First BIAB. Need help with mash/sparge vols

Discussion in 'General Beer Brewing Discussion' started by treebeard, Oct 12, 2017.

  1. Oct 12, 2017 #1

    treebeard

    treebeard

    treebeard

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    Hi folks. This is my first attempt at all grain BIAB, I am having some difficulty trying to calculate what my strike water and subsequent sparge water volumes should be.
    I have a 30L Ace boiler (see below image). I'm keeping it small and simple for my first go, aiming for a 12 litre batch.

    60 Minute Mash in, 10 Minute Mash Out and 60 minute boil.

    I have tried various calculators but get quite different results each time, perhaps I am doing something wrong.

    Any help you can give me would be very much appreciated. :)

    My grain bill is:
    3kg Maris Otter.
    200g Caramalt.
     

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  2. Oct 12, 2017 #2

    Dexter101

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    In a very similar boat. I am getting a Ace Boiler for Christmas so would be interested to know the answers for the larger volumes.

    I have done a couple of BIAB on the hob (5L batchsize) and have gone with 3L mash, 3L sparge with 1 and a bit boiling off) everything has gone well but be interested to know if there are better amounts.
     
  3. Oct 12, 2017 #3

    treebeard

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    If it helps here is my recipe. I'm going for an American Pale Ale style, juicy and hoppy. I shall be brewing this next week.
     

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  4. Oct 12, 2017 #4

    wfr42

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    For 12litres you could probably get away with a full volume mash and skip the sparge (though a spare can help efficiency).

    It over simplifies things but for a full volume mash you will need....
    Your desired final volume + the dead space in your boiler + approx 1litre per kg of grain (lost to absorption) + a few litres that will be lost during the boil.
    You can split this amount and use some for a sparge. I have found biab quite forgiving and allows you flexibility in the thickness of your mash.

    For me with my two brews in my new boiler, I have mashed just over 4kg in 25litres and dunk sparged in between 10L (too much, was able to tip and collect nearly 3 litres extra) and 8 litres (seemed better) and ended up with 22-23litres in the fv.

    23 + 3 + 4 + 3.

    If unsure with your new equipment, under estimate as you can dilute a stronger wort easier than boiling a weaker wort longer to reduce its volume ( which will also affect the hop flavours).

    Hope that is of some help.
     
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  5. Oct 12, 2017 #5

    Slid

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    Hi Treebeard!

    For a first go, I am going to suggest that adding almost 200g of very expensive hops to an experiment s a bit "out there". Plus, you are going be running around like some sort of hamster on speed adding the hop additions and forgetting that the purpose of brew #1 on new kit is finding out how it really works.

    Second suggestion is that small brews in a full length brew system are much harder to get right than a full batch. (Total opposite to doing AG on the stove, where 10-12L batches are perfect).

    If I were to make a further suggestion, it is to do a weak-ish 20L brew with your grain profile, bang in some cheap English hops to bitter and maybe flavour, then get it ready to drink in short order. That gives you real-time experience of using your new methodology and some fairly good feedback in a short time frame, without worrying too much.

    My main observation is that the losses from boiling. dead-space and hop absorption are so difficult to be exact about, that any advice you could get would be non-specific to your set-up and process.
     
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  6. Oct 13, 2017 #6

    treebeard

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    Thank you that's a big help. I can easily check the deadspace below the false bottom. I agree I will slightly underestimate the volumes and dilute if necessary. :thumb:
     
  7. Oct 13, 2017 #7

    treebeard

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    Hi Slid
    Thank you for your suggestions, it's very much appreciated. The hops I already have in the freezer left over from pimping up all the Festival kits Iv'e brewed in the past so thought I would get them used up as they have been in there for months. :)

    My problem is I have done so much research, watched so many videos that I have information overload, almost to the point of feeling that this BIAB/AG is just too bloody complicated. I guess I'm just going to have to go for it, plan everything as far as possible for the brew day and see what happens.

    Thanks again for the advice :thumb:
     
  8. Oct 13, 2017 #8

    MickDundee

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    I agree with this, there's more than enough room in the boiler to do "true" (no sparge) BIAB for a 12L batch.

    I have the same boiler and usually just wing it with water levels. I'm pretty good at judging how much water to put in so that once the grains are added the boiler is full. I then squeeze the bag into my FV between 2 colanders and pour that into the boiler. I then sparge with slightly more water than is required to fill the boiler to the mark and pour that in. This strategy has never done me any harm and my efficiency is usually around 67%.
     
  9. Oct 13, 2017 #9

    IainM

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    I tried a few different ways of doing volumes when doing BIAB and what worked best for me was to collect about half the boil volume from the first runnings and about half again from the sparge. So first I would calculate the boil volume, 12L wort + (say) 2L boil off = 14L, so I want to collect 7L in the first runnings and another 7 in the sparge. For the first runnings you have to add on grain absorption and dead space. For BIAB I always got the best efficiency when really squeezing the bag, and so I collected more wort and grain absorption was lower, about 0.8L/kg. For your bill this would correspond to about 2.5L (0.8*3.2). I don't know about dead space in the ACE, but let's say 2L as well, then that means that the strike volume would be 7L first runnings + 2.5L absorption + 2L dead space = 11.5L, then use 7L for sparge.
     
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  10. Oct 13, 2017 #10

    treebeard

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    Thanks IanM thats brilliant. I will check the dead space and use your other estimates as a guide. As it's my first go I'm not expecting to get it perfect, I will just be happy to end up with something drinkable and learn some lessons. :)
     
  11. Oct 13, 2017 #11

    IainM

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    No worries. I'll add, for the sparge I moved the bag to a spare fv, tipped the water in, gave it a good stir, leave for a few mins then stir again. Again, I gave it a very good squeeze at the end to make sure everything was collected.

    Good luck with the first BIAB, I'm sure it'll be the best beer you've made and then there will be no turning back.:evil:
     
  12. Oct 13, 2017 #12

    treebeard

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    Thanks again:thumb: I have just measured the dead space, it's 2.5ltrs. I am excited about it and just ordered my crushed grains from MM :grin:
     
  13. Oct 13, 2017 #13

    Keats

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    I did my first full batch in my new ACE last week after a couple of practices with lower volumes. Like you I wasn't sure about mash and sparge volumes so just had a bit of a guess. I mashed 4kg of grain in 14 litres then dunk sparged in another 14 litres. After the boil I had just over 20 litres in the FV with an OG of 1.05 which was just over my target so pretty pleased with that.
     
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  14. Oct 13, 2017 #14

    fourbob

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    I prefer the trial and error / guesswork route rather than scratching my head with too much science and measurements..... and I get similar results to this. My routine now is to mash in 18l and sparge in 10l, gets me about 20l out of a 4.5kg grain bill after the boil.
     
  15. Oct 13, 2017 #15

    treebeard

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    Excellent! Thanks for that insight :thumb:
     
  16. Oct 13, 2017 #16

    treebeard

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    One other quick question if I may. I will be using US 05 yeast. Assuming I end up with around 12 litres in the FV should I still add the entire pack of yeast?
     
  17. Oct 13, 2017 #17

    IainM

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    No problem. It is overkill, but still nowhere near the levels of overpitching which could harm the beer. I wouldn't bother rehydrating and just sprinkle it in.
     
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  18. Oct 13, 2017 #18

    nigelnorris

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    I've given up on sparging with mine, it honestly doesn't seem to make a measurable difference to efficiency so I can't see the point. If I mash with it full to the brim then I hang the bag over it to drip dry while the boil's coming up and that's it, I usually end up with a 20L batch give or take. More often though I start with 20L to mash, add a kettle full of hot or cold water at some stage to adjust the temperature slightly, and end up with a 15L batch.

    Speaking of which, like I say if the temperature comes out a bit wrong after mashing in I use a kettle to change the temperature because I have a Mk II with 1600W heater which is too coarse to finely adjust temperatures. It'll either not make any change at all but if you leave it an extra minute the thermometer will jump 3C without stopping.

    You've got the posh one with the switchable 900W element so it might not be so bad but it's something to watch out for.
     
  19. Oct 13, 2017 #19

    Slid

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    You are getting some great advice, here, so best of luck on your brew. Be sure to report back :thumb:.
     
  20. Oct 14, 2017 #20

    Duxuk

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    I use a large stockpot so have no dead space. This gives excellent efficiency. I start with 22l of water to mash. I then leave it over night and do a 6l sparge, which has always given me a 10% improvement in efficiency. That's 28l of water to give 23l in the FV. I lose a litre per kilo of grain but boiling lid on means I only lose one litre in the hops and boil off. 4kg of grain gives 23l @ 1.050 OG.
    With a higher gravity brew you may find that your efficiency drops because you leave higher gravity liquor in the grain so less sugars in the boil. This is also why sparging increases efficiency. The liquid in the grain will be at a much lower gravity after a sparge, so less is wasted.
     
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