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General Category => Brew Systems & DIY => Topic started by: frankvw on December 13, 2019, 06:34:48 am

Title: BIAB / Grainfather style grain basket: perforated on all sides or bottom only?
Post by: frankvw on December 13, 2019, 06:34:48 am
I've been a three-vessel all-grain brewer for years and I enjoy this type of setup, but there is something to be said for the portability of a single vessel system as well. For one, the latter is easier to take to club brewing days, not to mention the fact that it's so much simpler to store.

With that in mind I'm looking at building a "grainfather style" BIAB-ish setup. I'm on a tight budget so it's definitely DIY time. I'll be using an electric water urn which I will fit with a stainless steel grain basket, a magnetic drive pump and assorted plumbing, plus an electronic thermostat and thyristor-based power control. The latter will be able to "throttle down" the urn's 3kW element to a few watts to gently raise or maintain wort temperature.

The first question I've come up with is the grain basket. I have two options here: use mesh on all sides, or just at the bottom. Mesh on all sides has the advantage of reducing the risk of a stuck sparge, while having mesh only a the bottom will ensure a laminar flow that should optimize extraction efficiency (in that the water running through it has to flow through all parts of the grain bed on its way from top to bottom).

What are your thoughts on this? Which one would be preferable and why?

// FvW

Title: Re: BIAB / Grainfather style grain basket: perforated on all sides or bottom only?
Post by: kramerog on December 13, 2019, 11:44:38 am
If you are going to recirculate water to heat up your mash then you would only want mesh at the bottom.  I've heard of the grainfather but I'm not familiar with the grainfather setup.
Title: Re: BIAB / Grainfather style grain basket: perforated on all sides or bottom only?
Post by: denny on December 13, 2019, 12:09:16 pm
If you are going to recirculate water to heat up your mash then you would only want mesh at the bottom.  I've heard of the grainfather but I'm not familiar with the grainfather setup.

I am.  It uses basically a false bottoms.  That's what I'd recommend.
Title: Re: BIAB / Grainfather style grain basket: perforated on all sides or bottom only?
Post by: ynotbrusum on December 15, 2019, 06:34:18 am
The Foundry system uses a false bottom and partial height side screening.  I have it and can recommend that approach, as well, if you can fabricate something like it.

Title: Re: BIAB / Grainfather style grain basket: perforated on all sides or bottom only?
Post by: mabrungard on December 15, 2019, 07:14:49 am
Any screening on the sides will create short circuiting and insufficient flow through the rest of the grist. A friend of mine created a screened container for his brewing system (sides and bottom screened). The flow was intended to go from the top of the grist, downward. He had incredibly poor efficiency until he inserted a solid sheet of stainless around the entire circumference to get the flow to exit the bottom of the grist.
Title: Re: BIAB / Grainfather style grain basket: perforated on all sides or bottom only?
Post by: denny on December 15, 2019, 07:25:53 am
Any screening on the sides will create short circuiting and insufficient flow through the rest of the grist. A friend of mine created a screened container for his brewing system (sides and bottom screened). The flow was intended to go from the top of the grist, downward. He had incredibly poor efficiency until he inserted a solid sheet of stainless around the entire circumference to get the flow to exit the bottom of the grist.

Exactly what I'd expect.
Title: Re: BIAB / Grainfather style grain basket: perforated on all sides or bottom only?
Post by: ynotbrusum on December 23, 2019, 01:11:18 pm
With the Foundry System approach, in my experience you should not use the system with very small grain batches for that reason (grain bed depth concerns and side channeling out the mesh sides).  It works perfectly well with 8-10 pounds of grain or more - again, it is based on my experience with the system.  And running a recirc should be at a very slow rate to maximize the efficiency - but I knew that from my larger HERMS using the 20gallon InfuSSion mash tun... many people seem to run their recirc full bore (I went away from that very early on).
Title: Re: BIAB / Grainfather style grain basket: perforated on all sides or bottom only?
Post by: dansensel on June 17, 2020, 09:25:35 pm
Foundry now has a small batch adapter to cover the side screens if the mash is smaller.  Great thing about blichmann is that they listen to customers and offer solutions.  I am anxiously waiting to be able to order my foundry.  Backorders suck.
Title: Re: BIAB / Grainfather style grain basket: perforated on all sides or bottom only?
Post by: ynotbrusum on July 06, 2020, 06:31:02 pm
Yes, I have the inner ring small batch adapter.  I use it all the time on many batches regardless of grain Bill size. 
Title: Re: BIAB / Grainfather style grain basket: perforated on all sides or bottom only?
Post by: erockrph on July 10, 2020, 05:54:53 am
With the Foundry System approach, in my experience you should not use the system with very small grain batches for that reason (grain bed depth concerns and side channeling out the mesh sides).  It works perfectly well with 8-10 pounds of grain or more - again, it is based on my experience with the system.  And running a recirc should be at a very slow rate to maximize the efficiency - but I knew that from my larger HERMS using the 20gallon InfuSSion mash tun... many people seem to run their recirc full bore (I went away from that very early on).

Interesting. I got the 6.5 gallon model a few months ago and the basket was only perforated on the bottom. I don't know if this is a new change or if it's specific to the smaller system, but there are no side perforations on mine.
Title: Re: BIAB / Grainfather style grain basket: perforated on all sides or bottom only?
Post by: ynotbrusum on July 12, 2020, 07:56:24 am
The smaller one is set up that way, I understand.  I retrofitted with the side blocker on the larger unit.
Title: Re: BIAB / Grainfather style grain basket: perforated on all sides or bottom only?
Post by: purduekenn on June 05, 2022, 08:25:21 am
Yes, I have the inner ring small batch adapter.  I use it all the time on many batches regardless of grain Bill size.
Interesting I'll have to try that on my Anvil 10.5