690g) and the base malt & other grains are as supplied at 2 bags, so the total amount can't really be changed.
In terms of kit, I've got a 30L Burco Tea Urn, a fermenter, a cube, hydrometer. I don't have a wort chiller.

My planned process:
1. Heat Strike Water as per BIABacus (68.2deg)
2. Add Bag to Urn
3. Add Grains
4. 90min at ~67deg, insulation around kettle, check temp around 45min
5. Pull bag and wash grain in another bucket with 5L (67deg)
6. Add 5L to Kettle
7. Start Boil - 90min. Add hops at 60min (in voile bag), add Irish Moss at 15min (not in bag).
8. Put Towel over top then Lid on and cool overnight. (ambient temp here ~18/19deg)
9. Transfer to FV, Add 3L boiled & cooled water
10. Add yeast if wort is between 18-22deg.

Questions
A. On step 8 above, I'm not planning to transfer to the 20L cube I have, as I don't have a way to transfer without splashing yet (a better tap will be fitted later). The yeast will be pitched next morning - is this okay?
B The section W changes are to attempt to get the batch size up, suggestions welcome here.

I've attached the BIABacus, comments welcome!
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Re: First BIAB Brew - Coffee Porter - Plan and a couple of questions

Post #2 made 1 month ago
Hello @porterman,

Welcome to the forum, by the way! Good job filling out the BIABacus tool. It's super helpful. First time I did it was pretty confusing, and the page that shows Clear Brewing Terminology was a great help.

I am an experienced BIABer, but am not experienced with adding coffee (never done that yet). Also I rarely do sparge, and only add water to fermentor if I boiled off too much and need to add water to lower my OG to closer hit my target brew. So that said, I reviewed your BIABacus and let me give you a few comments.

Fermentable Grains:
Recommended to add each grain on a different line, including its weight and its color (EBC). You should be able to get this from the grain malt producer's website. This would also give you the estimated color of the final beer. And listing everything like that means it will be easier for you (later) to go down to the local homebrew shop and get ingredients to copy the beer you made. Makes it easy to tweak beer recipe in the future, should you want to.

"What You Will Use" in Fermentables & Hops:
Quick note that to hit the target with what you have for ingredients and your planned water additions, the BIABacus is saying you are just a smidge short on grain (no big deal), and that to hit their IBU level that you need to add more hops. If you don't have additional hops, don't want to get any from local homebrew shop, and don't care that you hit their IBU level exactly, you could use the hops they included in the kit and call it good... Heck, you could change the Desired IBU field to 19 IBUs or just over and be almost dead on with what they have here. Then it would closer match what you will receive for bitterness.

Also, the AA content in the Magnum they ship you may not match exactly with that in the recipe, could be a tad higher or a tad lower, and naturally everything else not changing this would affect the bitterness of the beer to some degree. Should be within a range, and for this style of beer its probably not too critical.

When brewing I always fill out that other area, Sections L, M, N, O, P, Q, & R - and use this data as "check points" that can tell me if I am going off course so I can correct course mid-route, or for later if something is off I can easier see what it was.

Anyhow, it looks pretty good to me. Let us know how it works out! :luck:
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Re: First BIAB Brew - Coffee Porter - Plan and a couple of questions

Post #3 made 1 month ago
Thanks very much! I've updated the spreadsheet with your suggestions.I'm looking forward to brewing it!

The hops they currently sell are at 14.5%, the packet's not marked. I could add some cascade I have, but I think i'll just go with the magnum 15g, there's enough to keep track of already. I'll update the sheet as I go, will be useful!
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Last edited by porterman on 18 Jun 2021, 06:09, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: First BIAB Brew - Coffee Porter - Plan and a couple of questions

Post #4 made 1 month ago
Good improvement.

One final suggestion to make it look even better. I would recommend abbreviating the ingredients a bit so that you can read them easier - on screen and print out. That's what I do anyhow. Sometimes I print pages 1-3 to bring with to local home brew shop and if text size is too small I would not be able to read. Also with reviewing Excel fields with larger names requires me to click into cell to read. So - abbreviate the names so you can read the malt types and you're there. ;) Well, besides brewing the beer. :thumbs:
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Re: First BIAB Brew - Coffee Porter - Plan and a couple of questions

Post #5 made 1 month ago
It's in the FV! Yeast was pitched at 23deg earlier today.

The mashing and boiling went well, gravity values close to BIABacus predictions - I got 1.070 vs 1.072 predicted, and then diluted with a bit less (2.6L vs 3.0L) to hit the target 1.061 before yeast addition. (wasn't sure how to handle this in BIABacus)
Mashing temp dropped to around 64deg after mixing in grain, so would probably do target + 3deg rather than suggested value.

I found a few things I can improve with my equipment, and I'd probably accept a smaller batch size next time. I got a good rolling boil, but at the start i was a bit concerned about splashing etc so had to turn the heat on and off to keep it calmish. After 15min it was fine on full power.

I had a few issues with cooling, the wort was still warm ~30-35deg after an overnight cool in the kettle, and then with the boiled water as a topup I was trying to cool the fermenter in a water bath longer than I wanted to before pitching the yeast, hopefully it gets going quickly.

24h later edit - Fermentation is off like a rocket, loads of activity and good Krausen. :thumbs:
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Last edited by porterman on 21 Jun 2021, 17:31, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: First BIAB Brew - Coffee Porter - Plan and a couple of questions

Post #6 made 1 month ago
Hello @porterman,

This is one that kind of pushes me out of my comfort zone (witholding water and adding it later, etc.). I know that making changes to the inputs on the BIABacus, the file is supposed to adjust. Playing with these just now, things were not coming out as I thought they would and it would take some playing with the file and reviewing old posts to figure out details. The guy that knew the file best was Pistol Patch / Pat Hollingdale - who is the main author, but Pat unfortunately passed away last year. There are others like @ShorePoints and @jhough that may have more knowledge on doing this than I do... Seems like jhough used to have a smaller size brew kettle and had to adjust so likely had to work through these same things himself, and ShorePoints is a retired scientist / lab guy that seems to have an excellent grasp of anything technical. No doubt there are others not coming to mind just now. Let me know if you would like me to reach out to some others and see if they have more / better advice to you on this.

Not saying this works for you - but I oversize things a bit. Initially brewed for 5 or 5 1/2 gallons VIP, but now since I have a larger 16 gallon brew kettle - mazimize my batches. Normally get in the range of 8 to gallons VIP (depending on the OG of the beer being made). And that which will not fit into my 5 gallon Corny keg is either bottled or is put into cleaned & sanitized 1 gallon containers and put into the extra beer fridge so that when my keg beer gets low I can be added into the keg. But you may not be quite to that point of wanting to add capacity. It can always be upsized if your consumption patterns are more than you expect. ;)

For sure if you are coming up low on gravity, you want to do whatever you can to not add quite as much water (etc.) so gravity ends up where you want it. Only a couple of points is pretty minor.

A brew where you don't have to make the additions that you are doing would be better in my opinion. Simpler. Even if you are limited to a 60-minute boil.

Glad to hear things are off to a good start with your fermentation! Let us know how it works out and if there are additional questions.
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Re: First BIAB Brew - Coffee Porter - Plan and a couple of questions

Post #7 made 1 month ago
Thanks! I agree with your comments. I'm planning to reduce batch size next time, so i think i'll try to avoid overcomplicating the process.

Of course, if I don't use section W, I might end up with higher or lower SG after the boil. Higher SG is easy, just dilute with some water to hit the target, but lower SG is more tricky. I'm not keen on adding DME or similar. I could just accept lower strength in that case. Perhaps the advantage of additional water in the fermenter is that it allows some margin for error.

I was sorry to read about Pistol Patch, he clearly was well respected, for good reason based on what I've seen.
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Re: First BIAB Brew - Coffee Porter - Plan and a couple of questions

Post #8 made 1 month ago
Yes if you read PP’s posts you can tell how sharp his mind was! He certainly is missed…!

The BIABacus is designed to minimize times you wind up low on gravity. Not sure by how many points off, but that is part of its design. Follow it and don’t think you will have to worry about coming up short. Rare that I come up short, and if so - barely. Normally the other way where my gravity is high, and that’s an easy fix.
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Re: First BIAB Brew - Coffee Porter - Plan and a couple of questions

Post #9 made 1 month ago
HI, A short update, everything has been going well. I added the coffee last week as 3x shots of double espresso (~100g of beans), taste prior to addition was very good, SG=1.016 .

The coffee made the taste quite bitter, still drinkable, so I added 100g of lactose sugar together with the priming sugar earlier today and bottled as 34 x 500mL bottles.

Now i'm trying to decide what to brew next!
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Re: First BIAB Brew - Coffee Porter - Plan and a couple of questions

Post #10 made 1 month ago
Sounds good @porterman ,

My only question is when to add the lactose sugar. I've had beer with that before (Hazy IPAs and I think some Milk Stouts, etc.), but have never brewed with it... My only question if adding this at same time as priming sugar at bottling - will that increase the CO2 and cause bottle bombs...?

Anyhow, sounds like most things are looking good. For sure let us know the final result. :thumbs:

*****

Addition: I did some research, quick look and found the following link that does have some info on when to add this.
https://byo.com/article/milk-stout-it-does-a-body-good/
Last edited by Scott on 02 Jul 2021, 11:02, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: First BIAB Brew - Coffee Porter - Plan and a couple of questions

Post #11 made 4 weeks ago
Thanks, I did a bit of research prior to adding it and everything I read stated the yeast can't convert the lactose (hence it retains the sweetness), so should be okay to add with priming sugar (boiled in a small amount of water).

In that link you posted, there's a comment : "As mentioned, the lactose — though a sugar — is unfermentable by brewer’s yeast, but can be consumed by certain strains of bacteria. Good hygiene and cleanliness of fermenters and equipment is essential to prevent contamination. "
That has me a bit concerned, but as I added post-fermentation the alcohol might help out vs bacteria.

There's a reference on the wikipedia page that I think also suggests it's okay.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lactose
"Lactose is not fermented by most yeast during brewing, which may be used to advantage.[9] For example, lactose may be used to sweeten stout beer; the resulting beer is usually called a milk stout or a cream stout. "

Of course if I end up spending all day cleaning the house next week I'll post back with a warning!
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Re: First BIAB Brew - Coffee Porter - Plan and a couple of questions

Post #15 made 2 weeks ago
HI Both,

Thanks very much for the replies, I've just started drinking the beer and I really like it. It's not going to last too long I suspect, I'm also going to give a few bottles as gifts.
Currently the beer's carbonated, but not too fizzy (it's lower carbonation than a typical pale ale), no issues with the lactose, not sweet.

I'm planning the next brew now. I'm currently undecided on target volume, I'd like to aim for 20L into packaging, but this might be unrealistic with a 30L kettle.

Regards,

Porterman
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Re: First BIAB Brew - Coffee Porter - Plan and a couple of questions

Post #16 made 1 week ago
Porterman, it can be done. just a little tricky.Are you designing your own recipe or copying? What I did was to design a 20L recipe, then work backwards with using water additions. I had 2 20L pots and would kind of do a sparge , add back to boil . Using enough grains for a 20L batch. Takes some traial and error , but it did work for me until I was able to buy a 57L brew pot. I was making pretty good beer that way for 3 years. Glad the porter turned out!
J
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Re: First BIAB Brew - Coffee Porter - Plan and a couple of questions

Post #17 made 2 days ago
porterman wrote:
1 month ago
HI, A short update, everything has been going well. I added the coffee last week as 3x shots of double espresso (~100g of beans), taste prior to addition was very good, SG=1.016 .

The coffee made the taste quite bitter, still drinkable, so I added 100g of lactose sugar together with the priming sugar earlier today and bottled as 34 x 500mL bottles.

Now i'm trying to decide what to brew next!
followed your recipe but mine doesn't taste as good as you describe
oh, i wish it would be as easy as making espresso...
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Re: First BIAB Brew - Coffee Porter - Plan and a couple of questions

Post #19 made 2 days ago
@aliced - why not? What did you brew, process, etc.? You list no details…

Follow the proper process and good brewing success becomes easy.

*****
EDIT: Alice - If having problems or have questions I might suggest start a new post and as clear as possible list what’s going on. If completed a BIABacus file please attach it. You can tag me in on it and I’ll take a look and try to hep.
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