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Old 09-29-2012, 04:08 AM   #1
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Default Sparge BIAB vs. Regular BIAB Efficiency

I had trouble finding previous threads about this, although I am sure they are out there.

I sparged my first batch since my kettle is only 8 gallons. I got 78% efficiency on a session beer (1.04 OG +/-)

I decided to scale down batch 2 so I could do a true BIAB (no sparge). I got 82% efficiency on a little bigger beer (1.062 OG). My second batch went a little smoother than the first. My mash in temp was just right and I did a better job insulating my pot during mash.

I realize this is only 2 batches, but my conclusion is that I can get good efficiency with either method. If my kettle is big enough to do a no-sparge BIAB, I will. I like to keep is simple whenever I can.

Just wanted to post my experience since I had trouble finding similar posts.

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Old 09-29-2012, 12:14 PM   #2
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My experience says I can get about 80% effficiency on no sparge and about 85% with sparging. Not a huge difference and I probably will only sparge for convenience from now on.

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Old 09-29-2012, 12:27 PM   #3
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I believe there is a greater difference depending how much wort you leave in the grain bag...I have taken to letting my bag drain thoroughly over the kettle and have not bothered sparging lately...sparging is extra work and grain is cheap in bulk FWIW, so then I'm sparging to save $0.45, I don't think so!

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Old 09-29-2012, 01:00 PM   #4
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>.I believe there is a greater difference depending how much wort you leave in the grain bag...I have taken to letting my bag drain thoroughly over the kettle and have not bothered sparging lately...sparging is extra work and grain is cheap in bulk FWIW, so then I'm sparging to save $0.45, I don't think so!

Hey man! 45 cents, here and there, soon adds up to real money.


I do squeeze the bag (to get my 45 cents wort). But the only time I think you will really see a difference is with higher gravity beers. With so much grain, there is extra sugar locked up, so a sparge will see a difference. Probably most BIAB brewers do no sparge. I think most Australians would mock you if you were to spend considerable time sparging/squeezing. They would suggest you spend an extra 57 cents for a pound of grain instead.

I may sparge and save the runnings for a future starter. I dont mind a few minutes work for that.

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Old 09-29-2012, 01:21 PM   #5
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I can't imagine getting 80% efficiency! How in the world did you achieve that? My best is 72% whether I sparge or not. Great job. I agree. If you are getting that great efficiency, you don't need any extra steps!

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Old 09-29-2012, 01:44 PM   #6
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I've done over 75 BIAB batches so far and high efficiency isn't that important, in my opinion. What is important to me is REPEATABLE efficiency. Whether you get 55%, 60%, 70% or higher really isn't what it's all about, but if you can hit that 65% efficiency every time, or +/- 2%, now you have achieved the goal. Now you can formulate your recipes and really hone in on your process and go after the taste/character you're trying to craft.

Jim

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Old 09-29-2012, 03:20 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ragtop232 View Post
I've done over 75 BIAB batches so far and high efficiency isn't that important, in my opinion. What is important to me is REPEATABLE efficiency. Whether you get 55%, 60%, 70% or higher really isn't what it's all about, but if you can hit that 65% efficiency every time, or +/- 2%, now you have achieved the goal. Now you can formulate your recipes and really hone in on your process and go after the taste/character you're trying to craft.

Jim
Good point. After just 4 batches of beer, I am working on consistency. I am recording most of what I do (temps, times, water volumes, gravity, etc.). I am starting to modify my process based on results.

I must admit the most consistant thing I am doing is breaking hydrometers. I have now broken 3 hydrometers in only 4 batches of beer. Must be some kind of record!
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Old 09-29-2012, 03:51 PM   #8
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I sparge started with 65% worked on crush and got up to 72-75% consistently for 43 batches, then worked on mash temperature (better thermometer) and have held 80-85% depending on beer style bigger grain bills drop down a little going to try more stirring of the grain to see if that helps. Work only one item til you can hold you technique/efficiency before moving on. This also helps with consistency, also noticed a beer that clears quicker (yes I control fermenting temperature to beer style as well as cold crashing) I believe anything you tweak to help bring you better technique will improve your beer.

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Old 10-01-2012, 03:39 AM   #9
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As of right now I'm doing a no-sparge method that gets me 80-85% efficiency. My bag is kind of coarse and I have my crush pretty dialed in, and I usually run a 75 minute mash. I guess that's why my efficiency is high. But it is really about consistency so we'll see whether or not it holds out.

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Old 10-01-2012, 01:04 PM   #10
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Use two kettles, or one kettle and one cooler.

Mash in the smaller kettle or cooler. When the mash is complete, dip the grain bag several times in the main kettle which is holding the necessary amount of 170F-ish degree plain water for the recipe. Much of the remaining sugars and color from the grain will be released in the plain water. Do not squeeze the bag. Let it drip hang from a height while you proceed with the rest of your recipe.

(This method works better for partial mashers that are not using a ton of grain. 3-5 lbs. total perhaps supplemented by 50-60% DME extract).

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