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Old 01-04-2012, 06:17 PM   #1
thisgoestoeleven
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Default brew in a bag question- Sparging?

I just called my LHBS to find out if they sell grain bags big enough to doing a BIAB setup with my 8 gallon pot. Maybe I'm misunderstanding the BIAB process altogether, but the way I explained it he said wouldn't work. As I understand BIAB brewing, you mash with the full volume of your boil and skip the sparging step, instead of mashing 3ish gallons, then sparging with the remaining boil volume. He told me that this system wouldn't work well, because mashing with that much water would give you a thinner mash and negatively impact extraction of sugars and enzymes. I see the number of people, both on here and in youtube tutorials, that have good results with the BIAB method without investing in multiple pots, a mash tun, etc, and I wonder if there's any truth to what he's saying. I'm not knocking him or saying he doesn't know, I'm just trying to educate myself and get multiple perspectives.

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Old 01-04-2012, 06:19 PM   #2
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Many people sparge, but true BIAB you do not sparge, just do a full volume mash, remove the bag and start the boil. And yes it makes perfectly fine beer.

If you can direct fire without melting your bag, you can get a little better effiancy by doing a mashout, but you don't have too.

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Old 01-04-2012, 06:25 PM   #3
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I also hear of great results from full volume BIAB. I BIAB with my 1.25-1.33 qt/lb ratio and then sparge, only because my 8 gallon pot isn't big enough to do the full volume along with the grain. I've made some great beer this way!

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Old 01-04-2012, 06:30 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BryceL View Post
I also hear of great results from full volume BIAB. I BIAB with my 1.25-1.33 qt/lb ratio and then sparge, only because my 8 gallon pot isn't big enough to do the full volume along with the grain. I've made some great beer this way!
That's what I do, too. I've got 2, 7.5 gallon pots. Mash in one, and then sparge in the other. Dump the contents of one into the other and boil.

I'd like to get a large pot to do full-volume BIAB, but it's not in the budget right now, and this system seems to be working fine for me.
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Old 01-04-2012, 06:48 PM   #5
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I think some people will also plan on a slightly lower efficiency doing no-sparge BIAB, although that's not to say that one couldn't get great efficiency anyways. With our costs, a lot of times tossing in another few dollars of base grains is probably well worth the time saved not doing a sparge. At first if nothing else you may want to have some dry extract on hand in case you wind up short, but after a few tries I bet you figure out what works for your system and can do no-sparge without a problem.

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Old 01-04-2012, 07:19 PM   #6
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I think some people will also plan on a slightly lower efficiency doing no-sparge BIAB, although that's not to say that one couldn't get great efficiency anyways. With our costs, a lot of times tossing in another few dollars of base grains is probably well worth the time saved not doing a sparge. At first if nothing else you may want to have some dry extract on hand in case you wind up short, but after a few tries I bet you figure out what works for your system and can do no-sparge without a problem.
I've done some batches each way. No sparge works well for me with a smaller batch because I can really squeeze the wort out of the bag and since wort is what we are after, every little extra I can get out adds to the efficiency.

I have more trouble doing this with a 5 gallon batch because I just can't get my hands all the way around the bag to squeeze. With my 7 1/2 gallon pot, putting in 6 1/2 gallons of water and then trying to mix in 10 pounds of grain puts me almost over the top of the pot so I've begun modifying the BIAB by only using 5 gallons in the pot for mashing and then adding grains to another pot with some water to sparge followed by squeezing. The last one I did I used cold water for the sparge because I was tired of burning my hand while squeezing and figured the loss of efficiency was worth protecting my hands. This turned out to be my best efficiency yet at 85%.
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Old 01-04-2012, 08:30 PM   #7
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I got good results using BIAB with a single dunk sparge. I only moved to a more conventional AG system due to the bag limitations (couldn't find a big enough bag to do bigger beers) and realizing how easy it was to convert my 10 gallon cooler with a ball valve and kettle screen. I got efficiencies in the low to mid 70's.

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Old 01-04-2012, 09:03 PM   #8
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.... The last one I did I used cold water for the sparge because I was tired of burning my hand while squeezing and figured the loss of efficiency was worth protecting my hands. This turned out to be my best efficiency yet at 85%.
You just blew my mind. I am so doing that.


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Old 01-04-2012, 09:11 PM   #9
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I'm a BIABer who does a single batch sparge. My efficiencies are right about where you would expect from a MLT/fly sparge, near 75%, pretty consistently. I'm the same as cricky- I have two big pots and heat up my sparge water (just preboil volume -strike water + absorbed water) on the stove during the mash. I set the bag on a grill grate over the first pot, let it drain and squeeze, and then move it over to the sparge pot.
Combine the two and then boil. Works great.

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Old 01-04-2012, 09:28 PM   #10
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if you are able to find a large enough collander to fit your pot it is well worth the money to sit your bag in while it drains and cools., and you can save a little water back to pour over the bag as it sits for a pouring sparge. I leave no wort in my grain bag by the time ime done letting it cool and drain and squeezing.
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