[...] 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.