First BIAB Attempt with Pics - Oh no! My chiller leaked into the wort!

Post #1 made 3 weeks ago
After spending some time familiarizing myself with this wonderful forum and BIABacus, I decided to attempt NRB's All Amarillo APA.

Using blankets kept the mash temperature within 2 degrees of target. I only had to put the flame on once. My equipment includes a 15 gallon (58L) Brew Built kettle and a Dark Star 2.0 propane burner with manual flow controller.
Blankets.jpg

I used a long spoon to stir the grains.
Stir_the_Grains.jpg

It was only 15F (-9C) outside. A very cold November day. Had to stand on a chair to lift the bag.
Lift_Bag.jpg

I hung the bag on my bicycle stand to allow the wort to drip into my 22L extract brewing kettle. Got 7 cups (1.7L) of wort to return to the boil.
Hang_Bag.jpg

I purchased this thermometer the day before the brew and calibrated it at 212F (100C). I found this was easier than trying to calibrate at 32F (0C).
Thermom_Pot.jpg

Everything seemed to be going fine when I heard a trickling noise from inside the kettle. The chiller supply line sprung a leak at the connection between the tubing and the copper inlet! I think I had the flow too high. In addition, the chiller is built for a smaller kettle so the tubing was inside the pot. 2 gallons of fresh water flowing through 50 feet of garden hose entered the wort before I realized what was happening!
Chill.jpg

Initially, I decided to put the flame back on to boil off the extra 2 gallons. Then I decided that was a bad idea. Plus I was tired after being at this for 5 hours. So, I repaired the chiller, cooled the wort, and put it in the fermenter. The OG was only 1.040 while the target was 1.058. It will be a "light" APA if it turns out. I'm a bit worried because active fermentation hasn't begun yet, two days after pitching the yeast. I've never had an issue with 13 extract brews before this. Perhaps 13 was my lucky number. Wish me luck!

Lessons Learned
  • 11 gallons of water is really heavy! Purchase a food grade hose to get water to the kettle while it is on the burner.
  • Take the time to boil water in your new pot to understand the loss rates. This would have reduced my stress levels while wondering how all that water was going to boil off!
  • Blankets work very well to insulate the pot. Tuck them above the flames so you don't burn them like I did!
  • Immersion Chiller - Important to periodically agitate the wort or chilling rate slows considerably.
  • Check connections to the chiller and limit the flow rate to avoid over-pressurizing the lines.
  • Expect a lot of trub to come out of the ball valve, if you have one. Consider using an auto siphon if you want to avoid some of this.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Last edited by fowlfeatherbrew on 21 Nov 2019, 07:18, edited 7 times in total.
    • SVA Brewer With Over 5 Brews From United States of America

Re: First BIAB Attempt with Pics - Oh no! My chiller leaked into the wort!

Post #2 made 3 weeks ago
What a great post fowlfeatherbrew, thanks. :champ: Nice photos, too! The bike rack was ingenious.

Tough lessons learned, but you are destined to be making fewer mistakes.

Starting with your bullet list,
The checklist is conveniently located as a tab at the bottom of the BIABacus and can provide good reminders along the way during a brew day. I made up my own format for my paper note-taking and cross-checked to make sure everything gets covered. As for the commentary, I haven't read that in years - thanks for the reminder that it is there. Perhaps it can be updated? The apologetic intro in the link need not be quite so discouraging. It does give a general overlook for those who have never brewed.

Yes, 11 gallons is heavy. Water is quite dense on its own - 8.3 pounds per gallon and 7.4+ gallons in a cubic foot (yes, although it doesn't seem so). I draw water into a 6 gallon cube plus a couple of clean 1 gallon jugs. I can pour 3 gallons from the 6 into the kettle while it is on the floor, then put it on the burner stand and fill it with the the rest. (My burner is table height) You do not really need a food grade hose since all the water is going to be boiled, just inspect it for solids.

The BIABacus incorporates your kettle dimensions to figure the predicted evaporation rate. The brew day weather conditions and rolling boil do play a factor and will impact it, too. You can measure kettle headspace as distance from the rim down to the liquid to calculate volume changes, assuming a true cylinder.

Blankets work well, a duvet does the job for me, others use different materials. My insulation has singe marks - got to be careful every time.

Immersion chiller - you got that right, too :clap:

Hose to tube connections can be strengthened with clamps, wires or zip ties, but check them frequently.

Trub is inevitable. How you handle it is your choice. You may strive to leave most of it in the kettle (whirlpool) and face larger KFL; transfer all of it into the fermenter and later rack to a secondary (another choice); transfer hot wort to a cube. Filtering it means more equipment.

As for bubbling in the airlock starting late - it can happen. Be patient and if it doesn't get going, post again and we will come up with some ideas then.

Good stuff. :luck:

Re: First BIAB Attempt with Pics - Oh no! My chiller leaked into the wort!

Post #3 made 2 weeks ago
Update - After 4 days with no bubbling in my blow off rig, I pitched another pack of Safale 05. Today, after one week, I transferred to secondary. SG was 1.006. Never seen a FG that low. (Remember, from my initial post, that the OG was supposed to be 1.058 but was 1.040 due to getting diluted by the chiller leak.) I don't think I had anything to worry about with respect to fermentation. Next weekend, I will bottle it.
Last edited by fowlfeatherbrew on 25 Nov 2019, 03:56, edited 1 time in total.
    • SVA Brewer With Over 5 Brews From United States of America

Re: First BIAB Attempt with Pics - Oh no! My chiller leaked into the wort!

Post #4 made 2 weeks ago
The yeast makes the beer.
1.006 is indeed a low specific gravity, but not the lowest. Expect the beer to be dry (not sweet) and most likely “thin” as in not much body. The ABV will be 4-5%. Sort of a light beer. Not a failure. The hose water did not infect it apparently.
Next decision will be how much priming sugar to add. Enter the added water to the BIABacus and see what it suggests. You can taste it at this time. It might give you an idea about which priming sugar to add.
After bottling, give it two weeks or more before tasting.
Keep us informed. :salute:

Re: First BIAB Attempt with Pics - Oh no! My chiller leaked into the wort!

Post #5 made 2 weeks ago
Thanks for a great read @fowlfeatherbrew (FFB) and great replies @ShorePoints :thumbs:

Top decision-making on the day FFB :salute: .If you can drink your water out of the hose without it tasting strange, then there is little likelihood it is going to wreck your beer. The yeast will overpower the few nasties in that water. And, that recipe is very robust. In other words, you can do all sorts of things to it and will still get a yum beer. An OG of 1.040 is fine with that recipe so no problems there. A few quick notes follow...

- Don't be tempted to use the food-grade hose to ever transfer hot water or hot wort. Just use it for cold water. The only hose for hot stuff is silicone.

- Evaporation can vary wildly from brew to brew as Shoe Points mentioned. The BIABacus defaults aim to leave you at the end of the boil with a bit less volume than predicted but at higher gravity. In other words, on most brews (except for a damp, still day) you should always find yourself having to add some water to achieve your volume. Brewers often are lead to beleive that evaporation is exactly the same on every brew. It's not!

- Make sure you have at least two thermometers to check your mash temperature. Thermometers can vary wildly. See here. (Same applies to hydrometers.)

- Often you'll never get a perfect seal on a fermenter no matter what you do. I must say I have never, ever seen a brew that has failed to ferment. You can check after a few days if it is fermenting by looking for krausen lines on the side of the fermenter. If you have some good scales, you can even weigh the fermenter. 19 Litres of 1.050 wort will lose 200 grams when it is fermented to 1.040 or 760 grams when it drops to 1.010. (Hard to find scales that good though!)*

- The 2006 final gravity is fine. You will have gone lower as your Original Gravity was lower. Also, like any readings in brewing, it is hard to rely on a single reading of a single instrument.

- It's super important that you keep your ball-valve in pristine condition. Many brewers brew many great beers and then suddenly find the quality dropping either slowly or suddenly. This is often due to things like ball-valves. I've written lots on this but here are two quick posts - one and two.

* One way that is handy to give you peice of mind and to save you continually grabbing sample from the fermenter, is to take a sample after you have pitched and aerated the wort. Put this sample beside the fermenter with the hydrometer in it. Cover it with something clear so nasties can't fall into the hydrometer jar. (Make sure you have a decent hydrometer jar not one of those thin ones.) This acts as a mini fermenter where you can easily see the changes happening including krausen forming and the hydrometer sinking. Krausen will stick to the kydrometer as well so, before getting a final reading, give the hydrometer a clean. The pic below gives a bit of an idea of what I mean. I often just put plastic film over the top but a very tall upside down glass would allow you to see when the hydroometer stops sinking (reaches its final gravity.)

I think that's it from me. Congrats again FFB :thumbs: :salute: :peace:
PP
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Last edited by PistolPatch on 26 Nov 2019, 21:01, edited 1 time in total.
If you have found the above or anything else of value on BIABrewer.info, consider supporting us by getting some BIPs!
    • SVA Brewer With Over 100 Brews From Australia

Re: First BIAB Attempt with Pics - Oh no! My chiller leaked into the wort!

Post #6 made 2 weeks ago
I’ll think about using a large hydrometer jar as a parallel fermenter. That part of the beer doesn’t get dry hopped.

I shoot for maximum yield (it was my job as a chemist) and try to minimize the volume of potential product lost for hydrometer readings. My sample volume size is 42 ml. Does that make my hydrometer jar cylinder thin, or is it thick-walled and narrow? The hydrometer spins freely and gives consistent results on three readings. It works for me.

For those who doubt, here are photos. one shows the lower limit of SpG reading at empty where the top of the cylinder lines up with a reading of ~1.004; middle shows 42 ml of a Belgian dubbel with ABV of 7.9%; one shows the result and the hydrometer does not touch the bottom of the cylinder. With a lower Specific Gravity (higher ABV) I would have to use a bigger cylinder and 188 ml of beer (more than half a bottle!) to float the hydrometer.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Last edited by ShorePoints on 27 Nov 2019, 02:26, edited 3 times in total.

Re: First BIAB Attempt with Pics - Oh no! My chiller leaked into the wort!

Post #7 made 2 weeks ago
That's amazing @ShorePoints . I've never seen one that small.

Mine are all about 270mm long with the narrow part of the stem being 145mm long by about 8mm thick and the thick part being 125mm by 17mm.

My hydrometer jars are 290mm long and have an internal diameter of about 28mm. (Volume is about 180ml.) All my samples are about 125ml and, except for the "parallel" one, go back in the brew so it's okay but I must say I'm impressed with your one. Where on earth did you find it?

:peace:
PP
If you have found the above or anything else of value on BIABrewer.info, consider supporting us by getting some BIPs!
    • SVA Brewer With Over 100 Brews From Australia

Re: First BIAB Attempt with Pics - Oh no! My chiller leaked into the wort!

Post #8 made 2 weeks ago
No offense taken.

The hydrometer is 244 mm long overall, the narrow part is 143 mm long and 7 mm thick, the thick part is 101 mm long and 18 mm wide.
Remaining variables include the weight contributions of the glass, measuring paper inside and the lead shot at the bottom. The 50 ml graduated cylinder is between 19 and 20 mm wide at the narrowest part of the mouth.

The hydrometer came with my original kit that my son gave me for Christmas 7 years ago. It has no brand name on it or on the direction sheet in its plastic storage tube. I would not consider the storage tube a good hydrometer jar at all. The kit came with a plastic cylinder jar (the one that consumes 180+ ml) but it is no longer sufficiently transparent for me to read the hydrometer below the rim of the jar. Bigger beers require use of a different piece of glassware.

I’d say stick with the hydrometer’s limits and search for a jar that does the job with the smallest liquid volume. Bud vase?

Re: First BIAB Attempt with Pics - Oh no! My chiller leaked into the wort!

Post #9 made 1 week ago
Hello @PistolPatch and @ShorePoints , I have never done a parallel fermentation in the hydrometer cup. You must vigorously shake the container with wort and yeast to make sure it is all thoroughly mixed... :think: Guess my concern is - will the fermentation’s truly be identical with different vessels, and how can I be certain proper yeast amounts are in each? I’m certain the two of you will have also tested upon completion to ensure identical gravities or would not be recommending this technique. Yes? Interesting...
    • SVA Brewer With Over 50 Brews From United States of America
Post Reply

Return to “Brew Day Stories and/or Pics”

Brewers Online

Brewers browsing this forum: No members and 1 guest

cron