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1st BIAB in the Bucket - Questions

Well, I told myself I would do this without asking any questions. But, I have a few as this is my first BIAB. My recipe is basically;

6.25 lbs 2-row pale
3.25 lbs domestic Munich
2.25 lbs carapils

I’m using the Omega Hothead Ale yeast and a local spring water. I did a FWH of Nugget/Horizon and a final addition of hops at 10 mins finishing the boil. I sparged the grist bag and squeezed it for every last drop without being to aggressive. I added about 1/2 gallon boiled water to bring the finished wort volume to 5 gals.

  1. I projected an OG of 1.059. My measured OG was 1.54 @ 85F so add .003 for 1.057. That’s 99% efficiency? Is that right?

  2. I pitched the yeast at 85F. I didn’t make a starter. My yeast was <30 days old. I shook it and dumped in the yeast slurry. That morning around 4AM it was very active. The agitation of the bubbles caused the airlock to almost go empty. I refilled with vodka to stop the Star San foaming. It’s been 48 hrs plus and the activity has all but stopped. Nice krausen and the airlock liquid is off balance and bubbles every once in a while telling me she’s still working away. FYI the room and bucket temps are 78F right now. Should I worry or just leave it alone and have a beer :beer:? I vote the latter.

  3. My first BIAB. The grain was milled at .070. The wort was very colorful and seemed like a LOT of suspended matter (sugars, etc?). When I took the OG the wort sat in the test tube for 5-10 mins. Yes, I filtered the wort through a strainer when going from the kettle to the bucket. There was a lot of sediment that settled in the bottom. Is this normal?

Thanks in advance!

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I don’t usually calculate it because I don’t care but here is and example of how to figure brewhouse efficiency “let’s say our expected gravity (at 100% efficiency) = 1.045, or 45 points. However we measured a gravity of 1.038 into the fermenter. Then our efficiency would be = 38/45 = roughly 84%.” So as I figure it you are closer to 94% pretty respectable anyway.

Yes you will see a lot more gunk in the fermenter with AG, just the nature of the beast. It will settle down to the bottom so I do not filter it between the kettle and fermenter.

Try to get a reasonably clear sample in your hydrometer flask. Spin it to knock off any bubbles that might be hanging on and give it a minute. Most hydrometers need a 60°F sample but it should come with a conversion chart. Honestly I have take readings warmer then stuck the sample in the fridge to cool and did not find the difference listed. Then again if it’s close to what I expected, I’m good with it. It will still come out beer, good beer.

Sounds like everything went extremely well. I wonder what the pH level of your spring water is.


All sounds great to me. Except that mill setting. Is .070 correct or a mistype?


I did wonder about that but I have had a non-adjustable mill forever so the numbers are not real familiar.

I agree. Supposedly .030 is a credit card so that’s where I have mine set per @brewcat (I think). .070 seems a little wide but if it works, don’t mess with it. :sunglasses: Congrats on the brew too!

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That’s got to be a mismarked. The grain would fall through the mill at that gap. The wider the gap generally the less efficiency. Could be a different kind of calibration marking. Use a feeler gauge to check it if you want to.

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The shop where I purchased and milled had two settings. .025 and .070 Now I was told by the young man, who seemed knowledgeable, that they use the .070 setting for BIAB and all grains. I’ll have to admit I just used that setting. The grain was crushed, but not pulverized. I’ll have to verify that setting and get back.
I assumed more gunk in an all grain. Yes, I do the spinning thingy with the hydrometer. Mine is calibrated at 68F and I used the chart for their correction factor. I’m pretty confident in the gravity reading. I took several readings as the sample cooled to verify the reading.
I am still concerned that it seems to have went dormant after 2-3 days of activity. But for now I’ll let her be and check her in a few days.

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Don’t forget to harvest your yeast at the end.
I double grind my grains so I would use to smaller setting next time.
Whatever software you used to calculate your efficiency typically starts at 75%-80%. So you got 99% of the way to that that efficiency. Good job.
Hothead and all the Kveik strains are fast. I would say your yeasts are not dormant they just aren’t multiplying any more. They are still at work fermenting and cleaning up your beer.

What brand mill is it?

@brew_cat I’m not sure of the setting now. I’m going by the store today and I’ll stop and verify the gap. I’m probably wrong on my notes.
The lessons I’d pass along is the advice for a pulley system from some of you and a water kettle for sparging. I put together a pulley system with a ladder and it worked great. That bag of wet, hot grist is hard to manage without the rope & pulley. I also used my hot water kettle to heat up my spare water. Also makes it easy to pour over the bag.
Well I’m down to my last 6 beers of my pale ale and ~18 of my Billie’s beer. Someone also left a few Sierra Nevada’s if I run out and am in a pinch.
Thanks again!


@olanwade , sounds like you’ve come up with a workable system with the ladder and pulley. I struggled with the same problem early on and my approach now is using 2 and even 3 grain bags for BIAB. My first time doing a 16 plus pound grainbill with a single bag by myself led to some tense moments. I don’t know what that SOB weighed soaked in hot wort, but it was about all I could handle…

I think @dannyboy58 uses a hoist/ pulley setup.

Not the best picture, but you get the idea of my ladder/pulley system. Note the packing blanket used to insulate the kettle during the mash.

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I have a ratchet pulley that locks into place so you don’t have to tie off

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I wouldn’t worry about that. With that yeast and such a warm fermentation temp I bet it just fermented out. It is obvious that you are very meticulous with your brewing and that makes for less (or no) mistakes.

I did a calculation of the grist and 100% for 5 gallons would be 1.082… Thats using the 35 points per pound…
And the others are agreeing with my thoughts… you get stuff… shall we call it trub? Or is it Lees? And a temp that warm will cause the yeast go nuts… And the strain is an excellent choice for your area… I’d say… Congrats to your first adventure!! Sneezles61

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My projected 1.057 was based on 70% efficiency. So if I think about it, I hit my 70% efficiency. This is making me want a beer.


Yes I did check and 1.057 is where it would be a 70% conversion… Sneezles61

I use whirlfloc for biab and everything settles out in the fermenter very quickly. I also believe that efficiency calculations are based on the manufacturer of the grain you are using but you can get close enough without it. I crush my grains really fine and squeeze the bag no sparge at all and end up around 85 percent when I use to calculate this. It helps when following recipes that are mainly aimed around 70 percent efficiency so you can use a few pounds less of base malt.

The mystery of the mill setting continues. I stopped by and checked the mill. The setting on their mill for BIAB is .070. I looked at the gap of the rollers, but had no caliber to measure it.
Not sure of the model, etc. I just know it worked (so far) for my needs. I can say the grain was nicely crushed. I did see some “flour”, but I think that’s unavoidable using a public mill. I’m curious what another shop’s mill setting would be? May have to check that out one day.

The odd thing is .025 is kind of tight when using a mash tun. Generally you can crush tighter for BIAB. My brew suppliers crush .030-.035. I’ve crushed BIAB .025 but now I’m at .037

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