Brewing Beer with the BREWHA BIAC

This video provides a detailed overview providing instructions on how to brew beer with the BREWHA BIAC.

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9 lbs US Organic 2-row
8 oz Crystal 15L
1.25 oz Willamette (60 minute boil)
1 pkg Wyeast 1056 American Ale
Volume calculations completed by Beersmith.
Ferment at 19C/66F and condition at 18C/64F
(This recipe is based on a American Blonde recipe in BYO)

Full transcript of the video:

Hi, and welcome to another BREWHA video. In this video we will be looking at the BREHWA Small BIAC, and we are going to be looking at how to brew with it and going through the steps in the process of making an American Blonde Ale.

What we have done today is we have taken cold water out of the tap (we like to use cold water because hot water can sometimes contribute flavor to the beer so we use cold water, it is the freshest) and we used the ETC [controlling the Heating Element] to warm up the water to our strike temperature. When we program the ETC we can then walk away and go do errands or whatever we need to do in the time it takes to bring cold water from the 40-50F / 5-10C up to your strike temperature [probably about 50-60 minutes]. Our strike temperature today is going to be 160F and we are going to be mashing at 152F. We picked up our grain from the local brew shop yesterday and we had it in the fridge overnight, so we have raised the strike temperature a little bit to compensate for that [the cold grain will cool the water to 152F].

For this batch of American Blonde that we are brewing today, we have 9lbs of US organic 2-row, 8oz of crystal 15, and we are using 1.25oz of Willamette hops with acid at 7% it will be a little bit high on the bitterness side, (I personally like my blondes, my American blonds, blonde ale to be a little bit more bitter as it brings out the crispness and freshness of this style of ale) so it is on the moderate to high moderate side of typical for this beer. And we are using Wyeast 1056 yeast.

This beer recipe is built on a Brew Your Own American Blonde that we have adapted slightly but it is pretty similar.

We are going to add our grist. We have 22L of water, that is what we have put into the 3-in-1 and then we have inserted our Mash Colander into it. Another thing we have done, is to put 3L/0.75 gallons of water, that is the size of the jacket on the 27L 3-in-1, and it is warming up as the heating element heats up the water inside the 3-in-1 is also heating up the water inside the jacket which we will be using for sparge a little later. [When new, it is best not to use the jacket for sparge water for the first few batchs to help flush out any welding soot that may be in the jacket. PBW or some other stainless cleaner can be used in the jacket to clean it out. Be sure to rinse thoroughly after that.]

We haven’t added any additional minerals, here in Vancouver we have a fairly nice water profile for this style of beer so we don’t need to modify it at all.

The 3-in-1 [and Small BIAC package **correction--as of 08/15 the pump is included in the price of a Small BIAC**] do not include a Chugger Pump Assembly but it can be purchased separately. We are not going to use it today. The reason we don’t include it with the Small BIAC package is that for this volume of wort, it is possible to vorlauf or transfer with a measuring cup out of the bottom and putting it back on top at the end. For the larger volume (Medium or Large BIAC) it is a lot of liquid that needs to be transported and so the pump comes standard with it. I am just going to stir the mash and break any dough balls up… I’ll lock the wheels.

Ok, so we have stirred the mash, we have adjusted the ETC to 152F, which is our mashing temperature. The element is going to come on when the temperature in the water surrounding the Mash Colander drops to 151F, it will warm it back up to 152 so it will keep it at 152 for the duration of the mash, which is 1 hour. [If you are using the pump, it will circulate past the temperature sensor and heating element for the duration of the mash, turning on as necessary.]

We are going to put the lid on and stir it about mid way through, and then come back in about one hour.

I want to look quickly at the setup of the BREWHA BIAC. Down here at the bottom there is a ball valve at the bottom of the conical. That is used for removing the grain that has settled through the Mash Colander and settled to the bottom of the 3-in-1 conical, we will be pulling it out [through the valve] and putting it back into the top of the Colander once we have raised it out of the 3-in-1. We have a port here at the front, this is the racking port [transferring to the keg or bottles]; that valve is going to stay closed. We have a ball valve on the far side, on the lower portion of the jacket, because we are holding water inside the jacket right now. We are going to be pulling that water out and putting it up into the top of the colander once it is raised out of the 3-in-1 in order to sparge the grain and rinse some of the last bit of sugar off of the grain.

Here at the top is the jacket port, which is open right now as there is water inside the jacket [that port should always be kept open]. Down here we have the 1500W heating element and it is plugged into the heating receptacle of the ETC, and the ETC is plugged into the wall. So power comes from the wall, into the ETC, and when the temperature rises…the ETC senses the temperature and knows that it needs to turn on if the temperature is dropping, it then opens up and sends power through to the element which then starts warming it back up again.

If you need to ensure that the temperature is distributed evenly throughout the Mash Colander, down through the jacket, especially at the beginning of your mash, pull the wort out of the bottom of the 3-in-1 conical, and transfer the wort back up into the top of the Colander in order to move the wort throughout. If you have purchased the Chugger Pump Assembly, then this will be done for you automatically—you just connect the pump to the bottom port, and the pump then pushes the wort back up into the top of the Colander and it is constantly circulating. (When recirculating, keeping the water level in the Mash Colander to within approximately 1”/2.5cm of the mash-in level will prevent exposing the element to air and ruining it.) If you are going to be step-mashing, then a pump is going to be necessary (or certainly very helpful) because at several points throughout the mash period, you will want to raise the temperature of the entire vessel (Colander and 3-in-1) and the quickest and easiest way to do that thoroughly all through the grain bed is to be circulating your wort constantly with the pump.

So right now we are going to use a measuring cup [to transfer wort], we have a single step mash so the temperature is constant throughout, we are going to drain a bit of wort out the bottom port and putting it back up top. The benefit of this also is that any grain that has settled through the Colander and into the bottom of the 3-in-1 can be removed and put back up into the top.

We have reached the end of the mash period. We are going to lift the Mash Colander out, rest it on the lower handles, and allow all the wort to drain into the boil kettle. As soon as we have raised it, we are going to vorlauf by transferring wort out the bottom of the 3-in-1 and putting it back into the top of the Colander, and this is going to help clarify the beer, because a filter bed has formed inside the Mash Colander through the circulation that we did earlier, and we are going to be transferring the sediment that has settled through the Colander into the bottom of the 3-in-1 and putting it back up into the top.

(One of the benefits of the Small BIAC, is that it [the Mash Colander] can be lifted out manually by one individual.)

The wort is starting to run down into the 3-in-1 and we are going to transfer wort out of the bottom and bring it back up into the top. As mentioned, if you purchase the Chugger Pump Assembly, then this is done automatically for you by the pump—you don’t need to transfer manually.

As soon as we have started to vorlauf, we will start raising the temperature inside the boil kettle (3-in-1) because we are getting it ready for boil. We are going to disconnect the Heating Element from the ETC and plug it directly into the wall.

As soon as we can see the grain bed starting to surface as the water is dropping down, we are going to take the 3L of pre-heated sparge water in the jacket [or water heated on a stove, or even tap water can be used—75C/168F water generally works best but cold can be used] and putting it back into the top of the Mash Colander to sparge the grain a little bit.

The wort is continuing to drip out of the Mash Colander, the grain is pretty much free of any wort, there is just the last little bit dripping in. We have about 22L pre-boil volume and are going to boil off just under 2L during the boil period. While this heats up I’m going to take the Mash Colander and dump the grain into our compost and start to clean up.

The 1500W element is able to heat the water up at about 2°F/minute (1°C/minute) with 5 gallons / 20L of water in the 3-in-1. So going from a mash out temp to the boil will take about 25 minutes to get to a boil going, and a few minutes more for a good rolling boil.

It is now boiling—1500W provides a really good boil for up to 5 gallons. We have a good rolling boil…you can see the hot break forming and we might have to unplug the element once [to let the break drop] however, it seems to be stabilizing and with 22L pre-boil, we are not boiling over. Fermentation will also be fine because there is sufficient head-space. I measured the pre-boil gravity and it was 1.048, which gives a mash efficiency of about 80% so I’m happy with that. We are going to move the fermentor over by the stove and turn the oven fans on and move any humidity out of the house and put it outside.

So the hot break has subsided…we have some good protein coagulation happening that will help the proteins to settle out [after boil] and we are going to add our hops. We have 1.25oz of Willamette hops at 7% acid so we will add them to the boil using the Hop Baskets.

The boil has completed, we have just unplugged it and turned the fan off. We are down to about 20.5L of post-boil wort volume, and we are going to program the ETC controller and connect the cold water into the jacket to chill it down quickly. Before we do that we will put the lid on. What I like to do is to spray the lid with Star San after cleaning it really well because the lid is not part of the boil so it isn’t heat-sanitized like the other part of the vessel. It is a no-rinse sanitizer so you could put the lid on directly but what I like to do is take boiled water and rinse off the Star San. The chemists might differ with me, but I think that while Star San might not be contributing anything bad to the flavor, but it’s certainly not adding anything beneficial either, so I like to keep as much out as possible and take boiled water to rinse it off. With that done, put the lid back on but leave the valve open. I’m not going to seal it yet. [Don’t seal it as a vacuum will then form during the cooling period as the wort shrinks and it could damage the vessel.]

Here is an adapter that was picked up at the local hardware store that will fit into most household water taps [to connect the TCV]. Most taps are different so it is best to bring it into the hardware store where you can get an adapter and get a garden hose fitting on the other end. So I take the TCV garden hose fitting and connect it to the tap adapter. I’m going to take another hose off the exit side and put it back into the sink. [When chilling with municipal or other higher pressure water, it is best to install the Water Pressure Regulator to ensure pressure doesn’t build up in the jacket. Municipal water can reach 80psi and the jacket is only designed to operate at 5psi. Also don’t throttle the flow from the jacket in any way and be sure to use a drain hose that won’t kink, causing pressure to build up.] I’ve programmed the ETC with a chill temperature slightly higher than my target fermentation temperature (in this case I’m going to ferment at 66°F/19°C) and I want to the stop the chilling at about 72°F because the jacket holds some residual chilling and I’m going to let it sit for about 10 minutes to let the protein settle out, equilibrate the temperature inside the fermentor to make sure that I’m pitching at exactly the target temperature. I have collapsed my yeast smack pack a little while ago and it is starting to swell as the yeast is getting active inside.

So I will turn the chiller on and it will take about 25-30 minutes to chill down.

I took the hose from the Chugger Pump Assembly, the wort return hose to the top of the Colander, and am repurposing it here to take the cold water out of the jacket and return it to the sink. You don’t want to put any kind of valve on the downstream side of the jacket, or you can cause pressure build up inside the jacket and that can deform the jacket. It is only meant for about 8psi max [recommended working pressure is 5psi] so don’t put any valve on the outside of the jacket. Leave the lid port open during chilling to prevent a vacuum from forming.

So water is going through the jacket and it will draw heat out of the wort, chilling the wort down and putting hot [warm] water down the drain.

And that is it—pretty simple and straightforward. It has been an enjoyable and easy brew day. The only thing to clean up is the Colander which was really easy—just had to put the grain into the compost and to rinse the Colander out. All that remains now is to pull what has settled down to the bottom of the fermentor, the protein, and we are going to drain it off by putting a cup under the bottom port. We put a bit of Irish Moss into the last 10 minutes of boil, so that will help with the clarifying as well. So let’s get a cup, put it under the bottom and you can see that there is lots of protein; it is quite thick and ‘porridgy’. We are going to pour it out until it starts to run clear [about 2 cups].

The jacket has chilled the wort, taking about 25 minutes to chill the wort down to 20°C/68°F. We drained the protein off of the bottom of the fermentor, through the bottom port. Now we are going to rock the fermentor in order to oxygenate the wort. It can be done just by rocking it back and forth like this…or it can also be accomplished with the Wort Aeration Stone and an oxygen cylinder or a pump and bubbling the gas up through the 3-in-1. We are going to open the top up and pour the yeast into the top of the vessel. We were careful to sanitize the yeast pack [with Star San] before we opened it and all the [lid] fittings have been sanitized too.

So all that remains is we will attach a blow-off tube to the top of this port and we will open the port. The gas will come out of the top. Here is our blow-off tube and we have a short section of half-inch hose and we will attach it to the valve and connect it and open up the valve (and put the other end in a cup or bucket). Now any CO2 gas that is produced is going to escape and the water forms a water trap [to keep airborne microbes out]. You can also add a little Star San or disinfectant. It is best to use the no-rinse kind in case a vacuum does form and sucks it back into the valve/vessel…you don’t want to be drinking bleach. (If you find that your fermenter is sucking the Star San solution in during fermentation, use a longer hose and put the cup or bucket on the floor.)

And that is it! We will regulate the temperature of the ferment by using the ETC and the TCV with water going through. It will precisely regulate the temperature of fermentation so that the yeast has a consistent environment in order to do their thing. [We fermented at 19°C/66°F for 2 weeks and conditioned in kegs at 18°C/64°F for 4 weeks.]

Thank you for watching the video. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us using the form on the website. Thanks very much for watching!

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Hi Ron—if you don’t want to tie up the sink, you can use one of our Water, Beer and Wort Chillers. When plugged into the ETC (temperature sensor/control) the Chiller is turned on when needed, and the pump on the Chiller will circulate cooling water through the jacket to keep the temperature down. The kegs in that scenario were kept in a room that was 18C/64F.

BREWHA Equipment Co

You fermented for 2 wks at 66° using the ETC w/ the TCV to precisely maintain that temp. Then you transfer the beer into a keg to condition for 2 wks at 64°. If I don’t want to tie up sink for 2wks what else can I do to ferment the beer for the first 2 wks that maintain the correct temp. Secondly how do you maintain the conditioning temp in the kegs?

Ron Paris

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