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Old 02-24-2013, 05:44 PM   #1
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Default BIAB for smaller batch

I was considering trying my hand at an AG brew on a small scale so I can do it on the stove top, and without a mash tun. I see the information about BIAB techniques that use a large bag that lines the pot during the mash. Is there really any reason you can't just do this in two muslin bags?

I was thinking about a 3.5 gallon batch, which would call for a little under 7 lbs of grain. That is only about 2.5 gallons of water for the mash, correct? So couldn't I just use the same technique with tied muslin bags that I use for my extract or PM brews? Any downside to doing it this way instead of the large bag that lines the entire pot?

Bring 2.5 gallons to 145-155 degrees, soak two muslin bags, each with 3 - 4 lbs. of grain in the 2.5 gallons for 45 minutes to an hour (keeping heat relatively stable at 145-150). Simultaneously heat another 1.5 - 2 gallons of water to about 170+ degrees. Add the steep water to the mash after the 45-60 minutes and dip the bags in the wort a few times to get them washed off a bit and then let the bags drain into the boil pot for a bit while increasing heat to bring to a boil...add hops at the proper times, and whala, beer.

Anything wrong with this plan?


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Old 02-24-2013, 06:21 PM   #2
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The beauty of BIAB is that the mash & sparge are essentially done in one pot; provided your brewing vessel will hold the full volume-mash+grain absorption+boil off. As far as using more than one bag, as long as the grains are equally stirred in, should have no effect.


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Old 02-24-2013, 06:28 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by logdrum View Post
The beauty of BIAB is that the mash & sparge are essentially done in one pot; provided your brewing vessel will hold the full volume-mash+grain absorption+boil off. As far as using more than one bag, as long as the grains are equally stirred in, should have no effect.
So, no problem in using the muslin bags like tea bags, as opposed to using a large bag as more of a means to get the grain out of a free floating mash?
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Old 02-24-2013, 06:30 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Ridire

So, no problem in using the muslin bags like tea bags, as opposed to using a large bag as more of a means to get the grain out of a free floating mash?
No problem. You could also use a 5 gallon paint strainer bag at lowes or depot or any paint store. They are cheap, come in packs of 2 or more and work fine for a small to medium size BIAB
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Old 02-24-2013, 06:40 PM   #5
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No problem. You could also use a 5 gallon paint strainer bag at lowes or depot or any paint store. They are cheap, come in packs of 2 or more and work fine for a small to medium size BIAB
Aren't those things nylon? Don't they melt to the bottom of the pot?
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Old 02-24-2013, 06:43 PM   #6
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The reason you need the large bag is to give the grains the room and water they need to extract the sugars. You can do it with 2 bags, but I would recommend against it. You can get bags that will hold up to 15 pound bags from Austin home brew, northern brewer, and I'm pretty sure Midwest supplies for around $6. I stir my grains as its mashing to improve my efficiency, can't do this with 2 bags, or not do it well. I would suggest either get a bigger bag, or do partial mash in one bag. Sometimes when my pot is not big enough to hold all the grains with the water I will add 2-5 pounds of DME depending on how big a brew I'm doing making it basically a partial mash.
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Old 02-24-2013, 06:58 PM   #7
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The reason you need the large bag is to give the grains the room and water they need to extract the sugars. You can do it with 2 bags, but I would recommend against it. You can get bags that will hold up to 15 pound bags from Austin home brew, northern brewer, and I'm pretty sure Midwest supplies for around $6. I stir my grains as its mashing to improve my efficiency, can't do this with 2 bags, or not do it well. I would suggest either get a bigger bag, or do partial mash in one bag. Sometimes when my pot is not big enough to hold all the grains with the water I will add 2-5 pounds of DME depending on how big a brew I'm doing making it basically a partial mash.
Those were the kinds of concerns I was having. The idea is to do all grain, really just to do it. I don't want to add extract. I could do the paint strainer but I was concerned about it melting. Am I worrying about nothing?
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Old 02-24-2013, 07:10 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ridire

Those were the kinds of concerns I was having. The idea is to do all grain, really just to do it. I don't want to add extract. I could do the paint strainer but I was concerned about it melting. Am I worrying about nothing?
Yes, relax! You're really only at mashing temp when you use them. I have done 50+ brews easy with paint strainers and the only one I had burn, was the one that touched the flame directly before I got it in the pot..lol

If you mash out, ( I don't when I BIAB) you can just lift the bag and ramp up the temp or just roll bag down the pot a little and it will be fine. I've done it both ways and haven't burnt a bag in a pot doing BIAB.

Hope that helps.
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Old 02-24-2013, 07:12 PM   #9
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Yes, relax! You're really only at mashing temp when you use them. I have done 50+ brews easy with paint strainers and the only one I had burn, was the one that touched the flame directly before I got it in the pot..lol

If you mash out, ( I don't when I BIAB) you can just lift the bag and ramp up the temp or just roll bag down the pot a little and it will be fine. I've done it both ways and haven't burnt a bag in a pot doing BIAB.

Hope that helps.
It does. Thanks.
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Old 02-24-2013, 07:20 PM   #10
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BIAB is well suited to small batch brewing...you can place pot in a warm oven to maintain mash temps?

How big is you kettle?


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