Before I start, I’m not discouraged. I actually saw this coming and the lesson has taught me a lot for how I can avoid these mistakes on future batches. First of all, I brewed 3 all-grain batches within the same week. The first, a Berliner Weisse won’t be ready for a while but that batch was a very small malt bill with grains that I double-milled myself. I did all of these with the Brew in a Bag process and this batch I managed to sparge successfully and hit my temps well so I have confidence this batch came out alright.
The other two, a Raspberry Wheat and Citra IPA failed miserably. Two main issues occurred.
- My Brew in a Bag process is shit. BIAB works. I’m not saying it doesn’t but I don’t like it. The act of filling a flimsy bag with 10 pounds of grain and scalding my hands trying to squeeze out excess and hold it for 10 minutes while it drains into the kettle. All of this is extremely hard. One batch, my grain bag broke and I frantically hit my local home brew store for a replacement bag and ended up just throwing all of the ingredients out.I took care on hitting my mash temps and timing. I just don’t like this process so I’ll be getting a proper mash tun for my next batch.
- The second is my milling. I had my grains milled by Midwest Supplies. I didn’t know fine-milling or double-milling were options and crucial when doing BIAB. I now know so, should I do another batch before getting a mash tun, I’ll be requesting for a finer mill. I think this is why my Berliner Weisse so far seems okay because I milled those by myself and without knowing, did a fine grind and actually helped myself there.
How did I know from the start these beers wouldn’t arrive where I had hoped? The Original Gravity was WAY off. I hit the OG on the Berliner. On the Hefe and on the IPA, both were about 40% under expected OG. The result though is that both of the finished beers hit the FG that I had expected which is great news but the taste, mouthfeel and ABV is far below what I had hoped for.
The issue isn’t BIAB, it’s that I didn’t compensate for things that BIAB requires such as more milling, sparging with water or just using heat resistant gloves and finally, adding more grain to compensate for a lower efficiency in the mash.
A mash tun SHOULD help these not be as important. Maybe I’m missing something here so I’ll be doing more research. It’s not as if I don’t have enough beer to drink at the house.
I went ahead and kegged these beers anyway. I have enough friends who LOVE Coors Light and sole priority every night is to get hammered that if I give them Seltzer water and tell them it’s 6% alcohol, they’ll chug it. this beer won’t go to waste and will still get consumed but I won’t be drinking it.
The Porter (pictured right) came out okay. it was a partial mash and my only complaint is I used 4 orange zests when i should have only used 3. Maybe in a few weeks, it will be a bit more balanced? Time will tell.
I thought I’d share a few photos from kegging day.