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Biab

I,m an extract brewer on a tight budget but I,ve been thinking a lot about trying all-grain BIAB. Any tips or sugestions would be greatly appreciated thanks Tank :cheers:

You didn’t mention, do you currently have the firepower for full-volume extract boils? i.e can you boil the whole 5+ gallons of wort. I think the 5-gallon batch size is what necessitates much of the additional cost of going AG.

I don’t have the space or burner capable of boiling 5+ gallons, so I cut the recipes in half and do 2.5 gallon batches. The smaller batch size cuts the weight of the wet bag in half, and also lets me use one of those big pasta pots with the built-in strainer for mashing. I put a BIAB in the strainer; which makes lifting really easy. When I’m done rinsing/sparging the bag I use a little plate to press the bag into the strainer and push the last few drops into the bottom of the pot. I can easily use ~5lbs of base+specialty.

Also, I can brew year-round on my kitchen stove. no rain-outs or propane run-outs. I can also still do partial boils for 5 gallon extract or PM recipes.

You could try partial mash once or twice to get a feel for what is involved. Generally you could still use your current equipment plus the bag itself. What JMck said is correct about the weight. Holy Crap is that bag heavy!!! My first all grain batch had a 15 plus pound grain bill :shock:

Buy a 3-pack of 5-gal nylon paint-strainer bags and put maybe five lbs of grain in each.

[quote=“JMcK”]You didn’t mention, do you currently have the firepower for full-volume extract boils? i.e can you boil the whole 5+ gallons of wort. I think the 5-gallon batch size is what necessitates much of the additional cost of going AG.

I don’t have the space or burner capable of boiling 5+ gallons, so I cut the recipes in half and do 2.5 gallon batches. The smaller batch size cuts the weight of the wet bag in half, and also lets me use one of those big pasta pots with the built-in strainer for mashing. I put a BIAB in the strainer; which makes lifting really easy. When I’m done rinsing/sparging the bag I use a little plate to press the bag into the strainer and push the last few drops into the bottom of the pot. I can easily use ~5lbs of base+specialty.

Also, I can brew year-round on my kitchen stove. no rain-outs or propane run-outs. I can also still do partial boils for 5 gallon extract or PM recipes.[/quote]
I have the firepower to do ten gallons though I don’t think I,d try that In BIAB -lots a weight- but 5 pound batches shouldn’t be a problem. :cheers: Tank

Interesting option… Have you tried it? My concern would be stirring three bags at once to prevent clumping…might be better than doing the wet grain ‘clean and jerk’ onto an overmatched strainer!!

With ~5 lbs of grain in each bag, there’s plenty of room for stirring and they only weigh 10 lbs wet, so handling is a breeze. I give each a good twist and then let them hang into a bucket with the ends clipped to the edge to drain while the rest of the wort comes to a boil.

So how about the following idea:

I can get a new 7.5 gallon turkey fryer with a 50,000 BTU burner for $50. It’s too small for a 5 gallon, full-water BIAB, so I can also get a new, 10 gallon Rubbermaid drink cooler for $45, plus a large enough nylon fine-mesh bag for $7 and a ball valve/bulk head kit for $25. Add a 1/2" NPT barbed fitting and a 3’ high temp hose for another $10. Total cost = $137 + tax. Instead of doing all of the BIAB in the 7.5 gallon turkey fryer, or settling for a batch size less than 5 gallons, why not do the full volume mash in the 10 gallon cooler and the full boil in the 7.5 gallon turkey fryer? The turkey fryer pot is tall and narrow, so I’m guessing a boil-off rate of 1/gallon per hour, meaning a 6 gallon boil for a 5-gallon batch, with room to spare to minimize boil-over, or if I want to do 90-minute boils.

Here are the benefits I see:

  1. I can drain the wort from the cooler’s ball valve into the boiling pot with no need to lift the heavy bag.

  2. I also have the option to start with a thicker mash and then sparge if I so desire.

  3. I currently only have a 5-gallon stainless steel boiling pot, so instead of spending $400 on a new 10 gallon stainless steel boil pot and appropriately-sized burner I can save $263 + tax by buying the 7.5 gallon aluminum pot/burner combo, the cooler/ball valve and use a cheaper grain bag that doesn’t need to be built to withstand lifting heavy, wet grain. Plus my poor back says, “Yay!”

  4. If I ever decide to migrate to the full, traditional all-grain method I’m most of the way there on equipment.

Thoughts?

Interesting thoughts and ideas here.I have both a 7.5 gal. turkey fryer and a keggle so I can do it two ways. Arent set-up for cooler mashing but I don’t think that would be to hard…I,ll have to check on nylon mesh bags… Keep the ideas coming and thanks a bunch :cheers: Tank

I just switched from BIAB to a cooler doing batch sparge. In addition to the previous posts advantages, I have found there is less trub in the kettle, which for me is around .5 gal more beer. I’m still reading up on and trying figure out how the thin mash, my bag, or my double crush was causing an average of .8 - 1 gal trub in a 5.5 gal batch…

-Tony

Here is the link where I learned to BIAB. I don’t have the fancy pants hoist (I have a grill from my fridge that I put on top of the kettle and set the fryer basket on when I’m squeezing the bag)

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f244/biab-b ... cs-233289/
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