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Old 11-18-2012, 05:38 PM   #1071
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Brewed up my first AG using the BIAB technique. I couldn't have asked for a simpler method for brewing! I learned a couple of things in the process.
- Use a rather large bag! I have a large 15.5 gallon keggle but only a 5 gal paint strainer bag and it made for an interesting time keeping the grain properly mashed. My initial gravity was several points lower than expected because the grain was crowded. I added DME to make up the difference. I'll be picking up a voile' later today and fitting it to my keggle.

- When you thought you squeezed the bag enough, squeeze it again and again and again! I finally ended up with close to a gallon of wort after all that squeezing. I aimed for a finish of 5 gallons but ended up with just over 6 gallons. Thank G*d for a second primary bucket!

- watching cold break form can be entertaining. I expected to have a lot more break material but after 14 hours of sitting in the carboy it's settled nicely so far.

The only thing left to do is wait....

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Old 11-18-2012, 06:19 PM   #1072
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldDirty View Post
Brewed up my first AG using the BIAB technique. I couldn't have asked for a simpler method for brewing! I learned a couple of things in the process.
- Use a rather large bag! I have a large 15.5 gallon keggle but only a 5 gal paint strainer bag and it made for an interesting time keeping the grain properly mashed. My initial gravity was several points lower than expected because the grain was crowded. I added DME to make up the difference. I'll be picking up a voile' later today and fitting it to my keggle.

- When you thought you squeezed the bag enough, squeeze it again and again and again! I finally ended up with close to a gallon of wort after all that squeezing. I aimed for a finish of 5 gallons but ended up with just over 6 gallons. Thank G*d for a second primary bucket!

- watching cold break form can be entertaining. I expected to have a lot more break material but after 14 hours of sitting in the carboy it's settled nicely so far.

The only thing left to do is wait....

congrats on your first AG beer! now make sure there's a blow off tube attached to that rather full carboy.
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Old 11-18-2012, 06:46 PM   #1073
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- watching cold break form can be entertaining. I expected to have a lot more break material but after 14 hours of sitting in the carboy it's settled nicely so far.
This. My first and second BIAB cold break. They both packed down to nothing after a few days, but I was awfully disturbed at first.

I just realized I have a thermometer exactly like the one in your picture too, hmm.
2012-10-21-19.03.51.jpg   2012-11-11-23.49.41.jpg  
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Old 11-19-2012, 05:06 PM   #1074
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So, total n00b questions, but I'd like to move from extract brewing to all grain or a biab variation, and this looks like a winner. But I'm trying to wrap my head around the whole thing. So I've got a 7.5g brew kettle. If I wanted to do a 5 gallon batch, could I use this method, then just top off with water to get 6g of wort, in which case I would then continue as normal (boil etc)? How much water would I have to mash with? And let's just say I had a 10g kettle, if you wanted to end up with a 5g batch, how much water do you brew with initially? Do you mash with 6.5g, to end up with maybe 6g of wort to then boil as normal? I'm sure the process is simple, but I'd like to picture it in my head before I move forward.

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Old 11-19-2012, 05:42 PM   #1075
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So, total n00b questions, but I'd like to move from extract brewing to all grain or a biab variation, and this looks like a winner. But I'm trying to wrap my head around the whole thing. So I've got a 7.5g brew kettle. If I wanted to do a 5 gallon batch, could I use this method, then just top off with water to get 6g of wort, in which case I would then continue as normal (boil etc)? How much water would I have to mash with? And let's just say I had a 10g kettle, if you wanted to end up with a 5g batch, how much water do you brew with initially? Do you mash with 6.5g, to end up with maybe 6g of wort to then boil as normal? I'm sure the process is simple, but I'd like to picture it in my head before I move forward.
I BIAB with a 7.5 gal kettle and my first BIAB I was told I could do a 5 gal batch by topping off with water to get my desired amount of wort in the fermentor. Personally, I wasn't happy with my results. I've since gotten a 5 gal kettle that I use to sparge with. I mash in about 6 gal in my larger kettle and then sparge in about 2.5 gal in the smaller kettle. I then let the bag drain into a sanitized bucket after the sparge and squeeze it a little bit and then combine all of my liquids into my large kettle to about 7 gallons for my boil. I've done this 3 times and I've hit around 80% efficiency each time and I'm much more happy with the results than I got by topping off with water.
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Old 11-19-2012, 05:54 PM   #1076
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Originally Posted by MMJfan

I BIAB with a 7.5 gal kettle and my first BIAB I was told I could do a 5 gal batch by topping off with water to get my desired amount of wort in the fermentor. Personally, I wasn't happy with my results. I've since gotten a 5 gal kettle that I use to sparge with. I mash in about 6 gal in my larger kettle and then sparge in about 2.5 gal in the smaller kettle. I then let the bag drain into a sanitized bucket after the sparge and squeeze it a little bit and then combine all of my liquids into my large kettle to about 7 gallons for my boil. I've done this 3 times and I've hit around 80% efficiency each time and I'm much more happy with the results than I got by topping off with water.
Interesting. Let's see if I'm getting this right. You mash in 6g, then transfer the grain bag to the smaller kettle and rinse the grain with 2.5g of water at mash temp? Is that basically just a second mash? Then, drain the bag into a bucket, then mix all those liquids into your large kettle at 7g. So, there's an extra 1.5g difference here, do you just toss that out? I suppose the entire 8.5g has a homogenous level of sugars, so that wouldn't be a problem.
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Old 11-19-2012, 06:38 PM   #1077
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Sorry, the smaller kettle is used for a sparge. I heat the water in the smaller kettle to 170F while the grains are mashing in the larger kettle. Once I've mashed for whaterver the recipe specifies (usually 60 minutes), I do a mashout by heating my large kettle up to 170F and letting it then sit for 10 minutes. I then transfer the grain bag to my smaller kettle for a 20 minute sparge.

As for the extra liquid, there usually isn't that much left. After draining, I do squeeze my grain bag a bit, but there is some liquid lost to absorbtion in the grains. And yes, I just dump whatever liquid I don't fit into my kettle for the boil.

I don't know if what I'm doing is 'technically' the correct way to do things, but my results would suggest that there isn't anything wrong with it either...

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Old 11-19-2012, 08:34 PM   #1078
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snyklez View Post
So, total n00b questions, but I'd like to move from extract brewing to all grain or a biab variation, and this looks like a winner. But I'm trying to wrap my head around the whole thing. So I've got a 7.5g brew kettle. If I wanted to do a 5 gallon batch, could I use this method, then just top off with water to get 6g of wort, in which case I would then continue as normal (boil etc)? How much water would I have to mash with? And let's just say I had a 10g kettle, if you wanted to end up with a 5g batch, how much water do you brew with initially? Do you mash with 6.5g, to end up with maybe 6g of wort to then boil as normal? I'm sure the process is simple, but I'd like to picture it in my head before I move forward.
The high efficiency of no-sparge BIAB is mostly attributable to the thin mash that comes with mashing with the full volume (on the order of 6 L / kg). So you could mash with a smaller volume and then top off, but you'd likely experience decreased efficiency. As others have said, you're probably going to want to sparge with the extra volume rather than just top it off. You can also consider not doing 5 gallon batches. I think many people limit themselves to pretty arbitrary batch sizes, so you could always do 4 gallons or 16 L or whatever will fit your equipment best.

As far as how much water to mash with, it's easiest to just use one of the many excellent brewing calculators out there. I personally use BrewTarget, which is free and open-source (since I run Linux), but there are many others out there. Any decent program should make it easy to do the necessary calculations. You'll also need to know (or guess) at your boil-off rate, which will of course depend on your equipment and how high your burner is set. It will most likely be on the order of 1 gallon / hr, so in that case if you were doing a 5 gallon batch you'd need 6 gallons (plus whatever you want to factor in for kettle/trub losses if you care) after your mash for an hour boil. Once you know your boil-off rate, you can input it into your software of choice and it will do the work for you, though. (Mines ~4 L / hr, FWIW.)
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Old 11-21-2012, 05:52 AM   #1079
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So how much water should I start with? I have a 10 gallon megapot that has a 17" diameter. I have an extra bucket which I'll use with a colander to get the remaining wort out of my bag, and will be re-adding that remaining wort back into my pot.

I've only done extracts so far and I've always started with around 6 gal and ended up with 5 in the fermenter. I'm assuming this would be about the same but I'm not sure with grain absorption...

Any help would be appreciated!

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Old 11-21-2012, 06:10 AM   #1080
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There is a calculator on BIABrewer.com that you can download if you register. It is very handy for figuring out your volumes for BIAB.

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