Improving my brew process

Discussion in 'General Beer Brewing Discussion' started by Not_so_brite, Dec 19, 2019.

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  1. Dec 19, 2019 #1

    Not_so_brite

    Not_so_brite

    Not_so_brite

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    I've been taking some notes on my last few brews and this has helped highlight some areas I think could be improved. I wanted to share these to see if anyone else had come across them and had feedback.

    For reference, I am now doing 10(ish) litre BIAB all-grain recipes, using a SS Brewtech 20l kettle on my hob, and fermenting in a SS Brewtech 13l brew bucket.
    • The recipes I have been following generally say to heat my strike water to around 75 C as this should drop to around 65 C when the grains are added. I have found that when adding the grains the temperature does not drop that much so going forward I think I will heat my strike water to 70 C and then add the grains
    • I've realised that I need to specify a fine crush for the grains, as on my last brew, they were only crushed, and my efficiency was way down on normal. It seems that for BIAB, fine crush is advised so hopefully this will improve going forward
    • I don't have an immersion cooler so just put the kettle in my sink and fill this with water to get the temperature down after the boil. I need to be more patient to get the wort down to the correct pitching temperature as I am guilty of rushing this and on my last brew I think it was still at 28 C when I added the yeast. I have been thinking of using kveik for my next few IPAs so I have more flexibility with temperatures. I was also thinking of getting it close to pitching temperature by cooling the kettle in the sink, then filling the fermenter, and just putting the lid on and giving it a few extra hours to cool there. Then I would pitch the yeast once it was around 20 C
    • I don't have much in the way of temperature control during fermentation, other than leaving this in a cool(ish) corner of a room. I appreciate this is something I should focus on as most people seem to say that this can improve the overall quality of the beer if managed properly
    I have also been using London tap water, however, am thinking that I will get some campden powder and add this before the mash to see if there is any difference.
     
    foxy likes this.
  2. Dec 19, 2019 #2

    dwhite60

    dwhite60

    dwhite60

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    Get, or better yet make an immersion chiller. Faster you get the temp down the better.

    For temp control I have a cardboard box lined with Reflectix insulation that my five gallon bucket just fits in height wise. Using a couple ice packs per day I can keep three gallons at 62-64F when it's 80F in the house.

    As long as you hit your mash temp strike water temp isn't written in stone. Actually found about the same thing with my system.

    Get a chiller.

    All the Best,
    D. White
     
  3. Dec 19, 2019 #3

    Justin Dean

    Justin Dean

    Justin Dean

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    or get a larder fermenter fridge set up. Cheap to do and you can have two buckets fermenting inon of those without extending it.
     
  4. Dec 19, 2019 #4

    Duxuk

    Duxuk

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    With BIAB the water volume is much bigger so you need to keep the strike temp only a few degrees above your intended mash temp. I find with 23l of water I only lose approx. 2 celcius when I whack the grain in.
    In other words, No.1 is bang onacheers.
     
  5. Dec 20, 2019 #5

    matt76

    matt76

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    Sounds to me like you're doing just fine mate. You're looking carefully at what you're doing, re-evaluating and thinking account sensible changes - so keep up the good work.

    I'm similar, I do 10L ish BIAB batches, up until yesterday also on the kitchen hob.

    To answer your questions:

    It depends how much water you're using - if you mash then dunk sparge or just do full volume mash. I've done both with BIAB. But heating the water 10degC higher than your mash temp does sound a bit much. Use an online calculator such as this one:
    https://www.brewersfriend.com/mash/

    I don't think you need a fine crush for BIAB. It'll help but it's not essential. So your efficiency is a bit low - so what? It's just a number, who cares! At this scale you're using what, 2.5-3kg grain? Just add a little more malt and hops to compensate - as long as your efficiency is fairly constant you can use an online calculator such as Brewer's Friend to calculate how much stuff you need. The difference is pennies and not worth worrying about IMHO.

    You can make an immersion chiller for about £25 in less than an hour:
    https://www.thehomebrewforum.co.uk/threads/holy-heat-transfer-batman-its-a-wort-chiller.79604/
    Highly recommended, so much easier! Until then, sure I chilled my first few brews in the sink. If you have to do it this way a couple of tips:
    Gently stir the wort and the water bath too if you have room. Keeping the liquid mixing will improve best transfer.
    Change the water regularly - cold water will cool much better than warm.
    Save your ice blocks until the wort is below 30degC - you want to save that extra cooling power for those last difficult 10degC or so.
    Put your ice blocks in the water bath - do not be tempted to put them directly in the wort!
    Be patient!

    I don't have any temperature control either. Yes it's an area to improve on but you can brew with the seasons and select yeast with appropriate temperature range. You can limit big temperature swings by sitting your FV in a water bath.

    If you're using tap water then yes, at minimum add half a crushed Campden tablet to your water to deal with the chlorine.

    Good luck - cheers,

    Matt
     
    uDicko, Zephyr259 and Oneflewover like this.

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