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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Why doesn't everyone just BIAB?
View Poll Results: How do you brew?
I BIAB 295 34.87%
I use a 3 vessel system 340 40.19%
I don't brew all-grain, I'm an extract brewer 100 11.82%
What's BIAB? 22 2.60%
I use a system that doesn't fit into the other categories 89 10.52%
Voters: 846. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 04-07-2012, 05:21 PM   #41
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I am in the late stages of putting my 3 vessel system together. I have experience with BIAB and AG, but mostly I've been an extract brewer. Here are some of the reasons that I decided to go 3 v:

1) Flexibility - as stated before, batch sizes and recipes are move varied with 3v
2) Knowledge base/Recipes - more information in general for 3v
3) Handling - bag is hot, heavy, sticky
4) Durability - i know that people are getting a ton of use out of those bags, but still...
5) I like to design and build stuff - not saying that you cant be creative with BIAB systems, but there are more opportunities with 3 v. (is that an argument for 4+v?
6) I try to limit use of synthetic polymers as much as possible. Don't ask me about my silicone tubing.

Response to the OP points

clarity - I've seen some crystal clear beers with BIAB
extra trub - Basic Brewing Radio did a podcast on trub in the fermenter. The gist: trub in the fermenter is not a bad thing, and some preferred the flavor of the finished beer.
tradition - only in the last couple 100 years
cost & storage - BIAB wins hands down, but I have seen some pretty costly BIAB systems
time - if time is an issue, why not extract brew? I've made plenty of good beers w/extract.

In my opinion, BIAB is not a 1 vessel system. I'm not sure if 1 vessel can actually exist because of the mash. I'm not convinced that cleaning out the bag is less work than cleaning out a MT. I think we all agree that dealing with that bag is more of a hassle than a MT. A buddy of mine uses a separate vessel for dunk sparge. There's a 3 vessel BIAB system.

A system is like a recipe. You can customize it to your own taste.

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Old 04-07-2012, 09:08 PM   #42
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Great taste!

Less filling!

;-)

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Old 04-07-2012, 11:09 PM   #43
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I'll never BIAB in the traditional sense of dropping a nylon bag into the boil kettle. If I ever do it, it's going to be a different take on the speidelwhatever using a mash basket rather than a bag which will be lifted with a power winch. The ultimate hurdle is to let go of efficiency expectations.

I do think winching up all the grain and flipping the basket over into a wheeled garbage can does sound better than scooping all the grain out and taking my false bottom apart.

In summary, I'm not fully on either side of this debate at the moment. If I can make 6-12 gallon batches of up to 1.100 wort, holding a solid mash temp, effectively separating the wort from the spent grist, and make cleanup easier, right... that's the system for me.

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Old 04-07-2012, 11:47 PM   #44
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Sometimes BIAB, sometimes three vessel.

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Old 04-08-2012, 02:52 PM   #45
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I only BIAB right now. When I made the switch from extract to all grain last summer it seemed the most logical root to go; I had all the equipment I needed sans a nylon bag.

I don't think clean up is bad, I just put the sack into several grocery bags, turn it upside down to empty the grain and toss the tied bags into the neighbors yard.

Holding mash temp isn't too tough either. I wrap the kettle in towels and ducting insulation. It can hold a steady temperature for up to 2 hours in my experience.

The major draw back I face on a regular basis is big beers. 10lbs of grain puts a lot of strain on that nylon sack when I left it soaking wet from the kettle. If I want to make a huge gravity beer with my current setup I need to go partial mash.

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Old 04-08-2012, 05:54 PM   #46
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I think the main reason most people don't use the BIAB method is because you have to take in to consideration the amount of grains in your grain bag that takes away from the water in the pot which effects your efficiency. Plus I think it just another name for partial mash

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Old 04-08-2012, 06:46 PM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Homercidal
Pretty hard to recirculate a BIAB system...
I was just doing this in my last brew. As long as your bag is off the bottom, like in a basket. I drain out the diptube and out the ball valve into my pump, and run a hose back to the top. Worked out just fine. You can even direct fire during the recirc.
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Old 04-08-2012, 06:56 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adixon3
I think the main reason most people don't use the BIAB method is because you have to take in to consideration the amount of grains in your grain bag that takes away from the water in the pot which effects your efficiency. Plus I think it just another name for partial mash
Grain absorption is accounted for on any all grain method. It's not any.different if you mash in at 2 quarts per lb than 1.25. You can sparge your grain bag if you want. Think of the bag as a different manifold/false bottom that you can lift out and drain.

It's certainly not a partial mash since BIAB, like any all grain method, attempts to obtain all of its gravity points via mashing grains. Partial mashing would require some liquid or dry malt extract to get your total gravity.
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Old 04-08-2012, 06:59 PM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bradinator
The major draw back I face on a regular basis is big beers. 10lbs of grain puts a lot of strain on that nylon sack when I left it soaking wet from the kettle. If I want to make a huge gravity beer with my current setup I need to go partial mash.
I've done grain bills as big as 22#. I have a double layered bag which helps. What I struggle with is getting the wet bag out of my keggle opening. Switching to a straight side
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Old 04-09-2012, 04:05 AM   #50
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Love BIAB.

I definitely see pros/cons to both sides, esp with the biggest con of BIAB being that anything much above 10 gal (ish) can get pretty heavy/dangerous filled with 150°+ water.

For me, I love brewing 2.5 gal batches. It's cheaper, lends itself to more creativity, and any batches that don't come out just right, it's a lot easier to just fix the issue and rebrew.

I am tired of the good old boys looking down on it though, esp w/ comments like, "It's a great way to get into AG brewing." From all of the research I've done and experience I've had with the many different types of systems, BIAB is just as good as anything else for anything (yes, ANYTHING) w/in a 5 gal batch size.

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