My all grain (BIAB) no chill beers are all really bad...

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Mizz

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Hello,

I'm a melbourne brewer,

I've done abut 5 all grain beers now with this method and I'm really not happy. I've started opening bottles of various ales and they all taste really thin, slighty wine like..(if its an infection I'd be surprised, I'M A CLEAN FREAK!+ never had one with extract) and I'm getting no hop presence and no body from the grain.

I feel like I'm doing everything right..

I'm mashing between 65c and 66c for an hour, mashing out at 77c and sparging the grain with 77c water. treating the water with a campden tablet, some calcium chloride (4-5g to get the cal level at 60-70ppm odd) and some chalk for porters and stouts. Rolling boil for an hour, whirlpool at flameout, 15 minute rest then into the cube over night (squeezing all the air out of course).

I make 1.5 litre starters the same day as the brew and pitch 12-18 hours later(yeast always seem happy and smell clean)
I aerate the wort by poring the cube from a hight then with my mash paddel (plastic, sterile) for a minute. Sometimes I top up with a few litres of water to get my OG down (this shouldn't be a problem as i used to top up 10 or more with partial and never had an issue) ferment at 16-20c for three weeks in the primary. All final gravity where they should be.

I bottle my beer.. Mainly because like to be able to take it to people to get their opinion (not carting a keg around)
I always soak my bottles in very hot water and soap, to clean not only the inside but to remove labels so none of that sticky stuff gets in my star san solution. I then rinse the bottles and hit them with the bottle brush, let em dry then soak in sanitiser for 5 minutes, then let them drain (also chuck the caps in there) I use carb drops which i cut in half for 330ml bottles, (with scissors soaked in the sanitiser) I find one is too much for anything smaller than a 500ml. Cap and store for a month or more. Beer.... average at best.

my last attempt.. worst yet..

using the method above

Rye Ipa

Grist

6kg Marris otter
600g rye malt
250g chocolate malt
200g crystal malt 60l

hops

boil 60 min - P.O.R 40g
boil 40 min - Willamette 40g
flameout - Willamette 40g
Dry hop - galaxy 80g

Wyeast 1272

Any thoughts guys? I'd like to make some good beer after 20 batches..
 

Phoney

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Sounds like you're doing everything right. What does it taste like out of the fermenter before you're bottling? That will determine where your problems are stemming from.
 

Tony

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Sounds like an infection.

Thin, winelike, hops and malt masked..... all classic symptoms
 

Pickaxe

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To me it looks like you're missing the flavour range in the Hop Schedule.

60 and 40 will only give bitterness. Really late adds only aroma.

My understanding (and the others will correct me if I'm wrong) is roughly
60 - 30min - Bitterness
30 - 10 minutes - Flavour
10 min and under - Aroma.

I'd want to see some hop action around the 20 - 15 minute mark here for flavour.

What sort of volumes are you brewing?

Have you tried giving all extract a go just to cut out a few processes and see where the problem might be?
At least you could look at whether its a mash/grain problem, or something else?
 

WarmBeer

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Have you calibrated your thermometer? If you're 4 or 5 degrees out, you could be mashing at 60 or 61 when you think you're mashing at 65/66. This would lead to a dryer, more highly attenuated, beer.

It could also be that, as you mentioned, you're comparing your full-mash beers to your extract beers. I always found my extract beers to be too thick in mouthfeel, but everybody's taste and perception differs.

Get yourself to a brew club or upcoming swap meet. Get some (hopefully) impartial feedback on your beers from both trained, and untrained, palates.

Hope this helps.
 

Mizz

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thanks guys,

It tastes good coming out of the fermenter I think. I just can't imagine 200 bottles over 5 batches being infected.. I would think if it were post fermenter there would be inconsistency in the bottles.. and really i'm cleaning the crap out of those bottles.. and using fresh unopened carb drops and my hands by that point are well and truly sanitised. I agree with partial man on the hop additions. I'm using some online recipe calc called brewers friend and i feel it's way off.. Although that could be the possible infection. For this batch the OG was 1.055 and FG was 1.013 ish.. IBU tinseth 66
 

slash22000

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Are you using the same cube every time? Could be that the first batch was infected and the infection has carried on.
 

Yob

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sorry this is the bleedin obvious, but is also good to rule out..

Crushed grains? are you cracking them yourself or the LHBS?
 

GalBrew

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Hot water and normal soap may not be enough to get the crap out of your bottles (if they are used). I would soak them in hot PBW or unscented napisan to really clean them out. It does sound like infection is your problem, though I wouldn't have thought ALL bottles would be infected. Either way a good soak in the above won't hurt.
 

manticle

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I agree with Tony.

You can get infections despite being super clean. Flowering and fruiting trees on or near your property can host microflora that can infect beer and once you get one, it can be hard to get rid of. It's worth eliminating the possibility anyway - that grist should give plenty of body.

Other thing to check is that your thermometer is calibrated properly and make sure you are not mashing much lower than you think you are.

I disagree with Pickaxe about the hops being the issue. Sure some late hops will stand out but you will still get flavour as well as bitterness from 60 and 40 minute additions and the thin body is not a hop issue.

Once you know your thermometer is working try this:

Tidy the brew area, clean all walls and floors with bleach solution, then a solution of boiling water, then starsan the whole area.

Make sure you crack your grain in a ventilated area away from your fermenting area.

Buy a brand new cube, drill it out and put in a brand new tap. Buy new transfer hoses. Break any ball valve taps apart and boil for 10 minutes in sodium percarbonate solution. Check for any visibe scunge - if clean, rinse well, boil again in clean water then sanitise. Clean and sanitise everything plastic with bleach solution, followed by a boiling water rinse, followed by a sodium metabisulphite rinse, followed by a clean water rinse followed by no rinse sanitiser.

Brew exactly one of your recipes again - the Rye IPA should be a goer. No chill and use two packets of fresh, dry US05 to inoculate when cool, directly into the cube. Shake it with the lid on tight as much as you can over the next 4-8 hours or until you see active fermentation start. Back the lid off a few turns and ferment. Clean and starsan any krausen leakage from the cube immediately.

When fermentation is complete, do not bulk prime or otherwise transfer the beer. Taste and see if there is any hint of thin/winelike etc. Bottle directly from here, using some new tube/bottling wand, bottles and a new bag of seals. Make up a boiling hot sugar solution with the right amount of sugar and dose each bottle with the appropriate amount using a brand new syringe (available from Grain and grape and probably other HB stores).

If this fixes your problem, there's a likely brewery infection from either nearby flora or from lacto from cracked/raw grain that has made its way into your fermenter or fermenting area. Discard all old plastic equipment, give the brewery another clean and hopefully all is good.

It's not BIAB, it's not no-chill and it's not your recipes.
 

Mizz

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No OG was Taken.

I'm using the same cube every time yes. How could it be the cube? I keep it full of sanitising solution then drain in on brew day, refill it with new sanitising solution then drain and fill with near boiling wort.. hard to believe.

I have three fermenters on rotation so it couldn't be all three..

grain and grape doing my crush.

I'll try the napisan but i do recall on one brew I used bleach and hot water...
 

manticle

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I promise you some nasty microflora can live through some pretty intense sanitation action.

Many brewers have been through it, myself included. Cost of a cube versus the frustration of making continued infected/crap batches?

If cube is infected and the infection has carried over in the transfer then yes - all three could have the same bug. As could tubes, taps etc.
 

431neb

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Mizz, it sounds like you are being more careful / diligent than me with my BIAB efforts and I couldn't be happier my results. Well, there's always room to improve but all in all the best beer I've ever made.

I've only done three sofar and they have all been versions of Doc Smurto's Golden Ale (It's the town bike - everyone has had a turn). I just figure baby steps until I can get it just the way I want it.

Two things came to mind for me - Mashing temperatures and Infection. I notice that you haven't mentioned breaking apart your taps and cleaning them. There's a thread with pics by finite on here somewhere describing how to do it. Here it is http://aussiehomebrewer.com/topic/10484-cleaning-fermenter-taps/

Maybe hiding in the lids on your cube? I know it seems unlikely.

Incidentally , I brew in a shed that is somewhat similar to a pigsty. I'm sure there have been infections along the way but nothing we could notice (It seems there are some advantages to brewing high ABV and guzzling them at the first opportunity).
 

Lord Raja Goomba I

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Always chuck infected fermenters. IT isn't worth the time, ingredients and frustration hanging onto a fermenter that has had an infection.

I've had 2 beer infections and one perry infection. 3 fermenters are not sobbed over as much the beers lost.

You process looks fine and everything manticle has said is worth listening to.
 

Tony

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When you no chill, make sure you transfer it as hot as you can and when its full and the lid is on tight, tip the cube on its side to heat treat the lid top of the cube as well.

I have missed this step before and got infections.

Also, the seal on your cube may not be so great and it is sucking in air...... with the wild yeasts and micro thingys Manticle spoke of, as it cools.

I have lost countless batches to a strange micro organism that comes and goes in my area. It started when i moved to my current house, and if i rack the beer to secondary or to bottle, it gets the bug and goes as you described..... thin, watery and tasteless. Mine also got a strong nail pollish remover smell to it as well.

It doesnt seem to happen during the winter ?????

To solve it i stopped racking.

Beer was crash chilled in primary to settle it out and racked, filtered, kegged, carbed and drunk cold.

I think it ended up imbedded in my fermenters etc, and bought some new ones

cheers
 

Mizz

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thanks for all your suggestions guys,

I think i'm going to buy glass carboys now. if plastic harbours bacteria then why do we use it? what's to say it isn't full of bacteria when it arrives from china or wherever they come from? if it can get infected in a bleached room with no grain and full of sanitising solution then the either shipping, handling, shelf at the homebrew store (grain everywhere there) and factory where they are made it doesn't stand much of a chance does it? it doesn't make sense to me. does hot or cold liquid penetrate plastic?

That link on cleaning the taps is a good one 431neb. thanks! I always remove the rubber seals and clean with sanitiser. I checked my thermometer and it's spot on. It should be it cost $60!

This could be interesting.. I have a "baltic porter" (ale Yeast..) in a fermenter now that was made with the same equipment. I've tasted it and no sign of infection. The only thing I can try is replacing the tap, as I did not pull it apart and clean it. This might be difficult to do without spilling a lot of beer though...
 

insane_rosenberg

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Mizz said:
No OG was Taken.
This.

If your mash efficiency is not as good as expected and/or your temperatures are off, you will end up with beer that does not have the alcohol content or body you are aiming for.

Edit: Make sure you calibrate your hydrometer too!
 

Lord Raja Goomba I

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Shane R is right. Without knowing what you are starting at, it's guess work.

My money is still on the infection, but you have to know what your beer is doing in order to be accurate.
 
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