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Old 11-14-2009, 04:51 PM   #1
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Default Simple BIB small batch method

I've been employing a BIB method for three gallon pilot and experimental batches. After four successful trials (and four pretty tasty experiments ) I thought I'd share it.

The set up accommodates 4-6 lbs of grain and has just enough room for four gallons of water, netting a three gallon yield. Overall I’ve been getting 75-76% efficiency consistently with no sparging of any kind.

Here is the set up. One 5 gallon canning pot, vegetable steamer, five gallon paint strainer bag (washed beforehand) stretched over the pot, all on the typical propane burner (which everyone assumes is for crawfish in my neck of the woods, and what's better with crawfish than beer?). But this could work on a decent stove top as well.



With the brew-in-bag method, all the water: strike, sparge, top off, is placed in the pot and heated to the proper strike temp. I typically round it off to 16 quarts; that leaves just enough space for 4-6 lbs of grain without slopping it all over the place.

With the large volume to grist ration, this is only 3-4 degrees hotter than the target mash temp. I use BeerSmith, set for a 5 gallon brew pot and it pretty well nails it. Doughing in is a snap with all that liquid.



Now we let it mash for a solid hour. I use this sophisticated insulation method. I stir and check the mash temp every fifteen minuets. I will usually add a few seconds of heat 2-3 times in the course of the mash. And I do take the towel off when the burner is on.



The next step I think is critical; a mash out. I heat the grist up to 168 and hold it for five to ten minuets stirring a few times to make sure everything is heated up.



Now comes the “sparge” part. Detach the neck of the bag and lift up the “tea bag”. I will let it drain a minuet or two and dunk it back in. I gently shake it to loosen the grains and get them saturated again, and then lift it out again. I dunk it two or three times, letting it drain to drips after the last dunk. No squeezing is employed.



I set the bag in the lid of the pot, and fish out the vegetable strainer with my charismatic wooden brewing spoon seen earlier, and turn on the flame to start the boil. While it's heating, I’ll press on the bag with the back of the spoon for a second or two to collect another cup or two of liquor out of the bag. I’ll add this to the pot, but again, I do not do any real squeezing.



So now I boil, add hops, cool and pour into the fermentor as normal. My spoon is notched so I know when I’ve gotten down to three gallons. I will adjust the heat and top off as necessary to hit the three gallon mark



You will have a lot more trub than usual, but I have not experienced any problems with it, other than loosing a little more beer than usual when racking. The volume limits the types of beer to mid range gravity beers, employing a single infusion. And you may have to work backwards from the 16 quart or so limit of water and desired gravity to work out your grain bill.

This is pretty good way to get into all grain on a shoestring, and for small and pilot batches. It also shaves a good bit of time off the usual brewday.

Give it a try.

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Old 11-14-2009, 05:15 PM   #2
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Looks like a snap. Anyone see any problems using that pot? I had also considered getting one for boiling sparge water. I am not sure what material it is, but they are definitely cheap.

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Old 11-14-2009, 05:48 PM   #3
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Professional pics and a good set up!

Nice.

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Old 11-14-2009, 06:05 PM   #4
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Professional pics
Crappy cel phone cam, actually.

I picked up the enameled steel pot when I was still starting out in homebrewing and didn't have the cash for a large stainless. The only real issue is chipping the enamel off and getting rust on them. It is not hard to do, but I've been careful with it and after a decade or more, it's doing just fine. It was originally a mashing pot for the Charlie Papazian method. I use it for sparge water now. My wife used it for canning once.
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Old 12-24-2011, 08:37 PM   #5
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Looks pretty sweet.

Are the paint strainer bag reusable?

I think that idea much better then trying to make a bag.

Any pointers on where your got the bags?

Thanks!

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Old 12-24-2011, 10:13 PM   #6
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Pretty much like my setup cept I mash in a 5 gallon cooler, and I press the Hell out of the grain w/the bag sitting on a calendar. I haven't tried the dunk sparge but I'm brewing today, mashing right this instant.

Paint strainer bags can be used over and over till you notice a hole in it. You can buy them at your local hardware store. HD, Lowes, etc.

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Old 12-25-2011, 05:00 AM   #7
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Also on the paint strainer bags, what's the best way to wash them?

I've been thinking of using this method and probably will do for my next batch.

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Old 12-25-2011, 05:33 AM   #8
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Sweet walk though. You very through and for a noob like me it is very helpful. I'm hopefully going to be using a setup similar to this.
How do you know how much yeast to use? Do they yeast for 3 gallon batches?

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Old 12-25-2011, 05:37 AM   #9
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Nice instructional.. I also do BIAB.. What type and size fermentors are you using for these 3 gal batches?

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Old 12-25-2011, 11:28 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OlatheSurferDude View Post
Also on the paint strainer bags, what's the best way to wash them?

I've been thinking of using this method and probably will do for my next batch.
When my paint strainer bags were new I washed them in the sink with a bit of soap to rid them of any residue from the manufacture and rinsed, rinsed, rinsed. After each use I simply rinse out whatever grain comes out easy, hang them to dry and then brush the dry grain off.

I get pretty vigorous with squeezing the bag since without sparging there is a lot of sugary wort left in there. The last of the wort looks pretty cloudy and at first I worried about cloudy beer but that hasn't been the case at all. I never transfer to secondary, just leave my beer in the primary for 3 to 4 weeks so everything settles out and then into the bottling bucket. I try to get all the beer I can out of the fermenter and in doing so I always end up sucking some trub into into the bottling bucket but in the few minutes it takes to get set up to bottle it seems to all settle back out. My last APA I bottled with some clear bottles so I could check on how long it might take to clear the last trub out and found the beer very clear on the second day.
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