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New Guy, My first AG and first BIAB


Feb 7, 2015
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Hi, I am a brand new brewer. This is my third bear and my first AG and first BIAB. Using Beersmith and dozens of American Stout recipes I came up with the following:

10 lbs Pale Malt 2 row, 74.4%
1 lb 4 oz Crystal Malt – 60, 9.3%
12 oz Chocolate Malt, 5.6%
12 oz Roasted Barley, 5.6%
8 oz Old Fashioned Oatmeal, 3.7% (Oven roasted 12 min at 300 F)
3 oz Black Patent Malt 1.4%
1 oz Brewers Gold Pellets (Boil 60 min)
1 oz Falconers Flight 7C's Pellets (Boil 30 min) (last minute change, one bag of Brewers Gold had a hole in it and was off color and smelled stale compared to the other bag so I added the FF that I had on hand to compensate.)
1 tsp Irish Moss (Boil 10 min)
1 oz East Kent Goldings (Boil 5 min)
2 pkg US-05 (may be overkill but my last was under)

From Brewsmith:

American Stout
5.25 Gallons to the FV
Estimated OG 1.063, Measured OG 1.063, (I am happily amazed)
IBU 53.2
SRM 40.5
Est ABV 6.3%
Estimated FG 1.015, (I’ll report back in a week or two)

My brew shop wouldn’t double roll the grain for me; she claimed that her rollers were already set close. But it looked really coarse to me so I pulsed all the grain in a blender before I mashed it. I’m concerned that I might have gotten the mash too fine.

It was really tight, but I did this in a 7.25 Gallon Turkey Cooker. My BIAB mash was only 2” from the top. I stirred the mash into 4 Gallons of 168 Degree water then added about 1.5 gallons of 168 Degree water to fill the kettle. I mashed the malt at 164 degrees for 90 minutes. I used the deep fry basket that came with the Turkey Cooker so after I pulled the bag out I set the bag and basket on a grill on top of the Kettle to drain. Then I poured a gallon of 170 degree water through the mash to top off the kettle for the boil. I set the basket in another kettle to drain more. By the time I got the brew kettle almost boiling I add about 2 cups of wort from the drain kettle then boiled for 75 minutes using the hop additions mentioned above.

I definitely need a different thermometer. The ones I have are a little kitchen one and the one that came with the turkey cooker and they disagree by about 10 degrees. I was able to calibrate the kitchen one with ice water so I went with that, but the turkey one is not adjustable.

Brew day was Monday and today (Wednesday) it’s bubbling away at 63 F on the tape thermometer on the bucket. I’m going to try to warm it up to 66 F because I have read that some brewers have had peach flavors from low temps with US-05.

I would have never tried AG if it hadn’t been for BIAB. I would definitely not have tried making my own recipe without Beersmith. But, it’s not over yet. Maybe this beer will be a flop. It sure is fun though. Any suggestions for my next brew are greatly appreciated.

Al W
I'll speak only to one point: Your LHBS was probably right about not needing to mill twice. She wouldn't stay in business long if she routinely under- or over-milled her grain. I assume you told her you were BIAB.

Over-milling is usually considered a problem for mash tun users because the more easily compacted grain bed can cause a "stuck sparge". A stuck sparge isn't a problem for BIAB but (and I'm only guessing on these; get a second opinion) it could cause related problems: 1) If your kettle was full and the grain had very wiggle room dough balls could be a problem. 2) Draining your bag could effectively create one giant dough ball if there's insufficient coarseness to your grist. 3) Depending on the mesh of your bag, a finer mill might also leave more material in your brew kettle.

On my first AG batch (using an MLT) I milled once (with a non-adjustable mill). I missed my target pre-boil gravity by a few points. On my next batch I milled 50% of my grain bill a second time and hit my numbers. On my third batch I milled only once ...but still hit my numbers. In other words, I don't yet have any data to suggest that a finer mill leads to better mash efficiency.
Thanks for the reply Mofo. I stirred the grains in slowly so there were no dough balls. And stirred it 4 times durring the 90 minutes it was mashing. It was a real soupy, not thick mixture. I calculated that there was about 1.64 qts of water per lb of grain, under the 1.7 I've read is recommended.

It did take a while for the bag to drain out, probably because of the finer grind. But, it wasn't a giant dough ball. I should have weighed the bag after it drained out.

I am concerned that the wort in the fermenter has a lot of the finer material in it. Will that settle out along with the rest of the trub? Or, will I have a gritty bear in the end?

I have had a hard time regulating the temperature, my basement is 60 degrees and my boiler room is 71 degrees if I leave the door open. I have been experimenting with placing the FV in a location in the door way that will give me the desired temp. The thermo tape on the FV has ranged from 62 to 66 degrees with a predominant temperature of 62. How accurate are those thermo tapes? I've read the US-05 is very forgiving, I hope that is the case here.

I attached a photo of the grains before the blender.


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Based on the photo, I would have "insisted" that she double grind!  I see too many whole kernals there.  There are at least five that I can see in that small handful, probably more.  Multiply those 5 kernals times hundreds and hundreds of small handfuls, and you have a lot of whole uncrushed kernals.  If it is a whole kernal, it's not adding anything to the beer.  The blender would have pulverized some of your grain to dust, which probably won't cloud your beer, but will add an astrigency/grainy flavor.  I have my own grinder and I double crush.
It's been in the FV for 4 days now and the airlock is still bubbling but it has slowed down quit a lot. The temp on the bucket is 63 degrees. I'll wait untill Monday, that will give it a full week, then I'll open the bucket and check the SG, and have a tase.

I take back what I said about your LHBS.

The finer material in the wort will settle out, but the more of it you have the more beer you lose to the trub. Take note of your specific bottling volume before you bottle in order to calculate the correct amount of carbonation (a mistake I recently made).

I put my fermenters in big bucket of water filled to the same level as the beer. A clean trash can will work. It doesn't 'regulate' the temp, per se, but the water acts as an insulator against temperature swings. If you need to keep it warmer than ambient temp, get a fish tank heater with a built-in submersible thermostat set to your desired temp. They're pretty cheap. That's advise for your next batch, though, the yeast in your current batch have done all their heavy lifting in the past four days.
Good advice on the water to insulate the FV. I have the perfect tub that I can use for that.

Can I transfer the beer to the bottling bucket before iIadd the priming sugar? Last time I mixed and boiled my priming sugar and put it in the bottling bucket first then transferred the beer. You're right I primed for 5 gallons but only bottled 4.75 gallons. It doesn't seem to be over primed though.

Al W

North_of_60 said:
Good advice on the water to insulate the FV. I have the perfect tub that I can use for that.

Can I transfer the beer to the bottling bucket before iIadd the priming sugar? Last time I mixed and boiled my priming sugar and put it in the bottling bucket first then transferred the beer. You're right I primed for 5 gallons but only bottled 4.75 gallons. It doesn't seem to be over primed though.

Al W

I boil my priming sugar and then put it in my bottling bucket and transfer my beer onto it. I don't wait for my bottling sugar to cool. Once there is a gallon of beer in the bottling bucket the bottling sugar temp is pulled down to the beer temp. I do slowly stir to get the bottling sugar distributed as evenly as possible. However, I'm careful that I don't create bubbles. This would bad oxygen introduction.
It's been in the FV for 8 days and the airlock was not showing any activity so I took a sample, it came in at 1.016 the estimate on BeerSmith is 1.015. I plan on bottling it a week from tomorrow. Last night it was still bubbling at about once every minute, so it may come down a point by then. I won't be disappointed if doesn't though.

It is very black and has a the nice malty, coffee flavor I was hoping for. The hops is just about right, it could be a little more bitter but I'm fine with it as it is. The sediment has settled out very well, I couldn't taste any grittiness it the sample.

I just checked the temperature, the room temp is 69 the fermomiter tape reads 62/63 and the airlock is still burping once every two minutes. I didn't intend on transferring to a secondary or cold crashing but now I'm wondering. I was going to leave it in the primary for another week to ten days and then bottle it. It was only .001 above my estimated FG two days ago. I could check the FG again, I wasn't going to do that until I was ready to bottle.

What do you think I should do?

I think that you should just let it sit and do it's thing.  There is no hurry.  Yeast finish when they want to finish, not when we want them to finish.
I just checked the SG again tonight and it was 1.014. I think this is the FG, It's been two weeks and the estimated FG is 1.015. I'll bottle a weak from today. That should give the trub plenty of time to settle. I'll check the FG again before I bottle.

Ya, the sample tasted very good. I can imagine it carbonated and chilled, but that will be at least three weeks yet.

Put it in bottles today. I carbonated with 3/4 cup of corn sugar. There was about 5/8 inches of trub in the bottom of the FV. I started with a little over 5 gallons in the fermenter and ended up with 5 gallons in the bottling bucket. I probably lost 1/4 gallon or slightly more to trub.

There was more beer than I had bottles for so I filled one pint and one 1/2 pint mason jar with the extra. They will be the first ones I sample. Anticipation....
This is an excellent Stout. But, I'm biased so I gave bottles to several friends and they all love it. Three of them prefer to drink Stouts and three of them just like beer. All of them said it is great and want more. I asked if there was anything I should change the next time I make it, they all said don't change anything.

The next time I brew it I will omit the Falconer's Flight and replace it with Brewer's Gold as was in my original recipe. I only used the Falconer's Flight 7Cs because one of my packets of Brewer's Gold was stale. I am going to reduce the IBUs a bit as well. I find that the bitterness over powers the dark malt flavor that I enjoy so I'm going to reduce it to about 46 IBUs.


If anyone is interested here is the recipe:


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