My First AG BIAB

Did my first BIAB last night with the NB Irish Red Ale. Thanks to Denny, Dave, Pietro, Crusty, Inhouse and all the other guys who nudged me off the fence and gave me all the advice to get going. I think it went pretty darn well though I felt like I was flying by the seat of my pants. Here’s my process for critique and edification of other newbs looking to make the jump from extract:

Boiled 3.5 gals and placed in cooler wrapped in blanket for sparge later
Heated 4.5 gals to 165, dropped bag, stirred in grain, temp was 158, added cold water to 154
Wrapped kettle in sleeping bag right on the burner for 75 min rest, stirred and checked temp every 15-20 mins
Temp dropped to 152 around 60 min mark and 150 last 10
Unwrapped it and lifted bag to fire the burner, heated to 174 for 10 min mash out lowered bag temp dropped to 168 then 166
Pulled bag placed on oven rack over kettle, sparged with water from the cooler, now at about 185, i figured the grain would cool it to below 170 as i rinsed it
Twisted and squeezed the crap out of the bag
Kettle volume was approximately 6.75 gallons at this point. I had marked my spoon for 6.6 my normal pre-boil.
Boiled for 75 minutes and followed normal hop schedule
Added 1 Tbsp Irish Moss for last 15 of boil
Flame out at 75, cooled with my home made IC below 100 in 8 mins, 65* in 18 mins with 54* well water
Poured through strainer/funnel into carboy with assistance from SWMBO who said ‘it smells great’
OG 1.048 at 64*
aerated and placed blowoff hose on Carboy in a swamp cooler with 2 frozen water bottles
pitched Notty at 62*
This morning it’s burbling away

I did take a pH reading. I couldn’t match the color and I think it may have been high thought my water tested 6.6 with a swimming pool test strip. Total Alkilinity was about 80 which I know is not the same as RA. I had pH balancer 5.2 but did not use it after things I’d heard in this forum. Sending water out to Ward Labs before next batch.
I used 1 oz each of my hops rather than the .75 called for in the recipe. Not real concerned it should still be good.
iBrewmaster said I got 91% efficiency. WTH?
I plugged it into Brewsmith2 this morning and it said 72% which I’d be thrilled with if that’s correct.

I feel like it went pretty well and can’t wait to get this batch into a keg in a few weeks and check it out. The wort tasted very sweet and looked pretty clear after the break settled. I’m even more pumped to brew again!

Congratulations, Danny!

With respect to your efficiency… was iBrewmaster giving you apparent or real efficiency?


Congrats Danny! Sounds pretty good to me. Can’t wait to do my first BIAB soon. I’m diggin the oven rack idea to drain. I’ll probably start with full volume & maybe rinse with a couple quarts @ 190 after mashout since i’m using a 10 gal. BK. I’d be tickled with 70% eff. so it sounds like you kicked butt!! Thanks for detailed info for all of us virgins out there! :cheers:

Oh yeah, were your grains double crushed or not? Just curious. :?:

Nice! Sounds like everything went off pretty well for a first time. Way better than mine. I had a few setbacks… we’ll leave it at that…
I do mess with water so I’ll leave those concerns to others but it sounds like you’re on the right track. The tricky things for me was dialing in how to keep a relatively constant mash temp.

Nice! :cheers:

Better than my first 3 attempts!
I have a problem with my water volumes somewhere + stove-top boil off rates seem consistently low (perhaps the boil-off calcs assume propane burners). I need to sit down and re-read some stuff and take some notes instead of relying on volume calculators.

Sounds like it went well! :cheers:

[quote=“alphastanley”]Congratulations, Danny!

With respect to your efficiency… was iBrewmaster giving you apparent or real efficiency?

Honestly…beats me. There’s no profile I could find for BIAB so I just selected AG. Not that important to me really. I just thought it was odd.

Why the 75 minute mash? I usually cut mine off at 45 mins.

Final volume? I’m showing about 78% efficiency assuming 5 gallons final product.

Congrats on the first BIAB!

[quote=“shredd3r”]Why the 75 minute mash? I usually cut mine off at 45 mins.

Final volume? I’m showing about 78% efficiency assuming 5 gallons final product.

Congrats on the first BIAB![/quote]
Mainly because I didn’t feel like I got a really fine crush and didn’t know if I could maintain temp for 90. So I decided to go 75, do a mash out and sparge in an effort to boost efficiency. I put almost 5.25 in the fermenter with 4 point higher OG than the kit predicted. I’m still figuring out beersmith. Not sure I have the BIAB profile set right. This experience has me pumped about BIAB though!

Good points and breakdown of your BIAB brew day! I am all set to do one next week, and I’m excited. For your water, do you add the 5.2 stabilizer to the mash water like one would with the standard all grain? I’m wondering if I should since its common practice with all grain methods using coolers and other types of mash tuns.

I did not. I have a brand new container of it that I haven’t opened due to some questionable reviews from very knowledgeable brewers on this forum. They say it really doesn’t work and can impart soapy and salty aftertastes to your brew. I didn’t want to take the risk. My next brew will probably be an oatmeal stout so I figure the dark grains will help bring the pH into line. I’ll get my water test done before I do a lighter grain bill again and adjust as necessary.