Most first-timers cannot believe that without adding any sugar, grains can be converted into a sweet wort. It is this transformative power and the flexibility to customize the color and body of the beer that makes grain mashing so popular. There are several techniques and we can refine the process as we develop a hang of it. Here is the simplest brew in a bag technique.
BIAB: Wheat Beer Recipe
- Arishtam's beer brewing kit
- 200 gm Malted Pilsner preferably two row barley or any base malt,
- 150 gm Malted wheat
- 20 gm Oat Flakes unflavored quaker oats
- 5 gm Beer yeast preferably German/ Belgian wheat strain,
- 9 gm Hops use an IBU calculator,
- 7 gm Orange Peel we can use bitter, sweet or Chinese Mandarin 1-2gms/l (if fresh peels, please use twice the quantity),
- 1.5 gm Coriander seeds
- 5 teaspoon Priming sugar 1/4 tea spoon per pint,
- 2 drops Iodine for starch test.
- Crush all the grains (not in the powder/ flour) but into grits.
- Take 2.5 Liters of water, give it a 15-minute acid rest to break down the glucans in the beer at 45oC.
- Followed by 45-75 minutes of glucoamylase rest at 65oC.
- Add hops, coriander and orange peels in the wort.
- Followed by a 15 min α-amylase rest at 70oC.
- Gently stir every couple of minutes throughout the step 2, 3 & 5 to ensure uniform temperature and mixing of the enzymes. Try to maintain steady temperatures during the stages to prevent the enzyme from degrading and kettle caramelization.
- Take a few drops of the wort, cool it, and test by adding a drop of iodine solution. If the solution turns purple, then the mashing was not proper (starch residue) and we should wait for a little while (or add more base malt) for the enzymes to finish their action. If it remains dark brown, then there is no residual starch.
- Remove the grains by lifting the bag and tying it above the brew kettle. We allow the sweet wort to drain and drip over the pot.
- When the dripping from the bag slows down, we spray and pour some hot water over the grains to extract out the sugars sticking to them. Keeping the grains in a bag makes it easy to handle them and prevent charring from the pot base.
- Meanwhile, hydrate the yeast. Also, sanitize the fermenter and other preparations.
- Once the grain bag stops dripping (all the wort is extracted), it is time to boil the wort (mashout). After that, chilling the wort rapidly in an ice bath will coagulate the proteins and make the beer clearer. The spent grains can be used as animal feed, compost, or even in baking brownies. Without carbohydrates, what is left is rich in fibers and nutrients.
- One can also check with a refractometer or hydrometer for the OG (original gravity) I prefer 1.050 but we can make it lighter or stronger as per taste. Top it up with sterilized water to make 2 Liters volume.
- The rest of the steps are all the same. (Add yeast, put the airlock in the fermenter, wait for a week and move to cold-crashing. Finally bottling/ kegging).
- Commercial breweries oxygenate the wort before adding yeast. However, since our size is small, the free air space is good enough to get the yeast kicked in. As we, scale up our batch size, some tweaks in the process/ technology might be needed for convenience but the science will remain the same.
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Some of your snobbish friends might quote the German beer purity law Reinheitsgebot 1516 which allows for the use of barley, hops, water and yeast only (not wheat, rye or sorghum). Well, it’s time to educate them, that these restrictions were a result of lobbying by the bread-makers. By banning the use of staple grains, the bread-makers removed the competition from the brewing industry and hence were able to keep bread affordable. Today, when wheat is available and is more affordable than brewing barley, these laws are just mental barriers.