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Old 10-01-2012, 01:48 PM   #1
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Default Brewing in a bag in a cooler

Okay, I know this is unconventional, and might get shot down. But what if someone were to do their mash inside of a bag inside of a cooler?

Just put your double crushed grain inside of a bag, or two, or three; then add your strike water to a cooler, and lie your grain bags down inside the water. Mash for 60 mins, agitating the bags every now and then. After 60 mins; lift, squeeze the bags, and empty the wort from the cooler into the kettle. Put the grain in the bags back in the cooler, and sparge with 170F water. Lift and squeeze the bags, empty sparge water into kettle.

It uses the BIAB principle, but also uses the heat insulation of the cooler to hold mash temps.

Has anyone ever tried this?

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Old 10-01-2012, 01:52 PM   #2
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This is how I always brew, but I do partial mash so I just use a grain sock but I have never had a problem with it. The only difference is I pour the water over the grain and agitate to ensure all the grain is wet, then have hot water ready to add in case the temp drops

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Old 10-01-2012, 01:57 PM   #3
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Lots of people have tried it.

However, you are eliminating the main benefit of BIAB - simplicity. Grain, bag, pot = done.

If you are going to buy (and store) a cooler, you may as well get a few plumbing fittings and batch sparge.

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Old 10-01-2012, 02:01 PM   #4
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Yes, that's basically how I partial mash. I just put all my grain in a large bag inside an unmodified 3 gallon beverage cooler and pour in my strike water- about half at first, then stir/mix, then pour in the rest. Then dunk a couple of times just to make sure the water gets between the bag and the side of the cooler, put the lid on and let it do its thing. The cooler holds temp quite well for an hour- no need to take the lid off and agitate the bag, you'll only lose heat that way. And I don't squeeze the bag, just let it drip. I can do about 6 pounds of grain with this method.

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Old 10-01-2012, 02:06 PM   #5
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This is how I do my all grain brewing. 5 gallon cooler and a big bag. Basically I'm substituting the bag for a false bottom. Works well, but the temperature drops more quickly than I'd like if I have less than 7 lbs of grain.

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Old 10-01-2012, 02:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billl View Post
Lots of people have tried it.

However, you are eliminating the main benefit of BIAB - simplicity. Grain, bag, pot = done.

If you are going to buy (and store) a cooler, you may as well get a few plumbing fittings and batch sparge.
I agree that the method somewhat complicates the BIAB process, but "Grain, bag, pot" = no sparge; and therefore, lower efficiency on average. I would also need a stainless steel pot big enough to hold my grain, and my water at once. A costly venture indeed.

I guess I could just go traditional batch sparge in a cooler MLT, just seeing what else is out there though.
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Old 10-01-2012, 02:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Damage View Post
This is how I do my all grain brewing. 5 gallon cooler and a big bag. Basically I'm substituting the bag for a false bottom. Works well, but the temperature drops more quickly than I'd like if I have less than 7 lbs of grain.
What size of batches do you brew?
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Old 10-01-2012, 03:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
It uses the BIAB principle, but also uses the heat insulation of the cooler to hold mash temps.
Like someone else stated, I would say that the main "principle" of BIAB is the single vessel. By adding a bag to a traditional mash tun in a three-vessel configuration, you are hardly following the BIAB method.
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