Author Topic: Another BIAB thread  (Read 1517 times)

Offline pete b

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Another BIAB thread
« on: October 14, 2014, 01:28:39 AM »
I'm going to try biab starting this week. I'm perfectly happy with my Denny style cheap and easy batch sparge system but the fact is even with that I can't manage to brew as often as I'd like to 1. Make enough beer, and 2. Get enough repitition to get as good beer as I want and experiment as much as I want. The thing is brewing is more of a larger lifestyle of making and growing my own stuff so what with chickens, bees, gardens, building and fixing stuff I just can't spare a 1/2 day to brew very often. My goal is to make at least one small batch a week after work on Wednesday. I figure I can mill the grain and make a starter if I'm using one the night before and put my strike water in a pot and let it come up too room temp before work. It will go on the woodstove in the winter. I have a few ideas that I am wondering about:
Is a 2 1/2 gal batch biab in a 5 gal pot doable?
Is a one hour mash always necessary?
If I boil for say 45 minutes and add extra 0 minute hops to make up for less hop utilization will that be sufficient for boiling off dms compounds?
I don't plan on using a cooler so that there is one less thing to clean. I think I'll keep the pot over the back burner on my electric oven. That's where my oven vents, so if I turn my oven on 200 I'll have 200 degree air coming up under the pot. If necessary I'll rig up simple insulation. We can eat dinner during the mash!
Thanks
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Another BIAB thread
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2014, 02:06:07 AM »
BIAB sounds like the best option for you.  (Me too.)

Yes, you can easily do 2.5 gallons in a 5-gallon pot.  It helps to have a second pot on hand so you can do a quick dunk with more water for a batch sparge, or with a colander and a bucket you can even do a quasi-fly sparge, which is what I usually do.  Either one will improve your efficiency by a bit, if you care about that at all.

I mash for just 40 minutes most of the time.  Based on lots of experiments, 30 minutes wasn’t enough, but 40 minutes always is.

DMS is a tough one.... some people never seem to get it no matter how short or long the boil, and other people get it even after 90 minutes, so I don’t know what to tell you there except to try a 45-minute boil if you like and see what you get.  If you experience the slightest DMS then boil longer next time.

I BIAB on my stovetop.  It will lose a little heat even over just 40 minutes, but I find that if I shoot a little high on the mash temperature, then if it falls 10 degrees over the course of the mash, it’s not too big a deal since the average mash temperature will still be close to what I wanted.  I also keep a quart or two of boiling water on a side burner in a smaller pot in case I need to bring up temperature fast.  Pretty simple and effective.  I do like your oven idea, keep the whole stove warm there for a while!  Good idea.  Some people even put their kettle directly into a slow 160 F oven to keep things warm.  I haven’t done that yet but it seems a great idea as well.

Cheers to another BIAB brewer!  It’s all I ever do anymore.  I’ve taken small batches to the next lower level, now doing 1/3 of a standard 5-gallon batch, or 1.67 gallons per batch.  I do this, like, all the time now, and love it.  More bottles than a 12-pack, but not so many that I get tired of the beer either, and lots lots more room for experimentation with different recipes.  Perfect for people like us.
Dave

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Offline pete b

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Re: Another BIAB thread
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2014, 02:18:11 AM »
Thanks for the tips Dave. I'm likely to try the collander sparge.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Another BIAB thread
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2014, 04:14:15 AM »
If you're going the BIAB route for simplicity and time-saving purposes, then you might as well ditch the sparge while you're at it. If you use all your liquor in your mash then it's like doing your mash and sparge all in one step. The mash is thin and you don't end up needing an extra rinse to get all those sugars. I'm right at 80-82% preboil efficiency this way. I've gotten as high as 85% (on a barleywine, no less) before I started milling in my own grain for consistency sake.

As an added bonus, the extra thermal mass of having all your water in one pot will help hold your mash temps even better.
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Offline jimmykx250

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Re: Another BIAB thread
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2014, 09:16:15 AM »
Biab i my method as well. I do 5 gal batches in a 9 gal old pot. Start with 6 gal for mash pull it up and let it sit on some oak 3/4" square spanning across the top of the pot and rince the grains with another 2 gallon that i boiled for 10 min when I started my process in the garage. If left covered its usually around 160-170 and that gives me enough volume to end up just shy say 4.5 gal of finished wort. In bout 4 hours too! I love the method. Although I will say I do mash for 80 min to try to get all the goodness out of the grains. Simple,fast, and one pot to clean up. And I have to say for a guy who has only been brewing since may Im pretty happy with my beers. I dont make anything complex or exotic just ales of all sorts.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2014, 09:18:07 AM by jimmykx250 »
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Offline theDarkSide

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Re: Another BIAB thread
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2014, 01:25:07 PM »
Also, you can go a lot finer on your milling with BIAB since you really don't need the filter bed to runoff the mash and sparge. 

Eric - are you getting those efficiency numbers with at the same mill gap as if you were going to do a normal mash/sparge? 
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Another BIAB thread
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2014, 01:54:43 PM »
Also, you can go a lot finer on your milling with BIAB since you really don't need the filter bed to runoff the mash and sparge. 

Eric - are you getting those efficiency numbers with at the same mill gap as if you were going to do a normal mash/sparge?
I haven't done a normal mash with sparge since I got my mill, so I can't really say. My gap is set to whatever a green Dunlop Tortex guitar pick is. I think it's 0.039

I do squeeze my bag pretty thoroughly, so I'm sure that accounts for why my efficiency is so high. I spin my bag until it is taught, then put it in a colander and press down on it while wearing a silicon oven mitt. At some point I'll probably get a cheese press and will multitask it for bag squeezing as well.
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Offline pete b

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Re: Another BIAB thread
« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2014, 02:10:53 PM »
I've heard not to squeeze the bag. Is that just out of fear of it ripping? I think the bag should be squeezed and I squeeze the heck out of it when I use a bag for fruit in melomels so I don't think that's a problem. I've been going finer and finer with my crush anyway. I'll probably try no sparge first if your getting those numbers.
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Another BIAB thread
« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2014, 02:37:45 PM »
I've heard not to squeeze the bag. Is that just out of fear of it ripping? I think the bag should be squeezed and I squeeze the heck out of it when I use a bag for fruit in melomels so I don't think that's a problem. I've been going finer and finer with my crush anyway. I'll probably try no sparge first if your getting those numbers.

It's the mythological fear that squeezing the bag will release tannins from the grain.

I suppose if you are using a cloth bag there is some risk of tearing the fabric but any nylon or other manufactured product should not rip open unless you are really going to town squeezing that thing or the seam has come loose. In four years of using the same nylon bag and squeezing the heck out of it I haven't had a problem.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Another BIAB thread
« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2014, 04:26:02 PM »
I've heard not to squeeze the bag. Is that just out of fear of it ripping? I think the bag should be squeezed and I squeeze the heck out of it when I use a bag for fruit in melomels so I don't think that's a problem. I've been going finer and finer with my crush anyway. I'll probably try no sparge first if your getting those numbers.

It's the mythological fear that squeezing the bag will release tannins from the grain.

I suppose if you are using a cloth bag there is some risk of tearing the fabric but any nylon or other manufactured product should not rip open unless you are really going to town squeezing that thing or the seam has come loose. In four years of using the same nylon bag and squeezing the heck out of it I haven't had a problem.

I've ripped a couple of nylon grain bags from oversqueezing, but a good voile custom BIAB bag shouldn't have any issues. If you're using a coarse-mesh bag (such as muslin), then you could potentially squeeze some husk material out of the bag and into the boil. But if you're using a tight-mesh bag there should be no problem.
Eric B.

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Offline pete b

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Re: Another BIAB thread
« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2014, 04:50:56 PM »
I've heard not to squeeze the bag. Is that just out of fear of it ripping? I think the bag should be squeezed and I squeeze the heck out of it when I use a bag for fruit in melomels so I don't think that's a problem. I've been going finer and finer with my crush anyway. I'll probably try no sparge first if your getting those numbers.

It's the mythological fear that squeezing the bag will release tannins from the grain.

I suppose if you are using a cloth bag there is some risk of tearing the fabric but any nylon or other manufactured product should not rip open unless you are really going to town squeezing that thing or the seam has come loose. In four years of using the same nylon bag and squeezing the heck out of it I haven't had a problem.

I've ripped a couple of nylon grain bags from oversqueezing, but a good voile custom BIAB bag shouldn't have any issues. If you're using a coarse-mesh bag (such as muslin), then you could potentially squeeze some husk material out of the bag and into the boil. But if you're using a tight-mesh bag there should be no problem.
I have some tight mesh bags. I might get a custom if this works for me.
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Offline ultravista

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Re: Another BIAB thread
« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2014, 01:30:07 PM »
While I don't BIAB entirely, I do mash in a bag. I too squeeze the bag and collect the runnings (often >=1 gallon) then boil it down on the stovetop.

It turns in to a viscous syrup that adds a bit of gravity.

I don't worry about color or caramelization; the heavy syrup sure adds to color.

Offline dixonmike20

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Re: Another BIAB thread
« Reply #12 on: October 15, 2014, 05:45:11 PM »
I recently switched from 3V to BIAB, for a variety of reasons. I tried it first and liked the results. So, now I have a Brew-Boss system, which I'm very pleased with.

It's certainly not necessary to go the electric and controller route, but I'm happy with it.

With that being said, I agree with dmtaylor on all points.

Offline pete b

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Re: Another BIAB thread
« Reply #13 on: October 16, 2014, 01:19:03 AM »
I just finished my biab. It went pretty well. I definitely have a few factors to dial in. For instance I forgot how much slower my 5 gallon pot on the electric stove top boils off wort than the 15 gallon pot on the propane. On the plus side I was happy how well my mash held temp. I'm m pretty psyched because this is proof of the concept that I can make a batch of AG every week and still have time on the weekend for other interests.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Another BIAB thread
« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2014, 05:46:46 AM »
I just finished my biab. It went pretty well. I definitely have a few factors to dial in. For instance I forgot how much slower my 5 gallon pot on the electric stove top boils off wort than the 15 gallon pot on the propane. On the plus side I was happy how well my mash held temp. I'm m pretty psyched because this is proof of the concept that I can make a batch of AG every week and still have time on the weekend for other interests.
Great to hear!
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer