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BIAB vs. extract kit

Let’s just say I purchase some malted barley and want to use that in a brew-in-a-bag approach to make wort instead of using a pre-packaqged malt extract. Can I do that without making a partial mash first, since the barley would already be malted? If I can make wort that way, is the boiling time about the same, or is it a lot longer? Also, would there be a significant difference in the flavor and body of the finished product?

Thanks in advance for your response.

David

I like BIAB as an intro to all grain brewing and just finished a batch last night actually. Basically, I take a 2.5-3 gallon recipe (because I do it on the stove top in a smaller kettle) put the grain in the bag, put the bag in the 152* water, let it sit for an hour, remove, and then bring to a boil for an hour while adding hops. That hour with the 152* water is the mash and for simplicities sake I do it without sparging meaning I put all the water in right away.

I know that’s simplifying a bit but that is pretty much how it works without getting technical. Watch the Brewing TV episode (Jake’s got a brand new bag) for a good outline of how it works.

The sweet thing about all grain as opposed to extract is controlling the body through the mash. For instance, if you want a light bodied beer you mash for and hour fifteen minutes at 149* or if you want a thick full body you mash at 158* for an hour. Different temps lead to different fermentability of the wort.

If you mean mash your specialty grains along with your base grain, then the answer is yes.

Taste better? Though extracts can make great beer, you’ll probably like the taste of all grain better.

Inhousebrew, how does one keep the wort at the same temperature consistently, even with a good thermometer, especially if cooking it on an electric stove instead of on a gas burner? Or is that where science and art get married? Any tips for such a wedding? What happens if the temperature gets considerably higher? Does wort scorch easily like milk does? Anyway, thanks again for the input. I’m glad it’s a doable alternative to either extract or heavy duty partial mash brewing.

David

It sounds to me like you have quite a few misconceptions about this process. BIAB involves doing a FULL mash in the bag, this actually a step beyond what you would do with a partial mash.

I think you may be confusing “mashing” with “malting”. Malting is what the maltster does to enable the starches in the grain to be converted to sugars during the mashing process. Mashing is what brewers then do to convert the starches in the malted grain in order to produce sugars that we can extract as wort.

BIAB does take longer than an extract brew because you need to perform a mash for at least 60 minutes before pulling the grain bag and starting your boil. Also, if you are using Pilsner malt as one of your base grains, then your boil should be for about 90 minutes instead of the usual 60.

I don’t know if you were doing a partial boil for your extract brews, but you need to be able to boil the full volume of your wort when doing BIAB.

The BTV episode on BIAB is an OK starting point, except in real BIAB you don’t tie off the bag. You leave it open in your brew kettle so that your grain is fully mixed in the full volume of water during the mash. Hunt down some of the episodes on Basic Brewing Radio/Video regarding BIAB for some better examples.

Thanks, harpdog! I was kinda hoping the process was not only feasible but also tastier. I’m thinking that maybe the better taste is simply a matter of appreciating the results more because of the extra work put into it rather than an objective thing. Maybe not. Maybe it really is better.

David

Thanks for the clarification, erockrph.

[quote=“dsfo”]Inhousebrew, how does one keep the wort at the same temperature consistently, even with a good thermometer, especially if cooking it on an electric stove instead of on a gas burner? Or is that where science and art get married? Any tips for such a wedding? What happens if the temperature gets considerably higher? Does wort scorch easily like milk does? Anyway, thanks again for the input. I’m glad it’s a doable alternative to either extract or heavy duty partial mash brewing.

David[/quote]

That temp regulation is the tricky part and I’ve just been playing around with it and trying to get it right. I’ve been trying to keep it steady and last time I brewed I pumped a little heat every fifteen minutes while stirring it and was able to keep it close. It is a rocky marriage that I have yet to perfect but I enjoy playing around with it.

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