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Nick's Brewhouse - BIAB Edition

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NikZak

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Hey there folks, I've been brewing my own beer for some time now; Kit only, kits & bits, kits with steeped grains, kits with mini mash, full boil extract brews and extract boils with kits added. I have always kind of feared the full batch, all grain lifestyle choice. It always seemed in my head something that other people did and that it was out of my reach with mash tuns, sparge bars, recirculation, 2V, 3V, 19V setups. It all just seemed too hard and expensive

Well, in a moment of madness, (or clarity) I visited the LHBS again last night B)

I have been looking at my 20L Big W pot and thinking to myself "now that I'm getting back on the homebrewing wagon after about a year out of the game (still polishing off the vast variety of brews I had accumulated over the previous couple of years), why not throw myself right in the deep end after making up my last brew" and finally try an all grain brew making the full volume of wort without any powders or witchcraft

Long story short, once the IPA I brewed up the other day is done (see my brew log in my sig for more info, should be about 10 or so more days from experience) I'm going to try my first All Grain brew

I've got the pot and a thermometer already so realistically all I need equipment-wise is a grain bag to do BIAB right? Well, $45 at the LHBS later and I now am the proud owner of a grain bag, 4Kg of Pale Ale grain, 1Kg of Wheat and another fresh pack of US-05. I've already got a good supply of hops of all shapes, smells and varieties (like seriously, I have an addiction) so the next hard choice will be what to hop with. I'll be fermenting in the Coopers Craft Brew fermenter (the little baby version that uses the Mr. Beer Craft Series cans) so will be aiming for an 11L final volume for my first and probably second AG brews

Here's what I'm thinking will be my grain bill for my first BIAB experience:
1.50Kg of the Pale Ale Grain
0.70Kg of the Wheat Grain

With the following hop schedule, I'm hoping to end up with a nice crisp Blonde that'll keep a nice head and have some great flavour

2g Galaxy at 60 min
3g Citra at 30 min
5g Northern Brewer at 20 min
5g Cascade at 10 min

Second brew is likely to be an Amarillo IPA with following grain bill and hop schedule
2.5Kg Pale Ale Grain
0.30Kg Wheat Grain

11g Amarillo at 60 min
11g Amarillo at 30 min
11g Amarillo at 20 min
9g Amarillo at 10 min

Thoughts on these two recipes?
 

Matplat

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For the blonde, I would absolutely not use galaxy for bittering, despite the high AA% that hop is for 10 mins and later, last S&W clone I bittered with it at 30, and while it was a good beer, it was way to harsh on the bittering.

Conversely, Northern Brewer is a great bittering hop, so probably use NB for bittering, and move the galaxy late, I would also just use max 2 other hop types.

For the IPA, drop the 30 and 20min addition, and move it all to 10 mins and flame out.
 

Lionman

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I would bump up the grain bill for the IPA and then try and balance out the IBU so you get at least 50% from late additions.

Currently, you will be pushing 75 IBU (50 IBU of which from 60 and 30min additions) but only about 1.059 OG.

It all depends on what you want though really. If you want a hop forward IPA I would go with something like

3kg Pale
.5kg Wheat

11g Amarillo 60mins
20g Amarillo 10mins
40g Amarillo whirlpool for 30mins

7.2%ABV
75 IBU

maybe consider 50g or so of a caramalt, too.

Just my 2c
 

NikZak

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Matplat said:
For the blonde, I would absolutely not use galaxy for bittering, despite the high AA% that hop is for 10 mins and later, last S&W clone I bittered with it at 30, and while it was a good beer, it was way to harsh on the bittering.

Conversely, Northern Brewer is a great bittering hop, so probably use NB for bittering, and move the galaxy late, I would also just use max 2 other hop types.

For the IPA, drop the 30 and 20min addition, and move it all to 10 mins and flame out.
Thanks for the suggestions Matplat Re. the Blonde, I'm using the BIAB beer designer v1.3 which is super useful

My hop schedule is now:
Northern Brewer 7g @ 60 mins
Galaxy 7g @ 10 mins

This should avoid the funky taste you suggested. Actually, I reckon that's what made one of my beers a while ago taste funky. I used Galaxy as the bittering hop at 60 mins, again as you said because of the high AA, did not like the outcome of that beer and thought it might have been something else I did

Lionman said:
I would bump up the grain bill for the IPA and then try and balance out the IBU so you get at least 50% from late additions.

Currently, you will be pushing 75 IBU (50 IBU of which from 60 and 30min additions) but only about 1.059 OG.

It all depends on what you want though really. If you want a hop forward IPA I would go with something like

3kg Pale
.5kg Wheat

11g Amarillo 60mins
20g Amarillo 10mins
40g Amarillo whirlpool for 30mins

7.2%ABV
75 IBU

maybe consider 50g or so of a caramalt, too.

Just my 2c
Cheers Lionman, I want to try and use the grains I have left (which should work out to 2.5kg pale and 0.3kg wheat) after the Blonde brew so that I can cut my teeth a little more before I go out and buy more grains. Have been playing around with the KegKing site (they used to be my LHBS back in Melbourne and I like that they'll do a grain bill up for you, they used to do the same for me with extracts) and I'll likely buy what I need as I need it from them. I understand that the brew I've got lined up with that IPA is going to be a little light in colour and maltiness due to what I have left but I've changed the schedule to this given your suggestions as a hops forward beer
Amarillo 20g @ 60 mins
Amarillo 30g @ 10 mins
Amarillo 20g @ cube

I should have also mentioned, I'll be cubing these as I want to get them brewed up and ready to go into the fermenters pretty much as soon as the previous beers are done. The IPA in particular I'm very seriously considering pouring onto the yeast cake left by the Cascade IPA I currently have in the fermentation fridge to save on having to use a fresh US-05 for an 11L batch. I usually will get 99% of the previous beer out, whether that be by decanting or siphoning because I'm a massive tight ass and don't mind a bit of yeast in the last bottle. That one usually stays in my emergency bar fridge with the others for the zombie apocalypse when I need beer to barter for things :) also, any extra colour it can pick up from being on a previous brew will actually help it to come closer to the correct colour for the style too

I've poured wort onto a yeast cake before (in fact, the last time I made a Russian Imperial Stout, 3 can brew, I poured it onto a yeast cake from a nice IPA and it was easily the best strong beer I've ever made, not sure if the yeast cake had anything to do with that)

The one tip I'll give from experience is if you are considering trying that method of pitching (is it pitching really?) is to make sure the beer you put onto the yeast cake is hoppier and bigger than the beer that came before it. I once tried to put a light Australian lager style beer (obviously brewed with ale yeast) over a previous Pale Ale yeast cake and the outcome was just strange, I still have some of that beer left and over time it's improved a lot but it still isn't what it should've been

The Blonde will be getting it's own fresh yeast to make sure I get the best out of such a light and lightly hopped beer
 

Lionman

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Fair enough. If no chilling I would move all the late editions to the cube.
You can certainly reuse yeast and for big beers, it can defiantly helping to reach a healthy pitching rate. I prefer to harvest the yeast from the cake though and giving the fermenter a clean before the next batch. This way you can remove the bulk of the previous beer from the yeast also and pitch pretty much pure yeast, even without yeast washing.

The OG of the two beers above shouldn't need more than 100ml of thick yeast slurry. A whole yeast cake will probably be a significant overpitch.
 

NikZak

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I haven't ever actually tried harvesting yeast from a cake yet... What's the procedure basically?
 

Lionman

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I just tip the fermenter forward slightly and once the slurry is coming out of the tap nice and thick I catch it in a sterilised container. Brew shops sell 500ml borosilicate regent bottles for around $5-$6 usually which are heat resistant and easy to sterilise and perfect for yeast capture and storage.

Plenty of info out there on yeast storage and washing etc.

I do it mainly to save on yeast cost so I can justify experimenting with more expensive liquid yeasts. Easily get multiple batches from a single packet of yeast which makes the cost of the yeast negligible.
 

Matplat

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Alternatively just use jam jars... or any finished jar that has a metal lid. Plastic lids tend to leak...

They can be sanitised very well by putting them in a steamer for 5-10 mins and then closing them while they're still hot.
 

NikZak

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Well, I'm midway through my mash, about 25 mins left for the blonde. I've had to reheat three times so far to keep the temperature at 66 degrees, it's getting down to about 61-62 degrees when I get up and heat it up again so I'm starting to think I really need to add some insulation to my next attempt at this game.

It's kind of a pain in the butt having to lift the bag, turn the burner back on and stand there holding the bag while it gets back up to about 68 degrees so that I can sit down for 20 mins and leave it to its devices. On the plus side, efficiency should be helped from the mixing/stirring every 20 mins
 

Matplat

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You don't need to lift the bag, just stir the mash while you're heating, you only need to make sure the bit of the bag hanging over the edge of the pot doesn't get scorched buy the heat coming up the sides
 

Lionman

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Put a sleeping bag over it when it's at 66. It will stay at temp for the whole mash.
 

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