Brew Day – El Hefe – 9/16/18

Today is the day that I finally got to play with all of the new toys I’ve added to my 5 gallon set up. I’ve upgraded my hose connections. I added a pump to move liquid around. I added a brew bag to the mash tun to improve filtering and hopefully efficiency.

This might have been the most fun I’ve had brewing since I brewed my Mango-I-Do-PA for my wedding.

Here are some highlights of the new stuff…

Adding the bag to the mash tun:

I was a bit skeptical at first. But, after having done some BIAB batches on the stove and seeing how easy it was, I did a Google search to see if people actually put a bag in their mash tun in lieu of a false bottom. Seems like a no-brainer. As it turns out, this is becoming more and more popular. It isn’t strict “brew in a bag” since you are doing it in a mash tun and still need to transfer liquid to the brew kettle. You need to be careful if you are going to use this as a way to achieve a “no-sparge” set up. That is what I tried with this hefe. You need to be very cognizant of your volume of liquid that gets into your brew kettle, and you need to make sure you don’t miss your pre-boil gravity by not straining enough. It seems the best practice is to use some type of hoist system to lift the bag out of the mash tun, and then let it drain via gravity (or squeeze). For my set up, I used an A-frame ladder, took a 2×6 and screwed some pipe clamps into it. Then I attached bungee cords to the clamps, and used carabiners to connect to the brew bag loops. I let it hang and drain, and then gave it a couple good squeezes.

brew bag straining

Once I checked my volume, I drew a sample for the hydrometer and temperature adjusted. I absolutely killed my pre-boil target. Since the volume was off by about a quarter of a gallon, I rinsed some water through the bag to get the rest of my liquid. Rechecked with the hydrometer, and still way over my target efficiency.

Using March pump to move liquid:

Rather than sloshing around 5 gallon volumes of liquid, I used my new March pump to move stuff around. I did this when I boiled my mash water. I did this when I transferred from my  mash tun back into the boil kettle. I also used the pump to run sanitizer through my chiller as the wort was boiling.

pump and hoses

sanitizing the chiller

The quick connects (stainless for the beer touching side), and garden hose for the water in/out side make life so darn easy now.

Finally, and this was the awesome part, I used the pump to simultaneously chill and whirlpool my wort.

cooling and whirlpooling2

The chiller gets its cold water from the cooler to the left. I have about 25 old Vitamin water bottles frozen with ice that I put into it with hose water. I use an aquarium pump to run the ice cold water through the chiller, and then I have the chiller out port go back into the cooler. This is more “water friendly” than just having a constant hose running through the chiller and having water dump to the grass. I have wort coming out of the lower ball valve and going into the pump. The wort comes out of the pump and goes into the chiller. The wort comes out of the chiller and goes back into the whirlpool port on the brew kettle.

updated brew kettle

Not only does the whirlpooling help get the trub to the center of the kettle, but it also allows me to cool the beer faster before moving into the fermenter. This was the fastest and most efficient cooling I’ve ever had with a 5 gallon batch. Less than 20 minutes total.

All of these elements combined created a very precise and more importantly FUN brew session. Can’t wait to do a 5 gallon batch again!

The Recipe (all grain):



Brew notes (I’m not going to regurgitate all of the steps – just the ones that are important):

    • 75 minute mash
    • 90 minute boil
    • Hops at 60 min and at flameout


Target numbers:

  • 5 gallons
  • OG – 1.051, FG – 1.014
  • ABV – 5.4%

This will be kegged once it reaches its final gravity.

Bought ingredients at my local homebrew store (Bacchus & Barleycorn).


Brew day notes:

  • Date: 9/16
  • Weather: Relatively clear, not too hot
  • Total time (including cleaning): 5 hours
  • Brew day beer of choice:
    • KBS
    • High Noon Hefeweizen
  • Brew day music of choice:
    • n/a: watched Eagles game via Slingbox
  • Actual OG: 1.055
    • exceeded target efficiency – HELL YEAH
  • Final OG: 1.012
  • Final ABV: 5.6%
  • What went well:
    • All of the new toys worked perfectly – things could not have gone better
  • What went bad: N freaking A!
  • Hardware notes: PERFECT
  • Fermentation notes:
    • 9/17: nice fermentation and krausen happening less than 24 hours later!
    • 9/22: drew a small sample to check on it – the aroma is amazing!
    • 9/27: Kegged once gravity had same reading two days in a row. Tasted a sample – pretty darn good. Nice Hefe flavor, slight banana aroma. Really excited for this beer.


Have you ever brewed this style beer before? Please let us know about your brewing experiences. If you enjoyed this post, please like and share. Thanks!


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