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Old 02-25-2012, 02:56 AM   #1
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Default BIAB tactical error

Gentlemen and ladies, I have a problem scenario:

I am preparing to brew a black IPA, my first all-grain recipe. I was excited about doing a full boil, because I have a five-gal kettle and that worked fine for full boil with extract. Some of you already see where this is going.

Yeah, my 12 pounds of grain displaces about a gallon and a half of water. Crap. I also have a spare 3.9 gal stockpot, so here's my thinking: can I boil both simultaneously, each with half the water and half the grain bill and combine them for the boil + hopping?

I'm worried about efficiency, though if I understand it right (and if I do, it's an accident) since i'd be dealing with identical water volumes and grain quantities on each half that should be okay even if the diameter and depth of the water is different between burners.

(I have a fantastic gas range, FWIW. Can do a 5-gal full boil from any or all of its four burners if the vessels are tall enough not to bump into each other.)

The other thing I'm worried about is color extraction. My recipe has 8 oz. of chocolate malt and 4 oz. of chocolate malt alongside 11 lbs. 2-row and crystal, and obviously the blackness is an important part of the black IPA. Will it be important in this case to get an even proportion of malts into each kettle for color extraction?

Thanks a ton in advance!

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Old 02-25-2012, 03:05 AM   #2
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You could split the mashing into the two kettles; mash them both out when done mashing to stop conversion. Then remove the grain bags (use Viola curtain if need be) and recombine the wort into one kettle (if it all fits) or like you said make two smaller "identical" volume batches of beer by splitting the hop charges. then recombine them into one fermenter...

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Last edited by bschoenb; 02-25-2012 at 03:10 AM. Reason: clarification
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Old 02-25-2012, 03:06 AM   #3
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Oh; and get a bigger kettle! 10 gallon min; preferably a 15

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Old 02-25-2012, 03:09 AM   #4
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I used to do split kettles for extract brews. It worked out OK. But yes, I did finally buy a 10g kettle to do full boils and BIAB.

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Old 02-25-2012, 05:56 AM   #5
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Actually, my plan was indeed to combine them for the post-mash boil, hops, etc - my main vessel is 5gal, so I have room for the batch - just not the water and grain at the same time!

New kettle will happen when I convince SWMBO that my brewing isn't just a phase.

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The first step is locating a cheap pasta maker. Are you married? If so you probably got one as a wedding present.
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Old 02-25-2012, 06:13 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kerin View Post
Actually, my plan was indeed to combine them for the post-mash boil, hops, etc - my main vessel is 5gal, so I have room for the batch - just not the water and grain at the same time!

New kettle will happen when I convince SWMBO that my brewing isn't just a phase.
What size batch are you making?
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Old 02-25-2012, 01:08 PM   #7
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I just got two 8gallon kettles and I'm already sort of rethinking that decision. I've already made two beers in 5g batch size in a 7.5g pot, so I feel OK with this, but the boil can be tenuous. I'm converting to electric submersible elements, which may help once I get the PID controls dialed in and my setup honed.

Still the old addage of "bigger is better" applies here. The only place it hurts you is if you get a large diameter pot and have small burners that have a hard time heating water in the pot. My new pots are probably 14" in diameter, larger than the turkey pots by a good bit. I'm doing a boil from 48* right now with 6.5 gallons on my glass-top stove. It's been about 45 minutes and it's not much over 100* yet. Granted this volume of water will normally be at about 160*+ when I go to boil, I wanted to get some numbers for worst case (if I do a split batch 10g. size and have to heat double strike water, etc.)

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Old 02-25-2012, 01:17 PM   #8
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If you're doing a 5 gal batch you will need bigger than 5 gal pot. you should start with 6 to 6.5 gall of wort to allow for boil off during the hour long boil. I have a 7.5 gal turkey fryer and it is just barely big enough for 5 gal BIAB

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Old 02-25-2012, 03:50 PM   #9
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You could also mash in one pot and have the second pot heated to mash out temperature, maybe 175F to account for the cooling effect of the grain. When you are done with your mash, heat the mash vessel up to 175, (lift the bag first so it does not scorch) and then lower it, stir gently for a minute and lift again and let drain. After the majority of the wort drips off the bag, drop it in the second kettle which has been heated to 175F. Stir as before and lift and let drain. This is called a dunk sparge, and you may get better efficiency with it because the water bath can extract more of the sugars. I believe it is harder to get additional sugars by washing the grain in wort, which already has a high percentage of sugar in it.

Anyway, just another idea to try. It may sound a little harder than it is. Good luck! It may not be as easy and straight forward as having one big kettle, but the enzymes won't care and you will make beer!

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Old 02-25-2012, 04:25 PM   #10
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Split it up between two pots a combine when done. If I do a 5 gallon biab I start with 7-7.5 gallons of water. Keep it simple don't over think it and have fun. One thing I've learned is beer brewing.

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