Monthly Archives: April 2012

My BIAB Brew Day

Well, I am really enjoying how easy my brew days seem to be.  BIAB is just a nice easy way to hit all grain brewing without more equipment.  Granted, I would only need a cooler and some adjustments to the drain on it (I’ve had two cooler mash tuns in the past) and I fully understand that.  But having one less piece of equipment is simply nice.  I will say though, I want to get a bigger kettle, the 7.5gallon pot I have now is just not big enough to get me the 5 gallon batches easily.  So, soon I will get a 10 gallon pot.
Anyways, enough of that, here are a few pictures describing my brew day.  Enjoy, and check out my Nut Brown Recipe I brewed up on this day.

Like you would expect, heat your water to strike temperature for the grain.   For me, generally 8-10F higher than the mash temperature seems to work well.  You’ll get to know what temp you need after you do this a few times with your equipment.


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As I get close to my temp, I put my bag that I bought at the homebrew store in my pot.  Notice I use some small clamps and paper clamps to hold the bag to the pot.  A little ghetto, but that is homebrew.


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Here is my crushed grain.  I had bought this at the homebrew store earlier in the day and crushed it there.


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My two additions of hops are measured out.  Here you see the hops are crushed pretty much.  I ordered these on line, saving a bunch of money, but the 4 oz. bag these came out of was pretty much smashed to a powder.  The rest of the bags I received were fine, so I’m not going to sweat this too much.


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Here I’ve added my grain, and now I’m just mixing it up, making sure there are no ‘dough balls’, clumps really, in the mash.  Doing this BIAB you are using most of your batch water in the mash (except maybe 1-2 gallons you can hold out to rinse the grains if you so choose) so the mash is pretty thin.


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Out of curiosity I took a pH measurement of the mash, and it is just around 5.4  Not too bad.  Much higher and I would worry a bit about it.  These strips cost just a few bucks for ~100 of them.  Well worth it.


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Here I am getting ready some yeast nutrient, re-hydrating it before putting it into the boil the last 15 minutes or so.  I’ve just started using yeast nutrient, and I can say that it seems to have helped my fermentations along.
I also added a whirlflock tablet near this time.


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My boil is complete.  With about 10 minutes left in the boil I put my immersion chiller in and let it sanitize with the boiling wort.
It took me about 16 minutes to go from boil to 65F with the Portland water (in April) in 4.5 gallons of wort with 20 feet of copper tubing.  Good enough for me.  I stir on and off during the cooling process to help speed things along.


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Here I have the yeast you can see from my previous blog entry.  I had saved some S-04 from a batch in February, rinsed it and stored in my refrigerator.  I was able to pitch this and get fermentation activity in about 8 hours, and hit my final gravity sometime before 5 days.  (I didn’t take any gravity readings before 5 days).  I used 500ml of 1.020 for the starter, but next time plan to use 1 liter of 1.030 for the starter.  I’m VERY happy with the ability to save yeast for future use, and saving money.  It’s a pretty easy process.


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Racking from my pot to my fermentation bucket.  A nice clear brown color, I like it already.
When I finished cooling my wort, I had one final stir, put the lid on, and then proceeded to clean up as much of my other gear as I could.  After about 30 minutes I racked the wort over to the bucket, leaving behind some cold break and hop matter.


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Finally pitching my yeast.  After this I shook the bucket up with the lid on to get as much oxygen into the wort as I could.  The max you can expect with this method is 8ppm.


Yeast Washing – Full Circle

I’ve just finished bringing my first batch of washed yeast back to ‘life’ to use in my next brew, a nut brown ale.  I saved some S-04 from a Moosedrool clone I made back in February, and 2.5 months later I’ve successfully revived it.  Below are the basic steps I took.Picture

Step 1:  I poured preboiled and cooled water into the my fermenter (plastic bucket in this case) swirled around the yeast, water, and other trub that was left over after bottling.

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Step 2:  After letting the water/yeast/trub mixture sit for about 20 minutes and seeing some layers (see above) I carefully poured part of that into a glass jar.  I now let this set for about 20 minutes.  Now, I did see separation into 2 layers, but not the 3 I really wanted.  I would have liked to have seen a thick layer on the bottom (dead cells, trub, hops, etc) that I could have avoided.  Instead I had a clear top layer.

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Step 3:   Moving along with what I had, I carefully poured the thick cloudy mixture into three 8 ounce jelly jars that I had preboiled (with the water I used to start the process of washing).
To the left is what I had after pouring into the jelly jars.  Notice how the entire portion of liquid is a creamy color?  After settling out things will look different.

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Step 4:  I put tape labels on the top of the jars denoting what kind of yeast, the date and what ‘generation’ this was (this was the first generation).  I then placed the jars in the refridgerator for long term storage.  To the right you can see what the jars look like after being in the fridge and settling.  They should look this way within 24 hours, if not sooner.

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Step 5:  So now we move ahead to about 3 days before you want to brew.  To the left you see what my jar looks like after pouring off the clear liquid on top, and then mixing the yeast up.
I made a 500 ml (1/2 liter) solution using 25grams of dry malt extract giving me about a 1.020 wort.  Some will go up to 1.040, it’s your personal choice.  Also, I’m just making a 3 gallon batch, so I only need the amount of yeast from 500ml.  If you are making 5 gallons or more, you are likely to need 1L to 2L.  A good resource is mrmalty.com

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Step 6:  Pour your 500ml wort that is cooled down into a glass jar of choice.  Many use Erlenmeyer flasks, but I’m just going with an extra 1/2 gallon growler I have available.  After pouring the prepared wort into the jar, I then pour in my room temperature yeast.

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Step 7: well, step 7 and 8 are just pictures with an explanation.
After adding the yeast, I mixed (shook) the living daylights out of it to get some oxygen into solution.  I proceeded to mix this every so often when I walked by the kitchen.  A stir plate would be ideal, and at some point I’m going to build / buy one.
The picture on the left shows what it looks like after mixing up after about 24 hours from pitching.  There is a lot of activity, and it helps to get the CO2 out of solution and allow more oxygen into solution to help the growth.

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Step 8:  This is about it.  Within 36 hours the yeast is pretty much done with my 1.020 wort and has definitely grown in size (see the bottom).  At this point one could pour off the clear liquid on top and add 1L of new 1.040 wort to get the cell counts up high enough for a higher gravity or larger batch of beer, or just to have enough to sock away in another 8 oz jar if that is what you want.  For me, I have stuck this in the refrigerator and will take it out tomorrow morning, and brew in the afternoon.

Final thoughts.
I didn’t show the pictures of boiling the 8 ounce jars in water, as I’ve lost those pictures.
This makes it easy to save yeast for several months (some have reported 1 year) and cuts the cost of brewing considerably.  I now have a Kolsch yeast (Wyeast 2565) put away, and I will be saving some Bavarian Lager tonight when I bottle (Wyeast 2124).  I expect to have 6-7 strains saved at a time when I eventually top out, and will try to use each jar within 6 months.  I look forward to seeing if I can get up to the 5th generation, and further, and how that could compare to a fresh package of yeast.