Author Topic: First BIAB step by step brew questions  (Read 1414 times)

Offline golfgod04

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First BIAB step by step brew questions
« on: January 04, 2017, 01:12:03 AM »
Ive been a partial mash brewer on my stove for 2 years now.  I've been making good beer and finishing in top 3 in some competitions but I want to advance.  So, for the past month I've been getting a couple of new pieces of equipment (brewing on budget). I have an 8 gallon pot, Bayou SQ14 propane burner, and a grain mill.  However, I am not totally sure if I have my steps right for BIAB brewing with no sparge. 
1.) double mill grain (any advice on setting the distance on the grain rollers?)
2.) add 6 gallons of water in the 8 gallon pot and heat to mash temp
3.) add grain into the bag in the pot(I think 2 gallons of space in the pot is enough, Ill take advice if its not)
4.) mash for an hour
5.) push grain with a pot lid as I remove the grain bag to get as much sugar/water out
6.) proceed to boil and proceed with hop additions

Does this sound like I have the right idea?  This is quite the difference from brewing on the stove with just a partial mash.  Am I better over doing a no sparge BIAB with a cooler mash tun and just using my pot for 5 gallon batches and the boil?  I am open to any suggestions.   I do not have much money left I can spend and thats why I don't a pump.  I have DIY skills and can make hoses/piping if need be for the cooler mash tun.

Offline Philbrew

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Re: First BIAB step by step brew questions
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2017, 02:11:03 AM »
I did partial mash/extract for a year before I went to all-grain.  I brewed (mostly) really good beer and got my basics down.  I now do all-grain BIAB in the boil pot.  I do 6 gal. batches in a 10 gal. pot with some room to spare so I think you should be fine with your new set-up.  I'd say you've got your sh*t together on equipment at least to start.  :)

I have my grain mill set at .030 inch.  I've read that that's about the width of a credit card if you don't have a feeler guage.  I don't double mill my grain.

If you have a way to suspend the bag just clear of the wort in the pot, you can squeeze the bag to get more wort out of the grain.  You'll need a pair of insulated rubber gloves to do that.

You may need to add some water before or during the boil.  You will lose about 3/4 to 1 gal. of volume in the boil and you want to end up with about 5-1/2 gal. in the pot at the end of the boil so that you get 5 gal. in the fermenter.

That's about all I can add for now.  Otherwise your 6 steps look spot on.

Be prepared for a big improvement in the flavor of your beer.  Cheers.

edit:  Oh yeah, if you do BIAB in the brew kettle you'll want to insulate it during the mash.  An old sleeping bag and some bungees should do the job.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2017, 02:28:31 AM by Philbrew »
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Offline golfgod04

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Re: First BIAB step by step brew questions
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2017, 02:44:24 AM »
thanks phil.  with my 8 gallon pot, think its fair to say I can do 4 gallon batches?

Im still debating getting a 52 quart cooler to be a mash tun.  Its a big step going from the stove to all grain.   

Offline Philbrew

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Re: First BIAB step by step brew questions
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2017, 03:37:08 AM »
You didn't mention that you've purchased a beg yet.  If not, check out this outfit.

http://www.brewinabag.com/?aff=3

Quality construction, nice features, reasonably priced, good service.
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Offline natebrews

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Re: First BIAB step by step brew questions
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2017, 04:10:11 AM »
Way back when, I looked at doing BIAB vs a cooler and decided to go with a hybrid.  I actually started by just putting the bag in the cooler to act as a filter so I didn't need a false bottom or manifold or anything, I just put a plastic valve (like for a bottling bucket) on the cooler instead of the one that was there originally.  That way I could batch sparge it really easy, and I could do recirculation to clear the wort up more before running it off (I was under the impression that would matter). 

I also didn't have a second pot that was big enough to "sparge" the bag in, so I would have a couple 2g pots on the stove heating strike water up to put in after I ran off the wort into the kettle. 

It was also all gravity fed (pumps were not in the budget).  I had the cooler on a trash toter and the boil kettle on a turkey fryer burner. 

My only advice, if you want to do the cooler thing, is to just get the 10gal one.  I got a 5 gallon one and realized fairly quickly that with 12lb of grain in there, it was getting pretty full. 

To your other question, I use a credit card gap (not the bumpy numbers part, the thinner part).  I would think you wouldn't want it to get too floury, since the flour will strain into the kettle to some degree.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2017, 04:14:13 AM by natebrews »
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Offline jimmykx250

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Re: First BIAB step by step brew questions
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2017, 10:05:29 AM »
All good advice here. Get the biggest pot you can swing. I went with an alum for budget reasons and have had no problems. A couple thick beach towels thrown across the top hold the temp just fine for an hour mash. I think you will like the biab process for its simplicity. For me it means brewing at all as i just dont get 6 hours to blow on a multi vessel brew set up. I admit if i could i would!
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Offline pete b

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Re: First BIAB step by step brew questions
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2017, 01:11:55 PM »
+1 to a long pair of rubber heat proof gloves.
Other than that see how biab goes a few times and decide for yourself how it goes. IMO biab is great for 2.5-3 gallon batches but hash diminishing returns after that due to the size and weight of the bag and possibly a need to sparge.
You can mill the grain with the gap set as small as will allow the grain to pass and generally only need to pass through once.
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Offline JJeffers09

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Re: First BIAB step by step brew questions
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2017, 02:39:49 PM »
#2 & 3
It will depend on the amount of grain, I have managed about 14.5# in a 33L/8.7Gal vessel.  & I prefer adding water to grain.  A good pulley is a $20ish investment if you have a place for a s-hook that doesn't upset the delicate balance in your household.

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Offline brewcrew7

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Re: First BIAB step by step brew questions
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2017, 02:54:50 PM »
I have a similar setup (8 gal pot, BIAB) and I'd say you'd be able to create a 4-4.5 gallon final batch size of 1.050-1.060ish beer with a 6 gallon no-sparge process, depending on your conversion efficiency and boil-off. You could push the amount of grain and water a little bit more but this is a good starting point. I've double crushed my malt on the LHBS mill when I've done this to help me get these numbers. Splitting your strike water in half to add a sparge later maybe gets you a few more gravity points but that will require another pot. I have a cooler too that I use depending on my mood but I cannot say that for the same beer it makes much difference, except that it expands my capacity to brew bigger beers or bigger batches.

Choosing the no-sparge method definitely streamlines the process in various ways, removing a lot of fuss if your short for time, brewing with friends and a pint or three...etc ;)

Offline golfgod04

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Re: First BIAB step by step brew questions
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2017, 04:33:34 PM »
thanks for the info everyone

Offline drunkinThailand

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Re: First BIAB step by step brew questions
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2017, 06:35:43 AM »
BIAB is great, it takes a bit of practice to get the hang of it - at first i was running around like a chicken with my head cut off, but now a year in I have it down so i just sit back and throw back a few cold ones - and my beer is just as delicious as my friend's who has a 3 tier RIMS system that cost who knows how many times as much.

My suggestions:
1) use BIAB sparge calculator, Bru'n water, and BrewTarget available for free from homebrewtalk.com (tells you how much water, strike temp, water chemistry, recipe, notes, etc. etc.)
2) BIAB easy sparge - pull the grain bag (i have a wilserbrewer? bag with pulley, highly recommended) and place in a spare bucket or other container (i use an old kettle because its bigger but I used to use a bucket), use room temperature water to rinse the bag and knead it to really get the water all up in there and rinse all the grains, then put the bag back over the brew kettle and twist/squeeze out all the water, then pour the sparge water from the bucket in (I know this is terrible in terms of LODO but as a BIAB we are quick and dirty and eons away from LODO).  With this method I get 80-90% efficiency depending on the size of the grain bill, even though I crush on my buddies mill so use a standard crush.  I think thats better too, because you get better drainage from the bag.

This sparge method lets you really push the volume too.  I have a 10 gallon pot and I regulary do 6.6 gallon batches, one of which was a huge grain bill (can't remember exactly but almost 10 kilos).  6.6 gallons with a big grain bill uses about 36 liters (I use metric, sorry, and get BIAB Sparge Calculator, it tells you how much water you will need for different grain bills and absorbtions) which I split 25 or so for mash and 11 or so for sparge

I also have some checklists I made to help me remember all the steps since I tend to get tanked while I brew (though now that I have it down even when I hit s***faced level I barely glance at the checklist) - one for dry yeast, one for slurry with vitality starter, one for real starter.  I will happily give you those checklists if you pm or email me(I don't know how to include them here)

good brewing and i have a feeling you will love the convenience of biab (not to mention the damn good beer you will be making)
« Last Edit: January 08, 2017, 06:40:01 AM by drunkinThailand »

Offline golfgod04

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Re: First BIAB step by step brew questions
« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2017, 07:57:26 PM »
+1 to a long pair of rubber heat proof gloves.
Other than that see how biab goes a few times and decide for yourself how it goes. IMO biab is great for 2.5-3 gallon batches but hash diminishing returns after that due to the size and weight of the bag and possibly a need to sparge.
You can mill the grain with the gap set as small as will allow the grain to pass and generally only need to pass through once.

what gloves do you use?

Offline EnkAMania

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Re: First BIAB step by step brew questions
« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2017, 11:11:13 PM »
+1 to a long pair of rubber heat proof gloves.
Other than that see how biab goes a few times and decide for yourself how it goes. IMO biab is great for 2.5-3 gallon batches but hash diminishing returns after that due to the size and weight of the bag and possibly a need to sparge.
You can mill the grain with the gap set as small as will allow the grain to pass and generally only need to pass through once.

what gloves do you use?

I found some thick rubber gloves at home depot that work. 
Some day we'll look back on this and it will all seem funny