Finally, from scratch

Discussion in 'Beginners Brewing Forum' started by Zambezi Special, Jul 31, 2019.

  1. Zambezi Special

    Zambezi Special Well-Known Member

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    #1 Zambezi Special, Jul 31, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2019
    So yesterday I went to work.
    It took a while due to all kind of small things still needing to be done.
    Finding fittings for cooling spiral, find right settings for fridge, testing malt crusher etc.

    It didn't go too bad.
    I made plenty of false assumptions though, like water retained by malt (much less in BIAB than I thought), evaporation rate while boiling (also a lot less), my own strength (15 litres water, 2.4 kg malt and weight of kettle is close to the limit of what I can carry), time it took to crush the grain etc.

    Result is probably going to be a light alcohol beer.
    Not as bad as I initially though as I put in a wrong yeast in brewtarget, with a lower attenuation percentage hjan the one I actually used (I used M41 and put in the figures of M47).
    End SG should be 1008

    The recipe is here: https://www.brewersfriend.com/forum/threads/recipe-help.11744/

    I started with crushing the grain with my little grain mill called Marga. She's not a fast lady and it took about 1.5-2 hrs to crush everything by hand.
    Everything went into the BIAB bag and into 15 liters of water straight from the hot tap, 70-71 oC. After pushing the grains around a bit, the temperature got to 66-67 oC, so pretty much on target.
    I got to insulate the kettle better, as after an hour the temperature was close to 60 oC and that's too low.
    Put the kettle on the fire and heated to about 77 oC and removed the grain bag and squeezed out most liquid. While heating the kettle, the bag was sitting on top of a ladle to prevent burning.

    I took a sample when the liquid was close to burning and let it cool. The hydrometer gave a reading of 1020. pH was 5.5.

    I boiled for an hour and added the hop according to schedule. I thought I was clever by putting the hop in a rice-egg, but first the thing opened up and besides that, the hop just disappeared through the holes.....

    After an hour I started cooling with the cooling spiral and managed to bring the temperature down to about 36-37 oC. After, the effect was minimal and I moved the wort to the fermenter. I moved everything, so all hop bits and pieces as well. The I moved the fermenter to the fermentation fridge and pitched the yeast the next morning.
    The refractometer reading was 7.5 - 8, which equates to 1030-1032. (obviously this reading was taken before the yeast was pitched).
    pH was 5.0-5.5

    Now the waiting game has begun.....
     
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  2. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    Nice!
    Is this your first batch of beer?
     
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  3. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    Congrats! The thing I discovered very quickly is how little things you think are going to help just screw you up. Hopefully it turns into lovely beer.
     
  4. Zambezi Special

    Zambezi Special Well-Known Member

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    It's my second batch, but the first was from a all grain pack with crushed grains and everything pre-measured
    Also BIAB, but with different pots and pans etc.

    So the first one where I sort of had to make all decisions by myself :)
     
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  5. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    Congratulations!
     
  6. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Onya maaattttteeee! Many Happy brew sessions to ya;).
     
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  7. Zambezi Special

    Zambezi Special Well-Known Member

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    Checked this morning and it's nicely bubbling away.
    So far so good :)
     
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  8. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    Science!!!!!
     
  9. Herm_brews

    Herm_brews Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to brewing - have fun!
     
  10. Zambezi Special

    Zambezi Special Well-Known Member

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    After asking some more bottling questions here: https://www.brewersfriend.com/forum/threads/almost-bottling-time-some-last-minute-questions.11913/, I bottled on the 19th. FG was low at 1.002-1.003
    I ended up with 18 litres, bottled in 500 ml pet bottles and a couple of Grolsch swingtops, 3.6 gr sugar per bottle (3 little spoons per bottle, the spoon fits inside the neck of the bottle).
    Now we'll wait and see.

    I just wanted to update this thread with the adjustments I feel are necessary for the next batch:
    They may be of use for other beginners ;)
    - Grain can be crushed finer (I think)
    - Pre-heat the kettle by pouring hot water in it, before mashing
    - Insulate the kettle better
    - Maybe use a bigger brew bag
    - Weigh the spent grain to get an accurate number for water absorption. In the mean time lower it from the figure originally used
    - Adjust boil-off figures
    - When pouring the wort to the fermenter, pour through a sieve as I didn't and ended up with a lot of trub/sediment

    Next update in a week or 2, when it is time to taste:D
     
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  11. Herm_brews

    Herm_brews Well-Known Member

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    The first batch that I made all grain, BIAB, I ran my grains through the mill once at my lhbs. Since that first batch, I took the advice to double mill my grain bill, and conversion has been much better. In fact, this past Monday I achieved ~92% conversion
     
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  12. Hamner Brewhouse

    Hamner Brewhouse Active Member

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    BIAB you can definitely mill finer. I personally think milling to a powder is a bit aggressive, but to each their own. As I don't have a grain mill yet, my grains were milled by my LHBS to whatever they set it at. I must be getting better at this. Brewhouse efficiencies were 67%, then 72% I think, and last batch was 75%. I would bet with a finer crush I could get 80%+ easily.

    I just dump from kettle to bucket. To mitigate the trub problem I transfer to Secondary in a carboy after initial fermentation appears to have ceased. Then I let it sit in Secondary for a week or two. This process tends to eliminate a lot of trub material.

    I look forward to hearing how this batch turned out.
     
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  13. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    Congrats! A couple more brews to dial in your new setup and you'll be set. Don't fear the trub and hop debris. The only problem is if your fermenter size doesn't allow for the extra volume. Given enough time it will settle out and compact along with the yeast. Lowering the temperature after fermentation is complete will speed the process.
    If you're harvesting yeast, you might want to bag your hops in something that contains them better.
     
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  14. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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  15. Lord Callahad

    Lord Callahad New Member

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    Why are you mashing out at 77C? Doesnt removing the bag do the same thing? Look forward to see how this all turns out. I'll be doing my first ever AG BIAB soon, been doing full boil extract brews so far
     
  16. Zambezi Special

    Zambezi Special Well-Known Member

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    Frankly, I have no idea!
    My instructions in the first batch all grain said so, and since I didn't think it could do any harm, I repeated it.
    I don't think it is really mashing out. I just put the kettle back on the stove and when the liquid was 77 oC, I immediately removed the bag and let the liquid drain from the bag and then squeezed out as much as possible
     
  17. Lord Callahad

    Lord Callahad New Member

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    I always thought that final increase was to denatured all the enzymes so that you put a full stop to the mash. Pulling that big sucker out of there in one go surely means you dont need to worry about it. I guess we'll wait to see if any more experienced brewmeisters chip in!
     
  18. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    That makes total sence I've never thought of it like that (removing grains from mash). I've mashed out many batches at or around that temp just because so and thinking increased temp =better sparge.

    A recent brulosophy exbeeriment was on this mash out vs no mash out would be worth a read. They found no significant no extra extraction nada.

    I'm mashing atm(biab) and guess what no mash out for this fella tonight!
     
  19. Hamner Brewhouse

    Hamner Brewhouse Active Member

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    That was my understanding of the mash out step. I wonder if that is one of those procedures that commercial batch brewers would need to do, but for us homebrew batch brewers it's unnecessary...
     
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  20. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    #20 BOB357, Aug 23, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2019
    If you're fly sparging, which often takes an hour or more, you may want to denature the enzymes first to set the wort fermentability. The increased temperature also makes the wort less viscous, which can lead to better extraction and lessen the chance of a stuck sparge.
    With batch sparging and no sparge you'll likely have the wort in the kettle and up to 170 just as fast, so you're essentially mashing out without the extra step.
    With BIAB, I have read where some brewers claim the step gives them a little better extraction. I can see that being true when the grist includes a high percentage of adjuncts and/or the mash cooled significantly before conversion was complete. Other than that, I agree with Hamner.
     
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