Author Topic: BIAB grain bill question  (Read 1775 times)

Offline flbrewer

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BIAB grain bill question
« on: October 09, 2014, 01:59:29 AM »
I assume BIAB is ok here in the all-grain section? I'm looking for a little guidance on the grain bill (specifically pounds of malt) that is needed for a small BIAB brew. Can I follow the same quantities as an all-grain recipe for a BIAB?
BeerSmith only lists All Grain, Extract, and Partial so I'm hoping all grain is equal to BIAB in terms of the grain bill. Thanks and cheers!

Offline Stevie

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Re: BIAB grain bill question
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2014, 02:06:17 AM »
Yep all-grain is what you will be doing. There will be a learning curve, and your efficiency might not be what you expect the first few times. It's got to be the easiest and least expensive way to go all-grain.

I think Duncan linked this in an earlier thread.  http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/wp-content/uploads/How-To-Brew-in-a-Bag.pdf

Offline a10t2

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Re: BIAB grain bill question
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2014, 02:28:11 AM »
If the efficiency is the same, then the grain bill can be the same. Sparging technique doesn't matter in that regard.

You may get lower efficiency for high-gravity beers though. I've found my efficiency calculator to be exceedingly accurate for no-sparge beers. http://seanterrill.com/2013/10/05/batch-sparging-calculator/
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Offline Stevie

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Re: BIAB grain bill question
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2014, 02:29:18 AM »
Actually Duncan linked this article. Geared towards small batches.

http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/how-to-brew/a-big-idea-on-small-batch-brewing/

Offline jaftak22

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Re: BIAB grain bill question
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2014, 06:22:27 PM »
Keep some DME on hand. My efficiency was horrible the first batch. Went out and bout a 3 gallon Rubbermaid just for my 1 gallon batch's.

Offline Stevie

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Re: BIAB grain bill question
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2014, 06:56:54 PM »
Keep some DME on hand. My efficiency was horrible the first batch. Went out and bout a 3 gallon Rubbermaid just for my 1 gallon batch's.


Want to do this, but the price for the 3 gallon is more than the 5 gallon on sale. It's such right tool sort of purchase, but I can't get past the perceived "value" in the larger size. I may settle on a 2 gallon cooler as they are less than $20.

Offline rodmanxxx

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Re: BIAB grain bill question
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2014, 07:41:44 PM »
I crush the grains fine for biab and get efficiency in upper 70s, which i believe is about normal for all grain. But as mentioned it is a good idea to have some extra DME on hand if your pre-boil gravity isn't where you want it to be. FYI in beersmith I set the mash profile to 1 step temperature mash instead of biab, on the mash tab I adjust Saccharification to 1.5 qt / lb. Then on the volume tab, the sparge volume is what I use to rinse the grains in after the mash (in a separate container), give it 15 minute rinse, the rinse helps with efficiency too. Then just add mash wort & rinse wort and start boil.
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: BIAB grain bill question
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2014, 09:53:00 PM »
Grain bill and everything for BIAB is just like "regular" all-grain brewing.  Personally I find that with a good sparge, I can get efficiency in the upper 80s just like using a cooler -- there's no difference for me and my techniques between the two.  I usually sparge by setting the grain bag in a large colander and slowly pouring 190 F water through the grain bag as something very similar if not identical to a fly sparge.  Other times I just dunk the grain bag in 170 F water for a quick rinse.  The reason I prefer the colander method is to avoid getting too many grain particles in the wort.  I guess if I had a very fine mesh colander or grain bag this would not be as much of a concern, but on the other hand you can certainly still get a "stuck mash" if the grain bag is too fine.  It's a good method to play around with, including different mesh and sizes of the bags, etc.  But yeah... bottom line is, if you want to get high efficiency with BIAB, it is certainly possible.  I have gotten efficiency as high as 92% with a really fine crush and good sparge, and you can too with experience.  In fact I've dialed down the crush on my grains because I fear that efficiency that high can result in lackluster malt flavor due to so little malt required to hit your OG.  So I purposely try to hit about 85% efficiency, and have been successful doing so on most brews.  Or occasionally for very malty or low gravity beers, I just don't sparge and then efficiency will fall to low 70s, which is fine too.  Whatever you want to do, it all works.
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: BIAB grain bill question
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2014, 01:12:13 AM »
Dave, what volume do you sparge with?

I do partial mash batches with BIAB for my mash and get low (50%) but consistent efficiency.  I'd like to improve it, and will likely buy a mill so I can crush as fine as I like.
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: BIAB grain bill question
« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2014, 02:14:42 AM »
You could also try a double crush of the malt at your LHBS to improve your efficiency.  It will probably get your efficiency up into the 70s on your first try.

I sparge with 50% of the pre-boil volume.  So, for 1.7 gallons (my standard post-boil batch size), my first runnings out of the mash are 1.4 gallons and I sparge with another 1.4 gallons.  Then I boil off a little more than a gallon over about 70 minutes to hit the 1.7 gallons post-boil.  After fermentation, about a quart is lost to the trub, so then I still have about 14 bottles of beer left.

Volume calculations would be a little different for bigger batches, in that you'll still lose about a gallon per hour in the boil, but everything else kind of sort of doubles or triples or whatever depending on your batch size.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: BIAB grain bill question
« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2014, 02:41:38 AM »
My pre-boil efficiency is a rock-solid 80-82% using cooler BIAB/no-sparge, as long as my mash thickness is in the 2-3 qt/lb range. With the exception of really small beers (~1.040 or less), I use my full volume of brewing liquor in the mash. I've never seen a need for sparging with my setup.

I don't adjust my water volume to account for grain absorption. There isn't a whole lot with a really thin mash, and even less so if you squeeze your grain bag. I mash with 17 qt for most beers and 18 qt for beers with a lot of boil hops or if I'm doing a 90-minute boil. That gets me a ballpark of 3 gallons in the fermenter, and about a case of 12-oz bottles or 2.5 gallons in the keg.

As far as converting recipes goes, it will take a bit of trial and error at first. Take meticulous notes for your first several batches. Once you dial in your efficiency, then converting recipes is a breeze. I use Brewer's Friend, but any software should work just fine. I just input a 5-gallon recipe at whatever they give for an efficiency, then convert to my efficiency and batch size.
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