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Old 11-15-2008, 02:27 PM   #21
Cistercian
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I think that I get a high efficiency because I stir the grains a lot and because there is so much water. It's almost like a continual rinse. Also at the end, the grains run dry. I've even double-dipped the giant (10 lbs and more) tea bag which acts somewhat like a sparge.

I guess you could run 170 F water through the grain bag after you pull it out, but why waste the time and effort if you're already getting 73-80% efficiency, as is?

I usually dough in with 7 gallons of water. The extra two gallons account from some grain absorption and boil off. I end up with 5 gallons (plus or minus a quart) in the fermenter when it's all said and done.

I've mentioned BIAB to others and they say: "Won't work well because there's no sparge," but the numbers beg to differ.

My grains are crushed at the standard measure at the LHBS. I don't crush them any finer, though I've thought about running them through twice next time to just see how it effects the efficiency.

As for cloudy beer and grain dust, I haven't noticed it too much. "Dust" is relatively big and heavy, and I imagine it falls out. I haven't tried lagers, but Lustreking in his post above seems to testify that it hasn't affected his color or clarity.

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Old 01-25-2009, 02:53 PM   #22
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I do a three step mash and then sparge. To make things "easier" I purchased a sparging bag. The initial draining of the wort went well, but then I went to sparge the remainder with hotter water. Allowed the bulk of the sparging liquid to drain by lifting the bag slightly over the brew kettle. Then I tried to lift the bag out of the kettle to allow the remainder to drain. Wrong move...the bottom came out of the bag. Hot grain everywhere! The bottom of the bag had melted .... and I do not sparge at a temperature above 168. You CANNOT use these bags in a brew kettle over a gas burner even if the gas is not set on a very high heat. My last use of a sparging bag.

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Old 01-27-2009, 12:31 AM   #23
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With BIAB I hit around 75% when I check my OG.

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Old 01-27-2009, 02:42 AM   #24
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Quote:
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I do a three step mash and then sparge. To make things "easier" I purchased a sparging bag...the bottom came out of the bag. Hot grain everywhere! The bottom of the bag had melted .... and I do not sparge at a temperature above 168. You CANNOT use these bags in a brew kettle over a gas burner even if the gas is not set on a very high heat.
Was the bag made of nylon or something else? I ask because nylon can withstand boiling temperatures quite well.

Also, how many pounds of wet grain where you lifting? I imagine the weight was a greater factor than the heat.
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Old 01-27-2009, 01:37 PM   #25
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The bag was designed to hold eight gallons. Yes, it was nylon, but the bottom had a special insert with a heavier mesh to aid in draining. The entire heavier mesh insert burned out...as in black...but the much finer mesh was unaffected. The bag cost about 9.00. Never will use such a bag again during the step mashing and sparging and do hope the burned out bottom does not ruin a complex brew that was a lot of work.

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Old 01-27-2009, 01:59 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mensplace View Post
I do a three step mash and then sparge. To make things "easier" I purchased a sparging bag. The initial draining of the wort went well, but then I went to sparge the remainder with hotter water. Allowed the bulk of the sparging liquid to drain by lifting the bag slightly over the brew kettle. Then I tried to lift the bag out of the kettle to allow the remainder to drain. Wrong move...the bottom came out of the bag. Hot grain everywhere! The bottom of the bag had melted .... and I do not sparge at a temperature above 168. You CANNOT use these bags in a brew kettle over a gas burner even if the gas is not set on a very high heat. My last use of a sparging bag.
My BiaB bags have been made out of a sheer curtain from Walmart. I think it's polyester. I've never had any trouble with the bag melting, and I direct heat the kettle with my propane burner. I do, however, make sure that I'm constantly stirring when I heat the mash.
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Old 01-27-2009, 02:12 PM   #27
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Interesting. I wonder.......

I've got a bunch of unused heavy game bags in my camper.......for elk and large deer. These are made out of a sort of really heavy cheese cloth. I might have to give this a try and see if those will work. They are certainly strong enough to hold 10lbs of grain easy.

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Old 01-27-2009, 02:45 PM   #28
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Also, a veggie strainer on the bottom of the pot with near constant stirring while heating will reduce chance of melting grain bag.

I just use a 5lb paint strainer. Use it for a few brews and then throw it away.

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Old 01-27-2009, 03:31 PM   #29
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For you other BIABers out there, do you find any temperature difference between different parts of the kettle during mashing? I find there's a difference of several degrees between the water and the grain, as the grain tends to settle at the bottom - and there's just too much of it to keep it all stirred up for 60 minutes. When the water's at 148 or so, the grain itself can be 153 or more, and I'm not sure which one best indicates what's actually happening in the mash. I ask as I've found my last couple of beers to be a little thin. I'd assumed that the grain temp would be the temp to keep an eye on, but I wonder whether the water temp is the more important. Has anyone else found this?

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Old 01-27-2009, 03:37 PM   #30
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I hit 75% my second time doing it. (I do not want to talk about the first. It was very low, but i was very stupid.)

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