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Old 02-16-2013, 07:08 PM   #1
Keqwow
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Default More NEWB questions: Differences between BIAB and AGB?

What really is the difference between BIAB and AGB? Or rather, correct me if I am wrong with my assessment of the two:

BIAB: Use a single large kettle with a bag in which you create a mash with grains or mash with partial grains/partial malt extract. Go through the "mash" process...then use the bag to remove the spent grains leaving the wort behind. Boil, then ferment, then bottle.

AGB: Use one kettle/cooler for mash. Empty some of the extract out and pour over mash to use the grain bed to clear the extract. Once clear, tap off into a 2nd kettle for boiling.
Boil, then ferment, then bottle.

Am I missing something here? If I am not, then please explain why someone would go through the extra work and the need to purchasing a 2nd kettle/cooler for use as a mash tun?

I appreciate the education.

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Old 02-16-2013, 07:12 PM   #2
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Tradition.

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Old 02-16-2013, 07:37 PM   #3
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I like using a mash tun, it keeps the temps constant no turning heat on and off to maintain mash temps.

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Old 02-16-2013, 07:45 PM   #4
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Both are a method of all grain brewing.

BIAB typically uses 1 vessle and a bag, all the grain is mashed in that pot and then the bag is removed typically with no sparge, drained and you continue on with the boil.

Traditional AG is using 3 vessles, HLT,MT (mash tun) and a BK (boil kettle). the hot water is heated in the HLT then put into the mash tun for a set amount of time to mash, then is sparged with more hot water to further rinse more sugars out and that goes into a BK where you continue with the normal boil.

that is the short of it, you can read for hours on this subject.

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Old 02-16-2013, 07:52 PM   #5
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Youve got the basics of it down. BIAB is a form of AG that uses a single vessel. For me, I like the relative simplicity and ease of BIAB but I can understand how some people may prefer the more traditional multi vessel approach and a mash tun likely gives greater temperature control as well as more sparging options.

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Old 02-16-2013, 08:08 PM   #6
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The trade off is efficiency. With BIAB you often need to add a little bit of extra grain, especially if you are doing BIAB with no sparge, as it seems most people do who BIAB. I did BIAB before I drilled some holes into my mash tun to convert it into a proper one. When I did though, I usually sparged by dunking the grains into another pot. With BIAB no sparge, my efficiency was around 65% +/- 5 or so. BIAB with a psuedo-sparge bumped it up to 68-72%. Now with regular AG, my efficiency is right at 77-78% every time. I think that sparging gives you some consistency, since you are approaching that limit of possible sugars extracted. Keep in mind that the big jump in efficiency had a lot to do with volume control and improving my process. When I did BIAB I pretty much just eyeballed sparge volumes and such (but always mashed in the traditional water to grist ratio).

BIAB is just a subset of all grain brewing (if you don't use extract). The main difference is the method of lautering. BIAB just uses a mesh filter, and traditional AGB uses the grain bed as a filter, allowing you to vorlauf and to get a clearer wort.

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Old 02-16-2013, 08:17 PM   #7
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For me personally, I only do BIAB if I want to do a test batch around 2 1/2 gallons. After the rest period, I then lift the bag up, put it in a colander over the pot, and let it drain for a few minutes. I then pour some sparge water over it to rinse it, and then I let the drain for a few more minutes. After that, I put the colandar over another pot and start heating up the wort. Before the wort boils I put the bag in another pot, and then dump that wort from the 2nd pot into the main pot and the go as normal.

If I'm doing 5 - 6 gallon batch, then I always do a mash tun and batch sparge.

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Old 02-16-2013, 08:18 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbsmith View Post
The trade off is efficiency. With BIAB you often need to add a little bit of extra grain, especially if you are doing BIAB with no sparge, as it seems most people do who BIAB.
I get 75-78% with BIAB with no sparge and don't bother to even squeeze the bag until it's bone dry so this isn't true if you do a finer crush
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Old 02-16-2013, 08:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeepDiver View Post
I get 75-78% with BIAB with no sparge and don't bother to even squeeze the bag until it's bone dry so this isn't true if you do a finer crush
True, crush matters a ton. I only crush my grain once through the LHBS mill.
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Old 02-16-2013, 08:27 PM   #10
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With a traditional 2 or 3-vessel system, you can make larger batches than with an equivalently-sized single vessel BIAB just due to the volume of the grain taking up otherwise available space in your kettle.

And for very high OG batches, I think that having an extra vessel will net you better effiiciencies, regardless of how BIAB performs for smaller gravities, because you have more options for second and third runnings such as performing a partigyle, etc.

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