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Old 08-06-2013, 04:10 PM   #1
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Default First BIAB - looking for advice...

I'm looking to try my first BIAB after successfully brewing about 5 extract batches as new homebrewer, and I noticed the recipe in Norther Brewer's catalog and website for an oatmeal cookie brown ale. It says this is a 3 gallon batch, but to start, you must have the capacity to start with 5.5 gallons of water. I only have a 4 gallon kettle, so do I need to upgrade my kettle size to attempt BIAB? I'd switch to a 5 gal extract recipe as I can boil about 3 to 3.5 gallons total and then just top off, but can't seem to find any for this type of beer.

Thoughts? TIA...
tb


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Old 08-06-2013, 04:25 PM   #2
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I don't see why you would have to boil that much. Just shoot for 1.5qts/lb for your mash, sparge by whatever means you like (put the bag in a colander and dump over, dunk in a second pot, etc. - or not at all), add a little water to get around your max boil volume and proceed from there. Add extract at flameout, top off/cool, and get to fermenting.

It may make a little better beer to do a full boil (I don't notice, but I'm sure some do) and it may be a little lighter, but that doesn't really matter.


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Old 08-06-2013, 04:38 PM   #3
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Hey thanks a lot for the advice!

So could I use the BIAB kit and just start with a bit less water - maybe between 3.5 and 4gallons? Seems like if I start with 5.5 gallons of high quality H2O, it'd take me forever and a day to boil off to three gallons. I love this homebrewing thing, but DANG - I'd be in the garage all day!

I don't have a 5gal extract recipe, otherwise I'd just go with that.

Thanks again....
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Old 08-06-2013, 04:43 PM   #4
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You should post this over in the biab subforum else you might get people talking about adding extract and what not.

Final volume = desired volume + grain soak up + hop soak up + boil off + trub loss.
You need 3 gallons. You have 9.33 lbs of grains that are going to soak up near a gallon of water. That's 3 1/2 - 4 gallons there. You have boil off you have to account for which could be around a gallon/hour. You have hot break/cold break/hops loss if you want to filter or siphon into your FV. That could be anywhere from a cup to a gallon.

You could do less than the total mash volume but it seems like you are on the edge. You could boil 3.5 gallons of wort down then add the rest of the wort later but that is going to change the beer profile.

I just did a 5 gallon biab with 9.5 pounds of grain. When I put in my first hop additions, it was a race to get the burner off before it boiled over in my 10 gallon pot. I was really glad to have 3 gallons of space.

BTW, my aluminum 10 gallon pot with lid was only $42.95 at an Asian store. While it'd be nice to have a blinged out stainless pot I guess, I'll just brew more beer instead.
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Old 08-06-2013, 04:49 PM   #5
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banks said, " ... in the garage."
Does that mean you have a real burner? You are using the boil to get hop extraction and to drive off undesired compounds that could give off flavors like DMS. You are also using the boil to concentrate the sugars as it is more efficient to extract sugars at a lower concentration.

No matter what, you need and are going to have evaporation and need to account for that to hit your final volume. It is related to the diameter of your pot and how vigorous you boil but your setup will be unique and you should test it with water to see how much you lose in an hour.
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Old 08-06-2013, 05:48 PM   #6
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Not sure what you mean by a real burner - I just bought one of those 58,000 BTU turkey fryer burners for $29 from the local sporting goods store. It seems to do the trick, but I've been looking at the Dark Star burner in the NB catalog for the same price. I've been torn because the Dark Star burner is only 54,000 BTU's but I'm wondering if somehow it's more efficient than mine. -Sorry....

Back to the topic at hand - I realize the grain and hops will soak up water, but I guess I never realized it would soak up that MUCH. I still have so much to learn about all of this. Maybe I should just try and find a 5 gallon extract recipe for now where I can boil 3 to 3.5 gallons and top off and save my pennies for a larger kettle down the road...
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Old 08-06-2013, 06:28 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dgr
You should post this over in the biab subforum else you might get people talking about adding extract and what not.
My bad. I never read PM, but somehow I did not assume AG.

Anyway, what was said is correct. You CAN top off at the end, but this does affect efficiency and hop utilization. A calculator will help you adjust the recipe to fit a smaller boil volume. As long as your pot is big enough to mash, I don't see why it would be the end of the world to do a partial boil. Not perfect, but certainly acceptable, IMHO.
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Old 08-06-2013, 06:34 PM   #8
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Banks (great name, btw ), I'd definitely look into getting a larger kettle, especially since you have the burner to handle it. The larger the better when it comes to all grain and partial mash, especially when doing BIAB. Ideally, something that could handle the full volume of your mash and sparge. When doing BIAB you can use a single vessel for this, plus one to heat additional water. Then run the boil right in the large kettle you mashed/sparged in. The other option would be to scale back the recipes you brew to one that suits your largest kettle, though 4 gallons is small and would require <2 gal batches. YMMV, but my recommendation would be to get the largest kettle you can justify buying (within reason, 5 gal batches, ~10 gal kettle).
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Old 08-06-2013, 07:00 PM   #9
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I've got my eye on a 10gal kettle ($180) on NB.com that would suit me just fine but I'm trying to not go crazy with expenses as I'm hoping to get a "fermentation chilling room" build underway in my garage soon, and the most expensive part (the window A/C unit) hasn't been purchased yet. Thanks guys for all the advice. I've just found an extract recipe for an oatmeal stout that I might use and just alter the secondary ingredients a bit. So, switch it from a brown ale to a stout (my first ever) and see what happens. Even more reason to get the chilling room done!
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Old 08-06-2013, 09:10 PM   #10
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Sounds like you have a real burner as opposed to a camping stove or boiling on the kitchen stove.

Contrary to the advice to buy it once and be done with it, I would encourage you to find a cheap 10 gallon aluminum pot. You'll gain experience with it and you can use it for heating water for other steps when you decide what you really need is a 15 gallon keggle or whatever direction you decide to go. You may find you want to do 10 gallon batches or high gravity 5 gallon batches and really wish you had got a 48 or 60 quart pot. Without diving in and trying it, you won't know. In the meantime, you're money ahead for buying that AC unit.

OT: While your at the asian market, pick up some yeast balls and try your hand at rice wine. http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f243/mak...ferent-361095/


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