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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > BIAB Brewing > Ready to try BIAB
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Old 04-02-2014, 01:31 AM   #11
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I've never tried the cooler method, but I've got 3 batches of BIAB all grain under my belt and am loving it. Hard to imagine why I would want/need to do more work and have more equipment. I'm obviously still working on getting better at all of it. But it sure seems to make good beer.

also, +1 to all the comments above.

I'd suggest buying that bag from Wilserbrewer. I made my own, which was satisfying. But spent almost as much on materials as they charge and it took me a few hours to design and sew.

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Old 04-02-2014, 01:42 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by WI_Wino View Post
I also recently moved from extract to BIAB. My thoughts:

- Get a bag that fits your pot. My first batch was with some bag I had laying around and it was not wide enough for my pot. It was a PITA to get it sit right. I bought a custom bag from wilserbrewer and it is awesome. So much better.

- Start with a simple, small to medium size grain bill for a 5 gallon recipe. Like 10 lbs of grain or less. I did an ESB on the stronger side (13 lbs of grain) and it was surprisingly heavy when I first went to lift the bag out. There was a slight slip, some hot wort splashed around, and much cursing.

- Accurate and calibrated thermometer is a must. My screw in Blichman was 4 degrees low.

- Watch the mash temp like a hawk. My first BIAB the mash temp dropped 8 degrees the first 15 minutes after I stirred the grains in. Towels/sleeping bags/reflectix insulation all can help but be sure to remove it before you fire up the burner (don't ask how I know). Boil kettles are nowhere near as insulated as coolers are. When you do need to add heat stir the mash around so it doesn't scorch.

- Get a grate/cookie cooling rack to support the bag as it drains if you aren't going to do a pulley system.

- Wear gloves when squishing the bag to get out all the liquid. I use regular rubber dish washing gloves. There are nicer silicon ones that are more heat resistant.

- Get iodine to test for starch to sugar conversion ($5 at Wal-greens). Super easy to do. Lots of online tutorial that can explain it better than I can.
Ill def. be buying a bag from Wilserbrewer prob 3 of them. (BIAB bag, and two hop bags) just to keep the wort cleaner.

For a thermometer, as a bbq competitor and catering company, my thermapens have back up thermapens. Btw Red is the fastest

Will throw on a jacket over the pot, will also be in the garage out of the wind.

Will look up the iodine for testing starch to sugar. Thanks.
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Old 04-02-2014, 01:47 AM   #13
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My first BIAB was a SMaSH--9 lbs. Maris Otter, 2 oz. Cascade and a packet of US-05. Made a nice, crisp summer lawnmower beer, just under 5% ABV. Doing a SMaSH beer is a great way to learn the basics of AG, and still make a tasty brew. You will know what your base malt brings to the table, and what the hops do, without anything else crowding into the flavor. And being able to make 2 cases of beer for around $20 is nice too.

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Old 04-02-2014, 01:48 AM   #14
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Well…Spring is in the air, so a nice Blonde or Hefe. A solid Pale Ale or SMaSH. Would have said IPA, but you already have that working. You could do a Ordinary Bitter or ESB. All-in-all it's up to you.
+1 on a SMaSH I highly recommend Golden Promise + E.K.G
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Old 04-02-2014, 01:51 AM   #15
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I would not bother moving the pot off the burner onto a towel during the mash. Most heat is lost out the top, followed by the sides. The residual heat held in the metal of the burner would likely counter any heat loss anyway. I wrap reflectivex around my pot (I have like 20 feet of it so it goes around 4-5 times, but after taking it off following a hr mash it's only warm a few layers in, the outer two are probably unnecessary) and throw a folded up towel on top. Last two mashes have been rock solid, don't even lose a degree.

I also would advocate for sewing your own bag out of nylon or polyester voile. It really isn't that hard to learnt do use a sewing machine and a bag is a relatively simple project. Cost me about 10 bucks, but I splurged on some straps to reinforce the hem. They are probably not necessary.

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Old 04-02-2014, 11:51 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Goolsbymd View Post
Ill def. be buying a bag from Wilserbrewer prob 3 of them. (BIAB bag, and two hop bags) just to keep the wort cleaner.

For a thermometer, as a bbq competitor and catering company, my thermapens have back up thermapens. Btw Red is the fastest

Will throw on a jacket over the pot, will also be in the garage out of the wind.

Will look up the iodine for testing starch to sugar. Thanks.
Since this test is really easy and it only takes a drop or 2 of iodine and similar amount of wort, start testing for conversion early. Try a sample at 5 minutes, then a second sample at 10. Make sure you get a little grain in the second sample because that will show if the starches in the grain have converted. Keep sampling until the iodine shows no blue color and see at what time that occurs.

With my grains ground to cornmeal consistency I show full conversion in less than 5 minutes. If the grain isn't milled as fine it will take longer. If you haven't reached full conversion in an hour, find somewhere else to get your grain milled or get your own mill.
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