First Batch BIAB - Need some adjustments

Pyrexic

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Made my first BIAB batch yesterday and not 100% happy with the results and need to make some adjustments before next brew day. Some issues I think I have a solution for, but nothing is better than experience which is the thing I don't have yet. So if there are better ways, please offer suggestions:

1. Mash went well, at 153F for 60 min, tested w/ iodine and no starch left. Let drain and did a medium squeeze on the bag. I was surprised how cloudy the wort was, but not sure if it was due to the grain bill - 10 lb 2 row, 1 lb flaked oats, 1 lb flaked wheat, and .5 lb each of carapils and honey malt. Is this normal for BAIB? Not to worried, just didn't know if this is a technique thing that I can change? Good protein break.

2. For the BIAB, I bought a GasOne kettle 64 qt. Came with drain valve, thermometer, torpedo screen and bottom screen. I installed the torpedo screen, which I think was a mistake, or I made several other mistakes along the way. Used a hop spider for the bittering hops, but obviously didn't plan well enough. Went to put in the wort chiller, and not enough room for everything (wort chiller, hop spider, and didn't want to crush the torpedo screen. This is where everything went downhill. I removed the hop spyder, put in the wort chiller with 10 min remaining. There was 1oz of pellet hops at 5 mn and 2 oz of pellet hops and 2 oz of whole cone hops at flame out. Like an idiot, i just dumped them in the kettle thinking the torpedo screen would filter that out. Needless to say, transfering to the fermenter was a nightmare and hopefully didn't ruin the beer. It had a lot of double handling to get it out and although I was sanitizing everything it was by far the ugliest transfer ever. This leads to a couple of questions:
- Do you typically keep the torpedo screen in when you BIAB? I would think yes and just better plan with either using the hop spider or a hop bag.
- Is there any harm in keeping the wort chiller in for the whole boil? I can maneuver the wort chiller around the torpedo screen just hard to do with a pot of boiling wort.
- I didn't want to use the false bottom that would protect the torpedo screen because I was concerned about scorching the wort. Does anyone boil with a false bottom?
- Does anyone make a wider and shorter coil for a wort chiller? It worked well since I have a pre-chiller in ice water, but part of the problem was that my hop spider doesn't fit in the middle of the wort chiller, and there are 2-3 coils above the wort. The kettle is 16.5" in dia. and my wort chiller is probably 10-12". I intend to try to modify it before the next brew.

3. Lasly, besides trial and error, I feel like I was way off on my starting water volume. Used 3 different calculators, all had slightly different numbers but used the largest one. I measured the dead space and used the non-squeeze volume for grain adsorption. So I think my boil off rate is way off. There should be a way to calculate this based on surface area and vapor pressure of water/wort. My target was 5.5 gal into the fermenter. I started with 7.8 gal before the mash. due to all of the issues with the hops and the transfer, I essentially strained and transferred all of the wort, so no dead volume and barely got 4.9 gal into the fermenter. Based on that, I was nearly 1.5 gal off. Starting gravity was in range so I didn't add any additional water, just pitched my entire starter (1L). I put the gran bag in a bucket and when the wort was in the fermenter and was cleaning up, there was maybe 4-6oz at the bottom that had drained out of the grain. I know I lost some due to the hops, but it cant be that much. Any help here? I feel if I would have started with 9.3 gal my starting gravity would have been way off.

Sorry for being so long winded, if there were an actual homebrew store I would just go in and talk with them, but good ole Northern Brewer bought our our local store and is now online only.

Thanks in advance.
 
Taking your questions/concerns in order:

1. The oats certainly contributed to the cloudiness. Don't fret it at all. I had a set squeeze using a colander and a flat lid which fit inside when did BIAB. The cloudy wort is typically not a problem as most of it is proteins which will flock at the hot break and at the cold break when chilling afterwards.

2. Breaking down your bulleted questions:
  • I don't use a torpedo screen or a false bottom, so I really cannot help you here.
  • If you have a copper wort chiller, I would not keep it in during the whole boil. Acidic wort + Copper = excessive erosion of the chiller and potentially too much dissolved copper in the wort. Some is helpful, more is toxic to the yeast.
  • Again, not using a torpedo screen.
  • 2-3 coils above the wort should not be an issue. If you chill by adding the cold water at the bottom, the coils at the top will be hot.
  • I use my hop spider during the boil for bittering and mid addition hops. Late additions are added using a hop bag so that I can remove the hop spider at the end of the boil and clean it out. I add my chiller after taking volume measurements and sample for gravity. THe wort temperature is still well above 200 F and will further sanitize the chiller (which has been soaking in sanitizer before being added to the kettle). There is no way the addition of the chiller itself will bring the temperature below 162 F which is the typical temperature for quick Pasteurization.
  • The diameter of the chiller should not significantly impact the chilling. The rate of chilling is more related to the amount of surface area of the chiller and the temperature differential of the chill water v. the wort. Increasing the diameter will increase the surface area some, but it will create a bigger center area where the impact of the chilling will take longer to reach. I have had best luck with a chiller where there is approximately the same distance (both sides) outside the coils and the outer walls of the vessel as on the inside of the coils.
  • Your volume issues most likely relate to not having your process defined well enough in the equipment profile. Accurate measurements of the volumes into the vessel, after the mash bag is removed, and at the end of the boil, will help with defining both the amount of grain absorption and the boil off rate. Update your profile with these numbers and over a few brews you will find you are getting closer numbers to the software.
  • I have planned on a standard loss of a liter at the end of the boil, so I can transfer my desired volume of wort to the fermenter and what is left over is the wort less some of the absorption of the wort by the hops. I had done the work of trying to model this, but it is much easier to plan on some waste at the end. This also takes the pressure off of being dead nuts accurate with my initial water addition. I can be off by 20 to 40 ml of water and the ending wort will not negatively affect my volume to the fermenter.
  • The additional loss of water in the grain which will seep out over time will be accounted for if you do the pre-mash volume vs post mash volume and use that to calculate your grain absorption. Squeezing what you can out of the bag will minimize this and improve your mash efficiency some as well.
I hope this helps a bit.
 
I agree with Oginme although I used to do BIAB slightly differently.
I would get rid of the torpedo filter. If there is a lot of trub and hops in the kettle, it will plug every time. If there is no stuff in the kettle, you don't need it. I never tried a fals bottom, but did use a sanitized mesh bag in a giant funnel as a filter for a while when transferring to the fermenter.

I changed to using a hop basket and made a cooler coil that fit with it in the kettle out of copper tube. I used to just rinse the coil in hot water and add it to the boil about 10mins before the end. I used to get concerned that the copper would go in tarnished and nasty looking and come out shiny and clean but it didn't seem to cause problems! You can also soak it in an alkaline cleaner e.g. PBW and then rinse which will make it shiny before it goes in.

I don't do BIAB anymore and have also switched to a stainless steel cooler coil that fits with the hop basket. I rinse it in hot water and stick it in at flame out now and let it pasteurize like Oginme.

You can also get stainless steel hop tubes with screw on lid that take up less space than a hop spider/basket. The cheap ones are useless (the threads don't work on the lid) but a decent one, the threads actually work and you could add hops along the way. I just use them for dry hopping and haven't tried them in the boil, but they may be an option if you are struggling with space in the boiler.
 
Thanks. I am definitely not using the torpedo screen again. I opened up the coil on the wort chiller since it is copper and now the hop spider will fit easily in the middle.

This recipe has two dry hop additions. Any recommendations on a good hop bag that is easy to get out of a carboy when finished. Looking at my notes from years ago, I would just dry hop directly into the carboy, no bag. But there is already so much trub and I'm short on my batch size to start, I don't want to add to the trub. I realize the hops will soak up some beer, but not much I can do there.

Just curious, for 5 gal all grain batches with nominally 10-12lbs of grain, what is your starting volume if you BIAB. I know it varies, but trying to get a feel if 7.6 gal to start was low or it really is an equipment tuning issue.
 
You can get "carboy dry hoppers". They are skinny stainless steel mesh tubes that fit through the hole. I've never used them. I switched to conical fermenters with a spigot many years ago and dont remember what I used with a carboy.

I looked at a couple of old biab recipes I have and they are exactly where you are at for water volume.
It depends 100% on your equipment though. I go through the excersize of boiling 7 goals of water for an hour and checking the boil off rate. Measure what's left in the bottom of your kettle and fermenter after you drain them etc.
It takes a while to dial it in over a few brews.
It sounds like you had a few issues on this one so it may not be representative.
 
What kind of carboy do you have? It sounds like you have a glass one with a narrow neck. I would advise you to get rid of it and purchase a plastic or stainless steel one. Glass carboys are heavy and dangerous. It has been said that there are two kinds of glass carboys: those that have broken and those that are going to break. Plastic ones are light, shatterproof and easy to clean since most have openings wide enough to get your arm in. With those it is easy to get dry hop bags out.

--GF
 
Thanks. After trying to get 3 oz of dry hops through the narrow neck of my glass carboy, i went and bought a plastic fermonster. This was a first batch back after over 20 year away from the hoby and boy have things changed. So far I'm impressed with what is available to the homebrewer at a reasonable cost. I used to have a all grain setup, but only kept a few things, including the carboys. For the most part, the BIAB method worked out well and got 85.2% calculated efficiency which I was really happy with. But think I am going to retire the glass carboys and keep doing my research on conicals.

New fermenter should be here this weekend and looking forward to the next batch.
 
I sidelined all of my carboys a long time ago when one of them broke while full of wort. I only use them now for the occasional batch of wine and to be safe I bought carboy haulers for easier lifting (never lift by the handle if you've installed one) and I keep them in milk crates so they don't hit anything while moving that could break them. One small tap while they are full can do it.
 
I used glass carboys for maybe 10 years and somehow didn't ever break one - pure luck probably!
I changed over to stainless steel conical fermenters (SS Brewtech brew buckets).
They are a little pricier but worth every penny (IMO).
They have a full-sized lid which actually seals well so your bubble lock works. The spigot gets rid of the need to siphon or steal sample with a wine thief. The spigot tube is also adjustable in height so you can minimize waste left in the fermenter. Stainless - easy to clean. They have a thermowell for temp sensor or thermometer too.
Only drawback I have noted is that they aren't transparent, so you can't see what's going on. I get a surprise blow off once in a while.
 
I used glass carboys for maybe 10 years and somehow didn't ever break one - pure luck probably!
I changed over to stainless steel conical fermenters (SS Brewtech brew buckets).
They are a little pricier but worth every penny (IMO).
They have a full-sized lid which actually seals well so your bubble lock works. The spigot gets rid of the need to siphon or steal sample with a wine thief. The spigot tube is also adjustable in height so you can minimize waste left in the fermenter. Stainless - easy to clean. They have a thermowell for temp sensor or thermometer too.
Only drawback I have noted is that they aren't transparent, so you can't see what's going on. I get a surprise blow off once in a while.

I second the SS Brewtech brew bucket. I have had one for many years and also bought their chronical fermenter (which is now called the classic model). I discovered that the domed lid of the chronical fits the brew bucket as well and the extra headspace helps prevent blowoff. Still I use a blow off tube every time out of habit now.

Another nice feature of the domed chronical lid is that it has a 1.5" TC fitting in the center which I pair with the SS Brewtech closed transfer kit so I never have any risk of O2 entering my beer when transferring to a keg. Soon I want to add a 1.5" TC hop dropper attachment for O2 free dry hopping.
 
I second the SS Brewtech brew bucket. I have had one for many years and also bought their chronical fermenter (which is now called the classic model). I discovered that the domed lid of the chronical fits the brew bucket as well and the extra headspace helps prevent blowoff. Still I use a blow off tube every time out of habit now.

Another nice feature of the domed chronical lid is that it has a 1.5" TC fitting in the center which I pair with the SS Brewtech closed transfer kit so I never have any risk of O2 entering my beer when transferring to a keg. Soon I want to add a 1.5" TC hop dropper attachment for O2 free dry hopping.
I just checked the Brewtech site. They sell the chronically lid as an upgrade for the brew bucket. Very tempting! I wonder if it will still fit in my chest freezer though. May make it too tall.
 
I second the SS Brewtech brew bucket. I have had one for many years and also bought their chronical fermenter (which is now called the classic model). I discovered that the domed lid of the chronical fits the brew bucket as well and the extra headspace helps prevent blowoff. Still I use a blow off tube every time out of habit now.

Another nice feature of the domed chronical lid is that it has a 1.5" TC fitting in the center which I pair with the SS Brewtech closed transfer kit so I never have any risk of O2 entering my beer when transferring to a keg. Soon I want to add a 1.5" TC hop dropper attachment for O2 free dry hopping.

That's fantastic to hear about your positive experience
 
Just to follow up on the first batch. Due to the significant amount of trub, I transferred to a secondary, which was a 7 gal Fermentasaurus. I tried to take extra steps as best I could to purge the secondary with CO2 prior to transferring and let the beer displace that minimizing oxidation. Did and additional 3 days of dry hop, then cold crashed. Did the same with the keg, purged with CO2, connected the spigot to the liquid in, then just gravity drained while venting out the gas in. Just had my first glass on Friday, and once again remembering the early days of brewing where it all feels like the wheels are falling off and yet you get a pretty darn good beer.

I am now trying my second batch, which went much smoother on brew day, and have retired the glass carboys. I am fermenting this one in an All Rounder at pressure (~12 psi) and will pressure transfer to keg when finished. This will be the first time for me that the first "air" the beer will see since being wort will be in my glass. Pressure really kept the kroesen down, but this was also a much simpler grain bill so may not have the proteins to sustain as much of a foam as the last batch.

I looked at the SS Brewtech as well as Spike, both are nice, but based on a couple of books, I decided to focus on controlling fermentation conditions first. So went with a less expensive fermenter (but not glass and easier to clean and access) and got a chest freezer that I am cleaning up to set up as a fermentation chamber.
 
Looking good. I hear you on the apparent disasters still making good beer!
I'm interested to know how the All Rounder works out for you. I hadn't realized this was pressure capable.

I've had issues getting the lid to seal with screw on lids like that. They also have a habit of sticking on and needing a filter wrench to get them off sometimes. Do they have all that figured out?

I'm guessing they must have a bunch of add on parts, handles, dip tubes etc to help with the pressure transfer?
 
I can’t say anything long term, but found one used with all the accessories and disassembled it for cleaning and reassembled it and held pressure on the first try @20psig. Currently have a zombie dust clone in it fermenting at 12psig. So far it has been easy to use and like anything with seals, a little lube makes it all that much easier. Still have about another week, dry hop, cold crash, then transfer. But so far, I’m more impressed with it than I thought I would be.
 
I can’t say anything long term, but found one used with all the accessories and disassembled it for cleaning and reassembled it and held pressure on the first try @20psig. Currently have a zombie dust clone in it fermenting at 12psig. So far it has been easy to use and like anything with seals, a little lube makes it all that much easier. Still have about another week, dry hop, cold crash, then transfer. But so far, I’m more impressed with it than I thought I would be. https://www.viberate.com/music-analytics/spotify-data-analytics/
It's great to hear that the used equipment is working well for you
 
Looking good. I hear you on the apparent disasters still making good beer!
I'm interested to know how the All Rounder works out for you. I hadn't realized this was pressure capable. gyuto knives

I've had issues getting the lid to seal with screw on lids like that. They also have a habit of sticking on and needing a filter wrench to get them off sometimes. Do they have all that figured out?

I'm guessing they must have a bunch of add on parts, handles, dip tubes etc to help with the pressure transfer?
The All Rounder has been a pretty versatile addition to my brewing setup so far. It does indeed have pressure capabilities, which is handy for certain styles and processes.
 
Just wanted to report back on the Zombie Dust clone (MoreBeer Soulless Hop kit). Pressure fermented at 12 psig, dry hopped with magnets (never opened fermenter after pitching yeast), and did closed transfer. I even did a gelatin rocket in the keg. Very impressed with the results. Beer itself is good, and very drinkable, but not the best hop profile, but was 100% Citra, so not surprised. However, smoothest beer with no off flavors that I ever made. Crystal clear, and everyone who has tried it thinks its a commercial quality brew. So +1 to the All Rounder and pressure fermentation.
 
Made my first BIAB batch yesterday and not 100% happy with the results and need to make some adjustments before next brew day. Some issues I think I have a solution for, but nothing is better than experience which is the thing I don't have yet. So if there are better ways, please offer suggestions:

1. Mash went well, at 153F for 60 min, tested w/ iodine and no starch left. Let drain and did a medium squeeze on the bag. I was surprised how cloudy the wort was, but not sure if it was due to the grain bill - 10 lb 2 row, 1 lb flaked oats, 1 lb flaked wheat, and .5 lb each of carapils and honey malt. Is this normal for BAIB? Not to worried, just didn't know if this is a technique thing that I can change? Good protein break.

2. For the BIAB, I bought a GasOne kettle 64 qt. Came with drain valve, thermometer, torpedo screen and bottom screen. I installed the torpedo screen, which I think was a mistake, or I made several other mistakes along the way. Used a hop spider for the bittering hops, but obviously didn't plan well enough. Went to put in the wort chiller, and not enough room for everything (wort chiller, hop spider, and didn't want to crush the torpedo screen. This is where everything went downhill. I removed the hop spyder, put in the wort chiller with 10 min remaining. There was 1oz of pellet hops at 5 mn and 2 oz of pellet hops and 2 oz of whole cone hops at flame out. Like an idiot, i just dumped them in the kettle thinking the torpedo screen would filter that out. Needless to say, transfering to the fermenter was a nightmare and hopefully didn't ruin the beer. It had a lot of double handling to get it out and although I was sanitizing everything it was by far the ugliest transfer ever. This leads to a couple of questions:
- Do you typically keep the torpedo screen in when you BIAB? I would think yes and just better plan with either using the hop spider or a hop bag.
- Is there any harm in keeping the wort chiller in for the whole boil? I can maneuver the wort chiller around the torpedo screen just hard to do with a pot of boiling wort.
- I didn't want to use the false bottom that would protect the torpedo screen because I was concerned about scorching the wort. Does anyone boil with a false bottom?
- Does anyone make a wider and shorter coil for a wort chiller burger king menu 2024? It worked well since I have a pre-chiller in ice water, but part of the problem was that my hop spider doesn't fit in the middle of the wort chiller, and there are 2-3 coils above the wort. The kettle is 16.5" in dia. and my wort chiller is probably 10-12". I intend to try to modify it before the next brew.

3. Lasly, besides trial and error, I feel like I was way off on my starting water volume. Used 3 different calculators, all had slightly different numbers but used the largest one. I measured the dead space and used the non-squeeze volume for grain adsorption. So I think my boil off rate is way off. There should be a way to calculate this based on surface area and vapor pressure of water/wort. My target was 5.5 gal into the fermenter. I started with 7.8 gal before the mash. due to all of the issues with the hops and the transfer, I essentially strained and transferred all of the wort, so no dead volume and barely got 4.9 gal into the fermenter. Based on that, I was nearly 1.5 gal off. Starting gravity was in range so I didn't add any additional water, just pitched my entire starter (1L). I put the gran bag in a bucket and when the wort was in the fermenter and was cleaning up, there was maybe 4-6oz at the bottom that had drained out of the grain. I know I lost some due to the hops, but it cant be that much. Any help here? I feel if I would have started with 9.3 gal my starting gravity would have been way off.

Sorry for being so long winded, if there were an actual homebrew store I would just go in and talk with them, but good ole Northern Brewer bought our our local store and is now online only.

Thanks in advance.
I made a couple batches with extract kits, and now I'm drowning in mediocre stout. I want to try all-grain BIAB method with my 7.5 gallon turkey fryer, but I need a recipe. Something lighter, lightly hoppy, more summery/refreshing, and something others will enjoy more since many of my friends drink amerilager and don't like my stout. Also, I have a whole bunch of US-05 I would like to use.

I will buy everything from my LHBS but I need to know what to buy.
 
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