Author Topic: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.  (Read 6513 times)

Offline erockrph

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 6516
  • Chepachet, RI
    • The Hop WHisperer
Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
« Reply #15 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.
Eric B.

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

Offline BrodyR

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 524
  • Philadelphia, PA
Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
« Reply #16 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.

Offline neddles

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 281
Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
« Reply #17 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.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2015, 03:50:08 AM by neddles »

Offline Phil_M

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1760
  • Southern Maryland
Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
« Reply #18 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.
Corn is a fine adjunct in beer.

And don't buy stale beer.

Offline Philbrew

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 867
Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
« Reply #19 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?
« Last Edit: November 03, 2015, 03:48:47 PM by Philbrew »
Many of us would be on a strict liquid diet if it weren't for pretzels.

Offline denny

  • Administrator
  • Retired with too much time on my hands
  • *****
  • Posts: 22902
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • Dennybrew
Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
« Reply #20 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.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell

Offline Phil_M

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1760
  • Southern Maryland
Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
« Reply #21 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.
Corn is a fine adjunct in beer.

And don't buy stale beer.

Offline neddles

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 281
Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
« Reply #22 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.

Offline Phil_M

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1760
  • Southern Maryland
Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
« Reply #23 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.
Corn is a fine adjunct in beer.

And don't buy stale beer.

Offline BrodyR

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 524
  • Philadelphia, PA
Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
« Reply #24 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.


Offline Phil_M

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1760
  • Southern Maryland
Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
« Reply #25 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.
Corn is a fine adjunct in beer.

And don't buy stale beer.

Offline Stevie

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 6858
Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
« Reply #26 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

Offline jimmykx250

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 328
Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
« Reply #27 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!
Jimmykx250

Offline BrodyR

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 524
  • Philadelphia, PA
Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
« Reply #28 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.

Online pete b

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3350
  • Barre, Ma
Re: BIAB. Please share ideas, pros/cons, methods.
« Reply #29 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.
Don't let the bastards cheer you up.