# No Sparge BIAB Max Grain Calculator

I thought I remembered reading about a calculator that tells you how much grain your kettle can hold based on its size for a no sparge BIAB. Does anyone have the link for that?

I did a bunch of Google searches and came up with regular AG max grain kettle calculators. But nothing specific to no sparge BIAB.

Or am I imagining this all?

–Brian

There’s nothing specific to BIAB that would make it take up more or less space than a regular all grain batch. To see how much space a batch occupies, multiply the weight of grain in lbs by .32 qts/lb and add the amount of water used. This number comes from a BYO article, and it is very close to the volume contributed just by dissolved extract (.3 qt/lb). This is the same number used by the oft posted ‘green bay rackers can i mash it’ calculator.

So if you are mashing 10 lbs of grain with 15 qts of water, the volume of the mash is 15 + 10*.32 = 18.2 qts.

This site works:

It’ll tell you the total volume of the mash with just grain weight and grain:water ratio. You then divide the grain weight by 2 to determine the loss of wort (in quarts) when you pull the bag and subtract that from the total volume to get kettle volume. It’ll take a little trial-and-error to dial in the amounts for a given recipe.

An easy example - you want to mash 10 lbs and end up with 6.5 gallons in a 10-gallon kettle. Start with 3 qt/lb and you get a total volume of 8.3 gallons. When you pull the grain, you’ll have (3*10)-(10/2)= 25 qts or 6.25 gallons. All you need to do is add another quart to the mash and you’ll end up with 6.5 gallons to start the boil.

Makes sense. Thanks!

What does the dividing by 2 represent here? Did you get a value of 2 just from your own experience?

Thanks guys!

[quote=“Takehiko”][What does the dividing by 2 represent here? Did you get a value of 2 just from your own experience?[/quote]Grain holds 0.125 gallons of wort per lb, so if you want to convert that to quarts/lb you multiply by 4 qt/gal and end up with 0.5 qt/lb. So you divide the grain weight by 2 to get quarts.

Hi everyone i am newbie here i am glad to read this post i hope you will share more informative post for us … thanks

The big problem for BIABers in this regard is you need a thin thin mash (or at least that’s how I’ve been doing it). Even prior to my BIAB days, I mashed in my brew kettle, but I could do really high gravity mashes at a thicker consistency. Great calculation though, thanks!

[quote=“Pietro”]The big problem for BIABers in this regard is you need a thin thin mash (or at least that’s how I’ve been doing it).[/quote]There’s no requirement to mash thin - you can just add the rest of the water at the end of the mash. I typically mash with 2/3 of the water, then add the other 1/3, boiling, to boost the temp to 163F for a little efficiency bump.

right, but you still need to be able to fit it in your vessel, thus for high gravity brews you can run out of space much quicker. So for the calculation above, your water always has to be twice the weight of the grain, regardless of when you add the water.

right, but you still need to be able to fit it in your vessel, thus for high gravity brews you can run out of space much quicker. So for the calculation above, your water always has to be twice the weight of the grain, regardless of when you add the water.[/quote]

I’m actually glad this came up, is a thin mash required for BIAB because it is no-sparge? I’ve been doing a single batch sparge in an empty ale pail for my BIAB’s, so would it be possible for me to go down to 1.5q/lb mash thickness? this would greatly increase the amount of grain I could mash in my 10 gal kettle.

As shade says, you can mash with any amount of water you like, provided you stay in the recommended 1-3 qt/lb range. I’ve seen a few posts of even thicker mashes (.75 qt/lb) but I don’t have any experience with this.

BIAB mashes are typically on the thin side only because you are getting the whole preboil volume at once. So if you expect to collect 7 gallons preboil you need to put in 7 gal + (apparent) absorbtion. When mashing 10-15 lbs of grain, this is 3.3-2.4 qts/lb. There’s no rule that says it must be there, it’s just how it usually works out.

Just remember that the less water you use per pound of grain the lower the efficiency will be. If it gets really low, you might want to consider batch sparging. You can still use the bag, just mash normally, drain, then add more water, stir, and drain again.

[quote=“nyakavt”]
Just remember that the less water you use per pound of grain the lower the efficiency will be. If it gets really low, you might want to consider batch sparging. You can still use the bag, just mash normally, drain, then add more water, stir, and drain again.[/quote]

right. I typically do a batch sparge with my BIAB brewdays in a spare ale pail and have been getting between 74-76% efficiency. I’m trying to stay in that range as I am calculating the highest gravity brew I could do with this set up and as I lose efficiency, I have to compensate with more grain (or add extract), and I won’t have room in the kettle for the former.

[quote=“Pietro”]…as I lose efficiency, I have to compensate with more grain (or add extract), and I won’t have room in the kettle for the former.[/quote]One way around this is to use enough grain to boost the mash gravity high enough to allow for a top-off of water after you pull the grain. A good first target is to hit your desired OG in the mash then add the amount of water you expect to boil off and you’ll end up at your OG again at the end of the boil.

I’m planning to do a BIAB batch soon. I’m thinking I could mash with 1.5-2qt/lb in the kettle, have a second kettle with what would be my sparge water ready to take the bag and dunk it in there to rinse the grains more. Then I would add that to the kettle and bring to a boil.

That wouldn’t be a bad idea would it? I’m just looking to get away from a cooler set up. My Rubbermaid cooler, the inside plastic part, came apart from the insulated part and can be pulled out of the cooler…it weird and water leaks in between the layers and I don’t trust it’s insulating properties anymore. So I was thinking I could get a direct fired mash tun built up or try BIAB and since BIAB is much cheaper, I’d like to give it a go…

[quote=“Beersk”]That wouldn’t be a bad idea would it?[/quote]It’s a good idea if you need the extra volume or you’re concerned with efficiency (it’ll boost efficiency). That’s how I used to do it until I decided I preferred the no-sparge routine.

[quote=“Beersk”]I’m planning to do a BIAB batch soon. I’m thinking I could mash with 1.5-2qt/lb in the kettle, have a second kettle with what would be my sparge water ready to take the bag and dunk it in there to rinse the grains more. Then I would add that to the kettle and bring to a boil.

That wouldn’t be a bad idea would it? I’m just looking to get away from a cooler set up. My Rubbermaid cooler, the inside plastic part, came apart from the insulated part and can be pulled out of the cooler…it weird and water leaks in between the layers and I don’t trust it’s insulating properties anymore. So I was thinking I could get a direct fired mash tun built up or try BIAB and since BIAB is much cheaper, I’d like to give it a go…[/quote]

Make sure to tie your BIAB bag off when you sparge. Dunked it last time and had a bunch of grain husks spill out into my sparge water! Shouldn’t be an issue, but it was a PITA.

Yeah, because I can’t mash the full volume with my stove top setup. Only have a 6.5 gallon kettle and I’d be doing 3 gallon batches. I also have a 5 gallon kettle that I started out with extract brewing that I use for strike and sparge water, so that’d be the sparge vessel. I think I’ll give it a go! That or I’m setting up a direct fired mashtun.

I did my first BIAB yesterday and it went really well. Didn’t do the full volume mash, instead I dunked the bag into a second kettle with what would be my sparge water. I crushed really fine, .025" on the mill, which was too tight I think. It got hard to mill the crystal malt. But my efficiency was 77% with a half gallon extra wort in the fermenter. I think that’s because with BIAB you’re able to squeeze out extra wort from the grains. I think this technique may be a mainstay for me. I just want to taste this beer before I brew again to make sure it didn’t turn out tannic/astrigent or crappy or something.
Plus I like not having a cooler and being able to control mash temps easier. Also being able to easier ramp up to a mashout. I have a streamer grate that acts as a false bottom in the kettle/mashtun so that the grains don’t make contact with the bottom where heat is directly applied.
It was fun and now I’m excited to brew again!

[quote=“Beersk”]It was fun and now I’m excited to brew again![/quote]That’s the big plus for me - it’s so easy to use this method for a quick batch, especially the set-up and clean-up, which add at least two hours to a regular brewday for me.

I don’t see why I couldn’t do step mashes this way either, it only took like 5 minutes to get from mash temp to mashout with constant stirring.