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Old 03-25-2013, 03:35 PM   #1
drakerebel
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Default First timer BIAB question:

i've looked through many threads but haven't found this answer yet (so please don't jump down my throat)...i'm sure someone will point me to a calculator or software of some sort, but here she goes...

i'm going to brew my first biab this weekend with a 7.5ga turkey frier kettle and the recipe has 12lbs of grain. Is there a rough estimate of how much water a guy can reliably put in the kettle for strike? i know the 1.25q to 1lb of grain but how much volume does the grain typically take up?

i'm assuming i'll have to sparge the bag in a gallon or two of water afterwards but i really don't want to strike too much water to find out i've ran out of room.

anyone got a decent "off the cuff" rule of thumb? and again, just a guestamate since i don't know my boil off and whatnot yet since this will be my first time with this kettle/burner (previously only extract/stovetop brewing).

and then, as a bonus, does anyone have any past experience on how much grain a 7.5ga pot can typically handle w/o sparge water needed??

thanks gang, appreciate the feedback!


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Old 03-25-2013, 04:05 PM   #2
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I can mash 9lbs of grain with 1.25qt/lb in a 3.5 gallon kettle and dunk sparge in my 5 gallon brew kettle... I think you'll be fine with 12 lbs and probably much more. As for full volume/no sparge... I don't know.


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Old 03-25-2013, 04:07 PM   #3
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I dont have my brew notes on me since im at work but i usually mash with my grajns and as much water as i can fit. Works out to around 6 gallons in my kettle with 12 lbs of grain. But i also have it right to the top and then sparge up to boil volume through the grains if i need more volume.
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Old 03-25-2013, 05:51 PM   #4
drakerebel
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Well, maybe it makes more sense to go with a sparge after all? Does efficiency improve with sparge over full volume? I'll squeeze the snot out of the bag regardless but which is preferred? I guess i like the idea of adding through the bag instead of dunking in a set amount but I suppose if a guy started with a gallon of strike water already heated that it wouldn't take too long to heat additional if needing more? Or does there need to be at least a certain amount for dunk sparging?

Probably over thinking, this is what idle time does to me prior to brew day...lol.
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Old 03-25-2013, 06:13 PM   #5
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I do BIAB with no sparge, no mashout and get arround 80% brewhouse efficiency.
IMHO the volume for the mash is not critical (as long as you are in the 1.2-2qt/lb range) so pick a number that will fit in your kettle w/ the grains (4-5 gallons).

After the mash:
* squeeze the bag.
* Measure the volume in the kettle
* Measure the gravity (to calc efficiency)
* Then top off to the desired pre-boil volume (i.e. 6 gallons for approx 5 gallons post boil)

After the first couple batches you will have a good idea on what the grain absorption and efficiency numbers are for your process. I don't think you will be able to do a full volume BIAB with your 7.5 gallon kettle. I always mash w/ 6 gallons in my 10 gallon kettle and this process works great for me.
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Old 03-25-2013, 06:14 PM   #6
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Any kind of sparging requires specific volumes but if you err on the over side you can always boil off the excess or if you're batch sparging you can just sparge until you hit your desired boil volume.

I recommend marking your mash paddle/spoon to show volumes in your kettle. This way you can just batch sparge until you've hit your boil volume.

Efficiency should be greater with sparging but from what I've read that's not always the case.
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Old 03-25-2013, 06:15 PM   #7
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I'd definitely recommend some kind of sparge. I do no sparge BIAB, but I use a 10g pot, always start with 7.5g of strike water, and I can get about 18lbs of grain in it without getting perilously close to the top of my kettle. I don't know if you can figure out a ratio from that info, but I don't see any reason why you wouldn't be able to BIAB that amount with what you have, you'll just have to sparge it. I don't have any experience with that process so I can't help with pointers there, but when I imagine the process, if you have a 2nd kettle that is big enough, dunk-sparging sounds easier and faster. If you can have your sparge water heated up and ready when your mash is over, it would be a piece of cake to pull the bag from the mash and drop it into the sparge water. Then you can turn the main-kettly burner on high to start your boil while you dunk/stir your sparge pot. When ready, pull the bag out and then dump all water into the main kettle.

Pouring hot water through a heavy grain bag sounds like a recipe for a big mess based on my experience, but if you have the right setup for it, I'm sure it works fine too.
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Old 03-25-2013, 08:14 PM   #8
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Then if I were to dunk sparge, just treat it like a mash out...170deg for 10-15 min?
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Old 03-25-2013, 11:24 PM   #9
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That's what I do... Remember to fire up the main kettle to do a mash out on the "first runnings" as well.
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Old 03-27-2013, 12:47 AM   #10
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I put old oven rack over pot, place bag in homer bucket and sparge through the bag. You can squeeze bag and let drain while burner is bringing the wort up to boil. After some different experiences this was the easiest for me. Hope it helps.


Bucket has a bunch of 3/4 inch holes drilled in the bottom too.


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