Author Topic: How do you BIAB?  (Read 4270 times)

Offline deadpoetic0077

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How do you BIAB?
« on: August 06, 2016, 01:22:53 PM »
I'm conducting my first BIAB this Wednesday! I wanted to see how some of you conduct your BIAB brew days to see if there are any tips or tricks I can pick up. So How do you BIAB?

Offline EnkAMania

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Re: How do you BIAB?
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2016, 04:22:23 PM »
I do a single vessel BIAB with a turkey fryer basket.  After the mash is done, I have a refrigerator shelf I put over the pot and push down on the grains with a pot lid.  The biggest tip for BIAB, make sure you have a fine crush on your grains.
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Offline deadpoetic0077

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Re: How do you BIAB?
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2016, 04:37:56 PM »
I do a single vessel BIAB with a turkey fryer basket.  After the mash is done, I have a refrigerator shelf I put over the pot and push down on the grains with a pot lid.  The biggest tip for BIAB, make sure you have a fine crush on your grains.

Ive heard of doing this. I have heard it can produce a bit of cloudiness in the beer. Have you experienced that?

Offline JJeffers09

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Re: How do you BIAB?
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2016, 05:12:28 PM »
Double crushing does seem to have a longer mash in my recent exp.  It has also been my experience that squeezing the bag is the best way to get the efficiency you want.  In BIAB I think you should add water to grains.  And slowly mash in and mix.  A large potato masher or a whisk is better than a spoon, the spoon seems to get the bag all wrapped around and gets annoying after a while.  Finally something to wrap around the mash tun/kettle unless you are bev cooler/picnic cooler
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Offline deadpoetic0077

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Re: How do you BIAB?
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2016, 05:39:06 PM »
Double crushing does seem to have a longer mash in my recent exp.  It has also been my experience that squeezing the bag is the best way to get the efficiency you want.  In BIAB I think you should add water to grains.  And slowly mash in and mix.  A large potato masher or a whisk is better than a spoon, the spoon seems to get the bag all wrapped around and gets annoying after a while.  Finally something to wrap around the mash tun/kettle unless you are bev cooler/picnic cooler

I was thinking of turning the flame off, and then wrapping my old sleeping bag around it with some bungee cords. Think that would be sufficient?

Offline JJeffers09

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Re: How do you BIAB?
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2016, 05:48:59 PM »
Yeah, get a good weight on the lid.  Or even wrap it.  The next big thing after all that is your preference on mashing out.  I find it hard getting the perfect repeatability with BIAB.  I think the HERMS is a better process for consistency, and want to try and "engineer" something in my system to work that out.  However that is off topic I think.
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Offline Steve L

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Re: How do you BIAB?
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2016, 10:05:16 PM »
The Biab's I've done in the past were in my brew kettle with low heat as needed maintain temps. If you do this, I recommend a false bottom of some sort . I made my own with a pie plate and some SS bolts for legs to keep the bag from melting . The pan keeps it from sagging over the edge of the false bottom.  I like the sound of the sleeping bag idea as well.

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Offline BrewBama

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How do you BIAB?
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2016, 12:46:56 PM »
I mash in a bag in a cooler and batch sparge. This technique has had some welcome advantages: no Vorlauf, very high efficiency, I get very nearly every drop by lifting the bag and letting it drain, no stuck sparges, and super easy collection and clean up.









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« Last Edit: August 07, 2016, 12:50:32 PM by BrewBama »
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Offline jimmykx250

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Re: How do you BIAB?
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2016, 02:57:06 PM »
I've always wanted to do the cooler mash tun thing but cant bring myself to buy a cooler jut for that reason. I have a 15 gallon alum pot that i put a valve on and I just throw 2 beach towels over the top and I only loose between 4 and 6 degrees over an hour mash. I never have double ground my grains as it seems like a lot of trouble as i usually end up around 70-75% efficiency so im ok with that. The two big advantages I see with BIAB is time and simplistic clean up. I can usually do a brew day in around 3 to 3.5 hours. I don't think i could brew as often if my brew days were 6 hours. One more thing i will add not to steer of topic but the no chill container has been a huge advantage for me as well. Brew dump to the container and pitch the next day no wasted time or water trying to get to pitching temp. I haven't experienced any off flavors or infections from this practice.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2016, 02:59:24 PM by jimmykx250 »
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Offline EnkAMania

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Re: How do you BIAB?
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2016, 04:12:11 PM »
I do a single vessel BIAB with a turkey fryer basket.  After the mash is done, I have a refrigerator shelf I put over the pot and push down on the grains with a pot lid.  The biggest tip for BIAB, make sure you have a fine crush on your grains.

Ive heard of doing this. I have heard it can produce a bit of cloudiness in the beer. Have you experienced that?

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Offline Philbrew

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Re: How do you BIAB?
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2016, 06:19:29 PM »
Here's a forum thread with pictures of how I BIAB (and other brew stuff).

https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=25940.0

This works well for me but there a lot of other good ways to BIAB too.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2016, 06:26:57 PM by Philbrew »
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Offline Hand of Dom

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Re: How do you BIAB?
« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2016, 09:58:04 AM »
Double crushing does seem to have a longer mash in my recent exp.  It has also been my experience that squeezing the bag is the best way to get the efficiency you want.  In BIAB I think you should add water to grains.  And slowly mash in and mix.  A large potato masher or a whisk is better than a spoon, the spoon seems to get the bag all wrapped around and gets annoying after a while.  Finally something to wrap around the mash tun/kettle unless you are bev cooler/picnic cooler

I was thinking of turning the flame off, and then wrapping my old sleeping bag around it with some bungee cords. Think that would be sufficient?

That's what I did when I used to BIAB.  Depending on the volume of wort, and insulating quality of the sleeping bag, I'd lose up to 3c over 75mins.  I'd occasionally apply a bit more heat to get it back up to temp (remove sleeping bag before applying heat).
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: How do you BIAB?
« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2016, 12:38:27 PM »
I mash in a bag in my kettle on my stovetop with no insulation.  I keep one quart of water boiling on a side burner at the beginning of the mash in case my mash temperature falls too cold.  Usually it's right where I want it so this is rarely needed.  I allow loss of about 6 degrees F over the course of the mash so I purposely aim for 3 F high on my mash temperature so that it's in a good temperature range for the vast majority of the mash time (e.g., so if I want the mash temp at 150 F, I shoot for 153 F at the beginning, and if it falls to 147 F by the end, I don't care, as it really, really just doesn't matter!).  I usually only mash for 40-45 minutes anyway.  If too warm then I add small amounts of cold water a cup at a time to bring the temperature down.  Once it hits proper range, the burners are off of course but I just leave the mash sit on the warm stove and it doesn't lose as much heat that way.

While mashing I set up a bucket, large colander, and second set of one or two smaller pots on the side for sparging.  I heat water in the kettles to almost a boil (190-195 F) for sparging by the end of the mash.  Once the mash is done, I dump the hot water from the smaller pots into the bucket, then pull the grain bag from the mash and dunk it in the "sparge" water in the bucket.  This improves efficiency significantly and requires no squeezing of the bag.  Then after just a minute or two, pull the bag out again and set up top of the colander to drain.  I move the colander and bag over to one of the smaller pots to continue to drain the rest while combining the bucket "sparge" liquid and the main mash, then immediately bring that to the boil and brew as normal.  After a good 10-15 minutes, I dump the additional drainings from the colander into the boiling wort so nothing goes to waste.  If I forget then later I might freeze this wort to use as yeast starter wort later on.  Nothing is wasted.  This really improves efficiency.

With a really good crush and refusal to waste any wort, I have seen my average efficiency climb past >90% without trouble.  However these days I purposely don't crush as hard and my average efficiency is now 81-82% for every batch.  I have a theory (which I won't get into much here) that super-high efficiency weakens malt flavor, in the opposite manner that no-sparge / low-efficiency brewing improves malt flavor.  I am currently, finally, conducting an experiment that should support or refute this theory.  I just did two BIAB batches of Marzen, same recipe, but one sparged as normal and the other no-sparge, with efficiencies of 81% and 64%, on purpose.  Both are almost ready to lager with gelatin and then soon to bottle.  Now maybe I'll have some proof of my theory... or maybe not!  But I digress.  What's truly important is consistency.  If you can get your efficiency consistently to 65%, great.  75%, wonderful.  81%, heck, that's great too, I like it.  Do what you need to do to get consistent, so that you can actually brew what you want to brew.  That's the key.  But anyway.
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: How do you BIAB?
« Reply #13 on: August 08, 2016, 05:08:15 PM »
I've always wanted to do the cooler mash tun thing but cant bring myself to buy a cooler jut for that reason. I have a 15 gallon alum pot that i put a valve on and I just throw 2 beach towels over the top and I only loose between 4 and 6 degrees over an hour mash. I never have double ground my grains as it seems like a lot of trouble as i usually end up around 70-75% efficiency so im ok with that. The two big advantages I see with BIAB is time and simplistic clean up.

If you are maintaining suitable temperature consistency in the mash with that process then there is no reason to spend money on more single use equipment. If you are happy with the end product then the consistency is suitable.

If you wanted to acquire a cooler at a lower cost then you could surely find old coolers on craigslist for $10 or less.
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Offline deadpoetic0077

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Re: How do you BIAB?
« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2016, 01:12:07 PM »
I mash in a bag in my kettle on my stovetop with no insulation.  I keep one quart of water boiling on a side burner at the beginning of the mash in case my mash temperature falls too cold.  Usually it's right where I want it so this is rarely needed.  I allow loss of about 6 degrees F over the course of the mash so I purposely aim for 3 F high on my mash temperature so that it's in a good temperature range for the vast majority of the mash time (e.g., so if I want the mash temp at 150 F, I shoot for 153 F at the beginning, and if it falls to 147 F by the end, I don't care, as it really, really just doesn't matter!).  I usually only mash for 40-45 minutes anyway.  If too warm then I add small amounts of cold water a cup at a time to bring the temperature down.  Once it hits proper range, the burners are off of course but I just leave the mash sit on the warm stove and it doesn't lose as much heat that way.

While mashing I set up a bucket, large colander, and second set of one or two smaller pots on the side for sparging.  I heat water in the kettles to almost a boil (190-195 F) for sparging by the end of the mash.  Once the mash is done, I dump the hot water from the smaller pots into the bucket, then pull the grain bag from the mash and dunk it in the "sparge" water in the bucket.  This improves efficiency significantly and requires no squeezing of the bag.  Then after just a minute or two, pull the bag out again and set up top of the colander to drain.  I move the colander and bag over to one of the smaller pots to continue to drain the rest while combining the bucket "sparge" liquid and the main mash, then immediately bring that to the boil and brew as normal.  After a good 10-15 minutes, I dump the additional drainings from the colander into the boiling wort so nothing goes to waste.  If I forget then later I might freeze this wort to use as yeast starter wort later on.  Nothing is wasted.  This really improves efficiency.

With a really good crush and refusal to waste any wort, I have seen my average efficiency climb past >90% without trouble.  However these days I purposely don't crush as hard and my average efficiency is now 81-82% for every batch.  I have a theory (which I won't get into much here) that super-high efficiency weakens malt flavor, in the opposite manner that no-sparge / low-efficiency brewing improves malt flavor.  I am currently, finally, conducting an experiment that should support or refute this theory.  I just did two BIAB batches of Marzen, same recipe, but one sparged as normal and the other no-sparge, with efficiencies of 81% and 64%, on purpose.  Both are almost ready to lager with gelatin and then soon to bottle.  Now maybe I'll have some proof of my theory... or maybe not!  But I digress.  What's truly important is consistency.  If you can get your efficiency consistently to 65%, great.  75%, wonderful.  81%, heck, that's great too, I like it.  Do what you need to do to get consistent, so that you can actually brew what you want to brew.  That's the key.  But anyway.

That was very detailed! Thanks a bunch! This has given me some ideas for my own process!