Friday, November 23, 2012

Maximizing Wort Extraction From Your Grain Bag - VIDEO

Today's video demonstrates the technique described several posts ago that I use to squeeze the most wort out of my grain bag.  As always, your comments and questions are welcomed.

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Thursday, November 22, 2012

UPDATED: How to End Up With Almost No Trub After Boiling

Last weekend my brew bud Travis and I cooked up a batch of Kilkenny Irish Ale Clone.

All went well.  We had a nice even rolling boil.

We use a 5 gallon paint strainer as a hops bag.  We had clipped it differently than usual, around one half (almost) of the boil kettle and added hops as called for.  Part of the elastic band at the top of the bag was stretched across the middle of the pot.

Here's the strange the boil reached the top of the kettle, it overflowed into the paint strainer bag almost like a waterfall, as the wort in the bag was not bubbling/foaming up.

We were happy that this was keeping the pot from boiling over, but it wasn't until we drained the wort that we saw something amazing.

There was almost no trub or hot break in the bottom of the pot!  Why?  I appears that is was all filtered by the hops bag as the boil push it all up and over the side and into the paint strainer/hops bag.

Is this a good thing?  I'm really not sure, as many feel that some trub/hot break/cold break serves as nutrients for the yeast.  I guess we'll see how the batch turns out and report back!


Update:  Here's a video showing the technique in action:

Update 2: 8-23-13
Well, I found out that this technique can work TOO well!  Last night I brewed a batch of Gumballhead clone (3 Floyds Brewing, Indiana), and maintained a perfect rolling boil for the entire 60 minutes.  I was distracted by a pre-season football game, and did not realize that so much of the trub and break had been caught by the hops bag, that it had clogged it up, and almost no wort was in the pot.  It was all in the hops bag!  I went outside to watch the last minute of the boil, and noticed a burnt odor in the air.  Turns out, my heatstick was at the bottom of the pot steaming away those last few ounces of wort that did not make it into the hops bag.

Fortunately, my heatstick element is an Ultra Low Wattage version that does not burn out if fired outside of water.  I used my long spoon on the inside of the hops bag to clear off the trub and hops to allow it to drain.  The wort was nice and clear, and there was almost no trub in the bottom of the pot.

The remainder of the session went OK, aside from the fact that I had boiled off too much wort, and my OG was about 10 points too high!  I topped off the fermenter with tap water to make 5 gallons, and brought the OG back down to 1.056, pitched the S-05 and had bubbles from the blow off tube this morning!

So, if you do try this method, be aware of the possibility of the hops bag getting clogged.

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