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Old 02-19-2011, 01:01 PM   #1
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Default Electric BIAB and Nylon Voile Experiment

If you ever wondered if nylon voile will withstand touching the element during the boil it will.

My setup is a 5500W ULWD element. Last night I was cleaning my setup in prep for a brew day today. I have heard some people burning the bag on the element and I have heard others say they don't.

I took a scrap piece of the voile I had and tied it around the element snugly. Let the water come to a rolling boil for ten minutes then shut it down. Pulled the material out not a mark on it.

Now that stainless cage I built to keep the bag off the element seems like a waist of my time and efforts. I fretted over how to cover the element for some time before coming up with my design. I think it takes up too much space so I am glad that my experiment worked out.

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Old 02-19-2011, 01:09 PM   #2
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I wonder if Polyester voile has a lower melting point.

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Old 02-19-2011, 01:25 PM   #3
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Things may change when you put grain in the bag. I hear it will scorch the grain for sure. Don't give up on the cage, it's not a bad idea even if you're just keeping stress off the element so it won't leak.

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Old 02-19-2011, 01:33 PM   #4
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As long as there's sufficient liquid to carry the heat away (as a BIAB mash should have), it shouldn't be a problem.

I've used a HWD heat stick to step-mash a 2 qt/lb mash before, so it's doable, with care.

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Old 02-19-2011, 04:57 PM   #5
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I think ScubaSteve has a valid point. Even if the bag turns burn/melt, the grains that surround the element could scorch. Furthermore the element is suspended in your kettle and the weight of the grain *could* put stress on the element. So it's valid to at least think about these issues.

Concerning weight on the element, my solution is to add grain to the mash in small amounts. In addition to preventing dough balls, the grain 'wraps' around the element rather than having a lump sum get dropped on it.

Just items to consider...

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Old 02-19-2011, 06:49 PM   #6
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I just do not see grain being scorched at mash temps. The element is barely even on to maintain 150-160F. As far as weight on the element..that could be a problem.

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Old 02-20-2011, 10:41 PM   #7
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Well finally got around to trying the brew without "elemental protection" no problems at all. No scorching on the grain and the element was not stressed at all. Also not to toot my own horn but I got a 77.8 percent brew-house eff. I never even came close batch sparging I am loving the BIAB.

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Old 02-24-2011, 08:05 PM   #8
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I know you said it wasn't needed after all, but I'd like to see the cage you came up with to protect the bag from the element.

I'm working on moving up to a full electric keggle system. My short term goal is to get an electric brew-in-a-bag system up and running with one vessel. Later, I'll add two more kegs (and a bunch of other stuff) to have a full HERMS. I have a Camco 5500W ULWD element on order, but hadn't quite figured out how I was going to mount it and what the configuration would be with respect to the rest of the keggle components. I'd love to see what others have done.

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Old 02-28-2011, 12:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScubaSteve View Post
Things may change when you put grain in the bag. I hear it will scorch the grain for sure.
Steve is right. I demonstrated this last night with my CB20. I wanted to try BIAB. So first, I tried my best to burn the bag on the element with only water. I could not get it to burn/melt/weaken at with 100% power and a full boil.

Feeling confident, I mashed in at 130F, recirculated to 152F...and the pump started to clog. I limped it through the mash (stirring frequently). After removing the bag, I found a nice burnt hole in the bag where it contacted the element. About a cup of grain had escaped - most of it was recaptured by continuing to recirculate into a smaller bag.

There was a nasty smell of cigarette ash through the boil and at the end I found my element was coated in charcoal with several crispy grains wedged in the center of it. Tasted ok, but I can't get past that aroma (yeah, I pitched anyway).

The good news:
1. I no longer have to wonder about this question.
2. The CB20 performs BIAB recirculating step mashes nicely (130-152 in 15min, then 152 to mash out in 10 min).
3. The 5gal paint strainer type bag holds 8-9lbs of grain.
4. I got the same efficiency as I normally do (65%) from my coarse crush - expecting better with a finer crush.
5. 4.5 hours start to finish with a 90 minute boil.
6. I get a new kettle/steamer pot to retrofit my CB20 system for more BIAB shenanigans. https://www.pelicansky.com/productde...?id=115&cat=72

Thanks to jkarp, ScuabSteve and others who inspired me to try electric brewing. It is fun even when you are destroying things.
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Old 02-28-2011, 01:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gibbnal View Post
Steve is right. I demonstrated this last night with my CB20. I wanted to try BIAB. So first, I tried my best to burn the bag on the element with only water. I could not get it to burn/melt/weaken at with 100% power and a full boil.

Feeling confident, I mashed in at 130F, recirculated to 152F...and the pump started to clog. I limped it through the mash (stirring frequently). After removing the bag, I found a nice burnt hole in the bag where it contacted the element. About a cup of grain had escaped - most of it was recaptured by continuing to recirculate into a smaller bag.

There was a nasty smell of cigarette ash through the boil and at the end I found my element was coated in charcoal with several crispy grains wedged in the center of it. Tasted ok, but I can't get past that aroma (yeah, I pitched anyway).

The good news:
1. I no longer have to wonder about this question.
2. The CB20 performs BIAB recirculating step mashes nicely (130-152 in 15min, then 152 to mash out in 10 min).
3. The 5gal paint strainer type bag holds 8-9lbs of grain.
4. I got the same efficiency as I normally do (65%) from my coarse crush - expecting better with a finer crush.
5. 4.5 hours start to finish with a 90 minute boil.
6. I get a new kettle/steamer pot to retrofit my CB20 system for more BIAB shenanigans. https://www.pelicansky.com/productde...?id=115&cat=72

Thanks to jkarp, ScuabSteve and others who inspired me to try electric brewing. It is fun even when you are destroying things.

I dont know if it is just the quality of nylon in the strainer bags vs the voile material but I have got two beers under my belt since ditching the element protection both mashes were 150-152F with a mashout 30 minutes at 170F. No burning or scorching. No off flavors what so ever. YMMV

I will try and get some pics of the cage up tonight when I get home.
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