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Old 11-26-2012, 01:51 AM   #1
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Default First All Grain BIAB

Brewed my first all grain beer today. I chose to try a 2.5 gallon BIAB since I only have a 5 gallon pot. I brewed a Special Bitter. I couldn't believe when I went to my LHBS to buy my ingredients. I told the clerk I was going to try BIAB and he did everything in his power to discourage me from even trying this technique. He said you will get no kind of efficiency unless you have a way to suspend the bag over the pot the whole time, so you will have to use a lot of grain to brew. He told me other "facts" trying to discourage me.

Well, I still went ahead and gave it a try. I ran the grains through the LHBS mill one time and I hit my mash temp of 152 degrees dead on and held for an hour. Iodine test showed conversion so I went on ahead with my boil. My brewhouse efficiency came out to be 60%. I think that is pretty good for a first BIAB. Next time I will try and mill the grains twice and my efficiency will be even better. The naysayer at the LHBS can stick it! I will brew with this method again. Very simple and I expect the beer to be great.

With 2.5 gallon batches I will just brew more often and hone my all grain skills in a shorter period of time. This hobby is wide open to experimentation. Don't be afraid to try new techniques. Simpler can be better.

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Old 11-26-2012, 03:05 AM   #2
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Try this next time when you remove the bag: pull the bag out for 30 seconds, dunk, repeat, repeat.

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Old 11-26-2012, 07:27 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by badbrew View Post
Try this next time when you remove the bag: pull the bag out for 30 seconds, dunk, repeat, repeat.
+1

Just to clarify for the OP, this process, dunk spargeing, aught to help raise your efficiency, as will going for a finer crush on your grains. Giving the grain bag a decent squeeze after dunk spargeing to extract as much liquid as you can will also contribute positively.

Edit: Just realised the previous poster wasn't referring to dunking into a separate pot of sparge water, merely dunking in the mash.

If you did your mash at about 1.5 qts water/lb grain @ 155, then had another pot with a couple of gallons of water at 165 and dunk sparged in that you'd extract closer to the full potential for your grain thereby raising efficiency. The high concentration of sugars in the first pot after the mash make it a bit difficult to extract the full extent of sugars available so spargeing with fresh, hot, water allows the sugars left to easily dissolve into solution.
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Old 11-26-2012, 12:25 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ogri View Post
+1

Just to clarify for the OP, this process, dunk spargeing, aught to help raise your efficiency, as will going for a finer crush on your grains. Giving the grain bag a decent squeeze after dunk spargeing to extract as much liquid as you can will also contribute positively.

Edit: Just realised the previous poster wasn't referring to dunking into a separate pot of sparge water, merely dunking in the mash.

If you did your mash at about 1.5 qts water/lb grain @ 155, then had another pot with a couple of gallons of water at 165 and dunk sparged in that you'd extract closer to the full potential for your grain thereby raising efficiency. The high concentration of sugars in the first pot after the mash make it a bit difficult to extract the full extent of sugars available so spargeing with fresh, hot, water allows the sugars left to easily dissolve into solution.
This ^^^
You don't even have to go that thick with the mash, even a small amount of water to dunk sparge in will increase the efficiency. Double milling or grinding the grain fine will increase your efficiency too. I use a Corona style grain mill set as fine as it will go and when I have checked the brewhouse efficiency without sparging I've been getting ~80% efficiency and with a small sparge it increases to ~85%.

When the mash is over pull the bag out and squeeze out all the wort you can, then dunk in some water (doesn't even have to be hot) and squeeze it out again.
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Old 11-26-2012, 05:47 PM   #5
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I have only done this twice, and realized it should actually be MIAB, since you don't boil or brew in the bag, but just mash, but it's a little late in the day for everyone to come around to my point of view.
Last Saturday, I avoided the mistake I made the first time (didn't keep it open and stir in the grain; just did a giant grain sock, so the middle didn't mash at all), but found new mistakes to make. First, I forgot I would need a bigger pot than 28 quart to do a five gallon batch. I ended up pouring the first runnings into my fermenter and then sparging. I combined both runnings. Second, I forgot about possibly burning the bag, but got away with it sitting on the bottom of my brew kettle. Third, my mash temps fluctuated wildly, from 144° to over 180° because it was cold as hell on Saturday, and when I fired up my burner, the water shot up way faster than I expected. I think the grain acted as a temperature buffer, and I didn't kill my enzymes. I hit my gravity, and nearly nailed my volume. That LHBS employee didn't know what he was talking about. I think MIAB can get you outstanding efficiency if you plan it right. (See the sticky at the top of this category.)

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Old 11-26-2012, 10:01 PM   #6
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Thanks for the input. I will double mill the grain next time. I doubt I will dunk sparge, however, I may try redunking in the mash a couple times like recommended. I hope to get to 75% or better with a no sparge BIAB. The reason this technique attracted me is simplicity, so I will keep it simple. Once I have consistent efficiency I can just adjust my grain bill accordingly. I could not believe how easy this method is. My batch is actively fermenting as we speak. Once primary is done I plan to dry hop with some Fuggles.

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Old 11-27-2012, 03:51 AM   #7
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Full volume mash, squeeze like hell, 80% efficiency... every time.

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Old 11-27-2012, 07:43 PM   #8
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Isn't there a danger of extracting tannins when squeezing the grainbag?

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Old 11-27-2012, 10:24 PM   #9
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I'm on my 5th BIAB batch and have used the brew shpos mill (.041 I think) every time. I do 90min mashes and always hit my efficiency of 72%.

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Old 11-27-2012, 11:23 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Isn't there a danger of extracting tannins when squeezing the grainbag?
No not at all. This is one of those myths that needs to be put to sleep.....
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