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Gluten Free Home Brewing Blog

BIABing with Anthony from Texas

By Anthony from Texas  -  April 2nd, 2018

You may remember Anthony from his guest blog in January ‘Brewing 101 by GFHBer Anthony from Texas’. We have been collaborating on developing a clone recipe of his favorite conventional beer from before he was gluten free. After a couple revisions he thinks we may be close to the big unveiling. During this time, we have also worked on refining our BIAB brewing recommendations. You may recall our September and October blog articles when we conducted a series of BIAB batches and posted our results. We had inconsistent results, but they seemed to all suggest that due to the very thin mash conditions, that a large amount of enzymes were required. Anthony also reported to us that during his first BIAB batch that he had very poor conversion. Therefore, he agreed to entertain our theory to use a lot of enzymes.

Here are the amazing details Anthony provided:

15 gallon brew kettle and BIAB nylon grain steeping bag
16.5 lb grain bill
6 gallons of strike water (1.45 quart to gallon ratio)
2 gallons sparge water
1.5 gallon grain absorption

The math: 6 gallons of strike water +16.5 lbs grain bill – 1.5 gallons from grain absorption + 2 gallons sparge water = 6.5 gallon pre-boil volume

The BIAB method does not generally include a sparge. Anthony explained that after he removed the nylon bag with the grain bill from the brew kettle, he “dunked the grains like a tea bag” in a separate kettle containing the sparge water to remove any sugars left behind on the grain. He observed that the grain did not absorb any additional liquid and he collected the 2 gallons and combined it with the wort in his primary brew kettle. This sounds like a much safer alternative to running the sparge water through a grain bag suspended above a brew kettle.

We are going to forewarn you that we decided to go big and used a lot of enzymes. In the first batch we used a full 2 ounces of the SEBAmyl BAL 100 and L; and in the second batch we used 1.75 ounces of each enzyme. (For comparison this same batch using a conventional mash tun would use 15-25 ml or 0.5-0.85 oz) Anthony had great conversion with his first batch, so we backed it off a bit for the second batch to see if there were any noticeable differences. We can all thank Anthony for his attention to detail when we review his results!

Batch #1 with 2 oz SEBAmyl BAL 100 & L (155F mash)
Start of mash: 150F
After 30 minutes: 155F
After 60 minutes: 153F
After 90 minutes: 152F
Mash conversion test at 90 minutes confirmed complete conversion
OG: 1.062

Batch #2 with 1.75 oz SEBAmyl BAL 100 & L (155F mash)
Start of mash: 159F
After 30 minutes: 155F
After 60 minutes: 152F
After 105 minutes: 143F
Mash conversion test at 105 minutes confirmed complete conversion
OG: 1.060

It appears that our theory about the thin mash conditions diluting the enzymes has some merit to it. We intend to continue to experiment with the BIAB method and update our brewing recommendations. It appears that we may be able to extrapolate a ratio of enzyme in conjunction with the quart to pound ratio. It also appears that a larger amount of enzymes decreases the mash time required; and we may be able to derive at an amount of enzymes that is less aggressive than the amounts we used in this experiment.

We asked Anthony if he had any tips or tricks he would like to share about his experience and he had the follow words of advice:
“1. Expect to fail. The hardest thing I had to do was dump out 5 gal of beer but it happens. If I had to start again, I would buy equipment for 5 gal batches but start by brewing 2.5 gal batches or smaller.
2. Don't be afraid of kegging. You can start with a small Party Keg kit (I like the Torpedo Keg Party Bomb) that fits in your fridge and grow from there. You don't need a Kegerator to get started. Now I only bottle 3 or 4 for friends to test and keg the rest.”

Check back for more updated BIAB brewing recommendations.


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