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Old 07-18-2011, 02:38 PM   #1
maltoftheearth
 
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Yesterday was my first attempt at a BIAB brew and it was fantastic -- with one exception. I'll start there.

My only problem was the loss of water. I started with 6 gallons and ended with maybe 3.5 or 4 (at best.) The grains absorbed a TON of water and there was way more boil off than expected.

That said, I was able to compensate by adding boiled and cooled water to the wort at the end of the process in order to achieve my desired gravity (1050.) So, the only negative is not knowing exactly how much wort I have at the moment -- I think maybe 4.5 gallons.

The pluses = greater temperature control of the mash and greater ease of use. It was so much easier to step up my mash temperatures, I had not been doing that but I am going to do it every time now b/c it is so much easier than messing with a mash tun.

I am off to read some other posts about BIAB by members here but I wanted to include my process for critique:

I loaded up my brew pot with 6 gallons of water, carried it outside, dropped in the grain for my Hefeweiss, heated up to 112 (according to Radical Brewing some mash at this temp for 30 minutes to get a greater clove taste) for 30 minutes and then mashed at approx 153 for 90 minutes. Then I lifted out the bag (ungodly heavy), set it on a strainer, got the wort to a boil, boiled for 60 minutes, then dropped in the wort chiller.

***Grain Bill***
5lbs hard red winter wheat (germinated and malted by me)
5lbs American 2-row pale malt
.25lbs Munich Malt (10L)

75% efficiency would have been 1052 at 5 gallons. I hit 1060 at 3.5 or 4 gallons. Since I am not convinced the wheat was crushed very well I am very happy with these results!
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Old 07-18-2011, 03:12 PM   #2
Kaz
 
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I usually try to end up with 6.0 gallons after the boil. That being said for a batch like yours, I start off with about 32-33qts. After the mash, I squeeze the heck out of the bag, or put a grill over my kettle and use the kettle lid to press a lot of the wort out of the grain bag. I usually end up with about 7.25-7.5 gallons after mashing and squeezing, then I find my boil off gets me to about 6 gallons. Only problem is in my 10 gallon kettle, any more than about 12lbs of grain with 33qt. of water is going to overflow. Gotta work out that kink for bigger beers. All in all, sounds like you had a positive BIAB experience, I've never had a bad one, makes me wonder if I'll ever buy a mash tun. Good Luck!
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Old 07-18-2011, 03:43 PM   #3
maltoftheearth
 
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How do you calculate your water/grain ratio for BIAB? If BeerSmith had the BIAB option then I would totally use it but alas, without sparging and with all this water loss that software is now far less useful for me.
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Old 07-18-2011, 03:55 PM   #4
thughes
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Do a 10 minute mashout at 168-170 and then squeeze the snot out of that bag when you pull it.

As far as water volume, I use a simple formula:

total water volume required = desired batch size + (#'s of grain * .08 gal absorption) + (gal/hr boil off rate * boil time) + kettle loss + fermenter loss - starter volume.

You will have to adjust your absorption rate based upon how hard you squeeze the bag and what the grist consists of (corn and rice absorb more than grain....found that out the hard way).

You will also have to adjust boil-off based upon your rig.
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Old 07-18-2011, 03:56 PM   #5
mtbiker278
 
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I personally welcome our new Mesh Bag Overlords. All Hail BIAB!
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Old 07-18-2011, 04:10 PM   #6
Zamial
 
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I am not trying to poopoo your fun but I was under the impression that squeezing the bag releases tannins.
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Old 07-18-2011, 04:14 PM   #7
Kaz
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thughes View Post
Do a 10 minute mashout at 168-170 and then squeeze the snot out of that bag when you pull it.

As far as water volume, I use a simple formula:

total water volume required = desired batch size + (#'s of grain * .08 gal absorption) + (gal/hr boil off rate * boil time) + kettle loss + fermenter loss - starter volume.

You will have to adjust your absorption rate based upon how hard you squeeze the bag and what the grist consists of (corn and rice absorb more than grain....found that out the hard way).

You will also have to adjust boil-off based upon your rig.
+1 I use about the same formula, I usually disregard starter volume. If you get Beersmith V.2, it does have some BIAB functionality and mash profiles.
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Old 07-18-2011, 04:15 PM   #8
Kaz
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zamial View Post
I am not trying to poopoo your fun but I was under the impression that squeezing the bag releases tannins.

Old wives tale.
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Old 07-18-2011, 04:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maltoftheearth View Post
How do you calculate your water/grain ratio for BIAB? If BeerSmith had the BIAB option then I would totally use it but alas, without sparging and with all this water loss that software is now far less useful for me.
the new version of beersmith has BIAB options.

 
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Old 07-18-2011, 05:16 PM   #10
maltoftheearth
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thughes View Post
Do a 10 minute mashout at 168-170 and then squeeze the snot out of that bag when you pull it.

As far as water volume, I use a simple formula:

total water volume required = desired batch size + (#'s of grain * .08 gal absorption) + (gal/hr boil off rate * boil time) + kettle loss + fermenter loss - starter volume.

You will have to adjust your absorption rate based upon how hard you squeeze the bag and what the grist consists of (corn and rice absorb more than grain....found that out the hard way).

You will also have to adjust boil-off based upon your rig.
Thank you! That is exactly what I need -- if only I understood everything in your formula:

* is there a "standard" boil off rate? I think mine is about 1gal/hr but I have never measured, maybe that is too much?
* what is "kettle loss"
* what is "fermenter loss"
* wouldn't you add, rather than subtract, the starter volume?
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