Did my first BIAB yesterday, looking for comments on improving my next batch

Make grain beers with the absolute minimum of equipment. Discuss here.
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Leard
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Did my first BIAB yesterday, looking for comments on improving my next batch

Post by Leard » Tue Jan 21, 2020 2:47 pm

Firstly, my equipment:

32L Peco boiler and bag
Ink Bird temperature control
Cooper coil immersion cooler
25L FV with tap
Temperature controlled fridge for fermentation

My process yesterday was:

Heat strike water up in kettle to 65 degrees
Add bag, and then add grain. Give a big stir to break up clumps. Put lid on kettle
Set Ink Bird to 64.4 degrees and let it maintain temperature (got temperature from BeerSmith calculations)
90 minute mash, stiring a few times during that.

Lift grain bag out and squeeze over kettle
Drop bag into kettle causing some wort to splash onto the floor (unintentionally, obviously)
Pour 4L of 75 degree water over bag as sparge

Bring to boil for 60 mins, add hops, add profloc tablet

Immersion chill until 20ish degrees

Transfer into FV and add previously rehydrated yeast
Leave to ferment in fridge

Using this method I only achieved 56% efficiency. I think the issue here is mostly the end of the mash and the sparge part.

I have bought myself a grain mill so I can get a finer grind next time to get a few more efficiency points. However what else should I be doing to improve my brew?

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vacant
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Re: Did my first BIAB yesterday, looking for comments on improving my next batch

Post by vacant » Tue Jan 21, 2020 3:47 pm

What is the maximum output load of your Inkbird. What is the power of the Peco heating element you are controlling?
I brew therefore I ... I .... forget

Kingfisher4
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Re: Did my first BIAB yesterday, looking for comments on improving my next batch

Post by Kingfisher4 » Tue Jan 21, 2020 4:23 pm

Water treatment?

A can of worms, but several previous threads and people here who might advise & help point you the right way.

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Re: Did my first BIAB yesterday, looking for comments on improving my next batch

Post by guypettigrew » Tue Jan 21, 2020 5:56 pm

Oh dear, sorry it's not gone right for you. But you'll still have a drinkable beer!

Quick response; Mash temperature all wrong!

You don't say how much grain you used, but to get a mash temperature of 64.4°C you'd need to heat the strike water to over 70°C. Possibly to about 74°C depending on the temperature of the grain.

Secondly; what is the Inkbird controlling? If it's just controlling an element at the bottom of the kettle then stirring it a few times won't help the mash reach your intended temperature.

Thirdly; 64.4°C? An odd mash temperature. 66°C is more usual.

So, what grain did you use, and what weight? How much mash liquor did you have?

Let's start there and then move on!

Guy

Leard
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Re: Did my first BIAB yesterday, looking for comments on improving my next batch

Post by Leard » Tue Jan 21, 2020 8:32 pm

guypettigrew wrote:
Tue Jan 21, 2020 5:56 pm
Oh dear, sorry it's not gone right for you. But you'll still have a drinkable beer!

Quick response; Mash temperature all wrong!

You don't say how much grain you used, but to get a mash temperature of 64.4°C you'd need to heat the strike water to over 70°C. Possibly to about 74°C depending on the temperature of the grain.

Secondly; what is the Inkbird controlling? If it's just controlling an element at the bottom of the kettle then stirring it a few times won't help the mash reach your intended temperature.

Thirdly; 64.4°C? An odd mash temperature. 66°C is more usual.

So, what grain did you use, and what weight? How much mash liquor did you have?

Let's start there and then move on!

Guy
So I used roughly 5.5kg of Maris Piper. Just before the boil I had about 25L in the kettle. The Peco Boiler I use has an element at the bottom and I kept this attached to my Ink Bird.

The mash temperature was weird and I was just following BeerSmith that have me such a low one for some reason, I will use a higher temperature next time. What is the best way to mash when using an electric element kettle? Do I need to keep stirring it more? Or should I not use the element and just it up in insulation?

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Re: Did my first BIAB yesterday, looking for comments on improving my next batch

Post by guypettigrew » Tue Jan 21, 2020 10:02 pm

Leard wrote:
Tue Jan 21, 2020 8:32 pm
What is the best way to mash when using an electric element kettle? Do I need to keep stirring it more? Or should I not use the element and just wrap it up in insulation?
Got it in one!!

5.5 kg grain in 25l water would mean the water should be at about 68°C to get a mash temperature of 64.4. This assumes the grain is about 18°C. Or water at 70.2°C would get you a mash temperature of 66°C.

Your water temperature of 65°C would have given you a mash temperature of about 61°C. Not good for efficient conversion.

In case you're wondering, these numbers are all from 'Andy's Strike Temperature Calculator' on this site.

Best way to do it is to get your water at the right temperature (from the calculator) before adding the grain , then add the grain, stir well until the temperature is even, then leave for your desired mash time.

Wrapping the mash tun with insulation should keep it within a degree or so of the desired temperature during the mash. These insulated camping mats from Tesco will insulate your mash tun really well.

No need to use the element once the mash has started..

Guy

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Re: Did my first BIAB yesterday, looking for comments on improving my next batch

Post by joe1002 » Wed Jan 22, 2020 3:50 am

Leard wrote: So I used roughly 5.5kg of Maris Piper.
That’s your issue Image

In all seriousness, don’t touch it or heat it during the mash, just keep it well wrapped up and it will be ok.

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Re: Did my first BIAB yesterday, looking for comments on improving my next batch

Post by PeeBee » Thu Jan 23, 2020 7:40 pm

I have not long posted something that would be relevant to this thread:
PeeBee wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 4:58 pm
A very stylised illustration of a BIAB system …
Click the little arrow after "PeeBee wrote:" to go to that post (if you are viewing via a mobile phone, you may not have the "arrow").

64.4C is only a conversion from Fahrenheit, 148F = 64.4444C, and you'll see it a lot on "converted" recipes. You can happily use 64 or 65, or 64.5. The relatively low temperature (66-67 is "average") may be to achieve a more fermentable wort (it will impact negatively on the beer's "body" and malt flavour though). But as has already been said, that "strike" temperature is way too low. Even with the "enhancements" in my linked post it will be very long-winded to alter the mash temperature upwards. You say you are using "Beersmith", well its strike temperature calculations are good normally.

I'm a big fan of "full-boil-volume-mash" and the BIAB calculations within Beersmith are geared for that. The thin mashes keep the strike temperature low, and the mashing-in process much less traumatic (unless you are too enthusiastic and send wort and grain all over the place). With a 32L boiler you should easily do 18L 1.050 gravity beers (this is a "no-sparge" technique too).

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