First BIAB Attempt

Discussion in 'Beginners Brewing Forum' started by BrutusBrew, May 3, 2021.

  1. BrutusBrew

    BrutusBrew Member

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    Hey everyone!

    So I have been wanted to try my hand at BIAB for a while so a few weeks back I took a day off and brewed up an IPA that I found in the recipes section of this site. I was going for as simple of a recipe as I could find from a process standpoint, just so I could focus some of the new techniques in the BIAB method and not have to worry about some of the more technical items, such as sparging, that I don't really have the equipment for yet.

    After a week of bottle conditioning, curiosity got the best of me and I opened a bottle. What I had created was what I would best describe as hopped cider, it was sweet tasting and was fairly light colored and clear, but not recognizable as an IPA by any means. Not what I was aiming for. Have been doing a lot of research to see what adjustments need to be made, but wanted to turn here as well.

    Some notes from grain to glass:
    • I started off my mash with 4 gallons of RO water purchased from the local grocery store
    • I was able to maintain my mash temp over the 60 minute mash, only losing about 3 degrees F in the first 45 minutes
    • I was slightly below the targeted pre-boil gravity of 1.046 so I added about 1.3oz of DME and was able to hit the target, up from 1.033 before the DME addition
    • 60 minute boil that followed the hop schedule. I also used a hop spider to keep as much of the hop particles out of the wort
    • While transferring the wort into the fermenter, I did strain it through a separate hop spider to filter out any additional gunk as it went into the fermentor (there was very little)
    • Fermentation was 2 weeks, with OG = 1.061 and FG = 1.008, using White Labs California Ale Yeast WLP001. This was my first time using this yeast and it came out mostly solid with a small amount of liquid. As a result, I over pitched by about double the recommended amount. Yeast was stored in a refrigerator until about 7 hours prior to pitch
    • At the moment I do not have functional temp control. Temps during fermentation ranged from 63F (at yeast pitch) to 73F (at peak of fermentation). I have a Tilt and track my fermentations a couple of times a day. Data shows the overall average temp during fermentation was 67.7F
    • Beer was bottle conditioned at about the same temp in 22oz bottles, using 2 tabs of priming sugar per bottle
    After some research I am going to make the following adjustments next time:
    • Add gypsum and calcium chloride to the RO water pre-mash
    • Not squeeze the bag while it is draining
    • Massage/shake/stir the yeast packet to hopefully break up the solid and turn it into liquid
    My goal is to have a solid BIAB IPA recipe that is as close to the "West Coast IPA" style I can get (think Stone IPA). I probably need to adjust the grain bill some and then I will play around with hops to adjust flavors.

    Sorry for the book, ended up typing more than I intended. Thoughts and suggestions are VERY welcome. I am not trying to win any comps with my beer, just trying to make a beer that I would be proud to show off.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Mark Farrall

    Mark Farrall Well-Known Member

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    Squeeze the bag as much, or as little, as you like, the tannins coming out is a myth. You need reasonably high temperature and pH to extract tannins, something that's really hard to do with a standard BIAB process. You can't extract tannins with your arms.

    I'm not seeing anything in your changes or descriptions that would stop you getting another sweet, underwhelming IPA. Can you link to the recipe? And what sort of an IPA were you looking for? There's so many substyles of IPA that it has become a nearly useless description for a beer with hops in it.
     
  3. Donoroto

    Donoroto Well-Known Member

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    Your beer should have come out fine. Your process is solid. None of your 'next time' points will make a huge difference (although none are a bad idea, things will go well without them. For example, I squeeze the grain all the time).

    But ahhhh, sweet cider. Bummer.

    I am also kinda new to this, so I can't think of a fix at the moment, sorry. But let's wait for others to chime in...
     
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  4. BrutusBrew

    BrutusBrew Member

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    Thanks Mark, here is a link to the recipe:

    https://www.brewersfriend.com/homebrew/recipe/view/443153/ipa-simcoe-amarillo

    I have enjoyed professionally brewed IPAs with these hops, which was one of the draws for me.

    I was shooting for a West Coast style IPA, something clean, crisp and hoppy.
     
  5. Megary

    Megary Well-Known Member

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    I was slightly below the targeted pre-boil gravity of 1.046 so I added about 1.3oz of DME and was able to hit the target, up from 1.033 before the DME addition

    That is way more than “slightly below” your targeted pre-boil gravity. Can I ask how you measured your pre-boil gravity? Was the sample at room or “mash” temperature?
     
  6. BrutusBrew

    BrutusBrew Member

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    #6 BrutusBrew, May 4, 2021
    Last edited: May 4, 2021
    I placed my tilt in the boil kettle as the bag was draining and took periodic measurements. The 1.033 was at the end of the drain and the wort was something like 150F.
     
  7. Megary

    Megary Well-Known Member

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    Ok. I’m not familiar with the tilt, so I’ll assume it has a temperature correction.

    Your linked recipe is based on an ending kettle efficiency of 78%. For your first BIAB, you probably should have set that for 65, 70 tops. That would have changed your estimated gravities by a mile. How did you crush your grains? For BIAB, a very fine crush is usually preferred.
     
  8. Sunfire96

    Sunfire96 Well-Known Member

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    Agreed that everything seems fine, but I am also a newer brewer. Did you sanitize the hop spider that you filtered through to the fermenter?
     
  9. BrutusBrew

    BrutusBrew Member

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    Thanks! Will adjust the efficiency for the recipe next time. Using the brewhouse calculator on this site I just calculated an efficiency of 69.7% for this brew.

    Grains were singled milled. I will be using double milled grains next time. That is an adjustment I should have put in my original post.
     
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  10. BrutusBrew

    BrutusBrew Member

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    Oh yeah, it spent about 10 minutes in a StarSan solution before I did the filter into the fermenter.
     
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  11. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    You would have needed about 3/4 of a pound of DME to get from 1046 to 1059, what you added would not likely have made much difference. Seems that you just have a really low ABV beer there. Let's say that your 1.3oz of DME raised the SG to 1034, and let's say that your FG was 1008 this is you ABV calculation.
    Screenshot_20210503-225318_Chrome.jpg
     
  12. soccerdad

    soccerdad Well-Known Member

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    Two thoughts from me. Not professional observation by any means.
    1) 60 minutes is not anywhere in The Brew Bible. You can mash longer and brew longer. In this case, if you had mashed longer, even with the single pass through the mill, the grains may have been more fully saturated and released more sugars, giving you the higher pre boil measurement that you hoped for. Some folks mash overnight. Hold the temp for an hour before bed, then leave it and pick back up when you wake up. Worth a try. ps .. There is no brew bible .. That was hyperbole or alliteration or some silly literary convention.
    2) Less than 2 ounces of hops in a two gallon batch (or more accurately 61 IBUs) is, in my experience, on the very low end of hop bitterness for an IPA.

    "Cidery" to me, means low maltiness which is noted in 1 above, and a low level of hop bitterness, flavor and aroma which is somewhat addressed in 2.

    Best wishes as you try again.
     
  13. Mark Farrall

    Mark Farrall Well-Known Member

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    So this is more about the recipe than your process. The grain bill is a fairly modern, blonde one. I like those, but you may prefer something a bit more malty?

    The hop amounts are pretty conservative. How long did you keep the hops in the wort after the boil? Or did you start cooling immediately?

    Things that I'd do different (there's no right way, just the way that works for you). I'd have combined the 5 and 0 minute additions into one addition after I'd turned out the flame and let things cool off. I'd have then let it sit for 20 - 30 minutes. And I'd probably have added 2 - 3 times as much in the flameout/hop stand/whirlpool addition.

    Then there's no dry hop. That's key to an IPA for me. I'd be adding as much as I added for the hop stand or maybe a bit more, just as fermentation is starting to finish. I'd then leave that for 2 days or until fermentation is finished whichever is later.

    And for something that calls itself West Coast I like to add some of the 90s C hops, Centennial generally. I do love Simcoe and Amarillo, especially with a bit of Citra, but that feels more like a modern hazy to me.
     
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  14. Donoroto

    Donoroto Well-Known Member

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    So, as you drink this batch, make the next batch with: More hops & Longer mash.

    As a data point, there is a recipe for Wayner's Pale Ale that uses over a pound of hops in a 5 gallon batch. It is VERY hoppy.

    Don't fear the sparge. Basically, after draining out the wort, you pour some more water over the grain to rinse it. For biab, it might be just a dunk if the grain bag into a quart or three of hot (170 F) water. Rinse a bit (5 min) and squeeze, add whatever you get to the rest of the wort in the boil pot.

    Then boil until you hit your volume requirement.

    Might get you a bit of efficiency there.
     
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  15. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    There are a couple ways that I can think of to sparge with BIAB. When I did BIAB I found a strainer that would sit on top of my kettle to put the bag in and pour water over it.
    upload_2021-5-4_8-42-30.png

    Some will do a dunk sparge where they move the bag to a bucket add the sparge water, then raise the bag to let it drain, and add the "second runnings" to the kettle.
     
  16. BrutusBrew

    BrutusBrew Member

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    Thanks everyone, really appreciate the feedback! Will be incorporating these ideas into my next attempt and adjusting, adjusting, adjusting along the way.

    Like I said, this was my first attempt at a BIAB, all other brew attempts were extract and turned out good. Part of what I am enjoying is learning how everything works to come together to make beer. I have a long way to go but will keep trying until I find a recipe that works for me.

    Glad there is a forum like this that is so helpful to someone so new to the hobby.
     
  17. KiwiDave

    KiwiDave New Member

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    Enjoyed reading all the ideas in this post. As I am about to plunge into the world of biab method of brewing. Going to look at a 35litre electric kettle later.
     
  18. Minbari

    Minbari Active Member

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    Pretty sure that was the problem. The tilt only measures to 140°F and even then. It shouldn't be used to make measurments. A hydrometer or refractometer @ room temp is the only way to go. I an guessing it was ALOT higher than 1.033.
     
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  19. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    I can't see how this beer ended up tasting sweet when It finished at 1.008
    A pretty straight forward grist there with some caramel 20.
    When you said it finished sweet I thought oh just add some Cane sugar in at the end of the boil this with thin it out a bit.

    Surely you got some flavour and aroma from them lovely hops unless you somehow oxidized it at packagaing.

    My recommendation listen to the brewers comments above brew the same recipie again
    And Add more hops if you want more flavour.
    It's pretty hard to stuff it up don't stress.
    I don't have a tilt but I wouldn't use it to measure mash temps or anything outside of the fermentor where it belongs.
    Find a trusty digital thermometer.
    Mash in the middle or just higher than middle of Sacc range.
    Sparging well you can tackle this once you've got a few more brews under your belt.
    Good luck.
    Hey and maybe them bottles will come good with a bit more age one them.
    Dont dispare it can only get better from here:).
     
  20. _Stephen_

    _Stephen_ New Member

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    Just to clarify a hydrometer is calibrated to a specific temperature. Mine for example reads accurate at 60F. It says on the hydrometer as they are not all the same. There is an online calculater here on brewers friend to adjust for temperature within reason - meaning 140 is really too hot to get an accurate reading even with the calculator and the glass could even shatter. I use a refractometer for hot wort as it takes just a few drops and then I take a hydometer reading when cooled before pitching yeast for my "official" OG.
     
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