Author Topic: BIAB w/beersmith?  (Read 12472 times)

Offline Chas at Tahoe

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BIAB w/beersmith?
« on: July 09, 2010, 08:15:04 PM »
I read an article by beersmith about Brew-in-a-Bag and am interested in trying BIAB now.  My problem is that I'm an extract brewer and would be jumping into all grain and BIAB at the same time.  I've never done a mash profile and really don't know where to begin.  I'm a risk taker but like to minimize the odds of failure as much as possible.

I would like to do another wheat but I've heard that's a bad place to start.  My water profile here suites a wheat I think, though I have brewed a wonderful Irish Red from extract with no water treatment.  My water has practically no minerals; Right off the snow pack.

Would any body be interested in a step by step for a neophyte all grain-er?

I have two complete extract brewing setups including a wort chiller and two 5 gal carboys.  I have an 8.5gal and 5gal kettle to use.
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Offline MaltLicker

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Re: BIAB w/beersmith?
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2010, 05:46:07 AM »
I would recommend keeping it simple and not worrying much about water chemistry at first.  Any style you like that can be done with single infusion and one mash temp would work. 

If you have them, you could safely add 1 gram epsom salt and 1 gram calcium chloride to your mash water for any style to ensure sufficient calcium and magnesium for yeast performance. 

You'd likely boil in your larger pot, so you could mash in the smaller pot and keep it in a warm oven to hold your mash temp.  Palmer covers a basic technique in App C of his book and others here can assist as well with the BIAG part.  Good luck.

Offline Chas at Tahoe

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Re: BIAB w/beersmith?
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2010, 02:04:36 PM »
If I wanted to do a 2gal batch to start would the 5gal kettle work ok?  I don't know what the grain adds to the volumn of a mash.
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Offline switzead

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Re: BIAB w/beersmith?
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2010, 08:14:13 AM »
Try this link about half way down you can enter how much grain you plan on using and the water to grain ratio and it will tell you how big you mash tun (pot) need to be. http://www.rackers.org/calcs.shtml

For a 2 gallon batch, a 5 gallon pot/mash tun would be plenty.  My concern is you said you have 5 gallon carboys, those are a little big for a 2 gallon batch, too much head space unless you purge with CO2.

Offline Chas at Tahoe

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Re: BIAB w/beersmith?
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2010, 03:02:17 PM »
Thanks for the link.  Just what I needed.

I'm looking for a 2gal jug for my fermenter.  I've seen them at my local brew shop and the price is not to bad but It's a long drive.  Garage sales, here I com.  :o)

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Offline BobBrews

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Re: BIAB w/beersmith?
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2010, 07:35:34 AM »
Chas at Tahoe,

Brew in a bag for me is about simplicity. I put in 7.5 gallons of water for every boil. When I pull the bag I run about 1/2 gallon of water over the grain to wash out as much sugar as I can. I dump this back into the pot. I normally do a 60 minuet boil and this serves me well. water to grist ratio is not importent as adjusting the bag so the grain is "as you want it". Try
A Guide to Mini-BIAB by Ralph deVoil

http://www.biabrewer.info/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=153
« Last Edit: September 26, 2010, 06:05:53 AM by BobBrews »
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Offline Chas at Tahoe

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Re: BIAB w/beersmith?
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2010, 06:32:31 PM »
I did a batch of wheat beer in a BIAB.  I wanted to try an apple hefe and BIAB and all grain so I put them all together in the same batch.

disaster after disaster. 
First I bought grain for a  hefe, only to find when I got home that the malted wheat was not crushed.  I didn't want to make a 52  mile trip to town so I used my coffee grinder.  I think, by the time I was done, that I could have made cookies from my wheat. ugh.

So I put 2.5gal of water in my 5gal kettle and mashed my grain at 155 deg for 90 min.  My og was 1.048. (!!) second disaster.  By the time I got it into the furmentation bucket i had a little less than 2gal of wort.

My next disaster was my, "son of a wort chiller".  I had it in storage and a gasoline leak had dripped onto the base.  The base of my wort chiller was a puddle on the floor.

So I had 2gal of wort at og of 1.048 in half a wort chiller on a waterproof tarp on my living room floor.  I put the ice bags in and set the thermostate at 64degf.  At 80deg ambient temp the fan was running continously but I got my wort down to 70deg.  Unfortunately I couldn't keep enough ice in it and had to give up on a steady temp.  Fortunately thunder storms rolled in and my temp range hung between 65 and 73 deg.  (!!)

I racked about 1.5 gal into my secondary at an sg of 1.034 and left a boat load of "stuff" on the bottom of my bucket.

Does anyone think I have a shot at getting anything worth drinking into a bottle?
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Offline BobBrews

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Re: BIAB w/beersmith?
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2010, 07:51:29 AM »
Chas,
    Everyone gets skunked now and then. I have screwed up more times than I dare to admit. I also must say that sometimes those beers were very good! I have missed temperatures (by a lot!), forgotten (Major) ingredients and contaminated the wort by sloppiness. All of these are dumb mistakes caused by me but The beers come out OK? I hope the best for you and do let us know what the results are.
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Offline Chas at Tahoe

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Re: BIAB w/beersmith?
« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2010, 10:49:03 PM »
I tossed it.  After two weeks in the secondary the sg had not changed.  I tasted it and it was blah.

My first bad batch.  Fortunately it was only 1/2 batch.
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Offline SleepySamSlim

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Re: BIAB w/beersmith?
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2010, 12:47:02 AM »
Hi Chas - Glad to hear you are still brewing away there in Tahoe. I've been dabbling in Stove Top Partial Mashing (basically BIAB) for about 6 months and will give you my 2cents. As an extract brewer myself - I see simple partial mashing as a fine (and fun) way to make your brews a bit more tasty and authentic. Basically I use the method that Jamil Zainasheff discusses in appendix C of the very useful book - Brewing Classic Styles.

First off plan on doing your usual sized batch - not a half batch. Second, for your first couple of partial mashes use an ale recipe thats worked well as an extract batch in the past. The goal here is to brew something you're familiar with so you can better judge the results. Also if the recipe is in BSmith you can use the conversion feature.

So hopefully you have a recipe in BSmith - make a duplicate of that recipe and then run the convert feature to let BSmith convert it to Partial mash. Run the conversion --- use either a standard US 2 row as the base malt or go with Maris Otter if you want an English bready flavor. For New Brew House Efficiency -- plug in 50% for your first batch.  BSmith usually adjusts the extract amounts down and plops about 1lb of base malt into the recipe. You now have a rough partial mash recipe.

Next clean up the recipe as BSmith may have created some weird fractional grain or extract amounts - round up or down a smidge as needed. If you want to you can up the base malt to 1.25lb or 1.5lb and reduce your extract accordingly.

Get your grains crushed - extract - hops - etc.   -- Stop by a paint store (or 2) and look for nylon paint strainers that fit 5gal paint buckets. These are large nylon mesh cloth fabric used to strain paint and make great large mashing bags for about $1.50 a piece. Hand wash the strainers with some non-scented soap at home and rinse well.

You have 2 big pots already so you are in good shape. Use the smaller pot for mashing and the large pot as your brew pot. Now for every pound of grist (grain) - put 1.5 quarts of water into the mash pot. If you have 2lbs of grain you'll use 3qts of water. Heat the mash water to 165deg F --- while the water is heating I get a large clean bowl - lay out the cleaned paint strainer in the bowl and pour your grains in. When the water hits 165deg - pull it off the stove - gently immerse the grains into the water - stir gently with a spoon so all grains are immersed and wetted. Put a lid on the pot. Cover the pot with a small blanket - fleece - etc. to retain as much heat as possible.

You are now mashing. With the water at 165deg and adding a couple pounds of grains in the temperature will drop to around 155deg. As noted by Jamil you will mash for 60 minutes. You can mash anywhere between 145-155degrees and be fine. And yes the mash temp will slowly fall so at 30min you may need to pop it back on to the stove for a few minutes. Your first couple of mashes just work on staying over 145deg. The issue here is at different mash temperatures different enzymes are active working on starches in different ways producing different sugars.

While you are mashing away fill your brew pot with 1.5 - 2gal of water and as your mash time ends this water needs to be at 165deg. Put the mash pot next to the brew pot and lift the grain bag up and let it drain for a minute over the mash. DO NOT SQUEEZE. Now dip the grain bag into the brew pot water and slowly swirl it around like a huge tea-bag. You are now sparging.  Sparge for 5 - 10min. Lift the grain bag and let drain again - resist the urge to squeeze - and now discard the grains. Add the mash liquid (now called liquor) to your brew pot - top off to your usual boil volume and brew as you normally would adding extract - hops - etc.

At the end you'll measure your OG --- most likely you will be off a bit. This is most likely a reflection of your Brew House Eff. which we guessed as 50%. Leave the OG where it is and ferment as usual. You can adjust your Eff up or down to dial in your OG on the next batch. Get Palmers book on brewing and start skimming thru the section on mashing and things will start to make more sense.

Good Luck
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Offline Chas at Tahoe

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Re: BIAB w/beersmith?
« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2010, 04:47:53 PM »
Wow, you always seem to come through with just what I need.  Thanks.

I'm down in Reno now.  Just couldn't afford to live at the lake anymore.  I bought a nice 1900sqft w/2car garage in South Reno for $300/month less than rent for a 900sqft condo w/no garage at the lake.  The drive to work won't be as pleasant but much more affordable and now I can brew in my garage!  Mama didn't like me boiling wort on her ceramic top stove in the kitchen. :)

No more h2o from Lake Tahoe though.  I guess I'm going to have to learn how to treat my water.  The ph here is about 8.5 and lots of minerals. ugh.  My Irish Red should be more authentic though.  I think the Kilkenny water profile is fairly similar.

I wouldn't have thought of using a paint strainer for a biab bag.  I did make a voile bag to fit my 5gal boil kettle.  My first attempt was pretty pitiful.  I tossed it.  I was trying to brew a 1/2 batch just before my move and couldn't manage it properly.  I went to a new brew shop in Carson City and the guy gave me uncrushed grain.  I didn't notice until I got home, 26 miles, so tried to crush in a coffee grinder.  It didn't work.  haha.  Surprise!  It did work a lot better than I expected but my og was about 200.  :o) just kidding.  It was about 48, way to high.  I had lots of "stuff" floating around in there.

The carpet cleaner is due here around Wednesday and until then we are living only on the hardwood floor space.  Until then I can't really move in and get to where I could try your technique.  Maybe in a couple weeks I'll have a report.

Thanks for the input, Sleepysamsmith, much appreciated.
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Offline MaltLicker

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Re: BIAB w/beersmith?
« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2010, 08:20:55 PM »
Congrats on buying a place with a garage for brewing!

You could adopt "Chas Owns Reno" as a new moniker.

Offline Chas at Tahoe

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Re: BIAB w/beersmith?
« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2010, 11:26:26 PM »
I made up some labels and a 4pack with graphics.  I called my self, "Cold Garage Brew Haus".  The cold garage part is still true, even though it's insulated.  I've never had an insulated garage before. 

The previous owner obviously loved his house and garage.  It's a tragic story.  I bought it from the bank.  I wish I knew where he was.  I'd return his, "Dad's workshop" sign from over the window of the garage. snif, snif.   :-[  The realtor told us there were a lot of tragic stories in Reno.

Can't wait to get my furniture out of the garage so I can brew a batch. 
Maybe, "Chas owns in Reno"?  ;)
Little known quotes you never heard in school:
Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. Ben Franklin