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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Beer Discussion > BIAB v. Traditional Mash Tun (Boom goes the dynamite!)
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Old 10-11-2013, 03:33 PM   #1
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Default BIAB v. Traditional Mash Tun (Boom goes the dynamite!)

I know this will spark a fight on here. I know this fight has probably happened a thousand times on here. But I don't care, I'm doing it anyway.

Of the brewers on here who have done multiple BIAB batches and multiple batches with a more traditional mash tun, have you noticed any material difference in the final product?

All other things equal, did you experience a higher quality beer from the tun than you got with the BIAB?




And let the squabbling begin...


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Old 10-11-2013, 05:44 PM   #2
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I have done many batches of both. They both produce good beer. If it wasn't recorded in my notes; I couldn't tell whether I used biab or a traditional tun. Use whatever works best for you.


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Old 10-11-2013, 05:46 PM   #3
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I have only done BIAB but my least 4 batches have been absolutely awesome.
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Old 10-11-2013, 05:50 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by NewWestBrewer View Post
I have only done BIAB but my least 4 batches have been absolutely awesome.
I have had very good BIAB batches, too, I was just wondering from someone who has done both (more than once or twice) if there was a quality difference. I hate dealing with the bag, so I'm leaning towards buying a tun. But I can see why it takes a lot longer with the tun, so it's kind of a Catch 22.
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Old 10-11-2013, 05:53 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ridire View Post
I have had very good BIAB batches, too, I was just wondering from someone who has done both (more than once or twice) if there was a quality difference. I hate dealing with the bag, so I'm leaning towards buying a tun. But I can see why it takes a lot longer with the tun, so it's kind of a Catch 22.
A lot of people seem to have issues with the bag and make ladders and pulleys and such to suspend it. What I do is just lift it up, and slide a pizza pan between it and the kettle, then squeeze it with my kettle lid. Easy peasy.
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Old 10-11-2013, 05:54 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ridire View Post
I have had very good BIAB batches, too, I was just wondering from someone who has done both (more than once or twice) if there was a quality difference. I hate dealing with the bag, so I'm leaning towards buying a tun. But I can see why it takes a lot longer with the tun, so it's kind of a Catch 22.
Definitely a Catch 22. My brew sessions are usually 3.5 hours only and I am hampered by space so BIAB is the only way for me. I would bet that if there is any difference in quality that it would be minuscule. As I mentioned earlier, once I got my system down that my last batches have been really good and comparable to a lot of professional breweries in my opinion.
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Old 10-11-2013, 05:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reverendj1 View Post
A lot of people seem to have issues with the bag and make ladders and pulleys and such to suspend it. What I do is just lift it up, and slide a pizza pan between it and the kettle, then squeeze it with my kettle lid. Easy peasy.
I thought squeezing grains in a bag releases unwanted tannins? Am I wrong on that?
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Old 10-11-2013, 05:58 PM   #8
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I've batch sparged and BIAB multiple times, the only difference I've noticed is a 15-20% drop in efficiency. I haven't noticed a difference in the quality of the beer, but I haven't tried to brew the same recipe on both systems.
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Old 10-11-2013, 06:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ridire View Post
I have had very good BIAB batches, too, I was just wondering from someone who has done both (more than once or twice) if there was a quality difference. I hate dealing with the bag, so I'm leaning towards buying a tun. But I can see why it takes a lot longer with the tun, so it's kind of a Catch 22.
I've done both and far prefer BIAB. It saves a heck of a lot of time for me and the quality of my beers is excellent. I've found an easy system for dealing with BIAB and that's using a turkey fryer setup. Mine's a 42 quart pot (10.5 gallons) and it has an inner fry basket. I take a big BIAB grain bag and use metal binder clips to clip it inside the fry basket. Everything goes into that bag and I can pick it up and out of the pot very easily using the attached handle. I can pick it up, swish and swirl it around, dunk it a few times if I want to and then pull the entire fry basket out of it and rest it right on top of the pot to drain out by putting a hops spider underneath it. You could also use those perforated pizza pans that others suggest to do the same thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Psycotte View Post
I thought squeezing grains in a bag releases unwanted tannins? Am I wrong on that?
It depends on the grains. The more roasted grains you use, the more risk for releasing tannins if you squeeze. I'll see about 0.075gal/lb water absorption when I squeeze grains and 0.125 gal/lb when I don't squeeze. Weather I do or not depends on the amount of roasted grains in the mash. If it's just a lot of 2 row, I squeeze. If it's a lot of specialty roasted grains, I don't squeeze.

Quote:
Originally Posted by seefish View Post
I've batch sparged and BIAB multiple times, the only difference I've noticed is a 15-20% drop in efficiency. I haven't noticed a difference in the quality of the beer, but I haven't tried to brew the same recipe on both systems.
There's a few ways you can help combat that loss. The first is to definitely squeeze those base malt grains if you can. The second is to ask for a double grind at your LHBS. Since BIAB brewing doesn't typically deal with a sparging process, you really want your grains ground up well. Adding 10% extra to your grain bill can also help you hit your targets. For example, I brewed up a RIS last weekend with a Beersmith projected OG of 1.096 and it hit 1.110, which changed the efficiency from 75% to 90%!!!
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Old 10-11-2013, 06:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Psycotte View Post
I thought squeezing grains in a bag releases unwanted tannins? Am I wrong on that?
Tannin extraction from grains is a function of pH and temperature. Keep the pH below 6 and the temps below 170° F and you won't have to worry about tannin extraction from the grains.


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