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First attempt at AG BIAB - Palindrome Ale

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technobabble66

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Beware of the massive text wall that follows!! but i was keen to get my first AG BIAB down & hope that anyone that has feedback to improve the process or pickup on mistakes can throw in a comment.
PLEASE feel free to advise on anything :D


Palindrome Ale
(First brewed on 31/3/13)
Broadly based on an American Pale Ale.
This was me experimenting to test for the first time: (AG) BIAB technique; Late hopping; No-chill cubing; and flavour impact of Citra & Simcoe, plus generally MO & Munich grains.
Part of the oddity of the recipe/schedule is due to a constraint on pot sizes that’s unlikely to change in the near future L

Ingredients
10L to fermenter.
OG = 1046
FG = 1010
IBU = 34.2
EBC = 17.4
Alc = 5% (bottled)

Maris Otter 1200g 54.5%
Munich 1 800 36.5%
Munich 2 100 4.5%
Crystal, medium 100 4.5%
Total = 2.2kg grain (Mash with 2.1kg)

Citra hops 7g at 85 min
Simcoe hops 3g “ 15 min
Citra hops 2g “ “ “
Simcoe hops 3g “ 10 min
Irish Moss, ¼ tab “ “ “
Simcoe hops 4g “ 5 min
Citra hops 3g “ “ “
Simcoe hops 22g at flameout, once below 82°C
Citra hops 22g “ “ “ “ “
Simcoe hops 2g into cube to cool

Danstar West Coast Ale BRY-97 yeast, 11g, re-suspended.

Some new gear to play with:



Mashing Schedule
2.5L/kg initial Mash-in (= 5L),
Then 2nd step & mash out with 2 L/kg (= 4L; split into 3L & 1L)

[Mash all grains except Crystal – Crystal was steeped separately & added part-way through the boil].
[Crystal steeped for 30min in 1L of 70°C water].

The Grain weighed: Mash In:


Mash in
2.1kg grain in bag, placed in 5L water at 73.5°C to achieve temp of 66°C. Mash for 1hr.
Lift & drain. No squeezing. Achieved about 3.5-4L
Mash-out
Place bag in 2nd pot w 3L water at 73.7°C to achieve 72°C for 10 mins.
Then add 1L water at 83°C to achieve 78°C for 10 min.

Mash draining: Awaiting a rolling boil:


Boil Schedule
About 8L of wort in total collected from Mashing.
Boiled for 85min according to hop schedule above. Crystal runoff (~1L) added at 30min mark (forgot to add earlier).
At Flameout, almost 2 trays of ice cubes (from boiled water the day before) were added. The wort dropped immediately to 80°C (guesswork!).
22g Simcoe & 22g Citra were added. Wort was whirled & let steep for 30min.
Then poured into cube & filtered using a strainer. Rinsed filtered trub with boiled water (~1L).
Added boiled water (~1L) to bring cube to 10.5L to fill cube sufficiently. Cube-hopped with 2g of Simcoe (spur of the moment decision – it just smelt so damn good!!). Squeezed out remaining air & capped.
Left in cube for 2 days.

Angled cube No-chillin’: Draining into fermenter:


Poured into sterilized fermenter slowly, allowing to aerate, then added about 0.5L boiled water to raise temp to ~20°C. Lost about 1.5L in bottom of cube due to settled trub.
Re-suspended yeast, & pitched.

OG = 1046 - how the hell I got to this, I have no idea!

It tasted very malty, moderately sweet, & not very hoppy. The clean wort had mild bitterness (the trub containing wort was very bitter – glad I got rid of it!).

First bubble heard/seen 15.5hrs later.

Mash & boiled over afternoon of 31/3/13 – hence the name Palindrome Ale.

Some minor hitches:
Had the bag sitting draining in a colander while I got the 2nd batch of water to the right temp. So when I put it in the 2nd pot, it only hit 66°C again. I ended up having to lift the bag & hold it above the pot while I turned the flame back on for a few minutes to crank the heat & get the bag to 72°C.

Didn’t add the final 1L of the Mash-out due to lack of pot space. Instead, I again lifted the bag, heated the runoff (burnt the bag), got the bag to 78°C & left it sit for ~5 min.
Used the 1L heated earlier for the final temp step to instead sparge the lifted bag into the 2nd pot.

Used the strainer to filter out the post-boil trub while pouring into the cube. This seemed to mainly just catch the hops fragments, so a better filtering system may be required.
I also used some boiled water to pour through the strainer at the end, to rinse the trapped trub. Not sure if this is a good idea.
In hindsight (24hrs later), according to ianh’s spreadsheet, no-chill cubing without filtering (ie: all hop material in) on this recipe would be ridiculously bitter (IBU ~ 110); so maybe the basic filtering to remove most hop material was a good idea.
 

GuyQLD

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I have no idea what size brew pots you're using but holy shit that looks like a lot of effort for only 10L. Are you using the $19 pot from BigW? If not, go and buy one and do full volume. I'd recommend at a minimum you grab the pot from BigW and do this;

  1. Full volume - for a 10L batch the 20L pot from BigW is fine.
  2. Start simple - single infusion at your chosen temp
  3. Mash out - I leave the bag in when I ramp up (I'm doing bigger volumes granted) but aim for 1 degree a minute. Turn the heat down a bit if needed and stir the buggery out of it while raising. The bag should be fine, but if you don't want to worry go get a cake rack for the bottom. Leave it in till you hit mashout temps then pull it out.
  4. I use a syphon to wort into the cube. Mines a SS jobby with a length of silicon hose on it. No dicking around filtering.
  5. Lastly - personal preference; I ferment on my cold break. Never had a problem.
*edit: I know you said the pot size wasn't likely to change... but unless $20 is extremely prohibitive sometimes money is the answer.
 

malt_shovel

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So there is a lot going on. first things first thingsi think you did a Stella job.
a couple of points.
with the addition of ice cubes then the hops and letting it sit before transfer to the cube you may run a very small risk of having a temp on the cube that doesn't kill all the bugs. imo i think it is a small chance but maybe think of addressing this next time. what was the point of the ice cubes? was it to "lock in" the hop aroma? i do something similar with an immersion college before running the work to a fermenter.
the other point is in regards to what you are testing all at once. you may want to try single adjustments in separate beers to satisfy yourself what each variation brings to the finishes beer.
best of luck
i like the name of the beer too.
 

technobabble66

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Thanks to both for your responses - it's greatly appreciated!

GuyQLD -
haha. Yes the thought occurred to me that it was waaaaay too much effort for just one slab - the idea was to embrace the limit of the equipment (a 9L pot) and try to do lots of little batches. Instead, too much friggin around for just 10L
The gear limit is space, unfortunately. I'll blaze a fair wad of cash on ingredients, so $20 for a pot is no biggie. My wife cracking it with the sudden appearance of another larger piece of gear is another thing, and i'll wait for the dust to settle from my impending Vac Sealer arriving in a few days first.

On a brighter note, i've got a friend nearby with ~15L pot that i'll be able to borrow on brewdays. One major hurdle overcome!
(is aluminium less ideal for kettles/pots??)

I tried to do a 72°C step because i read in a few spots that it helped with better lacing in the finished beer (I'm lookin at you, Nick JD!), & Mashout seems to always be 78°C. I was paranoid about burning the bag on the base of the pot (ironic given i burnt it anyway), so consequently tried the 2 pot, water addition thingy. Epic fail, but could do it better next time.

All the filtering i did was a PITA, as i wasn't sure what was worthwhile & what wasn't. But like i said, a day later i discovered the "No-chill" option in ianh's spreadsheet & was stunned that the recipe read 110 IBU's when i activated it. I assume this includes the idea that the trub in the pot goes into the cube, or the cold break in the cube goes into the fermenter.
*When do most people separate crud from wort?? Just at that siphon-into-cube stage?


Malt_shovel -
You have no idea how many times i thought "this wort is gonna go swampy for sure" I've studied some microbiol & chem engineering, so these dodgy home techniques seem pretty dubious - imagining all the sources of infection for the precious wort. I'd read about the ice potentially being a good option to rapidly drop temperature; and i kinda figure i'm rinsing a few things with water boiled from the kettle anyway, so it was worth the risk. Another option is to sterilise some gel cold pack the day before & drop them in & take them out after they've done their job. Seems like a similar risk though.
Yes, the idea is to produce an ale with decent maltiness but a massive hop flavour, minus the huge hop bitterness (typical of IPA's, i find) [some balance is great, but not that huge hit necessarily - i'm basically chasing the 2006 James Squire Hop Thief Ale..].
Dry hopping seems to mainly boost aroma. That's great & all, but i want to particularly boost the flavour. I'd read the flameout option could be best for achieving this, & was best once the wort dropped below 82°C (MrMalty was the main source).
Yep - testing too many variables at once. Guilty. My excuse is 10 weeks of reading & with no ability to brew makes for a very frustrated brewer with too many silly ideas!!


Thanks again. Keep the suggestions coming.


BTW, i just realized none of the images appeared in the post - i'll see if i can fix it. Otherwise i'm sure you can imagine the crazy (novice) professor in the kitchen.
 

GuyQLD

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The no chill option doesn't assume that you're keeping hot break at all. It takes hardly any time at all for the oils in hop pellets to be released into the wort. The no chill option is all about estimating the additional conversion of those oils to bitterness due to the much longer time it stays at higher temperatures in the cube.

So keep avoiding hot break, that's a fairly widely accepted good move. Cold break is less well documented and as I said I just ferment on top of mine with no perceived ill effects. If you're after that massive hop flavour I think you're going to have to consider either not using No Chill (the size pots you're using an ice bath would work rather well) or look at doing either a french press or on pitching day reboil 2-3L for your really late additions and crash chill that using an ice bath.

And no drama at all using aluminium, my first pot was aluminium and if anything they heat up/cool down faster so you might find things like an ice bath more affective.

I'd also suggest you work out approximately how much loss to hot break you have over the next few batches and grab yourself a measuring stick and mark off your 10.5L + loss amount on it so you can add top up water to the boil so you finish with the right amount - diluting in the cube means your leaving more concentrated wort behind. Only a small thing granted but might mean a point or two efficiency if you're worried about that sort of thing.
 

stakka82

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Nice recipe OP - simple but will be super tasty!

Citra and Simcoe go great together and the maris, munichs and crystal will give a bit of complexity and backbone, but offset by a decent bitterness - great formulation for a first timer.
 

technobabble66

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I tasted the beer this morning, 3 days into the fermenter - pretty damn tasty!! Significant malty flavour w a subtle but noticeable hop flavour also. Bitterness currently about right for a partly fermented, non-carbed beer. This could be a miracle in the making! :p (esp given the big IBU variance i got on ianh's spreadsheet btw regular & no-chill).

I realised i made a big mistake too (maybe implied by malt_shovel) - i cooled the wort to 80°C then steeped the hops in the hot wort without chilling further. The stuff i was referencing clearly state its super-important to further drop the temperature down rapidly at that point to capture the hop flavour. No idea how that got lost in the planning/execution :wacko: Anyway, it's done. Another part of the learning curve.

GuyQLD - thanks for more feedback!
Yeah - i discovered the hot break thread currently running yday. It seems like there's a bit of contention on the importance of separating the hot & cold break. I get the impression the hot break doesn't always matter, but is generally better to remove it totally doesn't matter to remove the hot break (certain styles may have issues), & most people seem to have fermented on cold break with no troubles.

Sod that. i've wasted 10-20% of my wort trying to avoid cold break! I'm definitely not bothering to filter the next few.

So, why wouldn't i just throw some ice into the kettle at flameout (ignoring the infection issue slightly), drop it to 80°C, throw in a small truckload of hops, throw in more ice to drop the temp to ?..35-40°C..?, then pour into the fermenter (bit more cooling & aeration), pitch the yeast at 22°C, & sit back waiting for beer magic???

Stakka82 - thanks!, here's hoping for awesomeness

& my 1.5kg of hops just arrived from YVH today :icon_drool2:
 

GuyQLD

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I personally would be loathe to be putting ice into wort. Two reasons; freezers are not germ free and unless you're freezing boiled water in a sealed container... See where I'm going? Potential infection. Secondly it adds further complications to you volume calculations. Instead, lid on pot - put the whole thing in the laundry sink with some water/ice and just keep stirring the water in the sink. Will accomplish the same thing and be far easier to control variables and avoid any nasty bugs/smells you may have in your freezer.
 

oscarman

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GuyQLD said:
I have no idea what size brew pots you're using but holy shit that looks like a lot of effort for only 10L. Are you using the $19 pot from BigW? If not, go and buy one and do full volume. I'd recommend at a minimum you grab the pot from BigW and do this;

  1. Full volume - for a 10L batch the 20L pot from BigW is fine.
  2. Start simple - single infusion at your chosen temp
  3. Mash out - I leave the bag in when I ramp up (I'm doing bigger volumes granted) but aim for 1 degree a minute. Turn the heat down a bit if needed and stir the buggery out of it while raising. The bag should be fine, but if you don't want to worry go get a cake rack for the bottom. Leave it in till you hit mashout temps then pull it out.
  4. I use a syphon to wort into the cube. Mines a SS jobby with a length of silicon hose on it. No dicking around filtering.
  5. Lastly - personal preference; I ferment on my cold break. Never had a problem.
*edit: I know you said the pot size wasn't likely to change... but unless $20 is extremely prohibitive sometimes money is the answer.
Sorry to hijack, but what $19 20L pot are you talking about?
 

GuyQLD

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Got that backwards now that I think about it. It's $20 for a 19L pot. From BigW
 

technobabble66

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GuyQLD said:
I personally would be loathe to be putting ice into wort. Two reasons; freezers are not germ free and unless you're freezing boiled water in a sealed container... See where I'm going? Potential infection. Secondly it adds further complications to you volume calculations. Instead, lid on pot - put the whole thing in the laundry sink with some water/ice and just keep stirring the water in the sink. Will accomplish the same thing and be far easier to control variables and avoid any nasty bugs/smells you may have in your freezer.
The ice thing is probably just a short-term solution to test rapid chilling. The ice is from boiled water the day before & carefully covered/handled. However, the amount required to work on a full batch (20L+) is impractical.
Also, to drop it fully to the ~40°C i realised i need to achieve requires a lot more ice in a 10L batch, let alone for a full-size batch.
FWIW, the previous batches i've done (20L K&K's) i did the ice-bath thing. I'll probably continue with that, so i'm practising worthwhile brewing techniques (at least until i get a chiller...).

On reading more on 2 different current threads - fermenting on hot break, & preserving hoppiness - it seems like it's worthwhile continuing to avoid the hot break, & maybe not worry so much about the cold break. So a bit of time & wort saved, at least.

My local buddy has a 15L & a 19L pot. This improves the options considerably!

...
...Currently considering doing a parallel batch - 1.5 kg Briess munich LME + 0.3kg combo of munich1/munich2/MO + 0.1kg Crystal, but with colombus & simcoe (10L again)...
 

JDW81

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Search for Argon's late hopping and no chill guide and your late hopping worries will be answered. It is basically a mini boil with 2-3 l of cubed wort using that small volume to boil your late additions. The small volume can be easily chilled in an ice bath and then put into the fermenter with the cubed wort. Cooling to <80* and then transferring into the cube is a bad idea in my opinion. You want the wort to hit the cube as close to boiling as possible to minimise any infection risk. The no chill method dose play around with ibus and makes late hopping a bit more difficult, but there are ways around it.

As far as the hot break goes, a little bit always ends up in my cube and I ferment in the cube, on the hot break with no adverse flavours that I can detect. Don't worry about cold break, if you were using a plate chiller or other counterflow chiller you'd have a fermenter full of cold break anyway.

Nice work on the first AG brew. The more you brew the easier, and quicker it will become. Beware, it is a very slippery slope.

JD.
 

technobabble66

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Thanks JDW81 !

That idea of doing a quick 2nd boil with part of the no-chill cubed wort is great! Gets around a few problems, and gives me a new thing to play with.

Do you think it's reasonable to ice bath the 2nd boil down to 80°C, add the late hops, then pour (carefully!) in some of the cold wort plus more ice bathing to drop it rapidly to ~40°C? or would it be best to just stick to the ice bath to drop it down to ~40°C??

& I think i'll just take the middle path: separate out most of the hot break (shouldn't take too long) & ignore the cold break.

Just out of interest, if i strain out the hot break then rinse the strainer with boiled water, will that just flush the HB into the fermenter anyway, or should the hops material in the strainer hold most of the HB proteins/etc??

FWIW, i've opted to leave the parallel extract version for now & just see how this one eventuates first.
So to compensate for no sunday brewing, i dry hopped it this morning w 17g Simcoe instead...
 

JDW81

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I wouldn't bother trying to drop the wort temp below 80 before adding hops. Chuck in your zero minute additions, throw on a sanitised lid and put into an ice bath. If you've done a mini boil for late hops you'll be down below 80 in no time. I've done a few mini boils and always get the liquid as close to pitching temp as I can before I put it into the fermenter.

As far as hot break goes, do you mean after the full volume boil has finished or when transferring from cube to fermenter? If your worried about getting hot break from the pot into the cube try an auto siphon with silicone hose. Alternatively install a ball valve at the bottom of your pot and after you boil and whirlpool open the tap gently and let the wort flow out and leave the break behind. I wouldn't try and rinse what ever you have left over, just try and get as much out of your pot as you can. There is always going to be some losses when you brew and trub/hot break is where there are inevitable losses.

If you're serious about brewing why not look into a bigger pot with a tap. For about $150 you can get a decent size pot with a ball valve. A bit more will get you a 40l urn.

JD
 

technobabble66

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JDW81 said:
I wouldn't bother trying to drop the wort temp below 80 before adding hops.
I was taking my lead from a MrMalty article on late hopping. Have you found this isn't necessary? The article seems to claim it's pretty important to drop it to 82°C or less first, add the hops, then rapidly drop it to blow 40°C. I can see what you mean, a 2-3L batch will be quick to drop in temp, but still....

Yeah, i believe HB is the sediment in the bottom of the kettle after the boil, whereas the Cold Break is the sediment that settles out during either the rapid chill process or the no-chill cubing.
To avoid the HB, it looks like i might need to buy a siphon.
Which auto siphon is good - just did a quick ebay check & they've got $12 plastic ones for aquariums. Would they do the job, or is there a good reason to get a $23 one from Grain&Grape??

The pot idea would be great, but it's just too bulky for my home atm. Happy wife = happy life...
Hopefully i'll gradually gain ground in that war of attrition! (or just do a bit of spring cleaning is probably easier...)

& i'm especially keen on that urn !!

Out of interest, with the urn thingy, what is worthwhile/good?? i just checked ebay again & found a 35L for $140. Is that a reasonable kinda price, & what size is sensible? (i know that's a length of string question, but i'm looking at probably doing standard 10-23L batches in the foreseeable future). Are there any other parameters i need to check with an urn??

And is there any reason to get a pot instead of the urn (or vice versa)?
 

seamad

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Heaps of threads on urn Vs Pot, google is your friend.
Buy once , buy right, if urning get a 40l crown ( or birko maybe).
 

technobabble66

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seamad said:
Heaps of threads on urn Vs Pot, google is your friend.
Buy once , buy right, if urning get a 40l crown ( or birko maybe).
Just read a few of the pot vs urn articles:

erm ... this urn thing sounds the bees knees.

Would a 35L urn be ok for a 23L batch (BIAB, of course) or is 40L the minimum?
Or another way of putting it, what is the largest batch you could BIAB mash & boil in a 40L (or 35L) urn??

[I'm kinda guessing you could mash 5.5kg in ~17L, rinse/sparge with, say, 5-10L; pre-boil total of ~24L, post boil ~ 20L (guessing!). That could also be made up to 30L at 5% alc. Both the 35L & 40L urn could handle that, couldn't they??]
Or another question could be what is the max volume to do a rolling boil in a 40L urn?...
 

lukiferj

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if you're brewing in an urn (or BIAB in a pot/keggle) there is no need to sparge. Full volume mashing is the way to go.

Can easily pump out 23 litres of wort to produce between 4-6% abv beers in a 40 litre urn. It gets pretty crowded if you're using much more than 6 kgs of grain though. Can produce more wort or higher higher og beers but involves some trickery/messing around. I am very happy with my BIAB in an urn setup.
 

technobabble66

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Sorry - sparge may be a misleading term (still a noob, i'm afraid).
I meant, just lift the bag at the end of the mash, then rinse with some hot water to clear a bit of extra sugar out of the spent grain.

Apologies for being pedantic on the 35 vs 40 L urn thing - it's just one is $140, the other is $260-270 by the looks of it. that seems a huge difference for only 5L.... so i'm kinda looking for advice on whether it's worth the extra $120.
 

stm

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The 35 vs 40 litre thing is not just about 5 litres, it's also about a massive difference in quality between a cheap ebay urn and a crown. But if you are worried about space and cost, then just buy the 19L pot from BigW for the moment (and follow Nick JD's $30 AG thread) or borrow your mate's. If you are still doing AG brewing in a year or two, then you can go full volume BIAB with a quality 40L urn or pot (or you can stick with what you've got).

One thing I noted from your OPost - no need to separately steep the crystal (or any specialty grain). Just mix it in the other malts in the mash. That makes it a little simpler.
 

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