BIAB Question

I’ve brewed a few batches with extracts and am planning on doing all grain soon. The BIAB method intrigues (mostly since I don’t really have to buy a bunch of new equipment). Anyhow, the kits on NB are for 3 gallon batches. My brew kittle isn’t big enough to do a 5 gallon batch via BIAB (I have a 7.5 gallon brew kettle…I think I need about a 10 gallon kettle to do a 5 gallon batch). Is is possible to use enough grains for a 5 gallon batch but with less water (as much as I can squeeze into my brew kettle) and add more water to reach the five gallon mark after I remove the grains? Or would that amount of water not be able to extract enough of the sugar from the grains?

I’ve got a 7.5 gallon kettle, too. It could perhaps fit enough grain for a 5 gallon batch, but only if it’s a fairly low-gravity beer.

I just do partial mash if I’m looking for 5 gallons.

I upgraded to 15 gallon kettle for my leap into BIAB…

The more important question to me is how are you planning on boiling 6.5 gallons of wort once you remove the grains and add water to achieve a full volume boil? If the answer is on the stove I would look the other way because it probably isn’t going to work.

Why not just split a five gallon recipe in half and do it twice? That way you get some more practice on what can be a touchy processes in terms of regulating mash temp. I wouldn’t make this more difficult than it should be for your first time.

If you pay attention to the kettle, you can boil 7 gallons in a 7.5-gal kettle or use ferm-cap (or similar) to pretty much eliminate a boilover.

And if you want to use the 7.5-gal and do a full-boil, add some extra grain to account for the efficiency loss and top off - a good ROT is to use 60% efficiency and shoot for your desired final gravity and volume at the point you pull the grain, then add the amount of water that you’ll boil-off in 60-90 minutes which returns you to the starting volume and gravity.

I have a propane burner I use for the boils. Regulating the temp is an issue though. Hmmm…

You can insulate the kettle with something. Or you can hit it with a bit of heat while stirring. Maybe at 20 and 40 minutes into the mash. It’s not a perfect science at first but you’ll figure it out. The 20 and 40 minute heating is what I used to have to do. An installed thermometer is good for this but you could use whatever to check it.

Maybe I’ll give it a shot. What’s the worst that could happen? haha

If you’re worried about heat loss in the mash, then mash thin for a larger thermal mass and as already mentioned, wrap some insulation around the kettle (I use a couple of heavy wool blankets). Once or twice during the mash, unwrap and check the temp and if needed add a little heat and be sure to stir the grain in the bag(s) to get a good mix.

I’ve been BIAB brewing for almost 2 years now. Without a sparge, you should be able to get 60-65% efficiency. If you can get a hold of a second pot…maybe 5-6 gallons… to do a 15 minute batch spage (just dunk the sack after the main mash give it a stir and let it sit for 15min or so), you can get the efficiency up to around 75%. It’s extremely easy. You just need a second pot that can hold 3-4 gallons of water.

I mash and boil in a 30qrt pot and have to watch boil over, but it’s very doable. My only limitation at this point is the amount of grain I can mash. Max is about 14lbs or so. 10-12lbs is very comfortable.

And to keep a constant temp for an hour, go to home depot and pick up a roll of reflective insulation. I think I spent $25 or so and made this

My mash can sit outside in the bitter cold for 60min and only lose only 1-3 degrees.

[quote=“cryptologic”]What’s the worst that could happen?[/quote] he thinks as his paint strainer bag hangs over the edge of the pot. “It’s only BIAB, any one could do this”.

Suddenly the night winds pick up blowing the loose ends of the bag into the burner which ignites filling the brutally dark sky with a blinding flash. As the fireball erupts he tries to react only to trip over the propane tube and falls into the kettle of hot wort. “Why didn’t I have the lid on during the mash” he finds himself wondering but when he tries to ponder this aloud all that comes out are screams. Hands burn as he grabs the kettle for leverage to lift his dripping head out. The liquid instantly reacts with the freezing cold air to create a caramelized crown encasing his head which cuts off oxygen and deprives him of the two things he loves most: his life and his beer. All of this to try something new… hahaha.

Too far? Sorry. I would first like to say that that probably won’t happen. Secondly, I’ve been watching too much Game of Thrones which is apparently turning me into someone that thinks about horrible ways to die a little too often which in turn is not meshing well right now with me being incredibly bored. Also, I just watched the Golden Crown episode. If you’ve seen it you’ll know where I’m coming from, if not, it’s a good show.

Good luck with BIAB, I love it! Just get an appropriately sized bag I guess :cheers:

Thanks for all the pointers. I’ll have to find a big enough back and make something to insulate the brew kettle. Know what to make for my first all grain recipe…hmmmm…

[quote=“cryptologic”]I’ll have to find a big enough back and make something to insulate the brew kettle. [/quote]Before you go all whole hog on this, just get three 5-gal nylon paint strainer bags from Home Depot. Each one will comfortably hold five pounds of grain with room to stir and enough material at the top to secure to the kettle rim or handle. While you’re there, look at the aluminum-foiled bubble wrap stuff as pictured above - a single layer of it around the kettle with a blanket wrapped around to hold it in place works really well.

Will do! Thanks again.

Old sleeping bags work good to insulate the kettle.

Read the books and have been watching the show. Can’t wait for the new season to start!

[quote=“inhousebrew”][quote=“cryptologic”]What’s the worst that could happen?[/quote] he thinks as his paint strainer bag hangs over the edge of the pot. “It’s only BIAB, any one could do this”.

Suddenly the night winds pick up blowing the loose ends of the bag into the burner which ignites filling the brutally dark sky with a blinding flash. As the fireball erupts he tries to react only to trip over the propane tube and falls into the kettle of hot wort. “Why didn’t I have the lid on during the mash” he finds himself wondering but when he tries to ponder this aloud all that comes out are screams. Hands burn as he grabs the kettle for leverage to lift his dripping head out. The liquid instantly reacts with the freezing cold air to create a caramelized crown encasing his head which cuts off oxygen and deprives him of the two things he loves most: his life and his beer. All of this to try something new… hahaha.

Too far? Sorry. I would first like to say that that probably won’t happen. Secondly, I’ve been watching too much Game of Thrones which is apparently turning me into someone that thinks about horrible ways to die a little too often which in turn is not meshing well right now with me being incredibly bored. Also, I just watched the Golden Crown episode. If you’ve seen it you’ll know where I’m coming from, if not, it’s a good show.

Good luck with BIAB, I love it! Just get an appropriately sized bag I guess :cheers: [/quote]

Or just buy one of these. 18"x32" will hold all the grain in one bag with plenty of room to stir.

http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/brew ... -x-32.html

[quote=“dobe12”]Or just buy one of these. 18"x32" will hold all the grain in one bag with plenty of room to stir.[/quote]15 lbs grain with 2+ gallons of wort = ~50 lbs to move around. That’s why I suggest the smaller bags to start with - you can pull them one at a time and allow to drain with little effort.

I like the idea.
How do you secure the three smaller bags to the kettle? Tie them off? Leave them open to stir?

I leave the bags untied for easy stirring and then use a C-clamp to secure the tops to the kettle rim or handle.