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First Biab attempt - one query before take off

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gazeboar

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Hi guys,

I am in the process of upgrading equipment, and plan to buy a 40L Bilko urn from ebay to make 23 litre batches. I have found this great recipe (below) as a jumping off point for my first BIAB. I have no issue with anything except for how much water is actually required for mashing in. The below recipe is for a no chill method, so I'm assuming the "35 litres" accounts for that and that evaporation will be different considering I'm not using cubes. I am wanting to use a wort chiller to get the beer down to a good pitching temp, and plan to sparge with 2 litres of strike water before I mash out and boil. I know there are various spreadsheets and free software around, but I'm unsure of what my boil off rate is going to be like with the urn to begin with. Could someone who uses one of these please give me a rough figure of where to start, keeping in mind the evaporation rate for a 90 minute boil and grain absorption ? Eg: 30 litres plus 2 litres of water for sparging = adequate grain absorption and evaporation for 23 litres etc? Or should I just wait until I have the urn and find out this unknown variable myself?

I hope this isn't self-explainatory or already been discussed a trillion times, if so I should expect to be flamed.

Thanks,

Darren


Recipe:

" Style: Australian Pale Ale
Name: Little Creatures Pale Ale (Clone)
Yeast: Safale US-05
Fermentation Temperature: 18C
Original Gravity: 1.042
Total IBU's: 31.1
Colour (EBC): 10.8
Efficiency at End of Boil: 70%
Mash length (mins): 60 + mashout
Boil Length (mins): 90
Your Vessel Type (Pot/Keggle/Urn): Urn
Source/Credits: Various/unknown
Notes/Instructions/Comments: No chill, all hops pellets

VOLUMES ETC.

Your Vessel Volume: 40L
Your Vessel Diameter: 33.7cm
Water Required: 35.48L
Mash Temperature: 66C
Volume at End of Boil: 26.9L
Volume into Fermenter: 22.0L
Brew Length: 20.50L
Total Grain Bill: 4225g

Grains - Colours (EBC) - Percentages - Weight

Grain 1: Ale Malt - 6 - 87.42% - 3700g
Grain 2: Munich I - 14 - 5.3% - 225g
Grain 3: Wheat Malt - 4 - 5.3% - 225g
Grain 4: Caramunich II - 120 - 1.98% - 75g

Hops - AA% - IBUs - Weight at Minutes

Hop 1: East Kent Goldings - 6.1 - 12.82 - 16g @ 60
Hop 2: Cascade - 5.4 - 5.84 - 13g @ 15
Hop 3: Galaxy - 13.4 - 5.58 - 5g @ 15
Hop 4: Cascade - 5.4 - 3.33 - 13g @ 0
Hop 5: Galaxy - 13.4 - 3.18 - 5g @ 0"
 

mark0

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I start with around 30L for a 60 min boil for 20L knockout. Err on the side of less water, you can always add more boiled water (kitchen jug, or start of boil) to get your final volume. Cubes will generally hold more than 20L when completely filled.

Brewmate is suggesting another 2L of evaporation from 90min boil.

Best thing to do is mark your final volume, pre boil volume and starting volume on you sight glass (o-rings, sticky tape, texta even) so you can easily keep track of the volume. Have the jug handy so if your volume is loo low, just add some boiling water.
 

ben_sa

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Personally i use 35-36 litres in my rig. with grain absorbtion and trub, this fills my cube perfectly (around 23 litres) plus i get a little for making starters...


sparge with 2 litres of strike water before I mash out
hmmmmmm do you mean remove the bag, sparge, then put the bag (with grain) back in? That doesnt make sense in my opinion, (bear in mind i use gas) i simply mash for 60-90 minutes, lift the bag so its off the bottom of the kettle, then apply heat to 78.c, hold for 10mins, then hoist the bag completely, then i sit it in my big W 19L pot, you could sparge at this step if you like, i dont bother though.

you need the grain to still be in your kettle/urn when you mashout... submerged...
 

wbosher

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Download Beersmith, there's a 30 day trial. After using this a few times, I'm sure you'll end up buying it. ;) I did.

You can put in what size kettle you're using and how much grains etc, and it automatically calculates the volumes for you. I was surprised how accurate it is.

Give it a go.
 

Bribie G

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I go for 33L initially in my Crown Urn. However Birkos are shorter and fatter and - when I had both a Crown and a Birko I noted that the Birko definitely boils off a bit quicker so I'd go with ben_sa on his figures.
When you have done a few brews, mark off your sight tube and you'll be sweet.

The other thing is that you will need to adjust from time to time, for example a six kilo grain bill is going to absorb more water than a four litre. edit: four kilo grain bill.

Nowadays I don't actually measure anything, I fill to the top line on the tube and after a one hour boil if it's reached the bottom line then all good.
If it's a bigger grain bill I fill to a smidge above the top line, and if a brew hasn't reached the bottom line after an hour then I keep it going till it does.

Brewing is science, sure, but there's a shedload of art and craft as well :p
 

jaypes

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do a 'wet' run with your equipment, as for brewmate/beersmith I have found these answered a lot of my questions on how much water etc
 

gazeboar

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Thanks a bunch fellow Brewsmiths.
 

Mikedub

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Bribie G said:
Brewing is science, sure, but there's a shedload of art and craft as well :p
aint that the truth,


I'm similar, fill to 31L initially and adjust with either 2 litres of tap, boiling or chilled water to try and hit exact strike temp after doughing in,
 

Bribie G

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oops forgot to cover the sparge thing. I used to do a side sparge in a bucket - raise the bag, drain and squeeze, take it out and put in a bucket then run about four litres of hot water in, raise the bag again, and drain into the bucket and then pour those runnings into the urn. At the end of the day I had to always do at least 90 min boils to get the wort level back down to where it should have been anyway, plus the dicking around - haven't done a side sparge now for about 2 years, personally. With a straight BIAB and a bit of squeezing you can hit efficiencies as good as traditional 3 vessel.
 

gazeboar

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Hmm... seems as though everyone has their own ways of doing similar things. Just ordered the Bilko urn. $300, figured it was going to cost me close to that for a decent burner from beer belly plus a stainless stockpot. I love the fact I have just eliminated the need to ever buy gas. Woop! Thanks guys for sharing your knowledge. I may skip the sparge and just do a good mash out/squeeze the bag. I'll also download Brewsmith and see how I go with it. I'll post some pics and tasting notes when it's ready !

Cheers,

Daz
 

jakethesnake559

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Hi Gazeboar,
To help out with your calcs for the first brew...I have a 40L Birko exposed element urn and lose an average of 3.5L in a 90 minute boil.
 

adz1179

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gazeboar said:
I may skip the sparge and just do a good mash out/squeeze the bag.
Yeah this is what i do too. once you get used to your system then work backwards to figure out what you want. there is a link from a regular to this forum on this but i cant find it for you. essentially, figure out how much you want to end up with, how much you loose in the mash, boil, trub etc and do your calculations.

I typically make 21lt batches to fill a keg, I loose 0.5lts / kg in grain absorption, 8lts per hour in evapouration (gas burner with a rapid burn), 2lts of trub & break material (average). so for a normal 60 min boil recipe with 4kgs of grain it would be:

21 + 2 (0.5 x 4) + 8 + 2 = 33lts of water to start with.

your figures will be different, so write down how you go you'll and get used to your numbers pretty quick.
 

Hippy

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I go 35L with my Birko. Fills the cube + a prehop addition starter every time and just squeeze the bejesus out of the bag.
 

Endo

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gazeboar said:
squeeze the bag.
That is what I do as well.

The grains are bloody hot though. If you go to your local safety supply store, get yourself some of those long waterproof cheapo red gloves and a pair of rigging inners.. Set you back maybe 15 bucks and they should be the equiv of the $100 temperature proof ones.. Works really well... I was able to squeeze the bejebus out of the bag without having to stop because my hands were getting too hot :D
 

colonel

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I use a 40 litre Jomack urn, and start with 31 litres.
If I use 32 litres, the level comes to the very top of the urn when I add the grain.
It does drop a little as the water is absorbed.
If I need to do a longer boil than 60 mins, I add water after mash out.
Good luck.
 

breakbeer

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I don't squeeze my bag with my hands, I use a stainless potato masher
 

wbosher

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I use two pot lids, one on either side of the bag and squeeze like hell. Works a treat. :)
 

stux

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I don't squeeze the bag anymore. Just raise and let drain.

I think I get clearer & better beer at the end of the day

and its easier not squeezing a bag full of sticky wet hot grain ;)
 

adamh

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I'm pretty sure people would wonder what the hell I was reading if they looked over my shoulder

"I don't squeeze the bag anymore. Just raise and let drain.
I think I get clearer & better beer at the end of the day
and its easier not squeezing a bag full of sticky wet hot grain"

"I don't squeeze my bag with my hands, I use a stainless potato masher"

:lol:
 

Endo

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breakbeer said:
I don't squeeze my bag with my hands, I use a stainless potato masher
I have one of those commercial spud mashers. Works great for stirring. Props to whoever it was on here that recommended em.


Adam Breuer said:
I'm pretty sure people would wonder what the hell I was reading if they looked over my shoulder

"I don't squeeze the bag anymore. Just raise and let drain.
I think I get clearer & better beer at the end of the day
and its easier not squeezing a bag full of sticky wet hot grain"

"I don't squeeze my bag with my hands, I use a stainless potato masher"

:lol:
Bugger em if they dont understand :D

Squeezing the bag is therapeutic anyway, especially if you use 2 hands ^_^
 
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