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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > What's with the BIAB fan boys?
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Old 10-09-2012, 01:49 PM   #1
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Default What's with the BIAB fan boys?

There are lots of ways to skin the brewing cat and most of them are represented on here.

It seems like most of the people on here are pretty open minded about different ways to do things, except the BIAB crowd. Ok now that I think about it maybe there is a general lack of open minded-ness but the BIAB crowd seems to be the most vocal. Why is it that in any thread someone posts asking about their process the answer from this crowd is always "you should be BIAB"?

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Old 10-09-2012, 02:13 PM   #2
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Because most people asking questions here are new(er) to brewing and BIAB is an easy technique that requires little investment in equipment for all grain brewing.

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Old 10-09-2012, 02:14 PM   #3
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I think they are just overly excited about finding a way to brew all grain without adding any additional equipment. It's that ah ha moment that gets them from extract to all grain and it seems so easy that most people think anyone can do it. For the most part they are right. The average Joe brewing extract can switch to all grain for the cost of a piece of fabric.

I'm not going to knock BIAB as I too took that path on my journey to where I am today and it made some mighty fine beer. However, for me, BIAB was too messy and I had a hard time holding my mash temp right where I wanted it.

I don't think it's the final solution but it is a nice step along the way. I think the "encouragement" they provide to advance past extract is for the most part good advice.

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Old 10-09-2012, 02:18 PM   #4
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I haven't noticed this, but if so, I hope it isn't true. Everyone should do the research and decide what will work best for them.

Maybe what some of the people were trying to say is that the transition from extract to a partial mash or all-grain can be easier using the BIAB process. To do it in the simplest way requires almost no extra equipment. You already have a pot and just need a disposable paint strainer bag to get started.

The other side of this discussion is that all methods get more complicated (mostly because of moving liquid around) when larger batches and higher ABV beers come into play.

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Old 10-09-2012, 03:05 PM   #5
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Warning I am a BIAB brewer.

I think lately there has been a lot of questions about BIAB and thus threads.
I started doing BIAB because it was almost no investment to make the jump to it other then a bag which I got Mom to sew up for me( in return for cooking her a nice dinner). When someone wants to make the jump but is hesitant to go RIMS or any other technique I don't see the big deal in letting them know about this fairly simple technique that requires almost no equipment. For me it makes sense since I am not someone who is going to be brewing 10gal batches, I just don't drink enough beer to make it worth while, I like 1.5-3 gal batches which BIAB fits perfectly.

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Old 10-09-2012, 03:20 PM   #6
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Which forums are you haunting? I've not seen an overly vocal BIAB sentiment, but perhaps I'm not visiting the same threads as you are.

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Old 10-09-2012, 03:20 PM   #7
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dont be confused. This is not knock on BIAB...just a comment on the zealousness of BIAB'ers. Personally I didn't use BIAB as a way to get into AG. I figured if I was going to spend time getting good at BIAB instead of batch sparging then why use it as an intermediary step and waste time building knowledge that wouldn't be applicable to my end goal. With that being said, I totally understand people who arrive at BIAB and decide to go no further.

The Speideil Braumeister is obviously quite the vote of confidence in the process.

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Old 10-09-2012, 03:54 PM   #8
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There are a lot of different ways to brew beer.Everyone has to figure what works for them. BIAB is a good, easy, cheap way to try all grain without a big investment. If you find it works for you great, if you decide you want to go the more traditional route, that is fine too. It is all about what process works for you and makes good beer.

I do not notice an overly zealous BIAB crowd, but mostly they make the suggestion to try BIAB as an easy entry into all grain.. What I find more annoying is when someone asks a bottling question and one of the first responses is "you should keg"

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Old 10-09-2012, 04:42 PM   #9
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It's not that BIAB people aren't as open minded, it's just BIAB is BIAB....it is a SPECIFIC technique....it is by nature limited in options - there just isn't much flexibility there. There aren't 20 different sparge methods and mash procedures, etc. However, what it lacks in flexibility, it more than makes up for in convenience and simplicity.

BIAB is a Honda Civic DX with roll up windows and cloth interior. If your point is to make it from point A to point B as economically as possible, i.e. make good beer as economically as possible, it's probably the one for you. Traditional AG brewing is more like an Accord LX with heated seats, power windows, leather interior, power seats, and a navigation system. You have more flexibility, and you like to have more control over your overall experience and more options, and if it costs a bit more $$$ and a bit more time to have more than just reliable transportation, it is worth it to you.

Traditional AG brewing is extremely flexible with hundreds of options developed over several thousand years of brewing. It is by nature extremely flexible with lots of differing techiques and procedures all falling under a generic title.

BIAB is one unified technique, just like batch sparging is one technique and fly sparging is another. That makes it a little unfair to call BIAB close minded, it just isn't developed beyond a few basic options, so it is by nature limited and unflexible. I can still make commercial quality beer in an hour less time than the traditional AG brewers in my club, and haul about 1/3 of the equipment to group brews. They can still pull off a begian quad or barleywine that I would never even attempt with a full volume BIAB.

In my brewclub of about 100 members, we have about 30% BIAB brewers (including me), about 30% extract brewers, and about 40% traditional three-vessel AG brewers.

The BIAB brewers are definitely trending upwards, but just at a creep, not rapidly. When a non-brewer or newbie brewer comes to our group brew days, we make a point to explain everyone's unique systems and techniques. When the extract brewers move to AG, about 1/2 of them are choosing BIAB, and about 1/2 of them are going to traditional three-vessel AG.

I would venture to say the "laid back" brewers typically head to BIAB, while the "detailed" (<--anal..lol) brewers head to traditional three-vessel AG.

All that said, I honestly think BIAB offers the oppertunity for the more casual brewer to move to AG and stick with brewing long term. If the actual numbers were available, I bet they would show that the trends of traditional AG brewers hasn't really changed much, i.e., people aren't choosing BIAB OVER traditional AG, but MORE people are getting into AG brewing overall thanks to BIAB.

In my mind, it is a WIN/WIN for the homebrewing community!

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Old 10-09-2012, 05:09 PM   #10
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BIAB ought to be exciting to new brewers. It's a VERY cheap way to experience AG brewing. For a couple of dollars anyone curious about creating wort from grains can give it a try. It's especially handy for people who do smaller batches.

I personally haven't seen too many posts saying everyone should do BIAB, but it makes sense to suggest it to extract or PM brewers who want to try a full mash brew without investing in a mash tun.

I've been AG for a while, but even I gave BIAB a try and sometimes still use it for the rare small batch in the kitchen during the deep cold of winter. It's a valid technique and the downsides are mostly related to convenience IMO.

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