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BIAB Endorsement

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Pietro

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Post Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:20 am

BIAB Endorsement

Prior to discovering this, I was mashing in my BK anyway, using a bazooka screen/ball valve for lautering, getting 60-65% efficiency. Figured I would give BIAB a shot as I really didn't feel like having another piece of gear to store. I bought the bag from a dude online who sews them based on your kettle dimensions and sells them shipped for $30, but it is also easy to make a BIAB bag for under $10.

I do a single batch sparge with BIAB with 2-2.5 gallons of 168* water in a spare ale pail. Lift the bag out of the kettle after 10 minute mash out, drain a bit, tie off top with a rubber band, lift into ale pail of sparge water, cover, insulate with ski jacket, leave for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, lift back onto the kettle onto a canning rack, squeeze the H out of the bag, dump the grains right into the garbage (live in the city in a rowhouse and don't have space to compost). Add sparge water to boil kettle. Rinse the bag while I'm rinsing out the ale pail. Boil.

Last brew came out at 78% mash efficiency, though I have gotten as high as 83%. A full brewday from pulling equipment out to cleaned up and me on the couch has taken as little as 3:45 with a 60-minute boil, 75-minute mash. Well-under 5 hrs. though for a 90min boil.

The only thing I haven't done is make real big beers this way, most have been under 1.070 OG, and I've heard you can lose a lot of efficiency on big mashes. I suppose you can always supplement with extract.

Just putting this out there in case people are nervous about making the jump to AG. BIAB requires a bit of heavy lifting (literally), but almost no additional equipment, and is also great if people want to minimize gear. I will say I do have a 40q kettle, a homemade copper IC, and a blichmann floor burner, which can get me to strike temp in under 10 minutes, and from mash temp to boiling for 7.5-8gallons in about 20. Further, I've done as many as 7 brews on one propane tank. My God I love that thing...1-year anniversary present...Psyched to brew this weekend! :cheers:
Primary: HT Clone, Fo' Pils
On Tap: Brown Bag Porter, Bo Pils; Weizenbock
Bottled: lots.
Cellaring: Lacto Calrysian; Flanders
Planned: Steam, Braison, Brett IPA
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CliffordBrewing

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Post Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:46 am

Re: BIAB Endorsement

Nice! I have a very similar process when I BIAB, I usually get about 75% efficiency. My last brew was 82%. It really helps if you have your own mill, you can basically grind it down to flour without having a stuck sparge.

I also have a Denny-inspired mash tun, but now that I think of it I probably haven't used it in nearly a year. For my purposes, BIAB does what I need it to. I'm planning a barley wine in the near future that I'll BIAB; if that goes well I might even consider throwing out my mash tun. :cheers:
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Beersk

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Post Fri Jan 25, 2013 11:01 am

Re: BIAB Endorsement

I've done a few brews in a bag and it's a pretty easy process. I'm going to do some 2 gallon batches for bottling so I think brew in a bag will be a good option for me. I'll do a full volume mash though.
I dig it.
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Shadetree

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Post Fri Jan 25, 2013 11:12 am

Re: BIAB Endorsement

Pietro wrote:Lift the bag out of the kettle after 10 minute mash out, drain a bit, tie off top with a rubber band, lift into ale pail of sparge water, cover, insulate with ski jacket, leave for 10 minutes.
You could save a little time and skip this 10-minute rest - just open the bag and stir it, then pull immediately.

Glad you like the method, been serving me well for several years (use it to make starters and the occasional test batch). If your kettle is big enough, try it with a no-sparge some time, too.
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Beersk

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Post Fri Jan 25, 2013 11:18 am

Re: BIAB Endorsement

Shadetree wrote:
Pietro wrote: If your kettle is big enough, try it with a no-sparge some time, too.

This is my plan for the 2 gallon batches I want to do. I imagine a 5 gallon kettle will be enough for that, yes? I hope!
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Shadetree

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Post Fri Jan 25, 2013 11:20 am

Re: BIAB Endorsement

Beersk wrote:I imagine a 5 gallon kettle will be enough for that, yes? I hope!
Plenty big enough - I make 3-4 gallon batches in a 6-gal kettle.
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ibeentired

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Post Fri Jan 25, 2013 11:21 am

Re: BIAB Endorsement

So you're only mash for about 30 minutes?
Can you give a little more detail on that. I have only done one BIAB before and I am confused by "Lift the bag out of the kettle after 10 minute mash out..."

So you have 2.5 gal of 168 water in a bucket. Do you then mash at a higher temp for 10 mins, move the grains to the bucket for 10 mins, then back to the kettle and rinse the grains with wort from the bucket?

What volume are you mashing in the kettle before you move it to the 168* bucket?
Sorry if I am not understanding your process.

The one time I did it, I didn't take notes well, but I heated my water, submerged the bag, checked the temp a few times during the 75min. After that raised the temp for a 10 min mash out. The let the bag drain as I brought it up to a boil. (I may have rinsed with the wort too, I forget.)
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dobe12

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Post Fri Jan 25, 2013 11:25 am

Re: BIAB Endorsement

Shadetree wrote:
Pietro wrote:Lift the bag out of the kettle after 10 minute mash out, drain a bit, tie off top with a rubber band, lift into ale pail of sparge water, cover, insulate with ski jacket, leave for 10 minutes.
You could save a little time and skip this 10-minute rest - just open the bag and stir it, then pull immediately.

Glad you like the method, been serving me well for several years (use it to make starters and the occasional test batch). If your kettle is big enough, try it with a no-sparge some time, too.


I've wondered this.. about no sparge, but with a larger kettle. I currently mash in a 30qrt kettle and do a 15min sparge in a slightly smaller (6 gallon?) kettle. Without the sparge I get around 65% efficiency. With the sparge, I get around 75%, but have gotten 80% and above like others mentioned. If I were to get a bigger kettle, maybe 10gallons and get all my water in at the beginning, open the bag up after the 60min mash and just give it a good stir, will I be able to achieve that 75% efficiency? Or is there something about dunking it in the fresh pot of water? I'd like to cut this step out, but don't want my efficiency to suffer.
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Beersk

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Post Fri Jan 25, 2013 11:28 am

Re: BIAB Endorsement

Shadetree wrote:
Beersk wrote:I imagine a 5 gallon kettle will be enough for that, yes? I hope!
Plenty big enough - I make 3-4 gallon batches in a 6-gal kettle.


Sweet. The batches I did before were 3 gallon batches in a 6.5 gallon kettle. Can't remember now if it took up too much room. I have a steamer rack to put on the bottom so I don't scorch the bag and a chain to lift it out of there when I'm done mashing.
Watch out for those Cross Dressing Amateurs...
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Pietro

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Post Fri Jan 25, 2013 12:15 pm

Re: BIAB Endorsement

Shadetree wrote:
Pietro wrote:Lift the bag out of the kettle after 10 minute mash out, drain a bit, tie off top with a rubber band, lift into ale pail of sparge water, cover, insulate with ski jacket, leave for 10 minutes.
You could save a little time and skip this 10-minute rest - just open the bag and stir it, then pull immediately.

Glad you like the method, been serving me well for several years (use it to make starters and the occasional test batch). If your kettle is big enough, try it with a no-sparge some time, too.


I always read a mash out would increase efficiency with BIAB (?) My bag is usually open when mashing. I basically use it as a liner for the kettle/mash tun.
Primary: HT Clone, Fo' Pils
On Tap: Brown Bag Porter, Bo Pils; Weizenbock
Bottled: lots.
Cellaring: Lacto Calrysian; Flanders
Planned: Steam, Braison, Brett IPA
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Pietro

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Post Fri Jan 25, 2013 12:21 pm

Re: BIAB Endorsement

ibeentired wrote:So you're only mash for about 30 minutes?
Can you give a little more detail on that. I have only done one BIAB before and I am confused by "Lift the bag out of the kettle after 10 minute mash out..."

So you have 2.5 gal of 168 water in a bucket. Do you then mash at a higher temp for 10 mins, move the grains to the bucket for 10 mins, then back to the kettle and rinse the grains with wort from the bucket?

What volume are you mashing in the kettle before you move it to the 168* bucket?
Sorry if I am not understanding your process.

The one time I did it, I didn't take notes well, but I heated my water, submerged the bag, checked the temp a few times during the 75min. After that raised the temp for a 10 min mash out. The let the bag drain as I brought it up to a boil. (I may have rinsed with the wort too, I forget.)


Sorry, I will try to explain better.

-Heat the strike water to target temp, place bag in kettle (the bag has handles so I can hook those to the handles on my kettle and basically use the bag as a liner)
-add grains/dough in
-mash for 75 minutes (was doing 90, but i don't think its necessary)
-raise bag off of bottom by lifting it a bit
-light burner, raise temp of liquid to 175 or so (then when I re-submerge the grain bag/BIAB bag, it is right @ 170
-'mash out' for 10 minutes
-lift bag out of water and let drain a bit, tie off top of bag
-place into ale pail that already has 2.5 gallons of water in it, swish around
-insulate and let it be for 10 minutes (a rudimentary sparge)
-lift bag back out of bucket, place on canning rack above kettle and squeeze the bejeesus out of it
-boil
Primary: HT Clone, Fo' Pils
On Tap: Brown Bag Porter, Bo Pils; Weizenbock
Bottled: lots.
Cellaring: Lacto Calrysian; Flanders
Planned: Steam, Braison, Brett IPA
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Shadetree

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Post Fri Jan 25, 2013 12:33 pm

Re: BIAB Endorsement

dobe12 wrote:If I were to get a bigger kettle, maybe 10gallons and get all my water in at the beginning, open the bag up after the 60min mash and just give it a good stir, will I be able to achieve that 75% efficiency? Or is there something about dunking it in the fresh pot of water? I'd like to cut this step out, but don't want my efficiency to suffer.
With a no-sparge you are going to lose some efficiency compared to batch-sparging the same recipe, there's just no way around it. IME, raising the mash temp into the 160s, targeting 163-165F, for 10-15 minutes is good for a couple points of efficiency, which helps. I set my recipes at 65% efficiency and then usually get a little higher than that (and I rarely make anything less than 1.065). The payback for using a little more grain is a bigger malt component, though.
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erockrph

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Post Fri Jan 25, 2013 12:33 pm

Re: BIAB Endorsement

I do 3-gallon BIAB in a 5-gallon cooler (to help me hold mash temp better). I don't sparge, and with a fine crush I've gotten 80% efficiency from beers as big as the 1.090's. Since you get better efficiency from a thinner mash by nature, you really aren't losing much efficiency by not sparging - especially if you are a bag squeezer.

I use a 5-gallon pot for my brews. On my ceramic cooktop I can get 4 gallons up to a decent boil. I do use foam control in all my brews to prevent boilovers.
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ibeentired

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Post Fri Jan 25, 2013 12:36 pm

Re: BIAB Endorsement

Thanks. Now I understand much better!
So you're doing a full 5 gal batch (vs a 3 gal) with your process correct?
:cheers:
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On Deck: West Coast Amber
Primary: Winter Warmer
Drinking: CA Common, Sweet Stout
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Beersk

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Post Fri Jan 25, 2013 12:36 pm

Re: BIAB Endorsement

erockrph wrote:I do 3-gallon BIAB in a 5-gallon cooler (to help me hold mash temp better). I don't sparge, and with a fine crush I've gotten 80% efficiency from beers as big as the 1.090's. Since you get better efficiency from a thinner mash by nature, you really aren't losing much efficiency by not sparging - especially if you are a bag squeezer.

I use a 5-gallon pot for my brews. On my ceramic cooktop I can get 4 gallons up to a decent boil. I do use foam control in all my brews to prevent boilovers.

I thought about using my cooler also...perhaps I'll give it a try.
Watch out for those Cross Dressing Amateurs...
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