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Old 07-19-2010, 02:57 AM   #1
Craigvu's Avatar
Dec 2009
San Diego
Posts: 60
Liked 2 Times on 1 Posts

Since I've garnered so much knowledge from HBT I'd like to try and give back a bit. After several variations of BIAB I have finally dialed in what I think is a great process, and wanted to share it with those of you looking to get started in all grain. My equipment is:

40 qt aluminum pot
2 heatsticks, based on the design here:
home made brewing bag made out of voile
large colander

The simplicity and lack of bulky equipment makes this great for apartment or low budget brewers (of which i'm both).

This is a pretty straightforward no-sparge take on BIAB, and the process goes like this:

1. Heat strike water to pre-determined temperature. (still dialing in the difference, but it looks to be between 8 and 10* above what my mash temp should be). This is less than most mash-tun based systems (12* seems to be popular number on HBT) because of the larger thermal mass of 7 gallons vs. 3 or 4 in a mash tun. Since this is a no-sparge method you'll want to heat all the water you'll end up boiling. For most of my 5.5 gallon batches I dough in with about 7 gallons, assuming for around 0.5 gallons of loss due to absorption and about a gallon of boil off during the boil.
2. Drop the bag into your pot and dough in the grains. Last 2 batches I've stirred with my huge whisk for about 5 minutes, or until your arm gets tired.
3. Put top on your pot and layer 2 large towels over the pot. Heat is off on the stove, so no need to worry about anything catching fire. I do not stir at all for the duration of my mash...i've gotten 70+ % extract efficiency both of my last 2 batches, and feel this is due to a constant temp during mash and a really good stirring first. In my mind at least, the larger amount of water leads to a better dissolved grain bill. I've had less than 2* temp loss over the 60 minute duration as well.
4. After your mash duration, grab the bag and dunk it a few times before slipping the large colander onto the top of the pot and plopping the bag of grains in the colander. This will allow the grain bag to drip directly into the pot as well as provide a spot to "squeeze" the bag from. With your hands or brew spoon I get as much liquid out of the bag, and over the course of 10 minutes I've gotten most all of the liquid out.
5. Boil, etc. just like normal.

As for capacity concerns, my Oktoberfest grain bill today was 12 lbs (courtesy of EdWort), and had about 1 inch of "head space" in the brew pot with the grains/bag in there. I figure I could do up to a 14lb or so grain bill with this method.

In my brew session today I was finished brewing, including cleanup in 4 hours. Have to admit that i've gone to a quazi no-chill system where I get the wort to about 100* and then pour into the carboy and get the carboy in its swamp bucket w/ ice to cool down the rest of the way before aerating and pitching yeast.

Previously, I messed around with adding in a sparge or mash-out phase of this method, but now have gotten good-enough efficiencies without, so I figure why complicate matters.


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Old 07-19-2010, 11:51 AM   #2
djt17's Avatar
Apr 2009
Central MN
Posts: 791
Liked 56 Times on 49 Posts

That's pretty much my exact process except the heat stick & no-chill part. I have done 6 batches this way, I like the results. I am thinking about building a heat stick for this winter when it gets too cold to boil outside.
Edit: I also use an old sleeping bag to wrap my kettle during the mash. Only looses about 2 deg.

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Old 07-19-2010, 01:37 PM   #3
jeffmeh's Avatar
Feb 2009
Posts: 2,161
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I put the 15 gal pot on the propane burner, fill it with the full volume of water, start the heat, condition and mill the malt, then dough in at whatever temperature I have reached at that point (below mash temp). Then I bring it up to mash temp, turn off the heat, cover, and throw a wool blanket over it. After 60 minutes (or 50, or 70, or whatever, depending upon the recipe), I take off the blanket, start the heat, and bring the temperature up to around 168. I give it a good stir, pull the bag, use a grill grate to rest the bag over the kettle, and drain and squeeze while the wort is heating up to boil temp. I have been hitting around 77% efficiency.

After the boil, I stir to bring the temp down to around 190 and to attempt a whirlpool (with varying degrees of success), then drain into Winpaks for no-chill. My last batch did not drain well at all, so I am experimenting with a chore-boy at the end of the dip tube, and a 90 deg elbow after the ball valve to make it less likely for the hose to kink. We shall see.

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