BIAB methods and efficiency

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beauvafr

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After reading some posts about it, here's what I can tell. Sorry for this as not been tested on my side, apart sparging & squeezing. What do you think. Are these number rights?

Possible efficiency boost numbers
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  • Double crush : 10-20% boost
  • 90 min mash : small to very little difference
  • Sparging (about the same vol. as the mash) : 5-10% boost
  • Squeezing : 1-5% boost
  • Mashout to 170° : 1-5% boost
  • Stirring the mash : small to very little difference

-

Edit 1 : added mashing-out to the list.
Edit 2 : added Stirring the mash to the list.
 

Pie_Man

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I don't BIAB at the moment, although I have in the past. I personally found that a 90 minute mash improved my efficiency, adding about 5-10% additional extraction.
 
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beauvafr

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I don't BIAB at the moment, although I have in the past. I personally found that a 90 minute mash improved my efficiency, adding about 5-10% additional extraction.
Thanks for your comments Pie_Man. I have read mixed feeling about 90 min mash. Some says it's not changing anything to efficiency, some says it does.

Can someone confirm what Pie_Man have just said?
 

Pie_Man

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Keep in mind that time is just one extraction variable. Grain crush, grain bill, pH, water ratios, etc, can also factor into extraction.
 
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beauvafr

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Keep in mind that time is just one extraction variable. Grain crush, grain bill, pH, water ratios, etc, can also factor into extraction.
Yes. This is just a ballpark.
 

Milan37

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What does 'double-crush' mean? At what gap setting?

I think it's a mistake to publish numbers that appear to be predictions when there is no data to back them up. The best advice for every brewer is to try various changes, one at a time, and take good notes.
 

Foosier

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Double crush usually refer to asking the LHBS to run it through their mill 2 times. When you have your own mill you can tighten the gap down and bust the grain almost to flour if that works for your bag. This is the number one factor for me.

Stirring the mash regularly also seems to make a difference.

Sparging can help as it rinses more sugars from the grains. However, you need to make sure to factor in your parge volume when calculating your brewing water.

Just my $0.02 but efficiency isn't nearly as important as being consistent. If you can get consistent then you know how much base malt you need to hit your numbers.
 

Milan37

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Sorry, I wasn't clear--I understanding what double crushing is, but I was pointing out that it can be ambiguous. Not all double-crushes end up with the same results. It depends on the mill and it's settings.

In this way, it's difficult to generalize across brewing setups to predict a boost in efficiency from double-crushing. It's safe to say that it is one of the most common things to try if you find your efficiency lacking, but any predictions will be inaccurate.

The best thing to do is to keep everything else the same and try it on one's own system.
 
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beauvafr

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In this way, it's difficult to generalize across brewing setups to predict a boost in efficiency from double-crushing. It's safe to say that it is one of the most common things to try if you find your efficiency lacking, but any predictions will be inaccurate.
Like I said.. just a ballpark. ;)
 

DurtyChemist

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Stirring the mash I believe has the biggest effect on mash efficiency. Water:grain ratio probably second. 75 minute mash/watching the temps every 10-15 minutes is very important. I did 73% on two recent 15 lb batches by stirring and watching temps. I don't double crush or mash out. I remove the grains and that removes probably 97% of my mash fermentables.


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I tend to get 75+ with all of my brews (BIAB) but my system would be hard to replicate ... I hand crank a corona mill. It's pretty fine, but is it double crush? triple? I dunno. I DO stir every 15 min and check and control temp, but reading from a hydro I see the majority of my conversion coming in 15 to 30 min, so a 75 or a 90 minute mash for me seems like less of an impact than a good crush. My 2 cents.

Does the fine crush add more trub ... not really (IME) - not that I can tell. I have had extract kits with more cake on the bottom of the carboy than some of my BIABs. I think a good bag keeps the sugars in and the floaties to a minimum.
 

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Since I started BIAB about 15 batches ago my efficiency has gone from 65% to 80% and then remained very consistent. I got my first 5 point bump from increasing mash time to about 75 min. Next 5 points from double crushing. Then my last 5 points from saving 8-10 qts from my mash for a very slow "trickle" sparge through my raised grain bag. I use a basket and pulley for my grain bag. I rest a section of a perforated bucket in the top of the basket for my sparge water.
 

jtratcliff

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from a hydro I see the majority of my conversion coming in 15 to 30 min, so a 75 or a 90 minute mash for me seems like less of an impact than a good crush. My 2 cents.
I've seen this in a few different posts here on HBT. I haven't done the iodine test myself at 10 minutes but apparently modern malts are suffiently modified to convert rather quickly.

So while I still typically do a 60 minute mash, if I need to shorten a brew day, I don't feel too badly about chopping 15-20 minutes off my mash time.

As for efficiency, crushing my own with a corona mill was the big bump for me.
I BIAB with a dunk sparge and I squeeze that bag until it cries uncle.
 

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wilserbrewer

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Yes, recirculating a mash can work well and some prefer to do this. The issue with recirculating is that it will have a cooling effect on the wort, so it is best to add heat, and if adding heat it is best to use a temperature controller.

It is not nearly as simple as hooking up a pump, for this reason I prefer to keep it simple and just insulate the kettle.


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DurtyChemist

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Let me preface this by saying I will be brewing my 2nd BIAB batch. The first batch went well but naturally I want to expand and get better (plus it was a kit). I recently bought one of these pumps (http://www.ebay.com/itm/DC-12V-Elec...210?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3a603d21a2) and was thinking of using it during the mash. Is recirculating during the mash a good idea? Any advice is greatly appreciated.

My LHBS brewer recirculated his mash and said he went from 60-80% efficiency. I stir every 15 minutes for the same concept. Moving the grains exposes them to more water and helps release more sugar.
 

Milan37

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I double-crush the grain, stir it in very well, cover the pot with a sleeping bag and don't touch it for the hour. I typically lose 1-2 degrees and get 80--85% efficiency.
 

DurtyChemist

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I hit 80% this weekend without double crush, sparge, mashout or squeezing every drop of wort out of the bag. Just soaked the grain in water, added hotter water to raise the temp and did a 20 minute protein rest, 10 minute alpha rest and mash at 148-150 for 75 minutes.
 

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Wanting to go with a pump turned into building an electric kettle with pid controller, so as Wilser said, not as simple as just adding a pump, but you could. best choice so far for my brewing and my efficincy(75%+), almost a set it and forget it.

brwkttl.jpg
 
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beauvafr

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Guys who are getting + 5% increase in efficiency for sparging, what are your sparge method ?
 

Weezy

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How the heck does a mashout increase efficiency???? I'm assuming its actually just a slightly longer mash time as you raise the heat or a mini-sparge if your adding hot water to raise it to mashout temp.
 

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I know I've heard or read somewhere. I think it was on a Beersmith podcast and on another forum http://www.biabrewer.info that the efficiency gainged from sparging vs full volume mashing was almost nil. Also, read that grinding to powder is actually not as efficient if you take into account that extra trub loss after racking to fermenter and then again to keg/bottle. I believe the 90 minute mashing is what they recommend as well over at the other forum. My question when I've done BIAB brews in the past is that the longer mash times seems to make the beer a little to thin/dry.
 

Oginme

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Guys who are getting + 5% increase in efficiency for sparging, what are your sparge method ?
First disclaimer: I do 10 liter batch size, so my method may vary from what you will do with a greater volume.

I mash in a 3 gal pot using typically between 7.5 to 8 liters of water, depending upon the volume of the grain. Heat the water to strike temperature on the stove, line the pot with the bag and stir in the grains. This pot gets covered and placed in my preheated oven for the duration of the mash. Meanwhile, I put the remaining water needed into my boil pot (22 liter capacity), usually around 7 to 7.5 liters, and heat to mash out temperature. When the mash is done, I take the bag out of the 3-gal pot, squeeze as much of the wort out as possible and then transfer the bag to the 5-gal pot. I secure the bag around the edge of the pot and stir the grains to break them up and expose to the sparge water. I stir about every 5 minutes for 15 to 20 minutes and then remove the bag, place in colandar and squeeze out what I can of the wort (within reason).

I typically grind my grains a bit finer than I would for my "traditional" cooler mash tun set up. My process gets around 85% to 86% efficiency with the batch sparge. Previously, I was getting around 76% with a full volume BIAB, but having problems holding temperature in the 5-gal pot. comparatively, I got around 74% in my cooler mash tun.
 

DurtyChemist

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I know I've heard or read somewhere. I think it was on a Beersmith podcast and on another forum http://www.biabrewer.info that the efficiency gainged from sparging vs full volume mashing was almost nil. Also, read that grinding to powder is actually not as efficient if you take into account that extra trub loss after racking to fermenter and then again to keg/bottle. I believe the 90 minute mashing is what they recommend as well over at the other forum. My question when I've done BIAB brews in the past is that the longer mash times seems to make the beer a little to thin/dry.

Do you mash in the 148-152F range? If so try up around 158-160 and see what happens.
 

zeptrey

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Do you mash in the 148-152F range? If so try up around 158-160 and see what happens.
Typically around 154-156 at most due to what I've read about thin mashes and high mash temps denaturing enzymes.
 

vNmd

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Guys who are getting + 5% increase in efficiency for sparging, what are your sparge method ?
I have tried pouring the last gallon of water over the grains after mashing. Not sure what this did for me but it was kind of messy. This last time I did a dunk sparge. My total water is 7 gal. This last batch (SWMBO Slayer) I mashed in 4.5 gal of water. I dunk sparged in 2.5 gal of room temp water. After a few minutes I checked the gravity in the dunk, it was 1.020. My final gravity was 1.054. It was nice & clean and got my gravity where it should be. I like this method. Not only does it give me a few extra points it cooled the grain so I could bag it sooner for my friend who has chickens.
 

Owly055

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I just exceeded 90% efficiency using BIAB....an unbelievable figure! Previously the best I had been able to accomplish was 83% Here's what I did:

Set my crusher as tight as possible (and still be able to turn it without the handle slipping)
I do 2.5 Gal brews and hand crank the crusher.

90 minute mash starting at approx 152F

pressing the bag to get virtually everything out

Sparging with 180F water (about a gallon), recycling my sparge water once

Final squeeze / press

I only stirred at the beginning to prevent clumps.


My belief is that the fine crush combined with long mash were the two main factors. I always sparge by placing the bag in a colander and slowly pouring hot water over it using a separate pot. I start with my target mash volume, and use enough sparge water to bring it up to my target pre-boil volume. I am planning on my next brew to cut mash water volume down by a gallon and increase the sparge volume to compensate. Sparging is in my opinion one of the keys to getting good yield...... as is pressing / squeezing. The biggest change this time was the 90 minutes. This is a kind of a red ale hopped with Citra to 60 IBUs (approx). It had 4 pounds of two row, and half a pound of crystal 150 (a mistake as I intended only 1/4 lb). The 90 min mash is going to make is fairly dry and lighter bodied, so the extra crystal may be a happy mistake. I originally intended 1/4 pound melanoidin and 1/4 pound CR150. I'm experimenting with the 150 with the idea of getting color and flavor while keeping the body light. I'm expecting about 4-4.5% ABV. My OG was 1.057. I'm trending toward lower ABV beers these days. It's easy to make something that's 8% and be satisfied.......... I'm finding that lower alcohol beers require flavor to carry the beer rather than sheer alcohol punch.

I use Brewer's Friend and look at my OG after boiling......... scoop a bit off and let it cool and measure SG. I calculate my efficiency simply by adjusting the mash efficiency figure up or down until my OG matches what the program predicts. 75% is the default


After reading some posts about it, here's what I can tell. Sorry for this as not been tested on my side, apart sparging & squeezing. What do you think. Are these number rights?

Possible efficiency boost numbers
-
  • Double crush : 10-20% boost
  • 90 min mash : small to very little difference
  • Sparging (about the same vol. as the mash) : 5-10% boost
  • Squeezing : 1-5% boost
  • Mashout to 170° : 1-5% boost
  • Stirring the mash : small to very little difference

-

Edit 1 : added mashing-out to the list.
Edit 2 : added Stirring the mash to the list.
 
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