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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > I just do not get it . why ?

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Old 09-01-2013, 03:26 PM   #1
MarcusKillion
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Default I just do not get it . why ?

Okay I do not want to insult anyone here by bad mouthing their preferred method of brewing but I jsut have to ask " Why do you do this " ?

Okay I started to do this this morning becasue I am making a 1 G batch of Arrogant Bastard clone . So I stasrt reading up on it to make sure I do it right . This is what I find :

The need for less equipment is way off base in my opinion . You still need the brew pot . Plus a support for the bottom of the pot to keep the bag off the bottom so it does not melt while heating up if you do that to keep mash temp up . Plus if doing a big batch you will now need a hoist system to get it out of the pot unless you are a weight lifter . Also a bag .
So I say it is just as much cost more or less to buy a cooler and false bottom .

Keeping the mash temp up is a hassle . Either you must have a keg that will hold more heat than a pot and cost about the same as cooler I bet or you must heat now and then which means constant watching the temp .

Loss of efficiency means you need to use more grain . Well maybe you could sparge a smaller batch like my 1 gallon but a big batch , no way I think .

It just seems like a bunch of hassle just to save the making of a mash tun .
Or perhaps it is just the novelty of doing it this way ?

Okay , time to for you to tell me I am crazy .

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Last edited by MarcusKillion; 09-01-2013 at 03:43 PM. Reason: more info and a few spelling errors
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Old 09-01-2013, 03:45 PM   #2
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Don't know about the crazy part, but -- especially for small batches -- BIAB is SUPER easy. Not really any more gear than extract. (I've brewed extract, AG & BIAB).

I do agree that if you go >5 gal., it prolly doesn't make as much sense because of pulley systems & the supporting frame work, etc. Then it seems a wash to me, but I have not done bigger batches BIAB.

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Old 09-01-2013, 04:06 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarcusKillion View Post
Loss of efficiency means you need to use more grain.
I think you have this backwards. One of the benefits of BIAB is improved efficiency due to the ability to use a very fine crush. If you're not getting at least 80% efficiency with BIAB, you're doing something wrong.

Personally, I like having complete control over my mash temps. I do a lot of step mashes and being able to add heat as needed is a plus. Once you reach your max volume in a cooler mash tun, the only way to get the temp up is to pull a decoction. Not a big deal, but quite a bit more involved than just firing up the burner. Also, if you buy the right kind of boil kettle (e.g., tril-clad bottom) you won't need to worry about putting anything in the bottom to keep your grain bag from burning.

In the end, it comes down to personal preference. What I consider to be plusses for BIAB may not be a big deal for somebody else. Likewise, what I consider to be drawbacks for traditional mashing in a cooler may not be considered an issue for others. The point is to have beer at the end of the day. Do whatever floats your boat.
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Old 09-01-2013, 04:06 PM   #4
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The biggest batch of BIAB I would consider practical is 5 Gallons or so, Why do you need really big batches? brew more, smaller batches that way you can have more variety of beers. That said what efficiency are you getting from using your mash tun? I got 88% from my last BIAB batch and it was only my second attempt at all grain. Also I don't have to worry about using rice hulls to prevent a stuck mash.

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Old 09-01-2013, 09:47 PM   #5
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I just did my first BIAB. It was 3 gallons so about 7.5 lbs of grain. I used a paint strainer and it was SUPER easy. After getting my mash temp I covered it with towels for insulation. I stirred once. I sparged by putting the bag in colander and hot tap water. Lifting wasn't an issue. I hit 75% efficiency without really trying, which is about what I get with my picnic cooler.

I might do more small batches as a result. That says it all.

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Old 09-01-2013, 10:20 PM   #6
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I have an old sleeping bag of my daughters that once I mash in I put over the top of the kettle like a big sock. I never have added heat during my hour of waiting. I take it off every 15 minutes stir and check temp then put back on. only caution here is that you have to wait til your burner is cooled down enough or you will melt your sleeping back. which I have done to poor Dora the Explorer...haha! oh and you can still do big beers. I did an IPA yesterday with a 17lb grain bill and had very good efficiency. higher than the recipe said I would actually. it all boils down to what your preference is though. some people like their way and will stick with it. that's what makes homebrewing so cool is all the different ways you can brew and still end up with amazing beer!

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Old 09-01-2013, 10:34 PM   #7
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Anyone tried something in between a cooler mash tun and BIAB? What I was thinking was, instead of putting in a false bottom, just use a brew bag in an unmodified cooler. It would save lifting the heavy bag, make sparging easier and you can use a finer grist. maybe suspend the bag from the bottom on something to give a bigger area of bag to drain through. If I didn't already have an awesome BIAB electric keggle, this is what I would consider doing.

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Old 09-02-2013, 08:52 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by triskelion View Post
Anyone tried something in between a cooler mash tun and BIAB? What I was thinking was, instead of putting in a false bottom, just use a brew bag in an unmodified cooler. It would save lifting the heavy bag, make sparging easier and you can use a finer grist. maybe suspend the bag from the bottom on something to give a bigger area of bag to drain through. If I didn't already have an awesome BIAB electric keggle, this is what I would consider doing.
I do 2 gallon BIAB mashs in a 5 gal cooler using a paint strainer bag.

Simple easy. No need to sparge.
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Old 09-02-2013, 10:32 AM   #9
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What I don't understand is why would anyone brew one gallon of beer? It takes the same equipment and the same time for 20% of the return. It seems like a bunch of hassle for 9 beers.

Here's a little trick. You can put two 5 gallon paint bags in your brew pot. I know, amazing. 20 lbs of grain out of the pot and into a bucket. Sparge it in the bucket and pour that back into the pot.

If you sparge, you effectively increase the size of your biab kettle. The kettle can only hold so much grain plus water. When you pull the grain out, you have room for your second runnings. This enables someone to brew a bigger beer. That is, comparing no-sparge biab to sparging biab.

I haven't burnt my bags yet. Checking the temp 3 times during the mash and running the burner for 20 seconds isn't too much work. During that heating, I like to move my bags around in the pot to get the temperature even throughout so maybe that's why my bags are unburnt. Your temperature is likely to be steadier with a five gallon instead of a one gallon biab. You would need a pretty small MLT cooler to be able to maintain the temperature on a 2 quart mash.

My next batch is going to be batch sparging in a cooler. Learning is part of the fun. There's nothing wrong with mixing it up. If people didn't. we'd all still be deconcoction mashing or using extract. Batch sparging? Sorry but's that "new" technology.

Try not to compare it to other ways of getting there. Enjoy the ride and see if you don't find something in the process you appreciate.

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Old 09-02-2013, 12:11 PM   #10
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i understand why people sometimes brew 1 gallon of beer. maybe its one they haven't made before and want to make sure they like it before making 5 gal of it. or maybe they are trying to get a recipe down and it is cheaper to experiment on 1 gal than 5 gal.

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