High Gravity has a Brew-in-a-Bag Electric Brewing System

We are very excited about the latest entry in our electric brewing line, Brew-in-a-Bag (BIAB).

For the last few years brew-in-bag has been gaining steam (pun intended).  There are a lot of good reasons for this and even more when you are using an electric BIAB system.

First, if you live in a apartment or small house, brewing with a 3-tier brewing system is probably too big and cumbersome to use, leaving you stuck with an extract, mini-mash or igloo cooler setup to brew your beers. BIAB has a very small footprint.  All you need is counter space to set your kettle on and a 220 dryer outlet. We can make the power cord up to 50 feet so you can reach the outlet.  And because our system is all electric all you need are a few hot pads to set under the kettle to protect the counter surface.  Storage is a breeze as well.  Just fit all the hoses, pump and chiller in the BIAB and store in a closet.  Easy…

Second, it saves time.  When you are doing a brew-in-a-bag brew session, everything takes place in one vessel.  You aren’t wasting any time transferring your strike water.  No extended sparge. You just lift the bag out of the vessel and let it drain into the pot.  As it is draining your are already heating up the wort to a boil.  Cleaning is easy.  Again, only one vessel to cleanup when you are finished.  We estimate it cut our brewing session by at least 2 hours.

Third, no more brewing outside!!!!! When you are brewing with an electric system, there isn’t any propane used so you get to brew in the comfort of your home.  No more sitting out by the hot propane burner in the middle of the hot summer or freezing your buns off while brewing outside in the winter.  Remember though, you are putting off quite a bit of moisture during the boil so you may want to open a window to let it escape. (Or you can do what I do and let the condensation clean the walls. After the first few batches  your walls will look like new!)

Forth, electric is mush more efficient than the propane.  Just think about all that heat escaping into the air when you are brewing with propane.  With electric, all that energy goes directly into the wort.  No wasted heat.  No wasted energy. During the cold of winter we can get 15 gallons of water to strike temperature in less than 45 minutes. It is amazingly quick. We love it.

So, what are the downsides?  Not many. Your efficiency will probably suffer so  you will need to increase your base grain to compensate.  Our 15 gallon system can really only do 5 gallon batches.  Ten gallons are possible if you are doing a 1.050 or lower beer.  The space that is used when you consider the full volume of water is in from the git-go limits the amount of grain you can use. Honestly, that is all I can think of as far as a downside to BIAB.

One other thing I should mention.  Many people feel that electric brewing scorches and burns the wort.  Not true.  The heating element creates an instant jacket of steam around the element preventing it from scorching the wort.

So… How does our system work?

High Gravity’s Electric BIAB features an integrated PID controller for precise automatic temperature control of the BIAB vessel, and our own analog infinite power level control. The system includes a Chugger stainless steel head pump rated at 250º F for very hot liquids. A stainless steel temperature probe with 6 ft. cable is installed in a SS Tee fitting to monitor temperature at the input of the vessel during the mash.  The system requires 220V 30A service and includes a 6 ft power cord (can be incresed to 50′) with either a 3-wire plug (NEMA 10-30P) or a 4-wire plug (NEMA 14-30P).

The wort temperature is maintained using a RIMS setup.  Wort is constantly recirculated via the Chugger pump. A temperature probe located on the intake back into the vessel monitors the temperature and a heating element located at the bottom of the vessel is turned on when the wort temperature drops below the set point designated on our EBC-SV, which is the heart of our BIAB system.

The “bag” part of our BIAB system is a stainless steel basket that rests above the the heating element and holds a fine mesh nylon bag that contains the grains.  This ensures that only wort and not grains are in contact with the heating element preventing the possibility of burning the grains.

For more on our Brew-in-a-Bag you can checkout our YouTube video below:

Beat the heat and brew all summer long.

Summer is here and the enemy of homebrewing has arrived. HEAT.

Heat is bad for homebrewing. Higher fermentation temperatures create esters and off flavors that can detract from the intended flavor of the beer. Ideally, ales should ferment between 65-72° and homes are generally 75-78° in the summer months. How does one continue their favorite hobby during this challenging time of year? There are several options.

Let’s start with a very cost effective way to cool down your wort. First, if you have central air with floor vents there is an easy trick to lower the temp of your fermenting beer by 2-4 degrees. Simply place your fermenting bucket or carboy next to an air vent and let the cool air help keep the temperature down. If this doesn’t lower the temperature enough, try creating an enclosure. A cardboard box works great. Just place it over the air vent and fermenter and cut a small hole as far away from the vent as possible, forcing the air to flow over the fermenter. I’m currently fermenting a lemongrass Saison next to my air vents and the fermentation temperature  is a comfy 70°. (It’s 103° today…)

Don’t have floor vents? Place the fermenter in a larger vessel and fill the space between the two with water. The evaporative process will lower the temperature of the wort by a few degrees. Increase the effectiveness of this method by placing frozen cold packs in the water, trading them out every day or two with freshly frozen cold packs. It is surprising how well this works.

Temerature ContollerThe most effective way to control the temperature of your fermentations is to use a refrigerator or a freezer with an external temperature controller. With this setup a homebrewer can dial-in the exact temperature the beer should ferment at, regardless of the time of year. Simply plug the fridge or freezer into the temperature controller and plug the controller into the wall. Set the external controller to the temp you want to ferment at and voila, instant temperature control! Of course the downside is you need an extra fridge and the space to put it but it is the best way to guarantee the the desired temperature of your fermentation and gives you the best control.

Don’t let the summer heat keep you from brewing beer.  With just a few simple steps, homebrewers can brew all year long.

 

Cheers,
Desiree and PippinDesiree Knott
desiree@highgravitybrew.com
High Gravity Homebrewing & Winemaking Supplies
High Gravity’s Facebook Fan Page

Follow highgravitybrew on Twitter

The EBC III has arrived!

The newest member of our Electric Brewing Systems

For several years our customers have been begging Dave to make an all inclusive electric brewery controller that incorporates the temperature controllers for the hot liquor tank and the pump. Well, he finally did it and I must say, I think it is his best design yet. With the original EBC we introduced a control unit that gave brewers the ability to control the heat and pump for brewing all electric.  It had the ability to attach Ranco controllers to automate the hot liquor tank temperature and to also control the pump which recirculates the wort to maintain the mash tun temperature.  It had a big downside though. There wasn’t a way to control the intensity of the boil.  This forced brewers to go with a smaller heating element so that the boil off rate wasn’t insane. Then Dave found a way to use triacs to modulate the power giving brewers “volume” control and the EBC II was born.  It was a huge improvement.  This allowed the brewer to use a larger heating element to get to a boil quickly and then back down the power for a reasonable boil off rate.  We loved this improvement and so did our loyal EBC brewers! The EBC II still relied on the use of Ranco controllers to automate the system. The EBC III incorporates the functionality of the Ranco controllers into the unit itself, simplifying the setup for brewers.  It also incorporates quick disconnects for the temperature probes and a twist lock for the power cable allowing you to disassemble the EBC III for easier storage. Everything about the EBC III is better.

  • Easy assembly and dis-assembly
  • The power cords are now made by us to you can request several different lengths.
  • The temperature probes are 4″ long stainless steel that can fit into existing thermowells or directly into the vessel with the weldless option that is included.
  • The temperature probes have a quick disconnect at the EBC III and the vessel, allowing you to keep the probe in the vessel without leaving the cabling attached.
  • The temperature probes react very quickly to temperature changes. Much better than than the current Ranco controllers.

For those who want a system that incorporates automation, the EBC III is the way to go.  Of course not everyone will go for the EBC III. It does have a higher price tag than the EBC II with 2 Ranco controllers. But hey, if you want SEXY, it is going to cost you more. We have put together a video explaining how to use the EBC III. We will also have a video soon of the EBC III in use.

Gluten Free Beer Success!

As you may or may not know, I have been diagnosed with Celiac and cannot eat wheat or any other grain that contains gluten.  This has been difficult considering I own a homebrew store.

I’ve tried a few recipes in an attempt to get a good gluten free beer. Until recently all I had to work with as the base was sorghum. the results were always disappointing.  The sorghum has a lot of iron and the metallic aftertaste was not pleasant.

My latest attempt uses a brown rice extract made by Briess Malting.  The results at this point are far better than the sorghum attempts.  I’m trying to get a good craft style beer such as an American Pale Ale that has a great hop character to help me stay away from the consequences of drinking my favorite beverage.

The brown rice extract and malted oats are available at our store. The sprouted Quinoa and toasted buckwheat I found at Whole Foods in the bulk section.

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

6.00 lb Brown Rice Syrup (2.0 SRM)
1.00 lb Buckwheat – Roasted (3.0 SRM)
1.00 lb Oat Malt (2.0 SRM)
1.00 lb Quinoa – Sprouted (1.0 SRM)
0.50 oz Chinook Hops [13.00 %] (60 min) 21.8 IBU
0.50 oz Chinook Hops [13.00 %] (15 min) 10.8 IBU
0.50 oz Citra Hops [11.10 %] (15 min) 9.2 IBU
0.50 oz Citra Hops [11.10 %] (5 min) 3.7 IBU
0.50 lb Brown Sugar, Dark (50.0 SRM)

1 packet US-05 Yeast

Steep grains at 150° for 45 minutes in a grain bag using enough water to fully submerge the grains. It’s best if the grains ahve room to “swim” around the liquid.  Remove from water and sparge (sprinkle evenly) enough water at 170° to get around 3 gallons of water. Discard the grains.

Bring to a boil and add the Brown Rice Syrup. Stir till dissolved and add hops according to the schedule above.

Remove hops and cool quickly. Add to sanitized fermenter and add enough water to get to 5 gallons.  Make sure temperature is below 75° and sprinkle yeast on top of wort.

Ferment for 1-2 weeks and bottle with 3/4 cup priming sugar to carbonate the beer.

This beer isn’t carbonated yet but the flavor at bottling time was immensely encouraging.  The intense grapefruit character from the hops was exactly what I was targeting.

Please keep in mind that when purchasing items from our store that this is a homebrew store.  It is loaded with several varieties of barley, rye and wheat grains that are crushed in the store everyday. We can’t guarantee that the oat malt and brown rice syrup won’t come in contact with products containing wheat.  You may wish to crush the oat malt yourself as all the malts at High Gravity are crushed on the same mill.

Cheers,
Desiree and PippinDesiree Knott
desiree@highgravitybrew.com
High Gravity Homebrewing & Winemaking Supplies
Tulsa Homebrew Examiner
High Gravity’s Facebook Fan Page

Follow highgravitybrew on Twitter

Websites for Pairing Food with Beer and Wine

I’ve been perusing the interwebs lately trying find good sources for pairing foods with my two favorite drinks, beer and wine. I love beer.  I love wine.  Unfortunately, I suck at deciding what is good with what. So I usually just drink the beer and wine.  Forget the food… But alas, one does have to eat on occasion.

So here are a few sites that are informative and easy to navigate. Go forth and educate yourself.

Wine Paring:

www.foodandwinepairing.org

E&J Gallo Winery Winery Food Pairing Guide

Beer Pairing:

CraftBeer.com

The Homebrew Chef

Wegman’s Guide to Beer and Food Pairing

Draft Magazine’s Food Section

Cheers,
Desiree and PippinDesiree Knott
desiree@highgravitybrew.com
High Gravity Homebrewing & Winemaking Supplies
Tulsa Homebrew Examiner
High Gravity’s Facebook Fan Page

Follow highgravitybrew on Twitter