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General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: flbrewer on January 22, 2014, 04:52:59 PM

Title: BIAB advice
Post by: flbrewer on January 22, 2014, 04:52:59 PM
Planning my next brew and I would like to have a go at BIAB. Any advice on the below would be appreciated!
-Is the main advantage over extract the ability to use base malts?
-it seems I only need a large bag outside of my existing equipment (10 gallon brew kettle). Can anyone recommend the preferred bag?
-is there a chance that I'll get low efficiency and the extract process would have been better in this arena?


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Title: Re: BIAB advice
Post by: Stevie on January 22, 2014, 05:30:01 PM
-Is the main advantage over extract the ability to use base malts?
Yes, and you can also use unmalted grains like flaked oats and flaked corn. Also, you are able to control the fermentablilty of the wort with a much greater degree than you can with extract.

-it seems I only need a large bag outside of my existing equipment (10 gallon brew kettle). Can anyone recommend the preferred bag?
Paint strainer bags seem to be well received, your LHBS should also sell large bags suitable for BIAB

-is there a chance that I'll get low efficiency and the extract process would have been better in this arena?
In the one stove top BIAB I have done, I got 60% mash efficiency. My normal Denny-tun process gets me around 75%. I have heard as low as 50% from others.

Extract is expensive and that expense was the main reason why I switched to all-grain. Two batches of big beers pays for the investment in the equipment, depending on how elaborate you get.
Title: Re: BIAB advice
Post by: Joe Sr. on January 22, 2014, 06:05:49 PM
[/b]Paint strainer bags seem to be well received, your LHBS should also sell large bags suitable for BIAB

IME, paint strainer bags can comfortable hold about 6 lbs of grain.  If you go for much more, you'll be packing the bag too tightly to get the grains mashed.  I've found that these are a good size for a partial mash, using DME to hit the expected FG.  If you're looking to do a full all-grain mash I would recommend getting a larger bag.

I agree that the main advantage is increased control over the wort.  You can get part way there with a partial mash (or mini-mash if you prefer) which will also allow you to use flaked oats, corn, whatever but a full mash would give you greater control.
Title: Re: BIAB advice
Post by: denny on January 22, 2014, 06:12:02 PM
My experience is that BIAB works for (much) less than 10 lb. of grain.  More than that and you have to start using special equipment that negates the easiness of the method.
Title: Re: BIAB advice
Post by: bdrinkrow on January 22, 2014, 06:26:44 PM
-Is the main advantage over extract the ability to use base malts?

This and you have total control over your recipe.  You can successfully make a beer with an SRM of 3, which I understand you can't do with extract.  I only made 2 extract batches, and went to BIAB, but the two extract batches I made had such pronounced maillard reactions since you're really using pre cooked wort and then cooking it again..  The colors were always way darker than what any program said, or what I expected..

being able to adjust your mash temp is probably the biggest though, although now you have to look at your water and ph more carefully.

-it seems I only need a large bag outside of my existing equipment (10 gallon brew kettle). Can anyone recommend the preferred bag?

I ordered one from a site called BIAB tailor and it works great, except I hate how the drawstring is made.  But, he will make it to fit your kettle and I'm just going to fix how the drawstring is fixed myself.  http://biabbags.webs.com/

-is there a chance that I'll get low efficiency and the extract process would have been better in this arena?

My mash efficiency is 82%, brewhouse 70%.  You'll have a little learning curve getting used to your equipment at first.  You volumes will be off, gravities, etc.  After a few batches you should be able to get your equipment profile dialed in in a program like Beersmith and soon your numbers will be right on.  I would advise either grinding your grain smaller or having you local shop grind it twice, which is what I do right now.  I also don't do full volume mashes, I scale it down so my ph is lower and reserve the water to 'dunk sparge' with.  Lastly, you'll get more proteins in your kettle with BIAB, so keep that in mind if you do a big beer.  You might need to add a .5 gallon of pre boil volume for big beers, or maybe filter between the kettle and fermenter with something like a hop rocket or other device.  My first beer with a 14.5 lb grain bill made a big mess trying to get it in the fermenter...  Last advice, figure out a way to insulate your kettle.  I have insulation I put on while mashing and take off during the boil.  I don't have a false bottom and turn the heat off when mashing and I have maybe a 2degree loss over an hour, 3 for 90.

Even with that, it still takes less time to set up, to brew, and less to clean up compared to standard all grain without question.  You should have most or all of your gear cleaned up and ready to go while the mash and boil are going.

Double crushing or a finer crush, plus the dunk sparge makes a big difference in efficiency.

You'll figure out your own way to do it and it's different for everyone.  and yeah, extract is good to get your feet wet, but it's cost prohibitive when you look at grain cost, plus it's less flexible.  I do it because it was a way to get into all grain without dropping another 500 bucks on a mash tun, HLT, burner.  I just made a hot stick and do it all on my stovetop and the beer is great.  Adjusting water and mashing in partial volumes made a big difference. Plus, like yesterday when it was 5 degrees outside, I was brewing an IIPA and watching some college hoops while mashing.

That's my advice.  I only brew BIAB now.  Do it, you'll wonder why you hadn't done it sooner.

edit:  I also have a 10 gallon kettle.  with how I mash and dunk sparge I do big beers with no problem at all.  I dunk sparge in a hot water canning kettle I have.  You grain bag will be wider than you think with a ten gallon kettle.  You might do it in a cooler too, but those are a pain to clean and are too big, at least the ones I have.
Title: Re: BIAB advice
Post by: erockrph on January 22, 2014, 07:54:15 PM
The main advantage of any all-grain technique is that you get to control every aspect of the wort production process. You get to pick all the grains; you can adjust the brewing water to your liking; you can select mash temperatures, schedules and techniques; etc. With extract brewing, someone does the majority of that for you.

For a 10-gallon kettle you will want a bag that can handle the amount of grain that you will need. I got a custom bag from http://bagbrewer.com (http://bagbrewer.com), and it was a great investment for me. The fine-mesh grain bags I got from NB or my LHBS were a tight fit as it is in my 5-gallon cooler, and they would rip if you squeezed too hard. I think for large batches you'd need a way to hoist the wet bag out of your kettle, since it gets heavy fast.

I get around 80% brewhouse efficiency with my setup, but that is because I'm only brewing 3-gallon batches and it's easy to squeeze everything out of my grain bag. I don't have experience brewing bigger batches using BIAB, but I'd be seriously tempted to step up to a cooler/batch sparge setup if I was going to be brewing 5-10 gallon batches on a regular basis.
Title: Re: BIAB advice
Post by: scottNU on January 22, 2014, 07:59:58 PM
Lastly, you'll get more proteins in your kettle with BIAB, so keep that in mind if you do a big beer.  You might need to add a .5 gallon of pre boil volume for big beers, or maybe filter between the kettle and fermenter with something like a hop rocket or other device.  My first beer with a 14.5 lb grain bill made a big mess trying to get it in the fermenter... 

A good point on more trub in the kettle and something that surprised me with my early BIAB batches.
Title: Re: BIAB advice
Post by: bdrinkrow on January 22, 2014, 08:05:21 PM
See, those bags he showed I like much better than mine.  Mine has like a 5 inch collar that the drawstring goes into so it's hard to get it around the kettle and tight.  With that bag, I could just fold it over and wrap it around the handle.

The last IIPA I did was 14.5 lb's of grain and it absorbed a little over a gallon I think?  So, if you can lift 23 lbs out of the pot and high enough for someone to stick a strainer under, it's fine.  Mine is stovetop, so it's  a high lift.  I'm planning to push the limits of my system with an RiS and an 18 lb grain bill, but I need to improve how I filter post kettle first.
Title: Re: BIAB advice
Post by: Joe Sr. on January 22, 2014, 08:23:22 PM
Could you not split the mash into two separate pots?  I suppose you might be collecting more wort that way, but it seems that it might help to manage brewing bigger styles using BIAB as far as the weight of the bag of grain goes.
Title: Re: BIAB advice
Post by: denny on January 22, 2014, 08:50:40 PM
Could you not split the mash into two separate pots?  I suppose you might be collecting more wort that way, but it seems that it might help to manage brewing bigger styles using BIAB as far as the weight of the bag of grain goes.

At what point does the "ease" of BIAB stop being easy?  2 pots, a lift for the bag...a lot of the stuff I see people doing for "easy" BIAB is more work than using a mash tun.
Title: Re: BIAB advice
Post by: Joe Sr. on January 22, 2014, 08:58:33 PM
At what point does the "ease" of BIAB stop being easy?  2 pots, a lift for the bag...a lot of the stuff I see people doing for "easy" BIAB is more work than using a mash tun.

I don't disagree with you and I'm was just sort of thinking out loud, as it were.

But if I was set on doing BIAB for a large beer, I'd split the mash before I'd rig up some sort of hoist. The whole hoist thing just seems like too much. 

A little extra time boiling and one extra pot to clean seems like a lot less work than a hoist and maybe you're in the same place you'd be with cleaning a mash tun and a pot. 
Title: Re: BIAB advice
Post by: bdrinkrow on January 22, 2014, 09:21:16 PM
I do it because it's significantly cheaper than buying a mash tun, HLT, and a burner or 240 volt setup.  That is not only more expensive but there is definitely a longer cleanup time with a mash tun with a false bottom, full of spent grain as compared to a bag you turn inside out and rinse off.

I lift the bag and dump it out back for the deer, easy as can be.  Also, it's faster since I'm not waiting for the sparge and with that in mind, I have less water to treat and dilute since my water is so hard.  Oh and, you can never have a stuck sparge.

It's still easier and faster hands down for me, plus significantly less cost to get into.  But, I'm a big believer in doing what works best for you.  If I had standard all grain setup I wouldn't have gotten into it, I'm sure.

If you have a ten gallon kettle and dunk sparge there is no need to split the mash.  By time you split the mash, if you did want to dunk sparge or something like that you now have twice the work.

I guess everyone's different, but lifting a bag full of 14.5 lbs of grain was not at all difficult.  For a ten gallon batch, that would be a different story. 
Title: Re: BIAB advice
Post by: morticaixavier on January 22, 2014, 09:34:27 PM
I do it because it's significantly cheaper than buying a mash tun, HLT, and a burner or 240 volt setup.  That is not only more expensive but there is definitely a longer cleanup time with a mash tun with a false bottom, full of spent grain as compared to a bag you turn inside out and rinse off.

I lift the bag and dump it out back for the deer, easy as can be.  Also, it's faster since I'm not waiting for the sparge and with that in mind, I have less water to treat and dilute since my water is so hard.  Oh and, you can never have a stuck sparge.

It's still easier and faster hands down for me, plus significantly less cost to get into.  But, I'm a big believer in doing what works best for you.  If I had standard all grain setup I wouldn't have gotten into it, I'm sure.

If you have a ten gallon kettle and dunk sparge there is no need to split the mash.  By time you split the mash, if you did want to dunk sparge or something like that you now have twice the work.

I guess everyone's different, but lifting a bag full of 14.5 lbs of grain was not at all difficult.  For a ten gallon batch, that would be a different story.

I paid ~35 bucks for my coleman cooler, another 8 for the water supply braid, 4 bucks for some vinyl tubing. I tip my tun and scoop the spent grain into a bucket which lives near the chicken coop and is slowly emptied into it. If I get a stuck sparge I just stir it up and start the runoff again. run off takes about 10 minutes and I don't have to squeeze a hot grain bag. While the first runnings are coming to a boil I run off the second runnings (assuming I'm sparging at all).

I started AG with sort of BIAB because I had a bottling bucket and a grain bag and I figured it would work as a mashtun if I wrapped everything in blankets to hold the heat and it did but man was I glad to get a bigger mashtun. particularly when I'm doing a big 20 lb recipe or a partigyle.

So, maybe 14.5 lbs and associated absorbed water is easy for you to lift but how about 20 lbs of grain and associated water? and can you do partigyle?

Burner is beside the point. there is nothing magical about BIAB that means you don't need to boil the full volume is there?

I think that BIAB is a great way to get into AG brewing for really minimal investment, a great way to brew small batch AG beers, and a great way to get comfortable with brewing all grain. I think that batch sparging in a cheap-and-easy type system is just as easy, more flexible, and only slightly more expensive up front.
Title: Re: BIAB advice
Post by: HoosierBrew on January 22, 2014, 09:43:14 PM
I do it because it's significantly cheaper than buying a mash tun, HLT, and a burner or 240 volt setup.  That is not only more expensive but there is definitely a longer cleanup time with a mash tun with a false bottom, full of spent grain as compared to a bag you turn inside out and rinse off.

I lift the bag and dump it out back for the deer, easy as can be.  Also, it's faster since I'm not waiting for the sparge and with that in mind, I have less water to treat and dilute since my water is so hard.  Oh and, you can never have a stuck sparge.

It's still easier and faster hands down for me, plus significantly less cost to get into.  But, I'm a big believer in doing what works best for you.  If I had standard all grain setup I wouldn't have gotten into it, I'm sure.

If you have a ten gallon kettle and dunk sparge there is no need to split the mash.  By time you split the mash, if you did want to dunk sparge or something like that you now have twice the work.

I guess everyone's different, but lifting a bag full of 14.5 lbs of grain was not at all difficult.  For a ten gallon batch, that would be a different story.


I paid ~35 bucks for my coleman cooler, another 8 for the water supply braid, 4 bucks for some vinyl tubing. I tip my tun and scoop the spent grain into a bucket which lives near the chicken coop and is slowly emptied into it. If I get a stuck sparge I just stir it up and start the runoff again. run off takes about 10 minutes and I don't have to squeeze a hot grain bag.  I think that batch sparging in a cheap-and-easy type system is just as easy, more flexible, and only slightly more expensive up front.


+1.  Totally agree.
Title: Re: BIAB advice
Post by: bdrinkrow on January 22, 2014, 10:56:28 PM
I do it because it's significantly cheaper than buying a mash tun, HLT, and a burner or 240 volt setup.  That is not only more expensive but there is definitely a longer cleanup time with a mash tun with a false bottom, full of spent grain as compared to a bag you turn inside out and rinse off.

I lift the bag and dump it out back for the deer, easy as can be.  Also, it's faster since I'm not waiting for the sparge and with that in mind, I have less water to treat and dilute since my water is so hard.  Oh and, you can never have a stuck sparge.

It's still easier and faster hands down for me, plus significantly less cost to get into.  But, I'm a big believer in doing what works best for you.  If I had standard all grain setup I wouldn't have gotten into it, I'm sure.

If you have a ten gallon kettle and dunk sparge there is no need to split the mash.  By time you split the mash, if you did want to dunk sparge or something like that you now have twice the work.

I guess everyone's different, but lifting a bag full of 14.5 lbs of grain was not at all difficult.  For a ten gallon batch, that would be a different story.

I paid ~35 bucks for my coleman cooler, another 8 for the water supply braid, 4 bucks for some vinyl tubing. I tip my tun and scoop the spent grain into a bucket which lives near the chicken coop and is slowly emptied into it. If I get a stuck sparge I just stir it up and start the runoff again. run off takes about 10 minutes and I don't have to squeeze a hot grain bag. While the first runnings are coming to a boil I run off the second runnings (assuming I'm sparging at all).

I started AG with sort of BIAB because I had a bottling bucket and a grain bag and I figured it would work as a mashtun if I wrapped everything in blankets to hold the heat and it did but man was I glad to get a bigger mashtun. particularly when I'm doing a big 20 lb recipe or a partigyle.

So, maybe 14.5 lbs and associated absorbed water is easy for you to lift but how about 20 lbs of grain and associated water? and can you do partigyle?

Burner is beside the point. there is nothing magical about BIAB that means you don't need to boil the full volume is there?

I think that BIAB is a great way to get into AG brewing for really minimal investment, a great way to brew small batch AG beers, and a great way to get comfortable with brewing all grain. I think that batch sparging in a cheap-and-easy type system is just as easy, more flexible, and only slightly more expensive up front.

I get you can make things at home cheaper, but that's not really what I was comparing. I could've stitched my bag too, but since we are comparing buying the bag the alternative is buying a mash tun.  I've seen mash tuns like yours and thought about that, but for me brewing on my stovetop it was less appealing.  Without an extra burner to make a gravity system or buy a pump I'd have to stand there and sparge by hand and I'd still have to buy another kettle big enough to heat and hold my hot liquor.  I guess I could use multiple pots and sparge by hand, but it's just more work.

A 20 lb bag would absorb maybe 2 gallons of water, so 36 lbs.  Yeah, I've got that by hand, no problem.  Like I said others may not and that certainly would take away from the ease of my system.  Without a doubt..  If I had to rig some kind of pulley system it would pretty much eliminate me working in my kitchen.  At that point, I wouldn't have stuck with it.  Where I live it's just too damn cold to be brewing outside most of the winter and I hate dealing with propane tank refills and keeping an extra.  My electricity bill really doesn't change much by brewing inside.

I was more trying to give the OP the advice he asked for and some additional advice based on my BIAB experiences.  It's also important for him to keep in mind that no matter what system you use, the vast majority of people will debate their system is better and won't acknowledge the merits of your system.  This is amplified with BIAB.  It seems to be polarizing for some reason.  There are people who are open minded to it but many more who say nay, regardless of the points you make. 

I really don't think you can debate that it is cheaper to get into AG, that it is a faster brew day and cleanup, and that it still provides you with plenty of flexibility as long as you can lift the weight of your grain bag.  My brew days for 60 minute boils and mashes take me from turning on the stove to pitching yeast 3.5 hours.  half hour to heat mash water, hour to mash, half hour to dunk sparge and come to boil, hour boil, half hour cooldown.  All I have to clean afterwards is my brew kettle, hot stick, spoon, a short section of 1/2" tubing, Immersion chiller, and dump and clean my pond pump and cooler set up.  Cleanup could take a half hour if I wanted it too. 

It works for me and if the OP doesn't have stuff for AG, it will work for him too.  Especially since he has the 10 gallon kettle already.  You'll pay for the bag with the first two beers you do.  I'd recommend doing lighter ones since you'll love the color you couldn't get with extract and get to figure out your system with a smaller bill.  You'll be impressed at the difference of the beer over extract.  I would wager the difference will be so stark that even if you decide BIAB isn't for you, you will decide you want to do AG over extract badly enough to buy the stuff for a more traditional method of AG brewing.

Oh and.. quit hating on us BIAB'ers!!!
Title: Re: BIAB advice
Post by: morticaixavier on January 22, 2014, 11:16:03 PM
[...] I get you can make things at home cheaper, but that's not really what I was comparing. I could've stitched my bag too, but since we are comparing buying the bag the alternative is buying a mash tun.  I've seen mash tuns like yours and thought about that, but for me brewing on my stovetop it was less appealing.  Without an extra burner to make a gravity system or buy a pump I'd have to stand there and sparge by hand and I'd still have to buy another kettle big enough to heat and hold my hot liquor.  I guess I could use multiple pots and sparge by hand, but it's just more work.

A 20 lb bag would absorb maybe 2 gallons of water, so 36 lbs.  Yeah, I've got that by hand, no problem.  Like I said others may not and that certainly would take away from the ease of my system.  Without a doubt..  If I had to rig some kind of pulley system it would pretty much eliminate me working in my kitchen.  At that point, I wouldn't have stuck with it.  Where I live it's just too damn cold to be brewing outside most of the winter and I hate dealing with propane tank refills and keeping an extra.  My electricity bill really doesn't change much by brewing inside.

I was more trying to give the OP the advice he asked for and some additional advice based on my BIAB experiences.  It's also important for him to keep in mind that no matter what system you use, the vast majority of people will debate their system is better and won't acknowledge the merits of your system.  This is amplified with BIAB.  It seems to be polarizing for some reason.  There are people who are open minded to it but many more who say nay, regardless of the points you make. 

I really don't think you can debate that it is cheaper to get into AG, that it is a faster brew day and cleanup, and that it still provides you with plenty of flexibility as long as you can lift the weight of your grain bag.  My brew days for 60 minute boils and mashes take me from turning on the stove to pitching yeast 3.5 hours.  half hour to heat mash water, hour to mash, half hour to dunk sparge and come to boil, hour boil, half hour cooldown.  All I have to clean afterwards is my brew kettle, hot stick, spoon, a short section of 1/2" tubing, Immersion chiller, and dump and clean my pond pump and cooler set up.  Cleanup could take a half hour if I wanted it too. 

It works for me and if the OP doesn't have stuff for AG, it will work for him too.  Especially since he has the 10 gallon kettle already.  You'll pay for the bag with the first two beers you do.  I'd recommend doing lighter ones since you'll love the color you couldn't get with extract and get to figure out your system with a smaller bill.  You'll be impressed at the difference of the beer over extract.  I would wager the difference will be so stark that even if you decide BIAB isn't for you, you will decide you want to do AG over extract badly enough to buy the stuff for a more traditional method of AG brewing.

Oh and.. quit hating on us BIAB'ers!!!

I'm not knocking BIAB, I started in AG that way myself, as I said. I'm just debating your arguments that it's significantly cheaper and easier.

'building' my mashtun took 30 minutes and I am NOT mechanically inclined. I have 1 kettle, 1 burner. I heat mash water, add to tun, mix in grain, heat sparge in the same kettle. use my fermenters to run off first runnings into. I brewed on my stovetop for the first 5 batches I made with this system and it was just fine.

Again, not knocking BIAB just pointing out that a lot of the supposed advantages are only valid when relating to a big, complicated, expensive system and that's not the only kind of BIAB system available. you said it's cheaper than buying a mashtun, HLT and burner and that's true but a BIAB bag is not a HLT or a Burner, it's just half a mashtun. it's still cheaper than my 50 dollar mashtun, not saying it isn't but it's also not comparable to my 50 dollar mashtun in terms of what you can or can't do with it.

BIAB has some real advantages over a cheap and easy system; if you can make sure the bag doesn't contact the bottom of your pot you can add direct heat during the mash. that would be awesome if I could do that but I can't. if you've already got a kettle or even just a bottling bucket you can get into BIAB for less than 10 dollars which is awesome and which is why I did that at first.

when people ask be about going all grain and worry that there is too much equipment involved I always tell them about my old bottling bucket and grain bag system and suggest they try it. it's a great way to make an AG brew without lot's of new equipment purchases.

so I wasn't hating on BIAB I was just pointing out that the reasons you, in particular, sighted for why it is better are not 100% accurate to the reality of all non-BIAB systems.

BIAB is great and I recommend folks try it. I'm sure that for some folks it will be the final answer but it is does not have all the abilities of a full size mashtun.

that's all I was saying. go forth and mash, in a bag, in a cooler, in a 5000 dollar three tier sculpture, in a 12000 dollar automated one touch brew system. No hate here.
Title: Re: BIAB advice
Post by: HoosierBrew on January 22, 2014, 11:30:37 PM
Same here - not hating on BIAB whatsoever. Making AG beer is a blast however you do it. But www.dennybrew.com is as advertised - cheap'n'easy. I spent years fly sparging and was blown away by how easy batch sparging really is. But let's all brew it the way we like. Cheers !
Title: Re: BIAB advice
Post by: bdrinkrow on January 22, 2014, 11:44:41 PM
That was meant to be kind of tongue in cheek.  I guess that really doesn't come through on forums.  I've never really been much of a forum guy, but none of my other hobbies are really like brewing and, well, you know.. It turns into an obsession!

I'll have to check his site out.  I'm always up to try new stuff.  One day I'd like to get into 10 gallon batches and I'm not doing BIAB with 10 gallons.  It seems like way too much of a pita.  But, I doubt that will happen for years.

You make good points, the only part that turned me off about a traditional mash tun and how I wanted to brew was sparging by hand.  It's key for me to be able to help around the house while I brew, or else I couldn't brew as much as I do.  It makes my wife really happy that if I need to, I can walk away from the mash for an hour. 

I haven't tried heating with the bag in because I don't want to get a false bottom.  Not just because I'd rather spend it elsewhere now, but I have read a lot of stories about people scorching their wort.  So, I can't really do step infusions easily.  I'm sure I could rig something to partially lift the bag, but I just haven't needed to step infuse badly enough to do it yet.

Title: Re: BIAB advice
Post by: cornershot on January 23, 2014, 12:32:36 AM
I have the capability to brew 5 or 10 gallons, cooler mash tun or direct heat mash tun, fly sparge, batch sparge, no sparge and I prefer biab most of the time.
I mash 16# of grain in a $6 bag from the lhbs in 8 gallons of water in a 10 gallon pot and yield 7 1/4 gallons of 1.059 preboil wort.
Title: Re: BIAB advice
Post by: coastsidemike on January 23, 2014, 01:27:12 AM
I have the capability to brew 5 or 10 gallons, cooler mash tun or direct heat mash tun, fly sparge, batch sparge, no sparge and I prefer biab most of the time.
I mash 16# of grain in a $6 bag from the lhbs in 8 gallons of water in a 10 gallon pot and yield 7 1/4 gallons of 1.059 preboil wort.

I'm thinking of trying a few BIAB for a small-batch pilsner (~1g), to see if I can get that clean snappy taste before going for a larger batch.  Do you do anything to filter the mash trub before boiling?
Title: Re: BIAB advice
Post by: cornershot on January 23, 2014, 01:47:44 AM
I have the capability to brew 5 or 10 gallons, cooler mash tun or direct heat mash tun, fly sparge, batch sparge, no sparge and I prefer biab most of the time.
I mash 16# of grain in a $6 bag from the lhbs in 8 gallons of water in a 10 gallon pot and yield 7 1/4 gallons of 1.059 preboil wort.

I'm thinking of trying a few BIAB for a small-batch pilsner (~1g), to see if I can get that clean snappy taste before going for a larger batch.  Do you do anything to filter the mash trub before boiling?
As for the extra solids I get in the wort from biab compared to conventional sparging, I just target an extra half gallon or so postboil. Then, after everything settles, I can simply rack off the clear wort and leave the trub behind.
The main reason I prefer biab is time. I can knock out a 5 gallon brew in 3 1/2 hours on the stove top or 3 hours on my propane burner. This allows me to brew more often. Biab is a simple technique that doesn't compromise quality.
Title: Re: BIAB advice
Post by: bdrinkrow on January 23, 2014, 03:44:05 AM
I have the capability to brew 5 or 10 gallons, cooler mash tun or direct heat mash tun, fly sparge, batch sparge, no sparge and I prefer biab most of the time.
I mash 16# of grain in a $6 bag from the lhbs in 8 gallons of water in a 10 gallon pot and yield 7 1/4 gallons of 1.059 preboil wort.

I'm thinking of trying a few BIAB for a small-batch pilsner (~1g), to see if I can get that clean snappy taste before going for a larger batch.  Do you do anything to filter the mash trub before boiling?

Some people scrape the scum off as the break is happening with pilsen malt.  I haven't done that yet, but the only style I brew close to that is kolsch.  My ball valve leaves a gallon in the kettle and with a grain bill that size I really don't get much at all in the primary so I brew to 6.5 gallons and rack 5.5 to the primary.  But, my kolsch could be better too, so maybe I'll scrape it next time.  I don't worry about that last gallon anymore than people worry about a 5% difference in efficiency.  I usually filter that last gallons worth in a rudimentary fashion to take a sample and just dump it.

But.. I'm about to get a hop rocket and modify it a little to act as a filter when empty.  If it works as planned, I'll be tilting the kettle and filtering every last bit of wort, which will change all my recipes volume wise, but that's easy to adjust for in beersmith.  For beers say, over 1.060-70 I add another half gallon pre boil and again, don't skim. 

This is the one part of my system I'm trying to improve at this point..  The brewer's hardware filter looked nice, but I think if I cut a circle out of a stainless steel splatter screen I have in the kitchen I can rig it into the hop rocket and use that instead as I think that is a more versatile piece of equipment.  If any of you who are more experienced have any ideas I'd be all ears.  I have used bags and a funnel, but after a few times with that I said screw it and just started burning a gallon.
Title: Re: BIAB advice
Post by: Jeff M on January 23, 2014, 03:48:55 AM
A dip tub attached to the inside fitting of your Ball valve my server you better then tipping your kettle.  Best of both worlds eh?

Cheers,
Jeff
Title: Re: BIAB advice
Post by: bdrinkrow on January 23, 2014, 04:05:46 AM
good point. I'll add that after I try this modified hop rocket for the first time and make sure I don't clog up.  Thanks.
Title: Re: BIAB advice
Post by: reverseapachemaster on January 23, 2014, 05:03:03 PM
The ability to control your brewing process means it comes with the opportunity to make more mistakes and end up with undesirable results like low efficiency. Those are things you will learn to fix with experience. If you are looking for an easier approach and avoid some of those problems then continuing down the path of extract brewing (perhaps with some partial mashes) might be the right path for you.

BIAB definitely comes with way, way more trub. It's especially a problem if you mill too finely and get a lot of flour in your grist. I don't know what the magical solution is, I'm still thinking through it, but it seems building in the loss to deadspace in the recipe and leaving behind what settles out in the kettle will help out with that process.
Title: Re: BIAB advice
Post by: udubdawg on January 23, 2014, 05:37:14 PM

BIAB definitely comes with way, way more trub. It's especially a problem if you mill too finely and get a lot of flour in your grist. I don't know what the magical solution is, I'm still thinking through it, but it seems building in the loss to deadspace in the recipe and leaving behind what settles out in the kettle will help out with that process.

I do BIAB quite often. There is certainly a lot of trub.  I've had good results over-chilling, racking everything to a fermenter (Better Bottle with spigot) and letting it settle there.  Wife and I go to lunch and afterwards I rack off the half gallon or so of trub into a second fermenter.

many a person has asked why I don't just use some sort of pickup device in the kettle that keeps that trub out.  I dunno - this just works, and I like being able to see into the fermenter to how it is settling.  No opening a kettle lid or trying to seal the hole in the lid my chiller goes through.  Just watch the level of trub drop, set the spigot pickup to right above that when I'm satisfied, and rack.  Occasionally I even recapture the leftover wort and save some for my next starter, even though it's not an ideal yeast growing environment.

...many ways to skin this particular cat.  Given the crappy weather for about 2/3 of the year, I was very pleased to discover BIAB some years ago and haven't gotten frostbite/heatstroke since. 
Title: Re: BIAB advice
Post by: alestateyall on January 24, 2014, 01:27:18 AM

The ability to control your brewing process means it comes with the opportunity to make more mistakes and end up with undesirable results like low efficiency.

When switching to all grain it is a good idea to have some DME on hand (a few pounds). If you miss your target specific gravity you can bump it back up with DME. There are tools on line to calculate the amount of DME to add based on wort volume, current specific gravity, and desired specific gravity.

If you don't need the DME for fixing efficiency issues you can use it for yeast starters.
Title: Re: BIAB advice
Post by: phytenphyre on February 24, 2014, 06:31:39 PM
I've only brewed the BIAB way after I attempted a couple extract kits and I have had great success.  Here is another forum strictly about BIAB: http://www.biabrewer.info/ (http://www.biabrewer.info/)  I learned a lot, as I have here as well.  I ended up making my own bag for about $15 and a little bit of time.  I'm using a 15.5 gallon pot and love how simple the process is.  I wanted to get into the traditional all grain, mash tun, sparge, hlt, etc etc, but for me, it was cost prohibitive.  I have personally found this is a great way to start all grain brewing without the cost of 3 vessels, mash tun, etc.  On this BIAB site, there is even a calculator specifically designed for BIAB brewing.  It took me a little bit to figure out the calculator, but I have had great success following the learning curve.  I hope this helps any of you whom may be interested.  Maybe one day I'll get into the traditional all grain method, but for now I am quite happy with my set up and the beer I have been able to produce.

Title: Re: BIAB advice
Post by: gandelf on February 26, 2014, 12:41:00 PM
[quote: Oh and.. quit hating on us BIAB'ers!!!]

+100 Humans are creatures of habit and often the motivating force is not logic and reason; i.e. buggy whip manufacturers. Natural selection will be the moderator!
Title: Re: BIAB advice
Post by: bdrinkrow on February 26, 2014, 01:29:14 PM
I have the capability to brew 5 or 10 gallons, cooler mash tun or direct heat mash tun, fly sparge, batch sparge, no sparge and I prefer biab most of the time.
I mash 16# of grain in a $6 bag from the lhbs in 8 gallons of water in a 10 gallon pot and yield 7 1/4 gallons of 1.059 preboil wort.

I'm thinking of trying a few BIAB for a small-batch pilsner (~1g), to see if I can get that clean snappy taste before going for a larger batch.  Do you do anything to filter the mash trub before boiling?

I've been experimenting with modifying a hop rocket by cutting an additional filter to place inside the wiper seal with the small filter out of a splatter screen.  So far It's working pretty good.  I've tried running it backwards and with stainless scrubbies in it so far..  A bunch of stuff.  But, the best has been running it like they say to, on the ground with the inlet on the bottom.

My next experiment is taking a manual camping pump I have, one of those dual action ones you use to blow up air mattresses and I have that tee'd into my 1/2" line from the kettle to the rocket.  It's connected with an inline check valve and once the hop rocket quits due to not enough pressure, I close the ball lock on the kettle and pump.  Then, drain the rest into the line and repeat.  I have an inline hepa filter on the pump for the 3/8" hose.  So, I'll be able to pump and force ever bit of wort through the rocket.  Obviously, I don't want to buy or deal with a march pump since I am brewing in my kitchen.

I think I'll be able to get down to close .25 gallons of loss to trub with an incredibly clear wort with this technique.  Since I've switched from the auto siphon to a stainless one I can get just about every bit of wort out of my fermenter too.

One of the funnest things about incorporating new techniques is re adjusting all my Beersmith calcs, imho.  When I started BIAB I was using 9 gallons to start with.  I should be down to 7.5 on this next batch.  I'm going to use that same pump and filter to aerate my wort as well. I did the calculations on how much air it moves vs. an aquarium pump and it pushes much more air.  I just shake now and it works well for me, but this will be easier. 
Title: Re: BIAB advice
Post by: reverseapachemaster on February 26, 2014, 02:31:12 PM
[quote: Oh and.. quit hating on us BIAB'ers!!!]

+100 Humans are creatures of habit and often the motivating force is not logic and reason; i.e. buggy whip manufacturers. Natural selection will be the moderator!

Do people really still hate on BIAB? I thought it was pretty well accepted as a method for all grain brewing these days. I guess I don't hang around on enough homebrewing forums these days to hear what stupid arguments are still popular.
Title: Re: BIAB advice
Post by: klickitat jim on February 26, 2014, 05:32:42 PM
We need a new name for it to spruce it up. Saison in a Sack? Pilsner in a Poke?
Title: Re: BIAB advice
Post by: Joe Sr. on February 26, 2014, 05:34:01 PM
Suds in a satchel?
Title: Re: BIAB advice
Post by: bdrinkrow on February 26, 2014, 05:41:05 PM
Bindle of Barley
Title: Re: BIAB advice
Post by: reverseapachemaster on February 27, 2014, 02:47:52 PM
Porter in a Portmanteau
Title: Re: BIAB advice
Post by: erockrph on February 27, 2014, 08:49:24 PM
Gueuze in an Attaché... crap, I suck at this game
Title: Re: BIAB advice
Post by: morticaixavier on February 27, 2014, 08:50:02 PM
a steamer of stout?
Title: Re: BIAB advice
Post by: HoosierBrew on February 27, 2014, 08:54:49 PM
Pale Ale in a pouch ?  Yeah, I think the ship is sailing on this one.    ;)
Title: Re: BIAB advice
Post by: BrodyR on March 05, 2014, 11:31:14 PM
Planning my next brew and I would like to have a go at BIAB. Any advice on the below would be appreciated!
-Is the main advantage over extract the ability to use base malts?
-it seems I only need a large bag outside of my existing equipment (10 gallon brew kettle). Can anyone recommend the preferred bag?
-is there a chance that I'll get low efficiency and the extract process would have been better in this arena?


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Yea, grab a bag and you're good to go. My BIAB efficiency has ranged from the 50s to 79% generally around 60% so extract definitely has higher efficiency but seeing as the cost of grain is less than extract it should even out. Double cracking the grain seems to help. I've done a few batches where I sparged to increase efficiency but that kind of takes away from the speed & simplicity that make the method so appealing - I can get a brew done in under 4hrs.

Since I usually brew session beers and only 2 or 3 gallons at a time it works great for me and my 8 gal kettle. I can even put the whole thing in my oven to try to avoid loosing heat during the mash. If you're going to brew a really high gravity beer and are worried about all the grain you could always add as much grain as you can comfortably fit in the bag then add some DME.

This is a great video summing up the style and has some good tips:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6WVul6IEKk
Title: Re: BIAB advice
Post by: Jimmy K on March 05, 2014, 11:44:11 PM
Hooch in a haggis

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Title: Re: BIAB advice
Post by: morticaixavier on March 05, 2014, 11:55:13 PM
Hooch in a haggis

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Ha!

Title: Re: BIAB advice
Post by: HoosierBrew on March 05, 2014, 11:57:26 PM
Hooch in a haggis

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