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General Category => Equipment and Software => Topic started by: Philbrew on November 02, 2015, 03:44:02 PM

Title: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: Philbrew on November 02, 2015, 03:44:02 PM
I started a thread looking for boil kettle suggestions and mentioned that I was thinking about going to BIAB.  From some of the comments I realized that I needed to learn a lot more about that mash method. 

* I do 5-6 gallon batches. (Extract and steeped grain but want to jump to all-grain)

* I rarely do beers bigger than 1.060.

* Have lots of brewing space (garage) but limited storage space.

Please share your thoughts, ideas, pros/cons, methods, where to find more info, etc.
Title: Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: reverseapachemaster on November 02, 2015, 04:29:27 PM
I think there is a BIAB-focused forum somewhere online that might be worth checking out.

I tried out BIAB for a while on my small batches. I had a hard time keeping stable temperatures in a pot but that likely won't be a problem for a five or six gallon batch. The biggest detraction to me was the volume of trub it produces. The bag does not create an effective filter for all the small grain particles. I didn't have clarity problems but I was losing an unacceptable amount of beer to trub. There are workarounds to that problem like letting the wort settle and racking off the trub but it still seems like you're giving up wort unnecessarily. The bag does not create an effective filter for all the small grain particles. It's not just that you are losing more wort to the trub but that to create enough wort to account for the trub means expending more hops in the boil and more electricity/fuel to boil more wort.
Title: Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: BrodyR on November 02, 2015, 04:39:21 PM
In my opinion BIAB is king for homebrewing with Batch Sparging right up there with it. IMO it is the perfect combination of an easy quick brew day while still having the flavor and customization of all grain.

My process evolution: Mr Beer Kits, Extract + Steeped, 3 Gallon BIAB, 5 Gallon half assed fly sparge, 5 gallon Batch Sparge, now settled in at 5 Gallon BIAB.

Pros:
1) Minimal Investment: You can buy a bag for less than $30 (check out the Brulosophers review of the brew bag, just bought one myself, bit of a discount with his code). Presumably you already have a kettle and no mash tun is needed.
2) You can produce all grain beer as tasty as a traditionally sparged batch.
3) You don't have to worry about your sparge pH
4) Less to clean. No mash tun and all.
5) You save time by not sparging.

Cons:
1) Relative to sparging: BIAB/No Sparge methods result in a bit lower efficieny (at least in my experience). But still, I'd rather use another $1 or $2 of grain to compensate and have a smoother brew day.
2) Relative to extract: You need to pay attention to things you don't need to with extract like your water and efficiency. The good news though is Brun Water is cheap, the forum is fantastic for helping you straighten out your water, and you can find decently priced pH meters. Flavor minerals are less important but at a minimum it helps to measure your mash pH and adjust it up or down with acid or baking soda. As far as efficiency goes if your batch comes out a bit stronger than predicted you can always add a bit more water to the boil or some DME if it comes under. After a few batches you should be able to make decent predictions.

There's a nice old video by Brewing TV/Northern Brewer that gives a solid overview of method:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6WVul6IEKk

The Brew Bag website also covers some stuff like grain absorption. You will loose a few degrees during the mash if you BIAB in the kettle - 2 approaches that work for me are leaving the burner on real low and stirring periodically or mashing in a circular cooler with a bag. Some bags filter better than others - I've left the trub and had no issues but also have filtered the wort after the mash, and just recently bought a finer bag.
Title: Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: BrodyR on November 02, 2015, 04:40:46 PM
Oh, and never having to worry about a stuck sparge is another pro. You can also crush the grain finer than usual which helps bring the efficiency back up.
Title: Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: denny on November 02, 2015, 04:55:43 PM
I tried BIAB for 5 gal. batches and found it to be a PITA!  Just not an easy, pleasant experience with a hot, wet, heavy bag of grain.  As to the purported benefits of no stuck runoff and higher efficiency, by batch sparging on a cooler I've never had a stuck runoff in 490 batches, and my efficiency averages about 83%.  So those "benefits" are of no value to me.  I encourage you to try it and decide for yourself, like I did.  My decision was that BIAB wasn't for me, except for maybe very small batches.
Title: Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: pete b on November 02, 2015, 05:03:45 PM
I love BIAB for 2.5-3 gallon batches. I can come home after work and start a batch at 5:30 and be cleaned up by 8:30 and eat supper during the mash. I have good efficiency and not much more trub. My bag is very fine.

I love batch sparge for 5+ gallons.

EDIT: I would add that they are both so cheap that its no problem to get the equipment for both. Storage wise biab is obviously better but you can also store equipment in a cooler MT.
Title: Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: jimmykx250 on November 02, 2015, 05:33:34 PM
In my own opinion for the minimal amount of equipment you need to buy you cant beat it. You only need a kettle and a bag. I don't experience huge temp drops while mashing sometimes I will hit the burner half way thru the mash but that's about it. Everyone likes their particular processes and maybe because I started with BIAB is why i'm here now. I am all about keep it simple, I don't like to complicate things and I think brewing is very much one of those things you can make it simple or as complicated as you want. I have my neighbor to thank for getting me into the hobby and maybe someday I will try a traditional 3 vessel system like he has. 
Title: Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: BrodyR on November 02, 2015, 06:03:12 PM
I tried BIAB for 5 gal. batches and found it to be a PITA!  Just not an easy, pleasant experience with a hot, wet, heavy bag of grain.  As to the purported benefits of no stuck runoff and higher efficiency, by batch sparging on a cooler I've never had a stuck runoff in 490 batches, and my efficiency averages about 83%.  So those "benefits" are of no value to me.  I encourage you to try it and decide for yourself, like I did.  My decision was that BIAB wasn't for me, except for maybe very small batches.

One big factor about wether or not it's a pain in the ass for me is gravity. I normally brew beers in the 3.5-5% abv range so I typically only use ~10lbs or so of grain, sometimes less. After the mash I lift it up and slide a strainer I bought at Ikea underneath it and let it drain out as I begin the boil. Pretty painless but if you don't have a strainer or are brewing a large gravity batch trying to wrangle all the grain can suck. In those cases where I want to try a RIS or a 2xIPA I break out the cooler and go batch sparge (which I also love).
Title: Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: brewday on November 02, 2015, 06:15:18 PM
Nothing against BIAB, but once we start talking about an oversized kettle, a $30 bag, a big strainer, a ladder, an eye bolt in a ceiling joist, etc., are we still saying it's less equipment than batch sparging?

I use a pot and a cooler, that equals two!  Ok, sometimes I grab a bucket. 

Just sayin'.
Title: Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: erockrph on November 02, 2015, 06:28:36 PM
I love BIAB for 2.5-3 gallon batches. I can come home after work and start a batch at 5:30 and be cleaned up by 8:30 and eat supper during the mash. I have good efficiency and not much more trub. My bag is very fine.

I love batch sparge for 5+ gallons.

EDIT: I would add that they are both so cheap that its no problem to get the equipment for both. Storage wise biab is obviously better but you can also store equipment in a cooler MT.
I split the difference and BIAB in a cooler to hold my mash temps. I brew 3 gallon batches (ending kettle volume), and this hits the sweet spot for me. I agree that managing the wet grain would potentially become an issue in larger batches, but this system works great for my purposes.
Title: Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: pete b on November 02, 2015, 06:32:08 PM
I would add that when doing small batches of BIAB on the kitchen stove in winter I cook supper in the oven which vents through one of the burners and holds the temp.
Title: Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: curtism1234 on November 02, 2015, 06:49:26 PM
BIAB is all I do, but I have not made a batch larger than 3 1/2 gallons. As others said - it's an inexpensive way to get started, takes less time, makes less of a mess, can make it in the kitchen (small batches anyway)

As far as mash temp goes, I wrap a big beach towel around the pot and secure it with clothespins. Obviously make sure the burner is off.
Title: Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: Philbrew on November 02, 2015, 09:04:28 PM
I tried BIAB for 5 gal. batches and found it to be a PITA!  Just not an easy, pleasant experience with a hot, wet, heavy bag of grain.  As to the purported benefits of no stuck runoff and higher efficiency, by batch sparging on a cooler I've never had a stuck runoff in 490 batches, and my efficiency averages about 83%.  So those "benefits" are of no value to me.  I encourage you to try it and decide for yourself, like I did.  My decision was that BIAB wasn't for me, except for maybe very small batches.
I'm confused.  I thought that BIAB was supposed to be LOWER efficiency than batch sparge.  I assume because you don't rinse out the residual sugars in the sparge step.

As for the hot, wet, heavy bag of grain, this old sailor can rig up a block and tackle to handle that.
Title: Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: Philbrew on November 02, 2015, 09:07:01 PM
just recently bought a finer bag.
Thanks for the input Brody.
Where did you get your finer bag?  What is the mesh?
Title: Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: BrodyR on November 02, 2015, 11:33:41 PM
brewday - Yea, I get what you mean if you get carried away with rigs it seems counter productive to the cheap simple brewday goal but I haven't experienced that. I use a 10gallon kettle for 5gallon batches which is what I was already using for batch sparging. A $12 bag lasted me a good while (and honestly still would if I stitched it up, but I like the look of 'The Brew Bag' ones so I went for it) so cost is minimal. My strainer was $10 (http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/50103755/) and only takes a quick rinse. And I don't need a pully system since I'm only lifting 10lbs of wet grains for like 15 seconds so it's no hardship.

But again, I'm not insulting batch sparging at all, I still use it sometimes and it works great! I'm just of the opinion that BIAB is a slightly easier transition into all grain, results in a slightly quicker brewday, slightly less to clean up, and you may save money since a bag + strainer tend to cost less than a converted cooler. The trade off is you loose some efficiency and have to be able to handle the grain bag or rig something up. But both methods worked awesome for me.

Philbrew - My first bag (the $12 one) I just picked up at my local homebrew shop. The one I just bought was from http://www.brewinabag.com/. And yea, BIAB seems to result in a bit lower efficiency than Batch Sparge. Denny's quote of 83% batch sparge is more than the ~70% or so I seem to get with BIAB. Another middle ground is batch sparging but using a bag to lauter instead of converting a cooler.

Some more links:
This link has an overview of the process: http://brulosophy.com/2014/04/25/brew-in-a-bag-all-grain-brewing-made-very-easy/
This link has a discount code for my bag: http://brulosophy.com/2015/06/17/brew-in-a-bag-in-a-cooler-reviewing-the-brew-bags-mlt-filter/
And, again, that northern brewery video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6WVul6IEKk) is a great overview too.

I don't think it's been references yet but Denny has a nice write up on Batch Sparging too. (http://www.dennybrew.com/)

I would watch/read some tutorials on both and see what sounds most convenient to you. I don't think theres really a right answer, it's all preference.

Title: Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: erockrph on November 03, 2015, 12:34:31 AM
I'm confused.  I thought that BIAB was supposed to be LOWER efficiency than batch sparge.  I assume because you don't rinse out the residual sugars in the sparge step.
In BIAB you are essentially including all your sparge water in the mash as well. You end up mashing so thin that there is very little sugar behind to rinse off the grain. My efficiency is right around 84-86%, depending on how lazy I get about squeezing my grain bag. And that is another efficiency boost with BIAB - there is zero dead space to account for, and you can really minimize grain absorption bu squeezing your bag out.

I wouldn't say BIAB is inherently more or less efficient than batch sparging. The specifics will depend on your own system within each method.
Title: Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: BrodyR on November 03, 2015, 02:42:13 AM
I'm confused.  I thought that BIAB was supposed to be LOWER efficiency than batch sparge.  I assume because you don't rinse out the residual sugars in the sparge step.
In BIAB you are essentially including all your sparge water in the mash as well. You end up mashing so thin that there is very little sugar behind to rinse off the grain. My efficiency is right around 84-86%, depending on how lazy I get about squeezing my grain bag. And that is another efficiency boost with BIAB - there is zero dead space to account for, and you can really minimize grain absorption bu squeezing your bag out.

I wouldn't say BIAB is inherently more or less efficient than batch sparging. The specifics will depend on your own system within each method.

True, if I remember to ask for it finely crushed at the shop and give it a good squeeze I've made it in the 80s.
Title: Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: neddles on November 03, 2015, 03:43:32 AM
BIAB efficiency is a sliding scale here. With ~100% starch conversion I get 88% into the kettle for a 1.037 beer and conversely Denny's BVIP @1.086 was 73% into the kettle. Everything in-between falls on a continuum.

A few important suggestions...

-A very fine mesh bag will keep the extra trub at bay. 6 gallons post boil, 5.5 gal to the fermentor and I get a full 5 gallon keg on all but the biggest beers. Don't use a paint strainer IMO, too coarse of a bag, too much stuff gets through.

-If you have to lift the bag like Denny did then BIAB is a non-starter.

-Take advantage of the inefficiency of the larger grain bills. On Denny's BVIP I poured a gallon of RO water over the bag/leftover grain in a 5 gallon bucket and dripped out 3.5 qts. of 1.037 wort that I froze for starters.

-Mind your water. All-grain is great but making bad beer because you don't know how to mash at correct pH and measure it is senseless. In many cases you'd be better off with extract than blindly brewing with whatever water for whatever recipe.

-Also at the end of the mash, resist the temptation to stir up the mash just before pulling the bag. Let it rest and clarify then slowly pull the bag. I get slightly, but noticeably less trub this way.
Title: Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: Phil_M on November 03, 2015, 11:53:43 AM
I've got a RIMS BIAB setup. If I had to do it all over again, I'd go with batch sparging...but that's mostly because I just don't like cleaning a wet, sticky grain bag.

With RIMS BIAB, stuck sparges can become a concern. Grain in the bag can compact and cause the water to "back up" on top of it. Of course you can just give it a stir and the problem goes away, but if not caught in time this could make for a considerable mess.

All that being said, I'm hoping to upgrade to a larger BIAB setup soon. With my current system I can't brew all-grain batches past about 1.065 or so, going to be getting a larger kettle soon I hope.
Title: Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: Philbrew on November 03, 2015, 03:39:23 PM
All that being said, I'm hoping to upgrade to a larger BIAB setup soon. With my current system I can't brew all-grain batches past about 1.065 or so, going to be getting a larger kettle soon I hope.
What's your current batch size (in fermenter) and current kettle size?  And what do you want to upgrade to?
Also, do you want to go larger because of the RIMS needs?
Title: Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: denny on November 03, 2015, 04:19:53 PM
I tried BIAB for 5 gal. batches and found it to be a PITA!  Just not an easy, pleasant experience with a hot, wet, heavy bag of grain.  As to the purported benefits of no stuck runoff and higher efficiency, by batch sparging on a cooler I've never had a stuck runoff in 490 batches, and my efficiency averages about 83%.  So those "benefits" are of no value to me.  I encourage you to try it and decide for yourself, like I did.  My decision was that BIAB wasn't for me, except for maybe very small batches.
I'm confused.  I thought that BIAB was supposed to be LOWER efficiency than batch sparge.  I assume because you don't rinse out the residual sugars in the sparge step.

As for the hot, wet, heavy bag of grain, this old sailor can rig up a block and tackle to handle that.

I'm saying that I get 83% batch sparging.  Sure I could hook up a lift also, but at that point there is no labor saving over just building a cooler and using that.
Title: Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: Phil_M on November 03, 2015, 07:03:41 PM
I'm saying that I get 83% batch sparging.  Sure I could hook up a lift also, but at that point there is no labor saving over just building a cooler and using that.

I'd like to point out that cooler can just be hosed out once the majority of the gain has been removed. A BIAB bag is a bit more labor intensive to clean.

What's your current batch size (in fermenter) and current kettle size?  And what do you want to upgrade to?
Also, do you want to go larger because of the RIMS needs?

I brew 5 gallon batches, hoping to do 10-gallon batches on low gravity (1.030-1.035) beers. Right now I've got an SS 11-gallon Bayou Classic pot for my kettle, looking to upgrade to at least the 15-gallon version.

I'm running a High Gravity electronic brewing controller, with the water heater element installed in the bottom of the kettle. The nice thing about the bayou Classic pots is you can get them with a steamer basket, which holds the bag well above the burner, and makes it a bit easier to remove the bag and grain.

I have a few specific goals for the upgrade:

Support larger grain bills - Ideally up to 1.100+ for a 5-gallon batch.

Better water heater element - Using a paint strainer bag and a homemade hop spider is definitely impacting my hop utilization. I brew extract still, and just tossing the hops into the kettle with no confinement just yields bitterness that's more in line with my goals vs. using the spider/strainer setup. However, with a standard water heater element unconfined hops end up getting stuck around the element and scorching. Looking at the Blichmann element, supposedly that's low density enough that this isn't a concern. Also, my high-density element will scorch the wort if I run it anywhere past 50% power. It'd be nice to have an element that I can better utilize.

Less wort loss/better trub removal - The way High Gravity lays out their kettles leaves much to be desired. Usually end up leaving as much as gallon of wort behind in some cases when trying to keep as much trub as possible out of the fermentor.
Title: Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: neddles on November 03, 2015, 07:24:05 PM
I'm saying that I get 83% batch sparging.  Sure I could hook up a lift also, but at that point there is no labor saving over just building a cooler and using that.

A BIAB bag is a bit more labor intensive to clean.




What kind of a bag are you using? Mine takes me about a minute, maybe less to clean.
Title: Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: Phil_M on November 03, 2015, 07:36:56 PM
I'm using a homemade one made from a fairly loose sheer curtain-like material. With the whole recirculation setup if the bag is too fine the wort starts to climb towards the rim of the kettle. (see my above comment on stuck sparges and BIAB)

As a result, grain likes to cling to the bag. While I don't get every scrap off I do try and get most of it, and I find is to be a tedious job.

That's just my scenario, YMMV.
Title: Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: BrodyR on November 03, 2015, 07:56:01 PM
I just throw my bag in the wash so no labor involved for me. I usually throw it in by itself on a small cycle with no detergent and that worked well but I accidentally had it run through with the clothes/detergent recently and it came out fine (as in no soapy/detergent taste in wort or grimy clothes).

My brew day cleanup is quick - take the kettle to the basement, give it a quick rinse/sponging, fill it up with hot water & oxyclean for a soak, drop all my misc stuff in there (spoon, funnel I use to fill the corny I ferment in, strainer), throw the bag in the wash and call it a day. I'll come back later to drain the oxy solution and rinse.

Title: Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: Phil_M on November 03, 2015, 08:08:58 PM
You know I've never thought about running it through the washing machine, I'll have to try that.

I own a condo, no space for a utility sink and we've got a galley kitchen, so I usually end up scrubbing my kettle and any buckets in a bath tub. Much of the issue with cleaning the bag is I have to either do it in the (tiny) kitchen sink, or lean over the side of the tub and do it. I'll try your idea next time around.
Title: Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: Stevie on November 03, 2015, 08:14:31 PM
I use paint strainer bags for BIAB and hops in the kettle. I clean in oxyclean to get most of the bits off and hang dry. Once dry a few good snaps in the air knocks all the bits off
Title: Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: jimmykx250 on November 03, 2015, 09:18:22 PM
For bag clean up I shake the "clingers" off in the yard hang it on the deck rail to dry then shake it out after its dry. At that point 90% falls off then into the sink with hot water and a soak with oxi clean. On another note trub is considerable but drops out during fermentation and my beers are usually pretty clear. I will try the strainer trick when I drain into the no chill container that may save quite a bit of trub getting into the fermentor!
Title: Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: BrodyR on November 03, 2015, 09:20:50 PM
Yea, I forget where I heard the washing machine idea but it's great. Previously I would hose it off, let it air dry, then shake the bits off.
Title: Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: pete b on November 04, 2015, 01:10:33 PM
Yea, I forget where I heard the washing machine idea but it's great. Previously I would hose it off, let it air dry, then shake the bits off.
Yes, I I've been washing the bags in the machine for years with no detergent.
Title: Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: Pricelessbrewing on November 04, 2015, 08:55:42 PM
Hey guys, new to the AHA forum but I'm pretty active on the BIAB section of HBT as well as r/homebrewing (u/pricelessbrew)

Anyways, there's no reason you can't batch sparge with BIAB as well. I often do something I call 'equal runnings biab', where the volume after removing the bag is equal to the sparged volume, and you can find a thread on homebrewtalk with that title as well where I show some of my findings using a batch sparge simulator modeled after Braukaisers batch sparge efficiency analysis.

I have a BIAB mash calculator that has a bunch of nice features on my blog over at Http://Pricelessbrewing.github.io/BiabCalc (http://Http://Pricelessbrewing.github.io/BiabCalc) and a testing page at Http://Pricelessbrewing.github.io/BiabCalc/TestingO (http://Http://Pricelessbrewing.github.io/BiabCalc/TestingO) if you'd like to look at the lauter efficiency model, I have an updated version that hasn't been published yet.
Title: Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: Philbrew on November 05, 2015, 05:02:15 PM
Hey guys, new to the AHA forum but I'm pretty active on the BIAB section of HBT as well as r/homebrewing (u/pricelessbrew)

Anyways, there's no reason you can't batch sparge with BIAB as well. I often do something I call 'equal runnings biab', where the volume after removing the bag is equal to the sparged volume, and you can find a thread on homebrewtalk with that title as well where I show some of my findings using a batch sparge simulator modeled after Braukaisers batch sparge efficiency analysis.

I have a BIAB mash calculator that has a bunch of nice features on my blog over at Http://Pricelessbrewing.github.io/BiabCalc (http://Http://Pricelessbrewing.github.io/BiabCalc) and a testing page at Http://Pricelessbrewing.github.io/BiabCalc/TestingO (http://Http://Pricelessbrewing.github.io/BiabCalc/TestingO) if you'd like to look at the lauter efficiency model, I have an updated version that hasn't been published yet.
Can't get your links to work.
Title: Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: Phil_M on November 05, 2015, 05:50:11 PM
Hey guys, new to the AHA forum but I'm pretty active on the BIAB section of HBT as well as r/homebrewing (u/pricelessbrew)

Anyways, there's no reason you can't batch sparge with BIAB as well. I often do something I call 'equal runnings biab', where the volume after removing the bag is equal to the sparged volume, and you can find a thread on homebrewtalk with that title as well where I show some of my findings using a batch sparge simulator modeled after Braukaisers batch sparge efficiency analysis.

I have a BIAB mash calculator that has a bunch of nice features on my blog over at Http://Pricelessbrewing.github.io/BiabCalc (http://Http://Pricelessbrewing.github.io/BiabCalc) and a testing page at Http://Pricelessbrewing.github.io/BiabCalc/TestingO (http://Http://Pricelessbrewing.github.io/BiabCalc/TestingO) if you'd like to look at the lauter efficiency model, I have an updated version that hasn't been published yet.

I've considered adding a sparge process to my BIAB procedure. However, to me the key advantage of BIAB is everything happens in one pot. Once you add a second pot as an HLT, I think batch sparging in a cooler quickly becomes a better idea.
Title: Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: denny on November 05, 2015, 06:34:12 PM
I've considered adding a sparge process to my BIAB procedure. However, to me the key advantage of BIAB is everything happens in one pot. Once you add a second pot as an HLT, I think batch sparging in a cooler quickly becomes a better idea.

How are you going to heat your sparge water without a second pot?
Title: Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: neddles on November 05, 2015, 06:41:21 PM
Yeah I can't really think of a good reason to sparge when doing BIAB, unless you are collecting starter wort afterwards.
Title: Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: pete b on November 05, 2015, 06:41:24 PM
I've considered adding a sparge process to my BIAB procedure. However, to me the key advantage of BIAB is everything happens in one pot. Once you add a second pot as an HLT, I think batch sparging in a cooler quickly becomes a better idea.

How are you going to heat your sparge water without a second pot?

I read that as he considered and rejected the idea. Either no pot and no sparge or batch sparge instead of biab.
Title: Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: pete b on November 05, 2015, 06:46:01 PM
Yeah I can't really think of a good reason to sparge when doing BIAB, unless you are collecting starter wort afterwards.

I actually usually do a sparge with biab. I have plenty of pots around and I have to dirty something to keep the bag in anyway. It makes it so I can get up to boil quicker: the sparge water is around 180 instead of mash temp and I put the heat back on the mash tun while I rinse the bag of grain in the sparge water, then combine. Then I put the bag in the second kettle until it cools off enough to give to the chickens/compost.
Title: Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: stpug on November 05, 2015, 06:53:13 PM
I've considered adding a sparge process to my BIAB procedure. However, to me the key advantage of BIAB is everything happens in one pot. Once you add a second pot as an HLT, I think batch sparging in a cooler quickly becomes a better idea.

How are you going to heat your sparge water without a second pot?

I read that as he considered and rejected the idea. Either no pot and no sparge or batch sparge instead of biab.
I read it the same as pete does. Rejected the idea due to the need of another vessel.

On the other hand, you can sparge with faucet temperature water and that may only require a pitcher that never sees anything but water (so no cleaning involved either).
Title: Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: neddles on November 05, 2015, 07:27:19 PM
Yeah I can't really think of a good reason to sparge when doing BIAB, unless you are collecting starter wort afterwards.

I actually usually do a sparge with biab. I have plenty of pots around and I have to dirty something to keep the bag in anyway. It makes it so I can get up to boil quicker: the sparge water is around 180 instead of mash temp and I put the heat back on the mash tun while I rinse the bag of grain in the sparge water, then combine. Then I put the bag in the second kettle until it cools off enough to give to the chickens/compost.
Do you have a small kettle or limited space? I guess I could see those as good reasons to do it. But if you like doing it and it makes you good beer then that is a good enough reason, really.
Title: Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: Phil_M on November 05, 2015, 07:43:50 PM
I've considered adding a sparge process to my BIAB procedure. However, to me the key advantage of BIAB is everything happens in one pot. Once you add a second pot as an HLT, I think batch sparging in a cooler quickly becomes a better idea.

How are you going to heat your sparge water without a second pot?

I read that as he considered and rejected the idea. Either no pot and no sparge or batch sparge instead of biab.

^ That's what I meant. This is also why, in hindsight, I wish I'd just gone with cooler batch sparging in the first place. To me it appears more elegant solution than BIAB, though since I've invested this much I don't see the point of scrapping my PID controlled electric BIAB setup and going batch sparge. I doubt I'd get back what I paid for everything.
Title: Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: BrodyR on November 06, 2015, 03:31:44 AM
I've considered adding a sparge process to my BIAB procedure. However, to me the key advantage of BIAB is everything happens in one pot. Once you add a second pot as an HLT, I think batch sparging in a cooler quickly becomes a better idea.

How are you going to heat your sparge water without a second pot?

I've done batch sparging using the bag to lauter with one pot:
1)Heat all the water in my boilermaker
2)Add the bag/grain to the cooler, open the spigot and fill the cooler up with my mash water.
3)After the mash I transfer the grain bag to the kettle which has the sparge water.
4)When I'm done sparging I remove the bag from kettle and dump the wort from the cooler into the kettle.

But again, to me, the big advantage of BIAB is the speed and ease of it. So once you start bringing coolers, or pulleys, or electric to the setup it looses that. I like being able to lift up the bag, plop it on the strainer, and begin the boil instantly.
Title: Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: Philbrew on November 06, 2015, 04:30:19 AM
I've considered adding a sparge process to my BIAB procedure. However, to me the key advantage of BIAB is everything happens in one pot. Once you add a second pot as an HLT, I think batch sparging in a cooler quickly becomes a better idea.

How are you going to heat your sparge water without a second pot?

I've done batch sparging using the bag to lauter with one pot:
1)Heat all the water in my boilermaker
2)Add the bag/grain to the cooler, open the spigot and fill the cooler up with my mash water.
3)After the mash I transfer the grain bag to the kettle which has the sparge water.
4)When I'm done sparging I remove the bag from kettle and dump the wort from the cooler into the kettle.

But again, to me, the big advantage of BIAB is the speed and ease of it. So once you start bringing coolers, or pulleys, or electric to the setup it looses that. I like being able to lift up the bag, plop it on the strainer, and begin the boil instantly.
Thanks again Brody for all your time spent on input here, most helpfull.
I thought about doing a similar "dunk sparge" to rinse any remaining sugars out of the grain.  Might be worth it on bigger beers.
Question:  wouldn't the bag do the straining if you just hung it above the pot on a strap with hooks?  Of course, I am brewing in the garage and have lots of places to hang the strap or a small pulley set up.  My SWMBO would not allow an eye-bolt in the kitchen ceiling.  So yeah, strainer.
Title: Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: BrodyR on November 06, 2015, 02:29:10 PM
I've considered adding a sparge process to my BIAB procedure. However, to me the key advantage of BIAB is everything happens in one pot. Once you add a second pot as an HLT, I think batch sparging in a cooler quickly becomes a better idea.

How are you going to heat your sparge water without a second pot?

I've done batch sparging using the bag to lauter with one pot:
1)Heat all the water in my boilermaker
2)Add the bag/grain to the cooler, open the spigot and fill the cooler up with my mash water.
3)After the mash I transfer the grain bag to the kettle which has the sparge water.
4)When I'm done sparging I remove the bag from kettle and dump the wort from the cooler into the kettle.

But again, to me, the big advantage of BIAB is the speed and ease of it. So once you start bringing coolers, or pulleys, or electric to the setup it looses that. I like being able to lift up the bag, plop it on the strainer, and begin the boil instantly.
Thanks again Brody for all your time spent on input here, most helpfull.
I thought about doing a similar "dunk sparge" to rinse any remaining sugars out of the grain.  Might be worth it on bigger beers.
Question:  wouldn't the bag do the straining if you just hung it above the pot on a strap with hooks?  Of course, I am brewing in the garage and have lots of places to hang the strap or a small pulley set up.  My SWMBO would not allow an eye-bolt in the kitchen ceiling.  So yeah, strainer.

Yea, I imagine that would work well. If the bag was suspended it would just drip into the kettle.

The dunk sparge thing is nice when brewing higher abv beers or pushing volume. I'm actually brewing 6 gallons today for a 3gallon/3gallon split batch so I'm going to break out the cooler (not sure if my grain and water will fit in the 10 gallon pot for a 6 gallon batch). But anytime I'm doing my normal batch of just under 5 gallons of ~5% beer I just use the kettle.
Title: Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: Philbrew on November 06, 2015, 03:46:28 PM
Yea, I imagine that would work well. If the bag was suspended it would just drip into the kettle.

The dunk sparge thing is nice when brewing higher abv beers or pushing volume. I'm actually brewing 6 gallons today for a 3gallon/3gallon split batch so I'm going to break out the cooler (not sure if my grain and water will fit in the 10 gallon pot for a 6 gallon batch). But anytime I'm doing my normal batch of just under 5 gallons of ~5% beer I just use the kettle.
I'd be interested in what you think after your brew day today.  Could you have done the 6 gallon batch BIAB in the 10 gallon pot?
Title: Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: BrodyR on November 06, 2015, 04:01:38 PM
Yea, I imagine that would work well. If the bag was suspended it would just drip into the kettle.

The dunk sparge thing is nice when brewing higher abv beers or pushing volume. I'm actually brewing 6 gallons today for a 3gallon/3gallon split batch so I'm going to break out the cooler (not sure if my grain and water will fit in the 10 gallon pot for a 6 gallon batch). But anytime I'm doing my normal batch of just under 5 gallons of ~5% beer I just use the kettle.
I'd be interested in what you think after your brew day today.  Could you have done the 6 gallon batch BIAB in the 10 gallon pot?

I'm not sure to be honest - I have 8.5gallons of strike water so I fear adding 10lbs of grain would overflow. If I didn't have the cooler I would have reserved a gallon or two and added it after the mash. 5 gallons normal to low gravity has been no problem but I didn't want to push it.

I may have already mentioned but usually I do 4.5-4.75gallon batches since I ferment in 5 gallon corny kegs. Today's unusual since I'm trying to get a bit more for a wort split (pils/saaz). Gonna pitch abbey yeast and czech lager yeast in different carboys. Sort of like a trappist single and czech pils.
Title: Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: Philbrew on November 06, 2015, 04:27:11 PM
Yea, I imagine that would work well. If the bag was suspended it would just drip into the kettle.

The dunk sparge thing is nice when brewing higher abv beers or pushing volume. I'm actually brewing 6 gallons today for a 3gallon/3gallon split batch so I'm going to break out the cooler (not sure if my grain and water will fit in the 10 gallon pot for a 6 gallon batch). But anytime I'm doing my normal batch of just under 5 gallons of ~5% beer I just use the kettle.
I'd be interested in what you think after your brew day today.  Could you have done the 6 gallon batch BIAB in the 10 gallon pot?

I'm not sure to be honest - I have 8.5gallons of strike water so I fear adding 10lbs of grain would overflow. If I didn't have the cooler I would have reserved a gallon or two and added it after the mash. 5 gallons normal to low gravity has been no problem but I didn't want to push it.

I may have already mentioned but usually I do 4.5-4.75gallon batches since I ferment in 5 gallon corny kegs. Today's unusual since I'm trying to get a bit more for a wort split (pils/saaz). Gonna pitch abbey yeast and czech lager yeast in different carboys. Sort of like a trappist single and czech pils.
Reserving a gallon or two to add after the mash sounds like a plan for me.  You are comfortable with boiling 8+ gallons in a 10 gallon pot, yes?

That sounds like a really interesting/yummy brew experiment.  I would really like to hear your results when the beers are ready to drink.  Also your recipe.
Title: Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: BrodyR on November 06, 2015, 05:19:52 PM
Yea, I imagine that would work well. If the bag was suspended it would just drip into the kettle.

The dunk sparge thing is nice when brewing higher abv beers or pushing volume. I'm actually brewing 6 gallons today for a 3gallon/3gallon split batch so I'm going to break out the cooler (not sure if my grain and water will fit in the 10 gallon pot for a 6 gallon batch). But anytime I'm doing my normal batch of just under 5 gallons of ~5% beer I just use the kettle.
I'd be interested in what you think after your brew day today.  Could you have done the 6 gallon batch BIAB in the 10 gallon pot?

I'm not sure to be honest - I have 8.5gallons of strike water so I fear adding 10lbs of grain would overflow. If I didn't have the cooler I would have reserved a gallon or two and added it after the mash. 5 gallons normal to low gravity has been no problem but I didn't want to push it.

I may have already mentioned but usually I do 4.5-4.75gallon batches since I ferment in 5 gallon corny kegs. Today's unusual since I'm trying to get a bit more for a wort split (pils/saaz). Gonna pitch abbey yeast and czech lager yeast in different carboys. Sort of like a trappist single and czech pils.
Reserving a gallon or two to add after the mash sounds like a plan for me.  You are comfortable with boiling 8+ gallons in a 10 gallon pot, yes?

That sounds like a really interesting/yummy brew experiment.  I would really like to hear your results when the beers are ready to drink.  Also your recipe.

Thanks, 8.5gallons was the total water (not boil volume), I'll loose some from grain absorption so boil volume will be in the 7's and definitely doable.

My recipe's pretty simple:
90% Weyerman Pilsner
5% Weyerman Carahell
5% Weyerman Light Munich

25ibu's from Magnum at the beginning of boil
1/2 oz Saaz at 30m
1/2 oz Saaz at 10m

Hit mash pH of 5.4 using a tap water diluted with Reverse Osmosis. Pitching Safbrew Abbaye in one and Czech lager yeast from a local brewpub in another. The only complexity is water - czech lagers tend to use really soft water while ale yeast likes more calcium. So I'm going to add a bit of gypsum to the Abbaye fermenter to bring up the Calcium and Sulfate. I'm 30m into the mash as we speak - keep you posted.
Title: Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: stevecrawshaw on November 06, 2015, 05:31:42 PM
I have just started BIAB (three batches), broadly in line with BrodyR's approach, but I have a slight variation - one pot BIAB. That is: mash, boil and ferment in one pot - a stainless steel 33L stock pot with no tap. I was inspired by Matt Smith's blog. (https://onepotbrewing.wordpress.com/) You can see the elements of my process here. (https://flic.kr/s/aHskmEKUJ5)

I tend to do 16 litres in this pot, which is mainly because I brew a lot and can't get through my beer if I brew 20L batches. I use a no - sparge process, and no chill, so it's really simple and needs no equipment other than the pot, the bag (http://brewinabag.co.uk/), a racking cane and silicone tube (https://onepotbrewing.wordpress.com/2015/09/28/is-there-a-brew-in-a-bag-system-that-only-uses-one-vessel-yes/). I do use a temp controlled HLT as I have one set up, but you could do without it by heating the strike water in the pot. It's convenient for me to use the HLT as this is where i pipe my RO water.

I seal the pot for fermentation with weights on the lid. Its not hermetically sealed but once fermenting the positive pressure prevents air ingress. My temperature control is simple again - a water bath and aquarium heater. I  fine with gelatin and keg but obviously you could bottle direct from the pot.

I have brewed a saison and an APA with this method. I have an APA fermenting now. The APA came out too bitter but that was due to my hopping schedule and trying to optimise the steep component of the bittering. I can't detect any other flaws like astringency, DMS etc that might arise from the BIAB, no - chill or one - pot aspects of the process. There is a lot of trub, but racking off it is not a problem - I tilt the pot and rack from the high side.

What I like about this approach is its simplicity. Minimal cleaning on brewday and brewday can be done in 3 hours. Sanitation is less of a worry because you are fermenting in a pot that has been boiled for an hour.

It's my go - to approach now. I still have my 3V which could be used for barley wine \ RIS etc but I brew few of these styles.

cheers
steve
Title: Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: pete b on November 06, 2015, 06:00:42 PM
I have just started BIAB (three batches), broadly in line with BrodyR's approach, but I have a slight variation - one pot BIAB. That is: mash, boil and ferment in one pot - a stainless steel 33L stock pot with no tap. I was inspired by Matt Smith's blog. (https://onepotbrewing.wordpress.com/) You can see the elements of my process here. (https://flic.kr/s/aHskmEKUJ5)

I tend to do 16 litres in this pot, which is mainly because I brew a lot and can't get through my beer if I brew 20L batches. I use a no - sparge process, and no chill, so it's really simple and needs no equipment other than the pot, the bag (http://brewinabag.co.uk/), a racking cane and silicone tube (https://onepotbrewing.wordpress.com/2015/09/28/is-there-a-brew-in-a-bag-system-that-only-uses-one-vessel-yes/). I do use a temp controlled HLT as I have one set up, but you could do without it by heating the strike water in the pot. It's convenient for me to use the HLT as this is where i pipe my RO water.

I seal the pot for fermentation with weights on the lid. Its not hermetically sealed but once fermenting the positive pressure prevents air ingress. My temperature control is simple again - a water bath and aquarium heater. I  fine with gelatin and keg but obviously you could bottle direct from the pot.

I have brewed a saison and an APA with this method. I have an APA fermenting now. The APA came out too bitter but that was due to my hopping schedule and trying to optimise the steep component of the bittering. I can't detect any other flaws like astringency, DMS etc that might arise from the BIAB, no - chill or one - pot aspects of the process. There is a lot of trub, but racking off it is not a problem - I tilt the pot and rack from the high side.

What I like about this approach is its simplicity. Minimal cleaning on brewday and brewday can be done in 3 hours. Sanitation is less of a worry because you are fermenting in a pot that has been boiled for an hour.

It's my go - to approach now. I still have my 3V which could be used for barley wine \ RIS etc but I brew few of these styles.

cheers
steve
I guess the problem I would have with that method is that the brew kettle is then tied up until packaging day.
Title: Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: BrodyR on November 06, 2015, 06:35:25 PM
Interesting approach Steve. I guess you pitch the yeast the next day?
Title: Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: stevecrawshaw on November 06, 2015, 06:58:06 PM
@pete - yep, that's true. I guess if you are wanting to brew every week and all you've got is a one - pot BIAB, that's a problem. 

There are times when I want to brew once a week. Still got 3V for that, but as I say, I struggle to get through my batches (but I keep trying!)

@Brody - yes pitch next day. For a sealed "no chill" i.e. in a plastic jerrycan you can leave for days and weeks but one pot BIAB isn't truly sealed so optimal pitching time is as soon as it's cool enough. Nothing to stop you using an IC with this approach but I like to keep it simple and save water.

cheers
steve
Title: Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: Pricelessbrewing on November 08, 2015, 01:54:16 AM
Hey guys, new to the AHA forum but I'm pretty active on the BIAB section of HBT as well as r/homebrewing (u/pricelessbrew)

Anyways, there's no reason you can't batch sparge with BIAB as well. I often do something I call 'equal runnings biab', where the volume after removing the bag is equal to the sparged volume, and you can find a thread on homebrewtalk with that title as well where I show some of my findings using a batch sparge simulator modeled after Braukaisers batch sparge efficiency analysis.

I have a BIAB mash calculator that has a bunch of nice features on my blog over at Http://Pricelessbrewing.github.io/BiabCalc (http://Pricelessbrewing.github.io/BiabCalc) and a testing page at http://Pricelessbrewing.github.io/BiabCalc/TestingO (http://Pricelessbrewing.github.io/BiabCalc/TestingO) if you'd like to look at the lauter efficiency model, I have an updated version that hasn't been published yet.
Can't get your links to work.

Thanks not sure what was going on there, the forum seems to have doubled up on the http:// part of the url, if you google priceless BIAB it'll come up otherwise, copy and paste that into your url. http://Pricelessbrewing.github.io/BiabCalc/TestingO


I've done no chill as well, and while it's sometimes convenient I'd rather take the 15 minutes or so to chill the wort, but I'm in the great lakes region so no lack of water around here.

There's no reason you can't use a BIAB bag in a cooler mash tun, it might have a slow drain though if you plan on draining it like a traditional mash tun with braid, but if you lift the grain bag it'll flow very quickly, then you can do your batch sparging as normal and lift again.
Title: Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
Post by: Philbrew on November 08, 2015, 01:58:19 AM
Thanks, 8.5gallons was the total water (not boil volume), I'll loose some from grain absorption so boil volume will be in the 7's and definitely doable.

My recipe's pretty simple:
90% Weyerman Pilsner
5% Weyerman Carahell
5% Weyerman Light Munich

25ibu's from Magnum at the beginning of boil
1/2 oz Saaz at 30m
1/2 oz Saaz at 10m

Hit mash pH of 5.4 using a tap water diluted with Reverse Osmosis. Pitching Safbrew Abbaye in one and Czech lager yeast from a local brewpub in another. The only complexity is water - czech lagers tend to use really soft water while ale yeast likes more calcium. So I'm going to add a bit of gypsum to the Abbaye fermenter to bring up the Calcium and Sulfate. I'm 30m into the mash as we speak - keep you posted.
What will be your ferment temp/schedule for the ale?