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5 Gal All Grain Kit for BIAB

I have been watching a’lot of videos lately about BIAB. Most videos seem to be making 3 gallon batches. A couple of threads down someone asked about using the 5 Gallon all grain kits sold at Northern Brewer with BIAB.
I am very tempted to try this but it seems to good to be true. Im sure someone can explain a little more for me.
For instance, I would purchase the 5 gallon White House Honey Ale kit in All Grain and I can use that with BIAB by doing a full 5 gallon boil? No sparging?
This just seems like a really easy way to brew all grain and if that is the case why don’t more people do it this way?

I’ve done exactly what you’re describing twice (NB’s St paul porter and Kolsch) with excellent results. I mash in my 10 gal brew kettle and dunk sparge in my 5 gal kettle. Just divided the water amounts up so that the dunk sparge could work in the smaller kettle. These were both around 9-10 lbs of grain. Any larger and …a. would be a bit of a struggle to lift the bag to drain, and b. would be impossible to dunk sparge in a 5 gallon kettle. I have hit my numbers on the nose each time, though.

My last BIAB was a 3 gallon batch–bourbon porter–which is a stronger beer and the 5 gallon grain bill would be a little too much for my system.

After the mash and sparge, I place the kettle and contents under a step ladder. Place a wood slat over the rungs above the kettle. Then pull the bag, clamp it to the wood slat, and let the wort drain (and then squeeze the bejeebies out of the bag.

In my opinion, it really is as easy as you think it is.

If you already have the ability to do a full 5 gallon boil, all you really need is a bag—get a few, they’re cheap from our host. Then if you get hooked, there are places online to get custom bags that are probably more long term. I’m definitely hooked.

Also, I think NB will downsize any of their 5 gallon kits to 3 gallons if you ask (pretty sure I read this in a thread a few months ago).

Good luck.

:cheers:

Ron

Thanks for the reply, I will be trying BIAB. What I was saying is I want 5 gallon batches but it seemed like all BIAB ive seen was 3. I dont get that. But anywho, if I can use a 5 gallon all grain kit to do this, I will for sure.

You can use the 5-gallon all grain kits for BIAB. You’ll need at least a 10 gallon kettle to comfortably brew all but the highest gravity beers. But I went the inexpensive route. Instead of paying $150 for a 10 gallon stainless steel boil kettle, plus another $130 for a propane burner I bought a $60 7.5 gallon aluminum turkey fryer/burner combo from Menards, along with a 5 gallon round drink cooler for $12, a stainless steel ball valve/bulkhead fitting combo for $20 and a 24" X 24" course mesh grain bag for $6. Instead of doing a full volume BIAB in a kettle I do a thick mash Mash in a Bag in the drink cooler mash tun using the grain bag instead of a false bottom of bazooka tube, followed by one or two batch sparges to reach my preboil volume. Even with the standard grain crush I get a minimum efficiency of 80% without the hassle of lifting and suspending a big heavy bag of wet grain. I can mash up to 13 pounds of grain in my 5 gallon cooler, which is fine because I prefer to brew mainly session beers. If I ever wanted something with a higher ABV I could always supplement with DME.

You can do any size of BIAB. I think 3gal sizes are common as the grain bill is a bit easier to manage and doesn’t require a huge pot. I do 2.5gal BIAB test batches (as I can easily scale to 5 or10gal) and it really is that easy.

One thing that I noticed is that you will get much better efficiency with even a simple quick pseudo sparge. Its really easy. If your water calls for say 6 gals, BIAB with 4gals, and heat the other 2gals and simply pour the water on the grains.

Thanks for all the information guys. I will certainly be trying this out.
Now I am really looking forward to it. I wonder what the difference in flavor is between two of the same kits, one being extract and the other being all grain?
Ive heard people can tell the difference, is it that noticeable?

It was for me. I didn’t notice the extract flavors until I started AG. Now they scream loud and clear.

I also didn’t notice tannins until I started adjusting my water… plenty of pitfalls with AG as well!

[quote=“porkchop”]It was for me. I didn’t notice the extract flavors until I started AG. Now they scream loud and clear.

I also didn’t notice tannins until I started adjusting my water… plenty of pitfalls with AG as well![/quote]

If you don’t what what’s in your water, don’t have access to a water report, or don’t want to pay to have your water analyzed, your best option is to start with RO water (from those grocery store dispensers) or distilled water and follow AJ DeLange’s excellent A Brewing Water Chemistry Primer:

I also can’t recommend it enough to spend the money and buy a good pH meter. Primers and water spreadsheets will only take you so far, but due to the sheer number of variables involved, unless you’re directly measuring your pH with a good quality, Point of Use calibrated pH meter you’re doing nothing more than guessing. After a couple of ruined or substandard batches you’ll soon realize that your pH meter would have already paid for itself. I spent $75 for a Milwaukee M101 with detachable probe and another $20 on buffer and storage solution, so it’s not too terribly expensive (basically the cost of three average extract kits.)

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