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Old 01-25-2011, 05:47 PM   #1
captainL
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Default BIAB with SPARGE and top off.

Before a build a cooler conversion, I want to try a BIAB with a sparge. I have done a PM with 6 lbs of grain with a 72% efficiency. So here are some problems to adapt to.

I have a 6.25 gallon pot and 4 gallon pot. I am trying to figure out which to use for the sparge and which for the mash.

Due to my pot size, I want to start the boil with 5.5 to 6 gallons (pushing it). And I want to plan on topping off with some cold water for 5 gallons of total wort. I only lose .5 to 1 gallon for a 1 hour boil starting with 5 gallons. Humid down here in TX.

I don't have a recipe yet but I am figuring 10 to 12 lbs of grain as I prefer pale ales, wheats, IPA's.

So is it better to have a larger Mash or Sparge with BIAB.

I was thinking this:

10 lbs X 1.25 = 3.125 gallons...
Will 3.12 gallons and 10 lbs fit in a 4 gallon pot?
loss of .1 gallons/lb = 2.125 gallons round to 2 gallons

So I could use 3.5 to 4 gallons of sparge. Which could easily be done in the 6.25 gallon pot.

Or am I better off doing a 4 gallon mash with a 2 gallon sparge?

And if I'm not quite to my eff, I will do a little late extract addition as necessary.

I will just try and see what I get but if anyone does it a similar way, advice is appreciated. I'm wanting to see how much I can improve over partial mashes without spending the $$ on a bigger brew pot and cooler mashtun.

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Old 01-25-2011, 05:50 PM   #2
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I only lose .5 to 1 gallon for a 1 hour boil starting with 5 gallons. Humid down here in TX.
I'm in Houston as well and boil off 1 gallon +... do you brew outside?
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Old 01-25-2011, 06:02 PM   #3
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I do it outside on a turkey fryer. I;m not very scientific here though. I guess I need to be a little more accurate. 1 gallons is probably closer. The last 2 brews, I marked a line for 5 gallons on my brew pot and then did a 60 minute boil. I topped off in my fermentor to 5 gallons using chiled bottled water (different sizes bottles depending).

I figure it doesn't matter because I am limited by my initial boil volume.

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Old 01-25-2011, 06:10 PM   #4
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I do it outside on a turkey fryer. I;m not very scientific here though. I guess I need to be a little more accurate. 1 gallons is probably closer. The last 2 brews, I marked a line for 5 gallons on my brew pot and then did a 60 minute boil. I topped off in my fermentor to 5 gallons using chiled bottled water (different sizes bottles depending).

I figure it doesn't matter because I am limited by my initial boil volume.
I do full boils almost all the time so I account for boil off. I use a turkey fryer as well. I will need to pay more attention to try to get an exact amount because I've only done a few full boils so I have a "guesstimation" now.
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Old 01-25-2011, 09:01 PM   #5
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If I were going to do a BIAB with sparge, I'd mash in the bigger container. However, having just done 3 BIAB sessions, one with sparge and 2 without and coming out with almost identical efficiency on all three, I'd suggest you forget the sparge this time and concentrate on getting the grain milled fine and the temperature of the mash correct. When you pull the grain bag out of the mash, squeeze out all the liquid you can.

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Old 01-25-2011, 09:52 PM   #6
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I just did 9lbs and 2.8 gallons in a 4 gallon pot, left me with about 1/2" of space. I'm going to convert a cooler to a mash tun, since I already own the cooler the cost is almost nothing.

Here's what you can do now, max out the mash in that 4 gallon. Sparge in the 6.5 and use extract to make up for what you can't fit in your equipment right now. I thought doing 9lbs in a 4 gallon was too much of a pain to do again, but it was doable. If I were to do it again I'd limit myself to 6.5lbs of grain.

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Old 01-25-2011, 10:05 PM   #7
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I am in a very similar situation as you actually.

I do BIAB partial mashes, typcially with 5-7lb of grain. I have a 6 gallon pot, a 4 gallon pot and a 2 gallon pot. I'm planning on doing a 10lb partial mash soon too, actually.

My thoughts are that 3 gallons plus 10lbs of grain will not fit in a 4 gallon pot. 10lbs of grain takes up a lot of room even taking to account the water it absorbs. I'm not an expert though, maybe there is someone with more experience that me that can tell you with more certainty that it will or won't fit.

I would do the mash in the large pot with 3.125 gallons of water.
You would ideally want 20qt (5 gallons) of sparge water, but you can get by with far less. I would sparge in your 4 gallon pot with maybe 2 gallons of water. Let the grain sit the sparge pot for 10 minutes to extract as much sugar as possible. If you have another pot even if it is only a gallon or two, you can heat up more sparge water to 170 and pour it over the grain in a colander over your mash pot at the end of the sparge. Since your grain will soak up so much water, you'll probably be able to do 3.125 gallons for mash, 2 gallons in the 4 gallon sparge pot and then pour over another 1 or 2 gallons and have it all fit in your 6.25 gallon mash pot. That would be sparging with 3-4 gallons which should be pretty efficient. It seems that sparging is useful for extra efficiency out of your grain but is less important that the actual mashing, so if you have to compromise somewhere, I'd compromise on the sparging.

Your other option is to replace some of your grain with comparable DME or LME for a partial mash and use less grain. I'm really not sure which is best actually, I try to use as much grain as possible.

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Old 01-25-2011, 10:13 PM   #8
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This might help

http://up.jamesnweber.com/_brew/biabcalcs.html

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Old 01-25-2011, 10:31 PM   #9
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Thanks guys. 9 lbs and 2.8 gallons is impressive in a 4 gallon. I've been doing 6 lbs mash's. A larger mash also seams like a good idea. As does Gio's idea of multiple steeps. I think I'll try a 3.5 gallon mash followed by a 2.5 gallon steep and maybe another gallon or so if it looks like there is room. Of course now I am eyeing the 32 quart tamale steamer at walmart they have for 25 bucks...... And thanks for that link. It's helpfull.

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Old 01-26-2011, 01:27 AM   #10
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I mash in my larger brew pot and sparge in the smaller. I start to heat up the brew pot as the other one 'sparges'.

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