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Old 11-12-2008, 10:50 PM   #1
Cistercian
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Default More Brew in a Bag (BIAB) Success

I just had another success with Brew in a Bag (BIAB). This past time I got close to 80%!

Just think, you can do all "all grain" and save a whole hour of time and a lot of clean up. Estimate 3.5 hours from set up to clean up. That's great time for an AG batch.

Here's how I do it.

I have a 15 gallon converted keggle with a false bottom (the false bottom keeps the bag off the bottom - you don't want to burn or melt the bag since you're using a burner.).

I bring the water to 121 F. Then I put the bag in the keggle. I pour the crushed grains into the bag. Bring the water up to 151 F (or whatever your mash temp is) and hold it by using the burning from time to time.

There are three keys to high efficiency with BIAB:

1.Mash for 70 minutes and then mash out at 170 F for 20 minutes. That's 90 minutes total.

2. I take off the lid and stir inside the bag every twenty minutes. To do this right, you need someone to hold the bag. Otherwise, you could spill the grain into the wort and that pretty much defeats the purpose. I really stir it up. You lose heat this way so watch your temp gauge and keep the temp constant. Repeat this over and over.

3. When you lift the bag out, be careful. I had one bag begin to rip with a heavy grain bill. For this reason, DON'T SUSPEND THE BAG. Instead, I have a colander that fits perfectly over the mouth of my kettle. I put the colander over the mouth of the kettle and rest the grain sack on top of it so that it can drain while sitting on top of the colander.

While it's draining, go ahead and turn up the burner and start bringing to a boil. This saves time.

Finally, I press on the grain sack against the colander. Some might vote against this, but it pushes out just a bit more wort. Then I throw the grain sack to the side. It's finished.

Don't let people fool you into thinking that this won't work for big grain bills or high OGs. My only worry on the big grain bill is ripping the sack. Just be careful and don't suspend the sack.

If you do suspend the sack, the weight naturally presses and squeezes the grain so don't worry about squeezing it with your hands. If you use the colander, there is no natural squeeze so give it a squeeze yourself.

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Old 11-12-2008, 11:22 PM   #2
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Glad to see you sucessfully made beer using that method. Main thing is that you enjoyed yourself making a beer you enjoy drinking

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Old 11-13-2008, 01:27 AM   #3
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Rock on!

I want to try BIAB soon.
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Old 11-13-2008, 03:01 AM   #4
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I basically followed EdWort's Haus Pale Ale recipe, except I used BIAB.

Quote:
Dough-in with 3.5 gallons of water. After 60 minutes, add 5 quarts of 175 degree water and begin vorlauf. My system only takes about 2 quarts before it clears up, then it's wide open to drain in the kettle. Have another 3.25 gallons of 175 degree water ready for the next batch sparge. You should then get 6.5 gallons to your kettle for the boil.
I did get 6.5 gallons to the boil and I got 80% efficiency! I pulled the bag and let it drain a bit before squeezing it pretty thoroughly. My mash temp slid a bit, so I added some boiling water to bring it back up with a half-gallon. Dumped the wort into my bucket, put the grain bag back into my Igloo Cooler, and sparged with another 3.25 gal @ 175. The sparge wort then went into the bucket and the whole batch was boiled in 2 containers since I have smaller kettles. I hit all the target gravities but I have yet to start checking for my FG.

Is there any reason why the original BIAB instructions omit the sparge, or is it unnecessary? Would I have gotten 80% without the sparge?

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Old 11-13-2008, 04:25 AM   #5
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I don't get how this saves any time if you are batch sparging it must be the same amount of time.

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Old 11-13-2008, 06:54 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brewjunky View Post
I don't get how this saves any time if you are batch sparging it must be the same amount of time.
Yeah, I would think the main benefit would be not having to buy a cooler and hose braid or manifold. In my case, I got an IceCube cooler for free from a friend and spent $8 on fittings. But I'm all for brewing with whatever you have around.

Perhaps the OP can elaborate on how his/her method saves time?
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Old 11-13-2008, 06:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brewjunky View Post
I don't get how this saves any time if you are batch sparging it must be the same amount of time.
I've never used a mash-tun so I don't know if BIAB is quicker than other methods. For me, BIAB was a way into AG brewing that only cost $6 for a voile curtain (as well as 20 minutes of unmanly sewing activity ).
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Old 11-13-2008, 07:13 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brewjunky View Post
I don't get how this saves any time if you are batch sparging it must be the same amount of time.
I batch sparge and BiaB. I'd say that BiaB saves me at least an hour and a half for several reasons.

- Quick set up. I don't need to get out my HLT, Mash Tun, or mash tun stand.

- No sparge. I don't do an extended mash or a long mash out like Cistercian. Sometimes I'll raise the mash to 170, but I pull the grain bag right away usually. I get 75% efficiency.

- Possibly quicker to boil, because the pre-boil temp is most likely a little higher. Also, I start the burner as soon as I pull the bag out. With my "real" system, I have to keep my kettle on the ground until the sparge is finished, and then I can lift it onto my burner to start the boil.

- Quick cleanup. I don't need to clean and put away my HLT, Mash Tun, or mash tun stand.

It is also a much more portable system. I can fit everything in the trunk of my car, as opposed to filling up my van.
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Old 11-13-2008, 07:22 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cascadie View Post
Is there any reason why the original BIAB instructions omit the sparge, or is it unnecessary? Would I have gotten 80% without the sparge?
I think that the beauty of BiaB is in it's simplicity of both process and equipment. Sparging requires another vessel, and more time.

I don't sparge and I regularly get 75% efficiency.
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Old 11-13-2008, 10:29 PM   #10
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well if your heating up water to 170 thats a batch sparge right there.

Before I had my electirc system I used to add roughly 3 gallons to my m,ash tun dough in leave it for 60 mins. drain, sparge with another 4 gallons or so of water boil and i was done.

I don't see how this method is any faster other then you can adjust your temps with your heater etc.

Your still having to rinse the bag with 170 degress water to get all the sugars out. or squeeze 10 lbs of grain in a bag to extract whats in the bag. Then you have to wash the bag after which must be a PITA with all of those grain husks sticking in there.

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