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Old 03-18-2012, 02:56 PM   #641
fenners
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This thread is a big inspiration... I've been doing extract/partials for about a year now & have that process down pretty good. A good friend who has been brewing for /years/ gave me an old 11 gallon pot as a birthday brewing gift, and I think I'm going to step up to doing all grain BIAB.

If I buy that curtain from walmart a few pages ago (for $5!), do I need to cut/modify it to fit my pot?

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Old 03-18-2012, 02:59 PM   #642
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fenners View Post
This thread is a big inspiration... I've been doing extract/partials for about a year now & have that process down pretty good. A good friend who has been brewing for /years/ gave me an old 11 gallon pot as a birthday brewing gift, and I think I'm going to step up to doing all grain BIAB.

If I buy that curtain from walmart a few pages ago (for $5!), do I need to cut/modify it to fit my pot?
To get started? No. Simply line the pot with the curtain and brew some beer. You will eventually want to cut/sew the curtain into a more manageable bag but at this point just shove it in the pot and have at it. Good luck!
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Old 03-18-2012, 03:18 PM   #643
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I'm happy to buy it as a starter to see if BIAB works for me Thanks, thughes.

Looking to do this brew tomorrow... Should work 'as is' for BIAB, right?

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Old 03-18-2012, 03:31 PM   #644
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I'm happy to buy it as a starter to see if BIAB works for me Thanks, thughes.

Looking to do this brew tomorrow... Should work 'as is' for BIAB, right?
yes.. ANY All Grain recipe will work. if using a voile bag (curtain) instead of a paint strainer have the grains double crushed. I would say double crush with the paint strainer but I don't know how fine a mesh it is (voile is VERY fine)
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Old 03-18-2012, 05:49 PM   #645
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Curtain & clips bought for $10 total. Thanks, Target!

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Old 03-19-2012, 09:56 AM   #646
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I just did a porter double crushed in two paint strainer bags. Hardly any grains got into the wort. I love BIAB. It made my jump to AG so much easier

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Old 03-19-2012, 12:42 PM   #647
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Default Great Success!

Saturday was the most fun, efficient, easy & successful brewing day since I've been doing this hobby, so I wanted to share my process (sorry, this is going to be long!)

I've tried a handful of different methods and have finally settled on one that has helped me to hit all my numbers accurately (volumes and OGs), eliminate the possibility of stuck sparges, and is scalable to 10 gallons with zero extra time & maybe a small amount of elbow grease.

Basics:

  • I would call it the Bag In A Cooler method
  • My philosophy is: I want to accomplish a few key things: combine liquid and grains, then separate liquid from grains. I see a straining bag as a perfect device to accomplish this end goal, with no real negatives
  • I do my mash in a 10 gallon rubbermaid cooler that will easily hold enough grains for medium gravity 10 gallon beer batches as well
  • I use a BIAB mesh bag from Jeff Omundson (http://www.bagbrewer.com/contact-me.html)
  • I do my "sparging" in a 15 gallon kettle that also serves as the boil kettle
  • I do not move liquids with valves during the mash/sparge, I move the grain bag instead
  • I squeeze my grain bag. I do not think it is physically possible for someone to squeeze a bag with enough pressure to influence the temperature or pH of the grains inside
  • I realize some people like to just mash with the full volume of water in a single vessel, and that's fine, but my kettle has no lid so this is not optimal
  • The last recipe I did with this method was formulated with an estimated 75% mash efficiency and my OG ended up being 2 points over what I intended. What I'm saying here is that there is no efficiency hit (though I will admit that this is not a number that I really pursue - I just want it to be repeatable)

Nitty Gritty & Calculations
  • I use a spreadsheet I made in Google Docs to calculate my water volumes: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/...3c&output=html
  • I normally play around with my mash thickness ratio so that it gives me mash and sparge volumes that are easy to measure (quarter/half gallons/nice round numbers), but I stay within 1.25-1.33 qts/gal
  • During a 1 hour boil, my system will reliably lose 2 gallons to evaporation, so I start with a 7 gallon preboil volume target

Process
  • Weigh & mill grains the day before
  • Add up my mash & sparge water volumes together and heat it all at the same time in my kettle
  • Overshoot the strike temperature by about 10-12 degrees
  • Drain my strike water into the mash tun and seal it up to pre-heat the cooler
  • Stir & equalize the temperature at my desired strike temp
  • Drop in my grain bag and stir with a large stainless mash whip (like a huge whisk)
  • Check the temp for hot spots and when it looks good, seal the MLT up and start the timer for 60 minutes
  • At this point, whatever is left in my kettle is my already-measured sparge water
  • While you're waiting for the mash, you want to get your sparge water up to 175 and keep it there
  • When the mash timer is up, pick up the grain bag and squeeze it well
  • Transfer the grain bag into the kettle and turn it out around the edges to combine it with your sparge water. Stir it up well for several minutes.
  • You want the grains and sparge water to equalize at 168 (I don't care if mine is a little bit lower than that, but I do not want it above 170). Hold it at this temperature for 10 minutes.
  • While you wait, dump your 1st runnings into a trusted graduated bucket to check that your grain absorption was in-line with what the spreadsheet estimated (i.e. on my last batch, I started with ~3 gallons of mash water, the spreadsheet estimated I'd lose .75 gallons to absorption, and sure enough I collected 2.25 gallons of 1st runnings, great!)
  • If for some reason you didn't quite hit your desired volume on the 1st runnings, you can add a little bit of liquid to your sparge to compensate
  • Once your grains have sat at 168 for 10 minutes, pick the grain bag up again and squeeze it well
  • Set the grain bag aside and use your grains for whatever you'd like (bread, dog treats or discard)
  • Dump your 1st runnings into the kettle to combine with the 2nd runnings and fire the burner up!
  • You can take a pre-boil gravity reading now if you'd like - draw off a sample and set it aside to cool
  • Now's the time to quickly spray out your cooler, whisk or mash paddle, and grain bag & put them away (should be very quick, since the bag did most of the dirty work)
  • Boil as usual
  • BIAB haters will say that the method produces cloudy wort - probably even moreso on my method because I don't care about recirculating or filtering through the grain bed or anything like that. To combat this issue, I use Whirlfloc when there is 5 minutes left in the boil (not 15, not 10), and I chill using a 50' copper immersion chiller. I get great cold break that quickly settles to the bottom of my fermenters and leaves me with very clear beer
  • When my 60 minute boil is up, I drain my kettle into the same trusted graduated bucket I used before, to reality check how much wort I boiled down to. If you are still calibrating your system, this will be helpful. For me, it's just a check to make sure my batch volume is right on. If you need to top off with water (I usually avoid this), do it now. Now that your wort is in a bucket:
  • Another thing I've really had good results with is aeration via just dumping my wort between two sanitized buckets - this is fun to do with a friend too. One person picks up the bucket and dumps it into the other person's bucket, then the other person repeats. You may sing a sea shanty during this time if desired.
  • When you're good and aerated, transfer to fermenter

Equipment Rundown (the big, important stuff anyway)
  • 10 gallon Rubbermaid cooler (valve/bulkhead optional, really - I only have one on there because I used to use a false bottom)
  • 10-15 gallon Kettle - obviously you will need the 15 if you want to brew 10 gallon batches (a keggle would work great & save you some money)
  • A good grain bag (I really recommend the one I linked to) - if you get a custom one made, make sure it's big enough for your largest vessel - i.e. mine is fitted to my kettle, so it's a little big for the mash tun, but that works out perfectly
  • Trusty graduated buckets

Conclusion
  • Because I am using larger vessels (10 gallon mlt, 15 gallon kettle), this is easily scalable to 10 gallon batch sizes. The only variables that would change would be the amount of grains that I'd be lifting, and I would change my pre-boil volume on my water calculator to 12 gallons.
  • I will just get cocky and say that I could do a 100% wheat or rye beer with this method because there's no way to really get a stuck sparge.
  • The wet grain bag is not that heavy (and I'm by no means a big guy), and you're only holding it for long enough to quickly squeeze and transfer from cooler to pot & pot to discard bucket.
  • Cleanup is quick & I even throw my grain bag and hop bag in the washing machine to make it even easier

Nothing groundbreaking here - but if you're reading this and you have a cooler, a grain bag and a kettle and haven't tried it this way - it's definitely worth a shot. I think you'll enjoy the brew day and hopefully the results!

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Old 03-19-2012, 09:27 PM   #648
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This is a great idea. I may have to give it a shot. Here's the problem I have with my current setup. I'm using a 42 qt pot and I use a 5 gallon paint strainer bag. It works even though it's a little tight to get it all the way around the rim of the pot.
My main issue is removing the bag. I'm on the stovetop and I have a range hood so it's near impossible to get the bag out cleanly. I can't raise it high enough or get enough leverage to get it high enough to clear the sides. So I always wind up getting some wort running down the side of the pot and scorching the hell out of my stove.
With the cooler, I'd have plenty of room to maneuver the bag and let it drain and even do a sparge. Then it's just a matter of getting the wort transferred to the kettle.

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Old 03-19-2012, 09:33 PM   #649
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Use the curtain from Walmart. $5 and you don't need to stitch it. Get some spring-clamps and use that to hold it in place around the rim of your pot. I just did a brew like this yesterday and it worked fine.

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Old 03-19-2012, 10:05 PM   #650
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpacemanSpiff View Post
This is a great idea. I may have to give it a shot. Here's the problem I have with my current setup. I'm using a 42 qt pot and I use a 5 gallon paint strainer bag. It works even though it's a little tight to get it all the way around the rim of the pot.
My main issue is removing the bag. I'm on the stovetop and I have a range hood so it's near impossible to get the bag out cleanly. I can't raise it high enough or get enough leverage to get it high enough to clear the sides. So I always wind up getting some wort running down the side of the pot and scorching the hell out of my stove.
With the cooler, I'd have plenty of room to maneuver the bag and let it drain and even do a sparge. Then it's just a matter of getting the wort transferred to the kettle.
how long does your stove take to get 6+ gallons to a rolling boil?
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