BIAB Bag

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

sbsmann

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2017
Messages
207
Reaction score
68
Location
Wisconsin
I've only done extract brews and all-grain brewing in my time as a brewer. I've never done any batches smaller than 5 gallons and am feeling like I am missing out in not trying BIAB. Since I don’t like brewing outdoors during the winter in Wisconsin and cannot do AG indoors, I really like the idea of BIAB because it offers the flexibility of AG and forces me to do smaller batches which I also want to try so that I can more easily experiment with various recipes without the fear of wasting 5 gallons.

I feel like I understand the whole BIAB process, but I need to hammer out a few basic recipes first just to figure out some numbers and any inefficiencies in my process. I guess my biggest question is the size of the grain bag. I have a BrewBuilt 10 gallon pot and it is 16.5" tall by 14" wide. I see many different bag sizes on morebeer.com & other places, but not sure of how large (or small) of a bag I would need? I also see a lot of people using 5 gallon paint straining bags, but I'm not sure of their size yet and whether that could potentially work for me? Also, I assume all these bags are good for several brews before eventually falling apart? Any advice is appreciated. Thanks.
 

z-bob

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Oct 2, 2014
Messages
3,561
Reaction score
1,303
Location
Rochester, MN
I started out with a paint strainer bag. They work really well in my 22 quart Presto canner. I bought a Wilser bag when I got an 8 gallon kettle and the paint bags were just a little too small -- I could stretch them to fit but they tore pretty quickly.

I mash on my kitchen stove, and in the summer I boil outside and the winter I boil in the house with the vent running. I mostly do 4 gallon batches, and even that was a stretch trying to boil inside because the stove didn't produce enough BTU's. With an electric heat stick, the stove does just fine, and I use the heat stick in the summer too to save propane.

What was the question? :)
 

jekeane

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2014
Messages
2,172
Reaction score
547
Location
Jacksonville
I own several different wilser bags and they work great. I use them for BIAB and another 2 for fruit bags in melomels.

My BIAB one easily has 30 batches on it with no sign of being worse for wear. I rinse it after each use and occasionally put it in the washing machine with my wife delicates and a dye/perfume free detergent.
 
OP
sbsmann

sbsmann

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2017
Messages
207
Reaction score
68
Location
Wisconsin
Sounds & looks like Wilser bags are winners. I like how they are custom to guarantee a nice fit. Thanks for the info.
 

Rhaop

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 7, 2012
Messages
627
Reaction score
228
Location
Baltimore
I can vouch for wilser, great sturdy bag, my one piece of advice for your first biab batch, if you are mashing full volume don’t start with a very pale beer until you learn more about mash ph

Nothing real technical just start with a tried and true brown or amber recipe, my first few pale beers suffered because of the larger volume of mash water I didn’t realized the ph would settle high and extract tannins
 

z-bob

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Oct 2, 2014
Messages
3,561
Reaction score
1,303
Location
Rochester, MN
If your water is anything like mine (and it should be; you're in WI and I'm in MN) you need to use RO water, or add about an ounce of acid malt per gallon of water. Or some combination of RO water, tap water, and acid.
 
Joined
Dec 26, 2013
Messages
3,875
Reaction score
4,266
2 questions - 2 comments

Will your 10 G kettle fit ok under the range hood if you brew indoors? Why not do a full 5 G batch if it will fit?

I'm sure that Biabbags are good, but remember that Wiser custom makes his to fit your kettle. Someday somebody needs to try acidifying the water with lysergic acid.
 

z-bob

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Oct 2, 2014
Messages
3,561
Reaction score
1,303
Location
Rochester, MN
2 questions - 2 comments

Will your 10 G kettle fit ok under the range hood if you brew indoors? Why not do a full 5 G batch if it will fit?

I'm sure that Biabbags are good, but remember that Wiser custom makes his to fit your kettle. Someday somebody needs to try acidifying the water with lysergic acid.
Biabbags is Wilser ;)
 
OP
sbsmann

sbsmann

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2017
Messages
207
Reaction score
68
Location
Wisconsin
2 questions - 2 comments

Will your 10 G kettle fit ok under the range hood if you brew indoors? Why not do a full 5 G batch if it will fit?

I'm sure that Biabbags are good, but remember that Wiser custom makes his to fit your kettle. Someday somebody needs to try acidifying the water with lysergic acid.
It is pretty tight when the cover is on, but the stove top comes out far enough that only a few inches of the back of the pot are hindered by the microwave. Right now I just want to do some small batches to learn the process and then depending on my efficiencies and how I like doing it inside, I'll certainly consider doing larger batches down the road.
 

troglodytes

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 24, 2013
Messages
571
Reaction score
116
Location
Ipswich, MA
I have switched since a year ago to the brew bag from my original mash tun setup with copper manifold. I crush finer strain, strain much faster, and end up with about 5-7% better efficiency than I used to have with normal batch sparging. I still do a mash and a sparge and try to keep my mash water ratio to about 1.5-1.7 qts per pound of grain, so mash pH has not been a problem for me (just use b'run water to calc acid additions as normal).

I highly recommend the bag itself. I've done around 10 brews in it so far. I squeeze the ever loving poop out of them and I have only noticed a slight pull in the mesh near the top, but not near big enough for grain to start slipping through. I believe it was caused by an 18.5# grain bill, so these things can indeed take some weight (if you feel like doing some heavy lifting of water soaked grains in that large a quantity).

Edit: I forgot the bag link: https://www.brewinabag.com/products/the-brew-bag-for-coolers
 

bucketheadmn

Active Member
Joined
Jun 27, 2012
Messages
44
Reaction score
6
Location
Stillwater
I just got a bag from Wilsner yesterday - using it next weekend for the first time. I have to say though the quality is leaps and bounds above the cheap one I used from Northern Brewer and the paint strainer I used last batch. Giving him my kettle dimensions the bag fits prefect with about 3 or 4 inches folded over the pot. The inclusion of a draw string is great as there is no need to use clips or anything else to keep bag up.

In regards to smaller BIAB batches - I have been doing 2.5 gallon batches on my stove in a 5 gallon pot. Personally I like the smaller batches so I have a bit more variety and can brew a bit more often.
 
OP
sbsmann

sbsmann

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2017
Messages
207
Reaction score
68
Location
Wisconsin
Got my Wilser bag last week and did my first brew with it today. Did a 3 gallon IPA and I would consider it a success. Didn't quite hit my OG, but good enough to make a quality beer. Just want to comment that the Wilser bag is a really nice, well made product and I'd certainly recommend it. Thanks for the referral.
 
Top