Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com

First All Grain Batch (Brew in a Bag)

Cranked out my first AG Batch yesterday. Went with the Brew in a Bag method out of a 7.5 gallon pot.

When I did extracts, they were all 5 gallon batches (2.5 gallon boil with top up).
My head was spinning with calculations yesterday, as I heard different things from different people.

The guy at my LHBS told me to do a 4 gallon mash, and then sparge up to my 6 (to account for boil off)… though when I was doing some more reading, I am seeing more people suggesting you add everything in at the start, and just work back from there.

So for absorption and then boil off, I’d probably go with about 6.5 to 7 gallons of beer (for about a 13lb grain bill).

OK All-Grain and BIAB Pros… whats the best way to roll with this?

Easiest way is to go no-sparge. To increase efficiency a little, after a 60-minute mash start adding heat to bring the temp to 160-165F and hold it there for 10-15 minutes, then pull the grain bag(s) and allow it to drain out in another container while you bring the rest of the wort to a boil.

Funny how you hear the stuff after your first go around with it… and kick yourself for not doing it in the first place.

I guess the best part is, that will ALWAYS leave you with an excuse to do that ‘next time’

This way, the brewing never stops!

Sparging with brew in bag should not be the end of the world and I would think more efficient use of grain. If you have another pot or cooler, after letting the bag drain, drop it in 165-180 degree water, stir and let sit for 10 minutes and then add to the boil kettle.

That is what I did with partial mashes before I went all grain

[quote=“560sdl”]Sparging with brew in bag should not be the end of the world and I would think more efficient use of grain. If you have another pot or cooler, after letting the bag drain, drop it in 165-180 degree water, stir and let sit for 10 minutes and then add to the boil kettle.

That is what I did with partial mashes before I went all grain[/quote]

+1. No reason to NOT do a sparge unless you only have one pot (and even then you could figure out a way) and it DOES help efficiency significantly. I’ve be BIABing for over a year now and almost always sparge. I use somewhere between 50-70% of the total water needed in the mash the the rest in a second sparge pot. About 45min into the mash I heat up my sparge water to about 180F. After the 60min mash, pull the sack from the first pot and let it drain for a few minutes then dunk it in the second pot. Give it a good stir and let it sit for about 10min. While it’s sitting I start bringing the first pot of wort up to a boil. After the 10min sparge, I pull the sack out and let it drain again. Then combine both pots and boil. Without a sparge I get 62-68% efficiency for average gravity beers. With a sparge I get no lower than 70% and upwards of close to 80%. I’ve found grain crush and sparging are the biggest factors in getting a higher efficiency. The great thing about BIAB is that you don’t have to worry about a stuck mash/sparge. It’s never an issue. You never need rice hulls. And you can get a real good crush without worrying about anything getting stuck.

:cheers:

[quote=“dobe12”][quote=“560sdl”]Sparging with brew in bag should not be the end of the world and I would think more efficient use of grain. If you have another pot or cooler, after letting the bag drain, drop it in 165-180 degree water, stir and let sit for 10 minutes and then add to the boil kettle.

That is what I did with partial mashes before I went all grain[/quote]

+1. No reason to NOT do a sparge unless you only have one pot (and even then you could figure out a way) and it DOES help efficiency significantly. I’ve be BIABing for over a year now and almost always sparge. I use somewhere between 50-70% of the total water needed in the mash the the rest in a second sparge pot. About 45min into the mash I heat up my sparge water to about 180F. After the 60min mash, pull the sack from the first pot and let it drain for a few minutes then dunk it in the second pot. Give it a good stir and let it sit for about 10min. While it’s sitting I start bringing the first pot of wort up to a boil. After the 10min sparge, I pull the sack out and let it drain again. Then combine both pots and boil. Without a sparge I get 62-68% efficiency for average gravity beers. With a sparge I get no lower than 70% and upwards of close to 80%. I’ve found grain crush and sparging are the biggest factors in getting a higher efficiency. The great thing about BIAB is that you don’t have to worry about a stuck mash/sparge. It’s never an issue. You never need rice hulls. And you can get a real good crush without worrying about anything getting stuck.

:cheers: [/quote]

Yea, but it makes cleanup too easy and what fun is THAT! :smiley:

I do small 2-3 gallon batches of BIAB on the stove top and my goal is simplicity. Therefore, I forego the sparging because it does involve one more step. My last two batches I’ve been able to nail a consistent 65% Brewhouse Efficiency. I don’t know if that is good or bad but I don’t really care as long as I’m getting that regularly. The point of it for me is saving time and effort while experimenting with small batches. I made a few messes with sparging efforts on the stove top and don’t want to mess with it anymore. It’s really not much more work but it is still a bit more work, a bit more clean up and depending on where you keep your equipment maybe one more trip to the garage/basement.

So I guess it depends on what you want out of this process. Are you looking for super efficient? Or super simplistic?

First BIAB, 71% efficiency, no sparge (with mashout)…second, 79% efficiency with a sparge in one of my spare ale pails!

It was bit of a pain in the A (maybe next time I’d use a rubbermaid storage bin or something), but will definitely sparge when BIAB’ing.

I disagree and once again this is all a preference but if it involves me doing less work and simplifying the process I’ll spend an extra dollar or two on grain and get that lower efficiency. This to me is kind of like batch sparging vs. fly sparging. Sure I might be able to eek out a few more points by fly sparging but it is more work so I don’t do it.

I disagree and once again this is all a preference but if it involves me doing less work and simplifying the process I’ll spend an extra dollar or two on grain and get that lower efficiency. This to me is kind of like batch sparging vs. fly sparging. Sure I might be able to eek out a few more points by fly sparging but it is more work so I don’t do it.[/quote]

you disagree on it being a bit of a pain in the A or with the fact that I will do it in the future?

My last few BIAB brews I’ve done a little sparging. Since I do this on a stove 2 (straddle 2 burners) and 13-15 lbs of grain is way to much to lift, I have a Lowes paint bucket with a second big bag in it. When the mash is done, I use a very good SS strainer to remove about half the grains out the pot and into the bag in the paint bucket. Then I can lift the bag in the pot and let it drain while I start the boil (and FWH if I want).

I then check my water and have some at 170 on the side if I need to add to the water. I then sparge in both the original BIAB draining on the pot as well as the bag that is in the paint bucket. If my water levels are good, I take some of the wort (like first runnings in a way) and sparge one of the bags with it. And then I use the lid to mash the bags a bit to get as much liquid out as I can.

Doing this has increased my efficiency from about 75% to just above 80%. All in all, efficiency isn’t a big deal to me but I’ve made 2 outstanding IPA’s and 1 brown ale like this and it just works for me.

I disagree on the fact that it is worth it, sorry about the confusion. It is a pain in the A, you think it’s worth it, I disagree with that. Not trying to be confrontational but like I said, I do it in small batches on the stove top and want to keep it as easy as possible.

I disagree on the fact that it is worth it, sorry about the confusion. It is a pain in the A, you think it’s worth it, I disagree with that. Not trying to be confrontational but like I said, I do it in small batches on the stove top and want to keep it as easy as possible.[/quote]

Gotcha. I just got an outdoor burner but before that, did all stovetop all-grain. Spilling/dripping wort on the kitchen floor is definitely very different than spilling/dripping on a patio.

At a certain point, efficiency just becomes about chest-beating/flexing for some people. Who really cares. With a finer crush and a mash out, you can hit excellent numbers with no-sparge BIAB.

This is a great thread! I want to get into doing smaller batches since I am limited to indoor brewing and I want to get some more variety in my brews. As well as learning the all-grain process better.

Also my wife only drinks beer in the summer so that just leaves me to 5 gal batches alone, and I don’t want to end up giving away too much of my work. :wink:

I really like the simplicity ideas mentioned by inhousebrew and jake on brewing tv.

Also, if it fits on your kettle, you can get a canning rack (thankfully my wife just got into this hobby!) and set the bag on top to drain while you are bringing to a boil.

[quote=“Beerlord”]Since I do this on a stove 2 (straddle 2 burners) and 13-15 lbs of grain is way to much to lift, I have a Lowes paint bucket with a second big bag in it. When the mash is done, I use a very good SS strainer to remove about half the grains out the pot and into the bag in the paint bucket. Then I can lift the bag in the pot and let it drain while I start the boil (and FWH if I want).[/quote]Sounds like a humongous PITA - why not split the grain between three 5-gallon paint strainer bags and make removing them much easier (and probably cleaner too)?

Maybe I am late to see this, but our host now has 3 gallon BIAB “systems” up for sale as well as ingredients kits!

http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/biab ... ystem.html
Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com