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BIAB Efficiency

I am new to AG, and am starting off with BIAB. Due to the shortage of recipes for them on NB, I was using a brewing calculator to make my own recipes. The amounts used were startlingly low compared to the BIAB recipes I had on hand, and then I realized: when I switched on the calculator from AG to BIAB, the default efficiency went from 70% to 35%. Half?!?!? What are your experiences using BIAB vs. AG as far as conversion possibility? thanks,
Dan

I do full volume BIAB’s in my 10 gallon kettle (have a custom bag that lines the whole thing), I do a single sparge by dunking the bag in another vessel, and I’ve gotten as high as 84%. Now granted, I squeeze my bag like its going out of style and the 84% was on a 1.055 brew, but you can get great efficiency with this method and its very simple.

More typically, I’m in the 75% mash efficiency range.

I BIAB, batch sparge, full boil. Depending on the amount of grain I’m mashing my efficiency ranges from 65-80%. For average beers 1.050-1.065 range, I can routinely hit 75%. Bigger beers that require more grain drop my efficiency to about 65%. Lower OG beers with less grain, mashed thin, I’ve gotten 80% and higher.

My current limitations are due to my mash/boil pot size. But, I just received my new 10gal pot today from Amazon! Very excited to start brewing higher gravity beers and making larger batches.

But, back to your question… depending on a lot of factors (grain crush, grist amount, qrt/lb, your process, etc) you should have no problem getting over 70% at least.

I thought a lot of BIABers used straight AG recipes without any modifcations.
Those are my plans…

I thought a lot of BIABers used straight AG recipes without any modifcations.
Those are my plans…[/quote]

+1. Yes. BIAB brewing is still all grain brewing. You just use a bag in your mash tun which can double as your brew kettle instead of building a cooler style mash tun or having a rig setup. The only limitation you may encounter is how much grain you can mash. This would be decided by your pot size and how much wet grain you can and are willing to lift. I use one big nylon sack and a strainer with good results. Others will use multiple smaller bags so they’re not lifting so much weight at one time.

Set your recipe efficiency at 65-70% and you might be pleasantly surprised by a slightly higher OG than expected.

[quote=“dobe12”]I BIAB, batch sparge, full boil. Depending on the amount of grain I’m mashing my efficiency ranges from 65-80%. For average beers 1.050-1.065 range, I can routinely hit 75%. Bigger beers that require more grain drop my efficiency to about 65%. Lower OG beers with less grain, mashed thin, I’ve gotten 80% and higher.

My current limitations are due to my mash/boil pot size. But, I just received my new 10gal pot today from Amazon! Very excited to start brewing higher gravity beers and making larger batches.

But, back to your question… depending on a lot of factors (grain crush, grist amount, qrt/lb, your process, etc) you should have no problem getting over 70% at least.[/quote]

I got that pot last week. Where did you get the bag you use?

Hey there,
just purchased a bag from this guy( :cheers:

I’ve been getting better efficiency with BIAB that my Denny-style mash tun. I brewed a 7 gallon batch last week (OG 1.056) and if brewersfriend efficiency calculator is correct I got 95.67% efficiency. I will typically get get around 80% with BIAB, so this one was a little out of the ordinary.

First I would like to say hello to you all from Australia.
I Biab in an electric urn & base my recipes on 80% efficiency. I typically hit 80-82% efficiency all the time. The key with full volume mashing is to sacc rest for 90mins & do a mashout, it will boost efficiency. I brew single batch, 23lt beers & I also no chill all my beers. I used to have a cooler mash tun 2V system, I then moved to a 3V PID controlled Rims & now simply Biab. My beers are identical to the more high tech beers I made in the past & Biab beers are winning quite a few awards here in Australia. I have BeerSmith & BS2, BeerTools pro & BrewMate. BrewMate is a free software programme & has a no chill check box for hop corrections using the no chill method. A typical brew day for me, 23lt @1.048, 80% efficiency goes like this.
Heat strike water up to desired temp, usually 32lt @69degC, switch off urn. Add grain bag & add crushed grain. Mix well & check temp, if correct @66.0degC, put lid on urn & insulate. I usually just cover the urn with a sleeping bag for 90mins. After 90mins, turn on the urn & heat to mash out temp, 78degC. Whilst the urn is heating, you must constantly agitate the mash. I use a paint stirrer that looks like a big potato masher. Once @78degC, turn off the urn & hoist the bag. Once clear of the wort, turn on the urn again & start the boil. I boil for 60mins & add hops according to recipe. 10mins from the end of boil, I add KopperFloc to flooc out proteins. After the boil, I switch off the urn, place the lid on & leave for about 30mins. I then transfer the still very hot wort into a sanitized 20lt cube, squeeze out as much air as possible & put on the lid. The wort will naturally cool & the wort is now completely sealed & can be fermented when you are ready. I have fermented a no chill cube as late as 12months with no ill effects at all. My urn has an exposed element & I use a V-shaped roasting rack over the element to avoid burning the grain bag. I also use a 24"x24" grain bag for adding my hop additions which helps with trub loss. A little cold break enters my cube from the urn also with no ill effects on the beer. Studies here have verified that cold break into the fermenter is beneficial to yeast health so worry not if this happens to you.
Biab has it’s limitations, mainly due to kettle size but for a typical beer of 23lt in the 3.5% - 6% range, Biab is fantastic.

I love the ease of doing BIAB. I’ve been doing it for a couple years. I find my crush effects my efficiency the most. I go with a finer than usual crush since i dont have to worry about a stuck sparge. With a good crush I can get 75% consistently.

Very timely post for me as I plan to do my first BIAB early next week. Crusty, the overview of your brew day was quite helpful and lined up with things I’ve gleaned from Denny and some others in these forums.

Couple questions though… I have a 9 gallon kettle and have been doing full boil extract batches beginning with about 6.6 gallons to get something like 5.25 going into the primary. Should I expect about the same or a little more boil down?

I ordered grains from NB and asked them with a note on my order to double crush the grains. Does anyone have experience with that? Should I expect that they’ll double crush them or no?

Does everyone use something like a false bottom in their kettle to keep the bag off the bottom? This just occurred to me in reading Crusty’s post.

[quote=“dannyboy58”]Very timely post for me as I plan to do my first BIAB early next week. Crusty, the overview of your brew day was quite helpful and lined up with things I’ve gleaned from Denny and some others in these forums.

Couple questions though… I have a 9 gallon kettle and have been doing full boil extract batches beginning with about 6.6 gallons to get something like 5.25 going into the primary. Should I expect about the same or a little more boil down?

I ordered grains from NB and asked them with a note on my order to double crush the grains. Does anyone have experience with that? Should I expect that they’ll double crush them or no?

Does everyone use something like a false bottom in their kettle to keep the bag off the bottom? This just occurred to me in reading Crusty’s post.[/quote]

I’m embarking on my first BIAB next week, and like you have gained all sorts of great info here (and other forums).

If you don’t use a false bottom I’ve been told to use C-clamps to keep the bag off the bottom. Though if you’re not running the burner with the bag in the kettle it theoretically shouldn’t be a problem.

I had asked NB about double crushes, and was given a “maybe” response. Sort of a “we will pass it along but if the grain group is busy it may or may not happen”.

[quote]I’m embarking on my first BIAB next week, and like you have gained all sorts of great info here (and other forums).

If you don’t use a false bottom I’ve been told to use C-clamps to keep the bag off the bottom. Though if you’re not running the burner with the bag in the kettle it theoretically shouldn’t be a problem.

I had asked NB about double crushes, and was given a “maybe” response. Sort of a “we will pass it along but if the grain group is busy it may or may not happen”.[/quote]

Ah yea…i remember seeing the c clamp document binder clip suggestion somewhere now that you mention it.

Good to know re: the grains. Sort of what I expected too.

Post your first experience here. I’ll do the same so we can compare what we learn. Enjoy!

[quote=“dannyboy58”]
Post your first experience here. I’ll do the same so we can compare what we learn. Enjoy![/quote]

Will do. Waiting on my order to arrive from Austin Homebrew, so I’m shooting for a 3/9 brewday.
:cheers:

[quote=“pointyskull”]

If you don’t use a false bottom I’ve been told to use C-clamps to keep the bag off the bottom. Though if you’re not running the burner with the bag in the kettle it theoretically shouldn’t be a problem.[/quote]

I’ve read that not using a false bottom you run the risk of melting your bag and/or scorching some grain.

If you don’t have one, I’ve read about people using grill grates or round cooling racks to fit the bottom of their kettle. I have done a couple 3.5g batches so far, and a big tamale pot with included rack has worked well enough.

[quote=“ibeentired”][quote=“pointyskull”]

If you don’t use a false bottom I’ve been told to use C-clamps to keep the bag off the bottom. Though if you’re not running the burner with the bag in the kettle it theoretically shouldn’t be a problem.[/quote]

I’ve read that not using a false bottom you run the risk of melting your bag and/or scorching some grain.

If you don’t have one, I’ve read about people using grill grates or round cooling racks to fit the bottom of their kettle. I have done a couple 3.5g batches so far, and a big tamale pot with included rack has worked well enough.[/quote]

Good to know. I may try to track down something to fit in the bottom of my 15 gal kettle.

Just curious if you guys are using straight all grain recipes for BIAB, or if you’re making grain adjustments . Also, does a 10 min dunk sparge make a big difference, or is mashing out at 170 for 10-15 mins. sufficient? I’ll be trying this soon myself, so i’m very interested in this thread. Good luck Pointy & Danny! I’ll be keeping track of your progress! :cheers:

I’m going straight AG kit, no grain adjustment…

I’m going straight AG kit, no grain adjustment…[/quote]

Same here. Ordered the Irish Red AG kit from NB. I did ask them to double crush it for me since I don’t have my own grain mill. I’m told it’s 50/50 whether they will or not. According to some other threads I’ve read that will help boost efficiency. If it doesn’t appear fine enough I may work it over with a rolling pin a bit.

Crusty’s full volume method listed above is intriguing and I’m considering it but will likely stay with my original plan to follow Denny’s advice from an older thread as follows:

“Steep the grains at 150 F for 40-60 minutes at 2 qts water per pound, pull out the bag, fill up the water the rest of the way and boil away for an hour as normal, adding the hops per schedule. Chill into the 60s, pitch yeast and aerate well, and you’re rollin’.”

I’ll probably do this batch closer to 154 based on other comments Denny made at a later date regarding temps and mash times for BIAB. I’m thinking of tossing some Irish moss in for the last 15 of the boil as well.

In another part of the thread when asked about mash out and sparging Denny added this:

“heat a quart or two of water on your stove to 190 F and then pour that over your grain bag after you’ve pulled it out, or steep your grain bag in it for a couple minutes and save the liquid”

2 quarts per pound for this kit would be 4.375 gallons so i figured I’d sparge it with whatever is necessary to bring my boil total to the normal ~6.6 I’ve used for full boil extract batches. Hopefully boil off will be similar and that will get me to about 5.25 going in the primary with good enough efficiency to get close to my target AG.

Almost sounds like a plan…I’ll probably feel like I’m totally wingin’ it once I get going but I’m really looking forward to it. I keep thinking about other things like pH and the hardness of my water but that probably brings in too many variables for me to worry about for my first AG so I’ll focus on those after getting this process under control.

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