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BIAB on the cheap - can I do it?

I just brewed the White House Honey Porter extract kit and really liked the flavor I got out of using so much grain vs. just extract. So now I’m thinking if I can steep a big bag of grains and maintain the temperature (plus or minus a few) for 30 minutes, couldn’t I just do it for an hour and go BIAB all-grain? Start off with the Caribou Slobber all-grain kit maybe?

I have a 7.5 gallon turkey fryer and would buy a big voile bag. I realize I’m oversimplifying things but it’s a start, isn’t it? Can I fit 10.5lbs. of grain in my pot? Do I need to use distilled water or is well water OK? What am I missing?

Mmmmm… all-grain Duff beer.

Thanks!

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All grain is great, and not too hard. I went cheap and easy batch sparge in a cooler, but BIAB is popular, too. If you get super into it, you’ll get into water chemistry, PH, and stuff, but really, you can just give it a go and hope for the best.

I wouldn’t use distilled, as you usually build up minerals in distilled. You can either order a kit or look up the recipe and buy the grains (bulk or just what you need). Do it once, and measure your resulting gravity. That should give you an idea of your system’s capabilities, and you can adjust from there.

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Calculator on this page may help you decide how much grain will fit in your kettle.

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Go to home depot and get a five gallon paint strainer bag. If your well water is good try it. If you hsve city water try mixing spring water with some distilled.

Thanks to everyone!

If you don’t mind another question… Or two…

What mash thickness should I use? Where is the highest efficiency, ratio-wise?

Is it better to use more water in the beginning and no sparge or to use a lower ratio and do some type of a sparge?

Our well water has no taste I can detect but if I boil it out it leaves behind a small amount of a white powder.

For mash thickness start with 1.25qts per lb of grain.

You’ll get better efficiency even if you do a quick sparge, even using BIAB. I would recommend this by simply leaving out a gallon of water on BIAB and pouring it over the grain.

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Thats exactly what i do for 3 gallon biab batches.

I had forgotten about this BIAB calculator bookmarked in favorites.

Has anyone used it? I wasn’t going to give it a try until this coming winter when I try some small batch brews.

I understand if you use the burner to hold the mash temp, versus using a cooler or insulation around the kettle, then you need to have something in the bottom of the kettle to keep the bag from burning. I suppose you could hold the bag up, but wet grain is so much heavier than seems possible.

I also seem to recall instructables where people took garden planters, and spray insulation to make dirt cheap insulated coozies for the kettle to hold mash temp.

I use a cooler for BIAB, so I’ve personally tried neither suggestion.

Same here I heat half my water then pour into a cooler lined with the bag and then stir in the grain. Next I fill the pot with the other half water and heat to 180. When the mash is done I pull the bag and dunk sparge for 10 then fire up the pot and pull the bag. And dump the cooler into the pot. I get 80 to 90% depending on the crush

Do you mash out or just go straight to dunk sparging?

I pull it out of the cooler and put it in the pot, stir it good and let it sit for ten so it is a mashout . but then I fire the burner while it hangs and drains. Pretty speedy process once you get it down.

Sounds like you have the whole process perfected and I’m going to copy it unashamedly, including buying a ten gallon round cooler.

Does this scenario sound ok:

My first all grain batch will have a 10.6 pound grain bill and mash at 153F. At 1.2 quarts per pound of grain thickness thats 12.7 quarts, or about 3.5 gallons of water.

At a grain temperature of 85F, my BIAB calculator says I need to heat my strike water to 167F. This goes into my cooler with my grain and a good stir and final temp adjustment while I heat 3 gallons of sparge water to about 180F in my brew pot. This should get me about 6.25 gallons of wort pre-boil given a 0.25 gallon water loss to the grain.

An hour later I raise the bag and drain it into the cooler until I figure it’s done, then dunk sparge the bag in the now 170F water in my brew pot. Let sit 10 minutes then raise bag and drain again. Start heating the sparge water while draining.

Take the bag out, add in the cooler wort to the brew pot… Voila! I’m ready to boil and then it’s business as usual.

Do those numbers sound right?

(Look at me using all this impressive beer-talk language!)

You have just described my process to a tee, except I use my boil kettle as the mash tun! And it works great for me. Good luck!

You might want to give something like brunwater of ezwater a look. I use distilled and build up using brunwater, but it took a little time to get all the necessary salts and additives amassed and then understand how to use them. But it’s worth the effort. I’ve never brewed all grain without brunwater, so I can’t speak to whether it would be ok to just give her a try with your water as is. At least you have well water so no chlorine to treat.

Cheers,

Ron

I think your grain will absorb more than .25 gallons more like .75 for ten pounds of grain. No problem though it is easier to add more water than be over. Just keep track of what you do and wright it down so you can replicate it. Good luck and keep us posted

Awesome, will do. I have one extract kit left for this month. Next month I’m buying all the necessary all-grain gear. In my first three months of brewing I bet I’ve spent way more on gear than actual beer-making stuff. Just like a real hobby.

Now I just need to find the perfect tree branch…

For hanging your bag? A ladder over the kettle works well.

I never would have thought of that, it’s way too obvious and easy. I tend to do things the hard way and then congratulate myself for solving such hard problems. It’s good for my ego.

So how long does one usually have to wait to let the wort in the bag fall out? Ten minutes or so?

Most squeeze the bag to facilitate draining.

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http://forum.northernbrewer.com/uploads/db6829/original/2X/3/32f58abf8a749f4e5525cf3c9d4094b57a7424c9.jpg
Here’s my set up. Pretty simple but I think the pre-finished wood floor slat classes it up a bit.
The slat is white oak, which is good if it falls in the mash because I’m told it’s a little less phenolic than red oak.

Cheers,

Ron

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