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The short happy tale of BIAC, or Brewing In A Cube

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SergeMarx

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A while back I posted about my plan to combine the joys of no chilling with the convenience of DME and the science of hop utilization. Here is the final report on attempt #1.

The plan:

To dump ingredients plus boiling water into a cube, seal, cool, ferment and call it beer.

Ingredients (I seem to have lost my recipe on Brewers Friend, so this is from memory)

2.2 kg Light Dried Malt Extract
50 grams 14% AA Citra
15 litres boiling water
1 x pkt of Leuvin 504 Ale Yeast Expired 2014 (spoiler: this wasn't smart)

Method:

combine all ingredients except yeast in a 15 litre water cube. remove air and keep lagged for a few hours.
* temp measurement of exterior of cube at 90 minute mark was still 78C - Cooled overnight

Pitch

1 x packet of 504 Ale, expired and sprinkled. Must be something about the slapdash method that made me look at that ancient pack and think it would be fine. As it turns out, the ferment went OK, but stalled out at 1.018 so in future I'll pitch with my usual care for cell count and freshness. And not 504.

The Result.

After a few weeks in the fermentor, I finally got around to kegging it yesterday, here's my tasting notes:

Appearance: Slightly cloudy, pale golden, creamy white head
Aroma: Clean Citra hop aroma, slight background of fruity esters
Mouthfeel: Full bodied and creamy - could be thinnner on the palate.
Taste: Pleasant Citra flavour, lingering and nicely balanced bitterness. Stonefruit esters. Low level of sweetness, could be drier.

Discussion

I'm totally doing this again. Next time I'll try to include an easy steeping grain method - perhaps cold steeping in a jar the night before, or in the hot water prior to boiling. I'm very impressed by the hop utilization given the lack of a true boil, but obviously having the hops in the cube does create a fair amount of trub port ferment. Clarity was an issue, but this is likely a yeast selection issue, one which a different yeast choice, plus crashing and fining will clear up (pardon the pun). The cost was about $28 for a slab and a 1/3 which is pretty great value, the beer is great and the effort required next to nothing.

One of the coolest things about this method is the repeatability. If anyone else out there is game to have a go, I'd love to get a list of recipes together. Cheers
 

SergeMarx

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Just as an update, I ran another BIAC a few months back, this time a saison / Belgian IPA. Scored 106.5 in vicbrew, and is tasting fantastic!

This time I added some dextrose to the cube, as well as yeast not and Irish moss. Fermented with MJ French Saison, finished nice and dry @ 1.004

Next up is an ESB
 

Bourkie

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Hey @SergeMarx, I am only new to brewing, but am very interested in the ease of BIAC. Where did you purchase the cube from?
combine all ingredients except yeast in a 15 litre water cube. remove air and keep lagged for a few hours.
How did you remove the air at this point?
 

Frothy Boi

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Interesting method. I was going to do a k&k for a keg filler but now I'm going to just scale this up for a 20L cube.
 

SergeMarx

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Here's the beer!

@Mick Bourke the cube is a standard HDPE water container, available in lots of places. Hardware shops always have them, I get mine second hand for $2 from a local sauce maker. Takes a while to get the vinegar smell out though!

Getting air out is no issue as I fill all the way to the top. Most the cubes I've seen have a couple of litres beyond their stated capacity, so best to measure first with water to ensure you get your gravity right. Otherwise, if it's under volume you just pop the lid on loose and squeeze them till the air is out then tighten the lid.
 

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SergeMarx

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Interesting method. I was going to do a k&k for a keg filler but now I'm going to just scale this up for a 20L cube.
Good to hear, I've been wanting someone else to jump on this so we can some tried and tested recipes up
 

altone

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You know what? Once I've done my 2 next brews I'm going to give this a go.
I'll need to buy more LDME (only use it for starters usually).

I'll just use LDME and Amarillo hops then ferment with Wy1450

Let's see what happens :)
 

pirateagenda

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doesn't this seem like a really expensive way to brew? i normally do 80-120L at a time and just punched it into beersmith... its about $160-$200 worth of LDME for a 120L batch. grain for a batch that size is normally $50-60
 

Rocker1986

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Agreed. $28 for a carton and a third isn't that cheap on a homebrew scale, most kit beers would be around that price for double the amount of beer. Obviously less for AG. Mine usually cost around $7-$8 a carton worth.
 

altone

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Agreed. $28 for a carton and a third isn't that cheap on a homebrew scale, most kit beers would be around that price for double the amount of beer. Obviously less for AG. Mine usually cost around $7-$8 a carton worth.
Eh? I see this as nearly 3 cartons, 20ish litres. 1 carton is a bit under 8 litres unless I'm mistaken.

Also the time saved is worth a few extra bucks in ingredients so long as the result tastes ok.

This is my normal brew size basically so saying a 200l all grain is much cheaper means Jack.

And at basic wage - the time saved makes it more than cost effective.

oops I think this is the first time I've disagreed with you Rocker :)
 

Rocker1986

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A carton and a third would be 1.33 cartons [emoji12] if it's being made to 20 odd litres then obviously yes it's more than that. A carton varies depending on the bottle size, standard 375mL bottles it's about 9 litres.

I don't count the time spent with mine as a 'cost' as it's an enjoyable process although I don't brew huge batches either, 21/25 litres are my batch sizes, but the ingredients cost is the same per litre/carton as if they were big batches.

Sent from my Agora 4G+ using Aussie Home Brewer mobile app
 

Frothy Boi

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Damn Rocker, you must have scored a bargain on malts and hops. I'm guessing you're reusing yeast too. I'm still at around $45 an ag brew. DME is pretty pricey but this looks a quick and easy way to put down a brew.
 

bbqzookeeper

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Reusing Yeast and committing to whole sacks of grain brought my AG brewing costs down substantially... although there is buying stirplates/flasks/having fridge space/taking time to reproduce yeast/having funds available to buy whole sacks of grain/sealer machine for bags/the hobby that always needs money spent on it.
 

Rocker1986

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Damn Rocker, you must have scored a bargain on malts and hops. I'm guessing you're reusing yeast too. I'm still at around $45 an ag brew. DME is pretty pricey but this looks a quick and easy way to put down a brew.
I buy in bulk as much as I can and yes I do reuse yeast. Sometimes I go a year or two without buying a single yeast pack as I generally rotate three strains regularly. There is obviously a cost for the DME used in the starters but I don't count that towards the batch, though it would only be a couple of bucks. Grain sacks are about $60 on bulk buys, spec malts $5-6/kg, hops around $4-5/100g. Most batches are between $20-30, but my cheapest is my red ale at about $16 for 25 litres.

There is obviously a cost for the stir plate and flasks etc but I would have done that by now even if I didn't brew AG. Still, I do it because I enjoy the process, the low cost is just an added bonus.
 

pirateagenda

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My cheapest is an aussie faux lager - actually have 85L fermenting right now.

15kg maris otter - $40
1.5kg Rice - $2
50g Hops (anything high alpha lying around) - $4
Water additions - $3
WLP059 yeast - cultured from excessive starters - LDME - $8

so under $15/keg

I guess the above method is reasonable for the time poor, but i'm with rocker - i enjoy the process
 

bbqzookeeper

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A while back I posted about my plan to combine the joys of no chilling with the convenience of DME and the science of hop utilization. Here is the final report on attempt #1.
Wanted to add that this thread is some of the most interesting reading I've done since reading through thefatdoghead's 100L 3V build.

I'm a fellow no chiller and love it!
 

SergeMarx

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Cost isn't something I had worried about too much, but I'll chime in that for these experiments I bought a 20kg box of ldme for $120. So $6 a kg, puts this brew at about $24 including the yeast and hops. Not too bad really!

But yes it's about getting a quick and decent result. I love all grain brewing, it's a bloody fine day, and this can give you an extra brew while you're waiting for an all grain process to finish.

Anyway, who needs a reason to muck about with different ways of making our favourite beverage!
 
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