First AG brew/BIAB brew

Post #1 made 5 years ago
So I was fed up with kit beers and wanted something better but I didn't want the hassle (what little there is) with 3 vessel brewing. I found BIABrewer and I am so thankful!!

I decided to brew NRB's All Amarillo APA for my first brew. BIABacus helped me with my grain, hop and water measurements and I went out the day before got everything I needed so I was good to go. After setting everything up and I had my strike water heating up, everything else seemed to flow, I didn't have any hiccups and I was able to get my cooled wort into the fermenter. Oh and I did this outside in -10C!
It took about 18 hours but the beer is happily bubbling away and the air coming out of the airlock smells delicious!!!

My one question is, how exact do your pre boil, post boil, VIF measurements have to be? After the boil, and the wort was cooled down I took my OG and it was supposed to be 1.058 and I managed 1.052. This was my first time using BIABacus and I was a little rushed at the end so I wasn't able to take accurate measurements.

All in all though, I think everything went pretty well and I can't wait to sample my first AG beer!!
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Post #2 made 5 years ago
Nice! I found this site under the same circumstances as you. Kits just were not doing it for me.

My first BIAB was a learning experience, and I also did not record measurements very well. Next time you'll ace it for sure. By my 3rd brew I was super comfortable with the process, and had 0 anxiety about trying to remember things. It's just one of those things you have to get familiar with before you are fully prepared for the next time.

Did you mill your own grains? I'm most concerned about your being so under on OG. I like to have control over every aspect of brewing, this way if something goes wrong I can only blame myself.
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Post #3 made 5 years ago
DigB wrote: My one question is, how exact do your pre boil, post boil, VIF measurements have to be? After the boil, and the wort was cooled down I took my OG and it was supposed to be 1.058 and I managed 1.052. This was my first time using BIABacus and I was a little rushed at the end so I wasn't able to take accurate measurements.
Congratulations on your first brew and using the BIABacus :clap:

Here is a quote from PistolPatch that meant a lot to me,
"VIF and KFL are the centre of the volume universe. Pre-boil volumes are Pluto."
viewtopic.php?f=49&t=2044&p=31016&hilit=+centre#p31016

What Measurements to Take...
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=2326&p=33199&hilit=+VAW#p33199

Screen shots of the centre of the universe...
viewtopic.php?f=51&t=2125&p=31458&hilit=+PR1.3H+#p31458
Last edited by Mad_Scientist on 27 Nov 2013, 05:34, edited 2 times in total.
Brewing with MS; https://goo.gl/photos/puZUgG8QRp7p8gLd9
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First AG brew/BIAB brew

Post #4 made 5 years ago
Thanks, I'll check those posts out!

I kinda milled my own. My local home brew shop sells unmilled grains and they have a mill that you can use and adjust how fine the grains are milled. I only put them through once and it was set on the finest setting...
I'll double check the estimated gravity but I think I under shot it by a little.
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Post #5 made 5 years ago
First brew? Too early to worry much about numbers, drink it and be happy. I'll bet it turns out to be the best beer you ever tasted (so far). As you move along concetrate on the numbers referenced in post #3 but don't make yourself crazy obsessing over "hiiting your numbers" (right Bob?), it will come eventually. Congrats on the first of many!

---Todd
WWBBD?
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First AG brew/BIAB brew

Post #6 made 5 years ago
Congrats mate, I did my first brew a few months back and now it's a fairy major obsession. My first brew my aim was to make beer and remarkably, I did and it was good. 6 or 8 brews in I am getting much closer to my volumes and gravities, in that I actually now have targets and am pretty close.

There are a million things to worry about but from my perspective the most important thing is to enjoy the process and learn from every brew. My mates described my first BIAB as the best home brew they have ever tasted, hopefully in a year or 2 it will be the best beer they have ever tasted!

Post #7 made 5 years ago
thughes,
but don't make yourself crazy obsessing over "hitting your numbers" (right Bob?), it will come eventually.
Right! Get the process understood first. I had no idea what was happening when I started all grain brewing. I just knew that beer was produced from whatever I was doing. I was very satisfied with the beer and won my first medal with it. Now that I understand what is happening during the process. I fine tune every step and tweak everything. I never seen to be as happy with the beer because I am super critical and always trying to make it better.

I may have gone too far and over looked the fact that I am trying to produce good beer. I was doing that when I first started? :idiot:

I do have behind me on the floor. A fermenter with a sour beer in the Lambic style for next year. I have a fermenter with 5 gallons of hard cider. A fermentation bucket with a beer called "Pirates Plunder" (a India dark ale). I still have 5 gallons of fresh organic cider from my local orchard to produce a "hopped hard cider". I have 15 pounds of honey for a mead wine sitting behind me waiting for a empty carboy.

So I am reinventing myself as a brewer by doing other things beside my regular "Hop Bombs" and satisfying friends who just want free beer!

Cheers! :drink:
Last edited by BobBrews on 27 Nov 2013, 21:47, edited 2 times in total.
tap 1 Raspberry wine
tap 2 Bourbon Barrel Porter
tap 3 Czech Pilsner
tap 4 Triple IPA 11% ABV

Pipeline: Mulled Cider 10% ABV

http://cheesestradamus.com/ Brewers challenge!
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Post #8 made 5 years ago
Hey BB: "a sour beer in the Lambic style" ? :shock:

Does Noam know about this?

(welcome to the secret side of brewing....)

---Todd
Last edited by thughes on 27 Nov 2013, 23:07, edited 2 times in total.
WWBBD?
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Post #9 made 5 years ago
Tood,

He may have some if he goes to Grand Rapids MI. for the NHC in June 2014?? Cherry Pie beer a "Kriek" :argh:
This recipe, a sour Belgian-style ale that yields a medium-bodied wheat beer with a reddish-brown color, cherry-pie aroma, and a tart, acidic bite that comes from a combination of real cherries (in puree form) and cultured bacteria. While young, the sour character of this beer will be subdued and the cherries more pronounced, but sourness will increase with age.
http://www.northernbrewer.com/documenta ... sKriek.pdf
Last edited by BobBrews on 28 Nov 2013, 00:14, edited 2 times in total.
tap 1 Raspberry wine
tap 2 Bourbon Barrel Porter
tap 3 Czech Pilsner
tap 4 Triple IPA 11% ABV

Pipeline: Mulled Cider 10% ABV

http://cheesestradamus.com/ Brewers challenge!
    • SVA Brewer With Over 100 Brews From United States of America

First AG brew/BIAB brew

Post #10 made 5 years ago
Thanks for the advice! I really just want good beer right now and I can already see the obsession building! I was looking at my fermenter this morning as it churned away and I was happy to see that things are going as they should and the CO2 coming out of the air lock smelled amazing!! I already have an idea in mind for my next brew, a nice Black IPA!

I looked back at the numbers and they didn't seem to far off so I'm pretty pleased with that but I sure would have liked to get the OG a little closer to the estimate.
I did make one change to the recipe and I'm not sure if it would make a difference, I upped the hops, I went from a total of 2.5 oz to 3 oz just because I didn't want to waste any and I wasn't sure when I would be brewing again. I realize that the OG is based mostly on fermentable sugar in the wort but would changing the amount of hops do anything? I did adjust the hop amounts in BIABacus and nothing changed as far as the estimates.

Cheers!
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Post #11 made 5 years ago
DigB,
I upped the hops, I went from a total of 2.5 oz to 3 oz. I realize that the OG is based mostly on fermentable sugar in the wort but would changing the amount of hops do anything?
Nothing at all taste wise unless you were a super taster. As "Supertaster" is a rare thing. I doubt if you would taste a ounce difference?

http://supertaster.com Are you a supertaster? Take the test! :scratch:
Last edited by BobBrews on 28 Nov 2013, 05:28, edited 2 times in total.
tap 1 Raspberry wine
tap 2 Bourbon Barrel Porter
tap 3 Czech Pilsner
tap 4 Triple IPA 11% ABV

Pipeline: Mulled Cider 10% ABV

http://cheesestradamus.com/ Brewers challenge!
    • SVA Brewer With Over 100 Brews From United States of America

Number Respect and Disrespect

Post #13 made 5 years ago
DigB wrote:I sure would have liked to get the OG a little closer to the estimate.
Have enjoyed reading your thread digB and congratulations on your first brew.

The recipe you chose to do first is a great one. You can play with that and muck it around in many different ways and still get excellent beer. So , regardless of you falling short on your OG, you have a lot to look forward to.

Any beginner is also in a 'catch 22' when it comes to numbers. You need to respect and disrespect them simultaneously.

When/Where to Respect/Worry About Numbers - Measuring the Inputs

The place to respect numbers and worry about them most is before your brew. You do want to know that the volume of water you are starting with is correct. You do want to know if the weight in grain you are using is correct. You do want to know that your thermometer when it reads 66 C actually is reading 151 F. You do want to know that your hops are weighed out accurately.

This is important stuff and you need to concentrate on this when you are starting out as this attention to detail means you can quickly find any problems if you do have them.

Later you can, if you want to, get lazy in this area. BobBrews for example, will tell you that he has only a vague idea on his numbers but he does actually repeat his "input" process on his brews.

When/Where to Respect/Worry About Numbers - Measuring the Outputs

You can't respect output numbers from a brew. Most of the measurements we take in home brewing are fraught with inaccuracy for a start. For example, refractometers and hydrometers are very prone to inaccuracy. You really need to take several samples to be sure. Prior to that, you need to be sure that the actual instrument is accurate. The list goes on and on.

What you can and should do though is take volume and gravity measurements when you can on a brew if it doesn't stress you out to do so. Do them into kettle and end of boil. Then once things have cooled down, measure volume and gravity into your fermentor plus your kettle trub. Doing this means that you can check and balance your measurements on a single brew. Will they balance? Occasionally they will be very close but on most brews, you should be very happy if your discrepancies do not exceed 5%.

What Can Numbers Tell Us? - The BIABacus

If, over several measurements on several brews you have a consistent volume or gravity discrepancy from those estimated in the BIABacus, then we should be able to tell you what areas to investigate/explore. Hopefully, you won't experience this but if you do, you should first eliminate the possibilities written in this post.

What Can't Numbers Tell Us - The BIABacus

The numbers in the BIABacus auto-estimate estimate very well. The main number for new brewers to develop a disrespect for is evaporation. This can vary wildly depending on atmospheric conditions especially if you brew outside.

The BIABacus can't tell you what the atmospheric conditions will be on the day you brew. You should aim your brews so that once you have some average evaporation rates, you set your BIABacus up to be the lowest of these. This means, at the end of the boil, if you have to do anything, it will only be adding water.

I do this on most brews but I have the experience (brewed enough batches and recorded enough measurements) to be confident that my decision to dilute is correct. You shouldn't be diluting (or adding DME - even worse!) on a single measurement of a single brew with no experience.

Numbers also can't tell you how little you need to worry about them.

If you know for sure that you have put the x kilos of grain into y gallons of water and put the right weight of hops in at the right times, and that your instruments are right then there is only one big thing that can vary and that is evaporation rate.

Add a bit of dilution water if your volume reads low and gravity reds high and you are good to go. A robust recipe is going to taste great even if it falls 10% out of parameters. Aim for 5% but don't be worried about a 10% discrepancy.

Professional Brewing - Numbers can't replace your senses.

Let's talk American Pale Ales. Little Creature's Pale Ale, brewed locally here in Perth, Western Australia, was described by John Palmer as being like Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, only better.

That beer changes slightly from batch to batch but is generally fairly consistent. It changes because they run out or run low on certain hop varieties, the varieties they have are different ages, from year to year AA%'s vary etc etc etc. It stays consistent due to people knowing which numbers should be respected and which ones to totally ignore.

Alex Tronsky, an American, used to be the head brewer down there and he gave the most interesting brewing talk I have ever been to at some BJCP thing I never had time to finish. The first thing he said in that talk was how most hop formulas/theories don't make sense in real life. For example, he said, why do first wort hop contribute flavour and aroma in real life?

He then explained how every hop had its own personality and how certain characteristics of that personality could be brought out by caressing that hop in a certain way. For example, whirlpooling Hop A might bring about exactly the same result as First Wort Hopping Hop B.

So...

All you have control over when starting out is measuring the inputs on each brew accurately. Once you have done that, take the measurements I mentioned above. Once you have done that several times you'll know whether or not you have a brewing process problem.

Once you have done the above, then you have a base. From that base, you can do whatever you want ;). But, you must build the base, consciously or unconsciously.

PP
Last edited by PistolPatch on 28 Nov 2013, 21:00, edited 4 times in total.
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Post #14 made 5 years ago
Thanks for the great reply! I am certain that my measurements were correct except for one and that the water I started with and the difference between the Strike Water Needed (SWN) and Total Water Needed (TWN) I'm pretty sure that I went with the TWN when filling my Kettle with water prior to the mash. I would like to know why the difference and which should you go with? I'll search the site for my answer as well.

Thanks!
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Post #15 made 5 years ago
No problems Dig :salute:,

Certainty of Input Measurements

Don't ever be too certain of your numbers btw. I remember one brewer had some really odd brew and was absolutely certain of everything. About six weeks later he wrote back saying, "Those packs of grain I thought were two kilos were actually only one," or something along those lines :P. Even I'll occasionally still get a brew that is way under or over-efficient even though I too am sure of my measurements. The only time to even give it a second thought is if it keep repeating.

TWN versus SWN

Water as it heats expands slightly and therefore takes up more volume. In a pure (full-volume) BIAB, the only difference between TWN and SWN is this expansion. So, if the BIABacus tells you that your TWN is 40.0 L then you would fill your kettle with cold water until it occupies 40.0 L. Once you had heated this up to mash temperature, you would now find this same body of water, through swelling, now occupying 40.79 L.

In real life, of course, it is impossible to measure to such accuracy.

(On the second sheet of the BIAbcus, on the right hand side is a section called 'Water/Wort Expansion and Contraction'. The numbers above and below come from there.)

['Full Volume Variations': When all the TWN is not used in the mash, the amount of cold water needed at the start in the kettle equals TWN minus 'Water Held Back from Mash' in Section W. For example, 40 L - 10 L = 30 L. In this instance, SWN would then read 30.59.]

Your End of Boil Volumes

I just realised in this thread we didn't look at your post-boil volumes, only the gravity. Remember, if your evaporation is lower than expected then you will end up with lower gravity than expected and vice versa.

:peace:
PP
Last edited by PistolPatch on 07 Dec 2013, 20:09, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: First AG brew/BIAB brew

Post #16 made 5 years ago
I brewed my first BIAB batch last week after making several "kit" brews. I love this method and this forum!

Being my first time brewing all-grain, I missed my mash temps (too high). I also miscalculated my boil-off and ended-up with too much wort. Together, both gaffes caused me to be very low on my OG reading... Lesson(s) learned! I'll be much more cognizant of these things for my next brew.

In a way, this is what I like about this hobby. There's always something new to learn or something to improve upon.

I've also switched to 1- or 2-gallon brews, so when I make "learning opportunities" I'm not stuck drinking 2+ cases of it (but I drink all of it regardless!). When I get this process down better and develop some good recipes, I'll scale some back up to 5-gallon if I get the urge.

Cheers!

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