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Old 08-01-2012, 07:16 PM   #1
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Default Going AG with a grain bag....

I've been trying to set aside the funds to get a mash tun w/ false bottom. Wanted to go AG the proper way so I can add to the mash tun the equipment to sparge with a pump and have hosing to move to the boil kettle automatically...stuff like that.

so I don't want to go the Igloo route but still want to do some AG batches. A friend recommended i get one of those big grain bags and do it all in there. I did a partial mash the other day that needed 5 pounds of grain and the instructions had to sparge with x amount of water at x temp...and now I'm like "well crap" so I just poured the water over the bag but it wasn't the same as a proper sparge recirculating I see my buddies doing with their igloo coolers.

so, is it possible to go AG without mash tun and false bottom if you're still saving up for the right equipment?

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Old 08-01-2012, 07:22 PM   #2
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Brew in a Bag? Sure and many do it. Get a fine mesh grain bag and you may even decide to stick with it long term.

1) You can drip sparge like you did (kind of a sprinkle tinkle).
2) You can no sparge. You can minimize some of the efficiency hit of no sparge by going to a more dilute water/grist ratio.
3) Or you can dunk sparge where you dunk the grain bag in a second vessel at 170F for 10 minutes. Combine first and second worts prior to boil.

I've seen the best efficiencies (upper 80's) with option 3, but option 1 gets me low to mid 80's usually and is less work. I use a frier basket, rope, and pulley to suspend the grain bag in place. Just look at the BIAB sticky for technique info. With any of these 3, you need to squeeze the bag as much as possible to pull out most of the liquid. A saucepan lids keep your hands cool and clean.

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Old 08-01-2012, 07:33 PM   #3
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perhaps checking out this method is what you need-


Stickyed right here on the top. I have studied this a bit myself- good fun reading material there
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Old 08-01-2012, 08:09 PM   #4
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"so, is it possible to go AG without mash tun and false bottom if you're still saving up for the right equipment?"

Well, there really is no "right" equipment and no "proper" way. If you've got a couple grand to drop on brew stands and pumps, more power to ya. If not, there is absolutely nothing wrong with mashing in a cooler or BIAB. The grain really doesn't know how much you spent on your mash tun anyway.

Your "sparge" technique was fine and will likely result in a tasty beer. You probably didn't great efficiency, but that isn't a critical with a partial mash since a lot of the sugar is coming from extract still.

You can certainly go all-grain with any of the methods listed above. In homebrewing, high efficiency is more of a bragging right than a necessity. It's more important to be consistent with your mash and then just plan the recipe accordingly. eg 70% vs 80% just means you need to buy $2 more of base malt. No biggy.
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Old 08-01-2012, 08:50 PM   #5
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I originally wanted to go and make the mash tun igloo cooler route but ended up going with BIAB for my all grain batches. Have only 3 all grain under my belt but have been very satisfied and efficiency between 75-80. 14lbs of grain is the most I have done so far. So really however you want to make beer go at it and enjoy!

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Old 08-01-2012, 10:46 PM   #6
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Check out the BIAB sticky in the AG forum. That's the basic process I used. BIAB is a great way to do all grain without a lot of equipment.
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Old 08-01-2012, 10:59 PM   #7
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I vaguely remember reading in BYO magazine...possibly years ago...that the bag method your describing is popular in Australia. Anyway, here's an article from elsewhere backing that up.


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