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Pogierob

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Hi there people, first time on the forum so sorry if this has been covered before,

I have just stepped up to BIAB brewing and grabbed an APA recipe from the boys at Grape and Grain. the first time I brewed up I ended up with too much wort at the end of the boil.

This time I reduced the starting water quantity by 3 litres to a starting quantity of 30lt, steeped grains for 70 minutes (allowing 10 minutes for temperature adjustment).. gravity reading was 1.040 at the end where recipe indicates that it should be 1.051.

I know you will probably ask for a truck load of other readings which I either haven't done or don't understand, but please do so, so I can learn.

ANYWAY...

I reduced the wort (boiled it down) until I reached a gravity of 1.045 and then started my "boil with hop additions".

I have ended up with a OG of 1.050 and a fermentable wort of approx 17 litres (lost around a litre in cooling and two litres to grain matter(trub?)


I guess my questions are this...

what improves effiencency in biab and IS boiling down a wort allowed or frowned upon to achieve desired gravity readings.



I don't mind lower yield as I am kegging however i see no reason to waste perfectly good grains if they are capable of supplying my with more.


any help would be great (go easy on the technical terms please)


cheers,

Rob.
 

Nick JD

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Your terminology of "steeping" needs to be expanded upon.

You're "mashing" and that requires accurate temperature measure and control. This will have vast effects on your OG and the final beer you produce.

Boiling down is okay - but it's a band aid for an efficiency issues.

How are you draining the bag? Sparging? Mash temp? Duration?

EDIT: get to a G&G demo. It'll all become clear.
 

Cocko

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I have posted this before so excuse if it is not exactly answering you but good to know if BIAB'ing IMO:

BIAB calcs sorta of work in reverse, so you go up with volumes instead of down.

So,

You want 22L at the end into a cube or what ever. it goes:

22L + 15% boil off - 15% is an over estimate but will get you started.

So, 22L+ 15% = 25.3L

Then you have grain absorption, at about 1L per Kg.

So if your grain bill is 5kg, its 25.3L + 5L grain loss = 30.3L

THEN there is the kettle loss, being BIAB, one vessel - AKA Trub, pick up tube position, not squeezed from bag etc loss...

I would start with 2L, if you have not tested it..

SO, start volume would be around 32-33L for a BIAB brew, with 5kg of grain.

Probably what you know already but thought I would post it.

CHeers
 

yum beer

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Biggest improvement I found was to rinse the bag in boiling water(1 kettle full) after sparge and squeeze the bejesus out of the bag,
kitchen gloves are handy, thicker heat resistant ones would be better but Im a tightarse.
Added about 6 points to final gravity and about 2 litres extra wort.
Put Cocko's figures into brewmate and fiddle with them as you get to know your setup.
 

Golani51

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At what temp did you take the hydro reading? Do not forget that the temp will affect the reading too. I do not remember which way it goes (I don't bother with it) but maybe you had the right hydro reading, albeit at the wrong temp for that reading. Someone posted a link here to software that gives you the readings for hydro measurements at different temps.
 

Midnight Brew

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Cocko is spot on that you start with your desired volume and scale things in reverse from there. As suggested your low OG could be down to mashing temps, so let us know what you mashed at.

An alternative to sparging with boiling hot water out of the kettle I found it just as easy to raise the mash temp to 76-78C raise the bag then squeeze. That way I didnt have to account for another litre or two of water and you've hit a mash out temp that will make it easier to squeeze the bag. BIAB was originally designed as a no sparge system.

Another thing to consider is how fine the grain is milled, although if your getting your grain from G&G and they know you BIAB I'm sure theyve already done it to suit a BIAB system.

To answer your original question as to improving efficiency there is a great article on water chemistry by Tony Wheeler, which would be completley relevent as its based on a Melbourne water profile. I found my mash efficeincy improved significantly from just a simple addition of calcium chlroide. The article provides a way you can easily dispence from a mixture out of a 600ml bottle. There is also another great read by manticle aswell.

I suggest read both several times to get your head around it. It helps alot.

The Tony Wheeler article is here:
http://www.melbournebrewers.org/index.php?...&Itemid=103

There is also an article written here by manticle.
http://www.aussiehomebrewer.com/forum//ind...showarticle=124
 

Pogierob

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Your terminology of "steeping" needs to be expanded upon.

You're "mashing" and that requires accurate temperature measure and control. This will have vast effects on your OG and the final beer you produce.

Boiling down is okay - but it's a band aid for an efficiency issues.

How are you draining the bag? Sparging? Mash temp? Duration?

EDIT: get to a G&G demo. It'll all become clear.

Cheers, I mashed 4.53kg of grain in 30lt at 65-66 degrees for 70 minutes in a 40lt urn

for draining, I simply had a colander upside down in my old 20lt brew pot and let it drain for 5 minutes, so by the sound of it, I need to sparge. I have read a little on this but was more concerned this time of lowering the OG with more liquid.


I have just recently obtained a refractometer and was taking my measurements with that, by taking a sample of wort in the eyedropper and then running cold water over it to cool the wort inside before taking readings so I fairly confident my readings were taken at room temperature.


Thanks for you help and yes I plan to get to G&G for a demo, the guys said there may or may not be one in the next couple of weeks, however with all my new brewing equipment who can wait that long to put a brew on.

I plan to continue to do the same APA recipe until I get my process levelled out so that in theory I have a constant to fall back on for fault finding.
 

Pogierob

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At what temp did you take the hydro reading? Do not forget that the temp will affect the reading too. I do not remember which way it goes (I don't bother with it) but maybe you had the right hydro reading, albeit at the wrong temp for that reading. Someone posted a link here to software that gives you the readings for hydro measurements at different temps.

I dropped enough christmas pressie hints that I got a refractometer from Santa, so I was using that and cooling the sample in the eyedropper down by running water over the outside until it cooled the sample down to room temp
 

Pogierob

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Cocko is spot on that you start with your desired volume and scale things in reverse from there. As suggested your low OG could be down to mashing temps, so let us know what you mashed at.

An alternative to sparging with boiling hot water out of the kettle I found it just as easy to raise the mash temp to 76-78C raise the bag then squeeze. That way I didnt have to account for another litre or two of water and you've hit a mash out temp that will make it easier to squeeze the bag. BIAB was originally designed as a no sparge system.

Another thing to consider is how fine the grain is milled, although if your getting your grain from G&G and they know you BIAB I'm sure theyve already done it to suit a BIAB system.

To answer your original question as to improving efficiency there is a great article on water chemistry by Tony Wheeler, which would be completley relevent as its based on a Melbourne water profile. I found my mash efficeincy improved significantly from just a simple addition of calcium chlroide. The article provides a way you can easily dispence from a mixture out of a 600ml bottle. There is also another great read by manticle aswell.

I suggest read both several times to get your head around it. It helps alot.

The Tony Wheeler article is here:
http://www.melbournebrewers.org/index.php?...&Itemid=103

There is also an article written here by manticle.
http://www.aussiehomebrewer.com/forum//ind...showarticle=124

Thanks, I was talking to a friend about the water situation but couldn't get my head around it this early in my brewing days, thanks for the advice and articles I'll check them out
 

mikec

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Cheers, I mashed 4.53kg of grain in 30lt at 65-66 degrees for 70 minutes in a 40lt urn

for draining, I simply had a colander upside down in my old 20lt brew pot and let it drain for 5 minutes, so by the sound of it, I need to sparge. I have read a little on this but was more concerned this time of lowering the OG with more liquid.


I have just recently obtained a refractometer and was taking my measurements with that, by taking a sample of wort in the eyedropper and then running cold water over it to cool the wort inside before taking readings so I fairly confident my readings were taken at room temperature.


Thanks for you help and yes I plan to get to G&G for a demo, the guys said there may or may not be one in the next couple of weeks, however with all my new brewing equipment who can wait that long to put a brew on.

I plan to continue to do the same APA recipe until I get my process levelled out so that in theory I have a constant to fall back on for fault finding.
The sparging will extract extra sugars from the grain in the bag, it works!Sparging is basically just a process of pouring hot water through the grain to rinse out the remaining goodness. As you say - why waste it when the grains are capable of providing it!
Brewmate is free software that can give you more accurate numbers, but at a basic level you could mash with say 20L, when done put the colander over your pot and pour a further 12L or so of 90 degree water through it.The first 20l will have just as much sugar as your previous go with 30L. The gravity will be higher than your target. As you sparge through the grain, the initial runnings will also be quite high, but will go down as more water runs through and "rinses" the grain. Basically keep sparging until your wort reaches the desired gravity. You're on the right track by not caring about the volume as much as the gravity. If you have less volume, no big deal. If you end up with more than 19L, just put the extra into bottles.
 

wbosher

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You don't need to sparge with BIAB. If your mashing at 66 degrees, you really should do a 90 minute mash, not 70. If mashing at a higher temp, you can reduce the time a little.

Once you've finished the mash, raise the temp to 78 degrees and keep it there for 10 minutes, stirring the grains for this time. Raise the bag and squeeze the hell out of it until you get bugger all liquid coming out.

Boil...:)
 

geneabovill

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I've found that squeezing the bag releases nasty tannins from the husk. YMMV, but reducing off flavours, especially when dialing a system in is desirable.


For instance, you wanna know if your mash schedule is releasing off flavours, and tannins from squeezing the bag is a tad silly.


I have a 40L urn that BIAB with. It's PID controlled, so no need to bother about temp control. I dough in at 45 and rest there for 15min, raise to 60 for 40 min, raise to 70 for 40 min, then mash out at 78 for 10 min. 81% efficiency. Liquor to grist ratio is 5:1, so for an average beer, 5kg of grain, 25L of water.


Dunk the bag in a bucket of 12L after draining, and add that to the boil.


Hope that helps ...
 

bignath

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I dropped enough christmas pressie hints that I got a refractometer from Santa, so I was using that and cooling the sample in the eyedropper down by running water over the outside until it cooled the sample down to room temp
That will explain your low OG right there i reckon.

Any money says you get some water from doing that, mixed in with your sample and you're effectively diluting it.
You don't need to do this. By the time you've taken your sample in the pipette (eyedropper) and placed your three drops on your refractometer, it has cooled to almost room temp anyway. Thermal mass and all that. Three drops cools down bloody quickly.
 

wbosher

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I've found that squeezing the bag releases nasty tannins from the husk. YMMV, but reducing off flavours, especially when dialing a system in is desirable.
From what I've read on this site, the whole tannins thing is a myth. Many people have squeezed the bag with no problem.
 

geneabovill

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From what I've read on this site, the whole tannins thing is a myth. Many people have squeezed the bag with no problem.
Hence the caveat "YMMV". The side-by-side I did had a markedly mouth puckering tartness to it. If squeezing works for you, go nuts. Dunk sparging and a tad more grain works for me. :)
 

Pogierob

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That will explain your low OG right there i reckon.

Any money says you get some water from doing that, mixed in with your sample and you're effectively diluting it.
You don't need to do this. By the time you've taken your sample in the pipette (eyedropper) and placed your three drops on your refractometer, it has cooled to almost room temp anyway. Thermal mass and all that. Three drops cools down bloody quickly.
I was super careful not to allow the sample to be diluted. By allowing the sample to flow into the bell end of the eye dropper I was able to cool it without allowing dilution. Butthisdidcross my mind when the first batch was so low
 

bignath

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I was super careful not to allow the sample to be diluted. By allowing the sample to flow into the bell end of the eye dropper I was able to cool it without allowing dilution. Butthisdidcross my mind when the first batch was so low
Did you dry it before extracting the sample from the dropper?

What i'm thinking is that the volume we are talking about here is so miniscule you may not be aware you've got any water in it at all.
I'm thinking along the lines of some capilliary action thing going on. Kind of like when you want to use a ruler to create a straight line with a texta, and the texta bleeds underneath the ruler.

The slightest (maybe not even visible) piece of water could potentially dilute your already tiny refract sample on the way out of the dropper.
 

mikec

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I always do a few sucks/squirts of the pipette with wort before I take the sample. Like Nath says, even the smallest amount of residual anything in there will taint the sample.
 

Amber Fluid

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That will explain your low OG right there i reckon.

Any money says you get some water from doing that, mixed in with your sample and you're effectively diluting it.
You don't need to do this. By the time you've taken your sample in the pipette (eyedropper) and placed your three drops on your refractometer, it has cooled to almost room temp anyway. Thermal mass and all that. Three drops cools down bloody quickly.
I reckon Big Nath is right.... I was going to say almost the same thing thern read his post ;)

From what I've read on this site, the whole tannins thing is a myth. Many people have squeezed the bag with no problem.
I have squeezed with no adverse affects whatsoever. BNevertheless, now I don't squeeze and still get the same efficiency but with a lot less crap in the urn afterward.

I have also mashed at different temps from 62C-68C for 60 minutes, 75 minutes and 90 minutes to see if this makes any difference and I am yet to notice anything diiferent. Whether that is just me or not I have no idea :unsure:
 

Spiesy

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if you're going to sparge, which I recommend (why leave sugars behind?). Probably best to do so at around 80-degrees, and allow for the added volume you're sparging with, so you don't dilute your wort (i.e. don't add this volume to the pot at the beginning of the mash AND during sparging).

Using Cocko's formula, let's say you have 5kg of grain, you're going to lose around 5L of water. I simply sparge with that amount of 80-degree water over the grain.

I use a clean, blue laundry basket, sitting in one of those big opaque containers (from Bunnings or SuperCheap Auto etc) - sit my bag in the laundry basket which allows the grain to spread out a fair bit and drain. Works well for me, I get pretty good efficiency for BIAB.
 

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