I have heard Gordon Biersch does this and I was really curious about this too. Looking forward to hearing about others experiences!
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Looks like fun! And like you have your system down well.
BTW the 5.2 stabilizer isn't really necessary. The experts don't seem to think it's worth much in regards to effectiveness.
You have some good things going in your set up and procedures.
I like the foil on the kettle idea - might try that.
Measuring the mash pH would be a good step.
I agree with Euge on the 5.2. Read what the local expert has to say, Special Note in section 2.1.
Edit - you really did a fine job with the pictures and laying out the process for us, along with a recipe that had targets. Thanks for that.
Wow, super detailed! If your process is getting you consistent results, I say stick with it. Maybe too much water was added dropping the gravity to 1.062, but that isn't so bad. The only thing there I would say is to make more preboil wort, although it looks like you are maxing out your kettle volume...
As far as process simplicity, you seem to be all over it!
When you say 25% of your batches are lack luster, what makes them seem that way? Are there noticeable flaws? I am WAY more critical of my own beer than any other. I tend to beat myself up over nothing
My only comment is on squeezing the grain bag... I don't BIAB, but my understanding is that you could get some tannins from squeezing the grains. Otherwise, your process looks very similar to mine.
Looks good. I have a question. I brew 5 gallon batches, full boil, in an 8-gallon BK. I like IPA's and typically have a small boil over no matter how hard I try not to. Also, the last two batches I did a 75 minute and a 90 minute boil and boiled off a ton of wort. When that happens, I usually top off before I pitch my yeast with filtered water. However, I had someone notice a sour taste in my most recent IPA (I didn't taste it due to the hops, but he claimed he did). So I'm wondering if it may have been from the filtered water. I have it in a Brita pitcher, so the pitcher and the water haven't been sanitized. I'm wondering if I got an infection from this. I noticed you add your water to the boil if you lose too much, which makes since unless you're worried about hop utilization. I'm not really worried about that at this point. I've only brewed 7 batches.
One make sure wort is around room temp when using refractometer I know letting my wort sit in a spoon for a min shows big swing in gravity reading. 2 put on shoes.That was something I missed. Shoes or rubber boots to prevent burn and other wounds.
The carboy is on concrete in many pics. Carboys on concrete scare me, just a little bump on the concrete could cause a broken carboy. Get a milk crate for the carboy, or at least a brew hauler (nylon strap carrier).
so if that's 3 gallons you're somewhere in upper 60's on efficiency %, is that right?
I believe most who brew in a bag turn on the heat and raise to mash-out temps before pulling out the bag. I don't follow this exact procedure so I can't calm your fears of a melted bag, but a lot of people seem to do it without problems...anyway there's some un-claimed sugary goodness still in that bag you should be able to get out without squeezing/tannin extraction.
I don't trust the amount of evaporation I get on a shallow spoon or on the prism when wort is hot. The numbers I get just don't make sense, so instead I take a sample with a pipette, cover the end with my finger as I hold it upside down and dunk it in some cold water. Chills in a matter of seconds, then I put it on the refractometer.
also, if i what I am squinting at says those yeasts are best before early/mid January, you're not overpitching.
re: things like mash temperatures I would just say that yes, you need to be in a certain range. However you also need to know your equipment. If a specific number on your thermometer that is outside the "ideal" range of the books is giving you the beer you like best, go with that. Understand your equipment and make your process repeatable.
looks like you do a lot of really good things; I bet your beer is great.
I would never put ice cubes made from my tapwater in my beer. My tapwater has so much chlorine in it that I consider it undrinkable. I don't know how much chlorinated water it takes to get that phenolic taste, but I just wouldn't risk it.
If your ice cubes are made from good water, never mind. Just something to check.
All i do after i let my beer sit for around 2 weeks and it has dropped clear for at least a couple days is siphon to a purged keg. Other that that there should be no other exposure to oxygen.
Thanks again everyone for the comments.
I think some of the most important process stuff comes after fermentation is over. You have the potential for a lot of oxidation at those points. How you transfer and whether you use a secondary, how full your secondary is during that period, and bottle conditioning vs kegging are important steps.