BIAB Questions

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Fennis

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I am making a 5 gallon batch of Cream Ale. My grain bill is 8.5 pounds. I am just starting to expand from partial mash to all-grain and this will be my first true attempt at the BIAB method. I have tried looking at instructions and beer calculators, and I know that I want to end up with 5 gallons, but how much water should I start with? I plan on doing everything in one pot from steeping the grains to sparging to the boil, so I just don't want to mess up and have my OG way off.

Also, I've seen instructions and posts say I should steep for 90 minutes and boil for 90, or 60 and 60...does anyone with more BIAB experience know what is truly best?
 

zacster

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Maybe try the Beersmith.com calculator. I haven't used it myself yet, I just downloaded it this morning. It's free for a 21 day trial and has more info than I ever thought I needed. I've so far only done extract brews and follow the recipe provided with the kit.
 

samc

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One of our fellow brewers put up this http://www.gregstiffler.com/biabcalc/ . It is pretty accurate if you give it the correct info.

A 60 mash should be fine, maybe go 90 minutes depending on your ingredients. 60 minute boils work great for most recipes and a simple low gravity Cream Ale fits that bill.
 

RM-MN

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What size of pot do you have for the mash? I have a turkey fryer that is advertised as 30 qt and that size of grain bill with 6 1/2 gallons of water (26 qt) will put the mash almost to the top of the kettle. It was too close for comfort for me so I start with 5 gallons and pseudo sparge with about 2 gallons to reach my boil amount. You could even skip the sparge step and just use top off water if you are good as squeezing the wort from the bag.
 

RM-MN

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The length of time for mashing is related to the crush of the grain. It takes longer for the water to penetrate the coarser crush so you have to mash longer and still may not get very high efficiency as you can't rinse the sugars out. If you crush finer, the conversion happens faster. With my grain mill I grind to the consistency of corn meal since with brew in a bag I don't have to worry about a stuck sprarge. I usually see evidence of conversion (the water goes from cloudy to clear with conversion of the starches) within 15 to 20 minutes but I still mash for the full hour. I keep thinking of checking how good the conversion using the iodine test after 15 minutes but haven't done it yet.
 
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Fennis

Fennis

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I have a 40qt SS pot I bought from some cooking supply store online. I've tried this one before with an oatmeal stout batch, and my OG was off, and I think it was because I used too much water to start...7.5 gallons. That batch had an 11 pound grain bill, and with that much water, I was close to the top when I added the grains, but otherwise it wasn't an issue. Then, after the grains steeped and sucked up their water, I tested the gravity, I was dead on when I compensated for temperature, but for some stupid reason I added almost another gallon of water in fear that I had lost too much. So, if I should start around 6.5-7 gallons and don't add water after that, that's all I really need to know... I just don't want to mess up my OG and make a watery beer again.
 

RM-MN

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The amount of water you should start with should be 5.25 gallons plus what you expect to boil off in the course of the 60 minute boil plus what will stay in the grain when you squeeze it. I only add enough heat to maintain a slow rolling boil and don't boil off too much while others may have a more vigorous boil and boil off a lot.
 

Parkinson1963

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I start of with 7 to 7.5 gallons of water for each BIAB, 5 gallon batch.

After mashing and boiling I end up with 5 to 6 gallons. The boil time(60 or 90 min boil), how vigorous, out side temp, etc all effect the boil off but as long as I end up with ~5 gallons of beer I don't really care.
 
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