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BIAB vs. Mash Tun

I’ll post this to the All-Grain forum as well, but…

With Brew-in-a-Bag methods these days, is there any real “advantage” or “benefit” to doing more “traditional” all-grain brewing techniques for most beer recipes??? Can’t the same things be achieved via BIAB??? As a beginner, BIAB seems really easy, and I’m wondering why I “should” spend more money on buying/building mash tuns, and other equipment.

Thanks for the opinions/input.

It’s all about what works best for you. For larger batches, I like to use a traditional mash tun, but for smaller 3-gallon batches BIAB is great. I cheat a little, and use a bag in a smaller cooler, which lets me get a dunk sparge in the boil kettle.

If you have a way to lift the grain, and can find a way to get a sparge step into your process, BIAB is a fantastic way to go.

My response is here:

^ This is what’s great about all-grain brewing. Everyone has to mash grains, convert starch, separate the wort from the spent grain, and boil, but it’s kind of up to you on how you accomplish these steps. BIAB and traditional mash tuns basically do the same thing, it’s just a slightly different process to accomplish the same step.

And what’s great about this community is that people are always coming up with and sharing new ways of doing things. As they say, necessity is the mother of all invention. My necessity was that I live in a townhouse with a one-car garage and don’t have enough space for a traditional 3-tier system, let alone somewhere to store it.

I’ve tried BIAB and find it viable for small batches. For my average 5 gal. batch, though, it’s a PITA to deal with a hot, wet, heavy bag of grain. Some people say “build a hoist”. That’s a poor solution IMO. If I have to build something, why not build a mash tun?

and my opinion is here:


My method is very similar to Pietro’s. I’ve been doing 5 gallon batches of average gravity beer(around 1.050). I use my 10 gal kettle for mash and I use my old 5 gal kettle(from extract days) to sparge. Set my kettle under a step ladder with a wood slat resting between rungs, use a quick clamp to clamp the bag to the slat and squeeze it like it owes me money. No problems so far hitting all my numbers.

BUT…I am moving toward 3 gallon batches instead of five–mainly because I am the only person in my immediate family and friends who likes real beer. But I know it will also make my BIAB easier. I also enjoy big belgian beers, so 3 gallon batches will still be well within my capabilites as well.

If I were going to do bigger than 5 gallon batches, I don’t think I’d stick with BIAB. But for my purposes, it works great, and only cost me the price of the bag (although building a mashtun from a cooler is not very expensive either).



I can’t thank you guys enough for the info and replies… I asked this question on a different site and was treated like a troll and shunned…

This was exactly the dialog I was looking for! …I have started out using the BIAB method, and found it to be super easy - being able to hit my OG and having pretty darn good efficiency on my very first brew (a hefe…). I asked my question because - as I move forward - I wanted to know if I SHOULD move toward using a mash-tun, of if it was just simply a “matter of preference” for some.

I completely understand the issues/concerns with BIAB when dealing with larger batches and/or heavier beers, but some of the suggestions to deal with those concerns are awesome! Thank you for those!

Also… me posting this into different “sub-forums” was due to my past experience in other forums where people with different passions and insight often parsed themselves out into different “communities,” seldom venturing into the topics of other “sub-forums” outside their areas of specific interest; posting in two different sub-forums was my attempt to get info from as many different people/interests as possible.

Thanks again, and by no means stop - please keep the info coming… I’m diving into this whole thing head first and am eager to learn!

Thanks again!

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