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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Brew in a Bag: 73% Efficiency
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Old 10-19-2008, 02:48 AM   #1
Cistercian
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Default Brew in a Bag: 73% Efficiency

I did my first "brew in a bag" today. My wife sewed a bag for me from a material similar to voile: 28 inches by 30 inches. It fit nicely in my keggle.

I brewed a Guinness Draught clone, all grain. Total grain bill came to just over 8lbs.

I mashed in the keggle, in the grain sack. Doughed in at 120 and brought it slowly up to 151. I mashed at 151 (within a few degrees or so, up and down) for 90 minutes and stirred almost every ten minutes using my burner to regulate a steady temp.

No sparging. I just let the bag drip dry for 10-15 minutes while I raised the keggle to a boil. I gave the bag a couple of gentle squeezes and that's it.

I boiled for little over an hour. Perle hops for 60 minutes.

Positives:
Five gallons with a 73% efficiency (my OG was 1044). Not bad and not much clean up.

Negatives:
The grain bag stitching ripped slightly when I pulled it out of the keggle. A bit of grain got into the wort. I got it out with a hand strainer. Also, the weave of the fabric wasn't as tight as it should be and some smaller pieces of husk did make it through the bag. I got most of this with a hand strainer.

I'm definitely going to "Brew in a Bag" next time - but work on perfecting the large bag.

Does anyone else have advice on the BiaB method?

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Old 10-19-2008, 02:41 PM   #2
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The biggest problem with the method: fine mesh isn't strong enough, strong mesh isn't fine enough. Look around for a heavy mesh shopping bag. Put your brewing bag inside it.

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Old 10-19-2008, 03:03 PM   #3
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Did you rig something to lift the bag out? Even only 8lbs of soaking wet grain would be a little heavy for me to hang over the kettle with only my arms. Also, was your bag touching the bottom of the kettle when you brought it up to temp? I did this once for a small batch on my stove, and I guess the temp got out of hand and I melted the bag to the bottom of the kettle. Lost a batch and a pot! I don't know if I'll go from the cooler mash tun I have now, but for future small batch stove top brews, this might be interesting.

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Old 10-19-2008, 03:38 PM   #4
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I put a veggie strainer on the bottom of my pot when I did BIAB to prevent a melted bag. Also maybe double bag your bag for increased screening potential of grain.

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Old 10-19-2008, 07:04 PM   #5
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I have a false bottom so that kept the bag from touching the bottom while I heated the keggle.

I too used a veggie strainer to rest the bag over the keggle so that it could drain. Hardly any effort.

Good idea on the double-bag suggestion.

Has anyone every created a giant metal basket? A stainless steel "french fry basket" (if it were round) would be ideal.

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Old 10-19-2008, 08:45 PM   #6
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I do not see any reason to brew in a bag if you have a cooler with a false bottom. If you vorlauf enough you should get very clear wort and cleanup is easy enough too. I always make 10 to 12 gallons in a Rubbermaid round cooler with a false bottom which seems very easy to me. I don't have to heat anything up as it holds temperature great. I can do a decoction mash too. Watch the video on decoction in the "All Grain" forum.

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Old 09-20-2010, 07:33 PM   #7
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Default brew in bag

I went down to Home Depot and got a five gallon paint strainer for a buck and a half. Works great, but I do small batches for MrBeer fermenter. Efficiency hasn't been so great, but I'm going work on that.

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Old 09-20-2010, 07:49 PM   #8
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My large cooking pot has a metal strainer attachement that is about the size of the pot. We use it to steam veggies. If I were going to try this, I would probably use that.

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Old 09-21-2010, 01:59 AM   #9
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The last few batches have been BIAB. My last batch had about 14 lbs of grain and didn't leak a bit. When I put my bag together, I made sure...

1. The "grain" of the bag was inline with how it would be used. If I pulled on the material in one direction, I could separate the fibers. If I pulled the other way, I wouldn't. I figured this would be stronger.

2. I stitched up anything that needed to be attached, like 3 times (look at a pair of jeans for example) and for my keggle bag I rolled the bottom over and stitched it 5 times. I figured this would be stronger, too.

3. I used nylon upholstery thread. The staff at the material store said this would be the strongest thread.

Good luck. BIAB is great!

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Old 01-18-2011, 01:11 AM   #10
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Can something like this be used for BIAB? Maybe "brew in a basket" ???

It would probably still need to be lined with something to keep the grains from leaking out... but it would be a lot stronger than a stitched fabric or mesh bag.

Fry basket

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