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Enhanced Biab With Lauter Tun Stage

Discussion in 'All Grain Brewing' started by Bribie G, 29/9/11.

 

  1. Bribie G

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    Posted 29/9/11
    BALTIC

    Introducing my tweaked brewing system.

    I've been BIAB-ing for nearly 3 years, doing full-volume mashes in a 40L electric urn.
    This has earned me some gongs and plaques and a shelf ornament or two as well as a succession of nice house brews.

    However a couple of issues which I find increasingly frustrating:

    Efficiency

    A portion of sweet wort always remains trapped in the grains, and the bigger the grain bill the more you lose. You can do a dunk sparge and boil longer but this isn't a particularly accurate or reproducible technique and IMHO it increases the trub problem further.

    Big trub
    With BIAB the wort going into the kettle is quite turbid. This is easily fixed with a good boil and a good floc, but it does rob wort volume. And just to clear one thing up: I'm not talking about clear wort into kettle always gives better beer in the glass - I don't subscribe to that generally (jury is out on a couple of issues like chill haze) here I'm concentrating on wort recovery levels only.

    Answer: just add more grain to the recipe and up the brew length by a couple of litres what's an extra couple of dollars tightarse. :p

    Yes no problem with that, but after visiting a couple of brew days, and touring a craft brewery, I now realise that over the last three years I have done the litre-equivalent of 15 20 brew days simply to throw them down the sink. I'd prefer the beer in the glass, not in the jellyfish in Moreton Bay.
    Or put it another way it would be nice to do a 19-20L length to end up with a corny, and not a 23L length to take into account all the losses.
    It would also make it more feasible to follow other peoples recipes and particularly clone recipes that get published.

    So I have introduced a fairly inexpensive and rather elegantly simple stage to my BIAB brews. It combines elements of full-volume BIAB, Maxi-BIAB and 3 vessel brewing (although a different three vessels as you will see) and in the trial today it added around half an hour to the brew day.

    However this was just about balanced out by my improved heating arrangements I have over the side immersion heaters purchased a couple of weeks ago, and this has brought my ramping times way down with step mashes and with raise-to-boil.

    BALTIC

    Bag and Lauter Tun in Combination

    I'll let the pictures speak for themselves:

    [​IMG]

    So it's basically what they would do at, say, Murrays Brewery where they have the single heated vessel for mashing and boiling, with a passive lauter tun to one side where the wort is extracted and pumped back to the original cleaned vessel for boiling .

    Note to 3v and HERMS / RIMS guys we are talking about a single active vessel here i.e temperature controllable so no separate mash tun or separate kettle.

    I did a classic BIAB yesterday, and a BALTIC today using exactly the same recipe.

    5000 Perle
    100 Caraaroma
    100 Flaked Wheat

    15 Magnum 60 mins
    30 Cascade 20 mins
    30 Centennial 10 mins
    30 Cascade flameout
    30 Centennial dry

    W-1056



    Results for the bog standard BIAB were more or less what I get for this size of grain bill, 25L batch yielded a 1L Schott Bottle which is probably 50% recoverable, I had to stop filling the cube as it started running break, and the remains were around 3L of unrecoverable trub.

    [​IMG]

    OG was 1045 which is reported as 72%.

    I guess after fermentation I'll get a keg plus two PETs

    *****************************

    So onto today's brew

    The lauter tun is simply a domed false bottom in a 20L wash bowl, which it fits neatly - with pickup tube which exits the LT through a drilled hole. Thanks to Thirsty Boy for the basic design.

    [​IMG]

    Hot liquor for the sparge comes just from a pail with an over the side heater, you can class that as a vessel although conceptually you could just as easily use an instant hot water device (which some guys do).

    [​IMG]

    It was also a good excuse to buy a refractometer to keep an eye on the gravity of the runnings. Hehehe

    So, normal BIAB but note the lower mash level

    [​IMG]

    I put a bubblewrap covering on it and lagged the urn as normal.

    Even at a Liquor to grist ratio of 3.5 : 1 it was still quite liquid and I'd have no trouble doing a step mash quite surprised.


    After the mash, hoisted the bag and let it drain a while till it bacame handle-able, then tipped the grain into the LT to make a grain bed, ran the liquor out of the urn and commenced draining and fly sparging. I did a vorlauf first and although it came out a lot clearer it wasn't the clarity I had been hoping for. Sparged the first half into the urn on the floor and the second half into another bowl and kept adding to urn. Stopped sparging at 1010.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    See following post (images limit)
     
  2. Bribie G

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    Posted 29/9/11
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    It was immediately obvious that it was clearer than my normal brews and coming to the boil the froth was lovely and creamy, not the grey and fungus looking stuff, and far less scummy material altogether.

    [​IMG]

    So at the end of the boil (which flocced spectacularly with BrewBrite) the yield was Schottie which has already dropped to a thin layer of break at the bottom, a full cube which is all bright wort, and the remains are just over a litre of unrecoverable – I'm rapt.

    [​IMG]

    So I should get a cornie plus at least 6 PETs.

    Gravity, measured again with the refrac, has come out at 1047, so a couple of points better efficiency but nothing to write home about at the moment.
    Plan B is to replace the big bowl with something more cylindrical that will give a better depth of wort and maybe settle down to a better grain bed as with the wide bowl the grain was tending to fluff to the top instead of compacting down, so more depth required I think. Bowl was only $8. The FB is just a bit too wide for a Bunnings Handy pail unfortunately. Also I went a bit fast I think, just had the hose squeezed off with a bulldog clip and it was either fast / stop :rolleyes: I'll be looking for a tap arrangement for the 10 mm ID tube to get fine control.

    Overall, I doughed in at 3.30 and was cleaned up at 7.45. Apart from the sparge most of the additional work is just prep and can be done while mashing is happening, and cleanup during boiling.
     
  3. kelbygreen

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    Posted 29/9/11
    If you put some alfoil with heap of small holes poked into it ontop of the grain bed when you vorlauf it will not disturb the grain bed, I usually vorlauf about 4-6 lts but alot say that a lt or so is enough
     
  4. Acasta

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    Posted 29/9/11
    Good bit of work, thanks for sharing.

    One thing... did you consider using the urn for a HLT, then mashing in your plastic bucket (with false bottom attached), and lautering back into your urn (now kettle) for the remainder?
     
  5. kelbygreen

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    Posted 29/9/11
    where the BIAB in that??? lol he would just have a 2 vessel system :p but its a nice piece of work I tried few things like this doing BIAB but more just used a esky as a tun and voile as a manifold lol
     
  6. Bribie G

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    Posted 29/9/11
    If I get a suitable bucket then I may well try that - The idea of the bag is to make the grain handling simple, but if the grain isn't going anywhere to start off with ..... bucket might also hold the heat better with my "normal" lagging, or I can trick it up with some cut-up lagging. It would work for isothermal mashes, but the urn is good because I can do all sorts of step mashes, being powered.
     
  7. donburke

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    Posted 29/9/11
    ingenious, and this is now a 2v system and has migrated from the simplicity of a single vessel biab system

    i wonder if you could achieve a similar result by recirculating the wort during the mash of a traditional biab system ?
     
  8. Acasta

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    Posted 29/9/11
    I also stuffed around doing BIAB, trying to get more vessels to make it more efficient. I decided to just go 3V in the end. My HLT is my old 19L bigW pot on the stove.

    If you had a plastic bucket you could definitely lag it efficiently and permanently. You could also use that immersion element of yours in there for the step mashing.
     
  9. Bribie G

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    Posted 29/9/11
    The problem is getting the grain bed happening, which you can't really do with a bag. You can get the wort recirculating all you like but when you hoist the bag you're back to square one with cloudy wort running out of the bag, taking the path of least resistance. However in view of how freely the wort flowed in this experiment today I may try just lowering the entire bag into the bucket for a fly sparge, sitting on top of the FB and recirculate that way with a bit of vorlauf. The extra layer of voile, as KG says, could give a bit more filtering. I think the BrauMeister actually uses a filter to achieve this or am I mistaken?
     
  10. kelbygreen

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    Posted 29/9/11
    I think the braumeister in fact does not filter the wort it has a basket and a false bottom but MHB (with the older models as newer one has finner FB) was putting a fine bag material (guess like voile) over the FB to get it clearer. But I have never seen one in use only sitting on his shop floor so the whole process I would not know.

    Now you got it all in one there bribie with the urn any way when you hoist all the small particles go threw. So my question is that I cannot see there with the wort in the urn do you run that back threw the grain bed then fly sparge ontop of it or leave it in the urn and just dump the grain to sparge with water? I am guessing the latter
     
  11. MarkBastard

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    Posted 29/9/11
    I was thinking about this too recently Bribie.

    When I BIAB I start with 30L of strike water, end up with 26L pre boil and finish with about 22L in the kettle after a 60 minute boil (typically).

    I would love to be able to filter all trub at all stages of brewing. Obviously you can use grain to filter the pre-boil wort and this is what 3V brewers do.

    However I also would like to filter post-boil trub as much as possible so that a cube just contains clear wort.

    Anyway, your idea seems like a decent start of a conceptual idea. Can't help but think the progression could just end up at 3V brewing though! I mean you have an immersion heater for your sparge water, a lauter tun and a kettle so you're sort of already there right?

    If you wanted to keep it 1V I like the idea of a cylinder inner-pot inside the kettle, with a bottom that can hold grain weight without bending but also has a very fine filter on it. Then having a tap with a pickup tube right at the bottom of the kettle, hoisting the inner cylinder slightly and draining wort off and tipping it back in manually into the top of the inner cylinder. This should clarify the wort.

    Ideally you could solve the other issue I have with BIAB (hoisting the bag) by having the hoisting of the inner-cylinder dependent on a system where it uses the walls of the outer pot for leverage somehow. So there's no need for a skyhook or anything like that. Even if it's just the system the braumeister uses where you manually lift a bit and then there's some pegs to rest it on.

    As for kettle trub, is there a way to filter that without needing a hop back? I'm a bit of a jew I guess and I throw my hop pellets directly in the kettle, and when I get to the last few litres there's so much hop debris it's hard to say what is hops, and what is real trub. I'd love to be able to just properly filter it out.

    Are there filters that work by assigning a space for a known quantity of debris that's heavier than the liquid, and allowing a sort of trench for it to collect in? I've drawn a shitty ms paint diagram of what I had in mind:
    filter.png

    I think I've seen a similar concept in pond filters, where you sort of allow gravity to help your filtration. Having a filter like this would allow your pickup tube to be right at the bottom of the kettle which would help when recirculating to clear before boiling, and then post boil you know exactly how much 'loss to trub' you're going to allow in your system. If the filter is 1L then it's 1L. You'd set the filter size based on what you think you need for the amount of trub you collect.

    So in summary my idea is:
    - Urn with a tap / pickup tube at its lowest point.
    - Inner rigid cylinder replaces the bag. Rigid cylinder has solid walls, open top, reinforced mesh bottom.
    - After mashing you lift rigid cylinder about half way and drain kettle and manually recirculate the collected wort to the top of the rigid cylinder in the same way eski mashes recirc their first runnings.
    - Once the worst is running clear you lift the rigid cylinder higher to let it fully drain. Hopefully the grain bed isn't disturbed and it continues to filter out. I guess you can recirc more if you want to.
    - Sparging optional.
    - After boil you filter on the way to the cube to remove as much boil trub as possible. Almost all of the liquid leaves the kettle, you don't leave any trub behind until it starts getting really silly.
     
  12. Bribie G

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    Posted 29/9/11
    Yup, missing photo - I pour the wort that was already collected into the urn over the grain bed and start vorlaufing. I think I need something at least 25L and cylindrical to get the GB happening better.

    Edit: Mark, a Bunnings Handi pail fits nicely into a Crown Urn - pity the falsie is a tad too big for it, that was going to be my next maniac experiment :p
     
  13. zebba

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    Posted 29/9/11
    I'm currently doing a 3v system with a bag in an esky and stones for a false bottom. I get major channeling down the sides because of this. I even tried using a pump to recirc for a good 15 minutes and it was still cloudy as. With the bag, you either have to elevate it somehow, in which case most the recirculation just goes down the sides, or you don't evelate and get stuck with just a trickle coming out the tap. Or, as Bribie stated, you pull the bag and all the recirculation was for nothing.

    Or at least, in my experience...

    And yes, I get HEAPS of trub. The esky/stones/bag solution was just to keep me going in the short term till I got off my lazy ass and made a manifold. 18 months later or something and I'm still taking a 20% hit in my efficiency with every brew.
     
  14. kelbygreen

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    Posted 29/9/11
    yeah could be your problem. As by the looks of that I doubt the grain and all the wort in the urn would fit. As said to do it properly which of coarse would be easier with your pail as a MT is to put the whole lot into it and then vorlauf till its clear then start your sparging. but doing this you could just mash in th pail but the step brews you would have to use the urn or use infusion or decant. Then it wont be BIAB and it will be just a 2V system. which is fine I used it for a while and nothing wrong only thing you cant heat the wort while your still sparging lol
     
  15. MarkBastard

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    Posted 29/9/11
    Oh yeah? I wonder if you could cut out the bottom and replace it with something sturdy enough? Obviously one of those Ikea splatter guards would act as the filter, but you'd want something trust worthy for the actual bottom too.
     
  16. kelbygreen

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    Posted 29/9/11
    zebba a manifold is as simple and as complex as you can make it. bunnings have straight lengths of cooper for like $13 I think its about 1.1m. depending on the esky you may get away with the out side ring or may need 1 inner tube or 2 inner tubes. If you need help or some info shoot me a PM I made 2 one for 32lt esky and one for 70lt one its not hard.
     
  17. kelbygreen

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    Posted 29/9/11
    mark you could drill holes into the bottom so the liquid goes threw and the mesh would sit on the bottom as a FB I doubt you would have to cut the bottom out
     
  18. MarkBastard

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    Posted 29/9/11
    Other thing I've been wondering about is does anyone do a sort of combination infusion mash?

    Like let's say you were going 2V.

    You fill up your urn with say 30L of water and get it to whatever your strike temp is.

    You drain some of it off into an eski mash tun and then add your grain to the mash tun. The ratio is just a typical 3V ratio.

    You get the remaining water in the mash tun to a much higher temp, then at the end of the mash you add this hotter water to the eski enough to get the total temperature to mash out temperatures. And now you've got a ratio similar to what BIAB has, with all the water and all the grain in the one vessel. You give it a good mix to thin out the sugarz. You can now position the urn as a boiler and start running the wort off into the kettle.

    If you had a mash tun with minimal dead space this could be a half decent way to do it? Sort of best of both worlds? Only 2 vessels, only one active vessel, wort clarity and perhaps better efficiency than BIAB due to the mash out? Sparging could be achieved by having another passive vessel (bucket or kitchen pot) to collect water from the urn before it's positioned as the kettle.
     
  19. MarkBastard

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    Posted 29/9/11
    Do you reckon it'd be strong enough like that though? I guess you could drill heaps of holes, add the screen to the top, and reinforce the bottom with some metal rods or something. I assume the pails don't have fully flat bottoms. Do they have a bottom lip?
     
  20. zebba

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    Posted 29/9/11
    Yeah I know it's not hard. But I'm lazy. And there's a part of me that likes to be different :)

    And honestly, the only problem with it is the kettle losses and fermenter losses. It's ridiculously easy to clean, and most importantly, I get awesome efficiency out of the mash tun. Seeing as I like to do BIG beers when I can, mash tun effiency is far more important to me then brewhouse efficiency, and the sole reason I didn't just go straight BIAB.
     

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