BIAZB: Brew in a Ziplock Bag

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melloworchard

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I've recently tried something kind of crazy: Mashing in a ziplock bag using a sous vide stick and a water bath. Basically instead of a steak, you put your mash in a ziplock bag. I was interviewed about it by James Spencer on Basic Brewing Radio and did a little write-up about it with pictures over here: BIAZB: Brew in a Ziplock Bag

I'd love to know what you guys think.
 

CascadesBrewer

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It is an interesting idea. I am not sold on the idea that you need precise mash temp control and I am not sure I would invest the effort into step mashing with a 1 gallon batch. I have done a few 1 gallon batches either with wrapping the pot in a sleeping bag or sticking the pot in my oven. I was not 100% happy with either method.

I hope to do some more 1 gallon all-grain recipes. I recently picked up a 2 gallon beverage cooler from Home Depot for $10 (Rubbermaid Victory 2 Gal. Red Cooler-FG153004MODRD - The Home Depot) hoping that it would make mash temp control a tad easier and more consistent. I have not tried it yet, but I plan to do a few single grain batches...and maybe some trial recipe batches soon.
 
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melloworchard

melloworchard

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It is an interesting idea. I am not sold on the idea that you need precise mash temp control and I am not sure I would invest the effort into step mashing with a 1 gallon batch.
Thank you for your feedback. I would probably not do a step mash for a 1 gallon batch, either. With the big 2.5 gallon ziplock bags you could easily do a 2+ gallon batch and then it might be worth it for certain styles. Oh, and nice find on the 2 gallon cooler :)
 

bkboiler

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Wow...that's a cool idea. They were a huge step up for me marinating things and work great as piping bags...
I never thought about brewing. So the plastic is food safe up to 170F apparently?
 
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melloworchard

melloworchard

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Wow...that's a cool idea. They were a huge step up for me marinating things and work great as piping bags...
I never thought about brewing. So the plastic is food safe up to 170F apparently?
I'm obviously not an expert, but I figured that the mash temp range is close to the temp range used for sous vide cooking, so it seems to be OK. Here's some more temp info: https://www.reddit.com/r/sousvide/comments/5uaacw
 

CascadesBrewer

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> I usually brew 2.5 gallon batches...

What is your 2.5 gal setup? I moved to BIAB for 5 gal batch brewing a bit over 2 years ago. I then picked up a decent 5 gallon kettle and a pair of 3 gallon Fermonsters. This setup supports either single 2.5 gallon stovetop batches, or 5 gallon batches split (say with 2 yeasts). I also splurged on a pair of Torpedo 10L/2.6G kegs. The 2.5 gallon batches have been great for iterating over several versions of a recipe, or trying out new things. I then mix in standard 5 gal batches of more proven recipes (or right now I think I need to use up some of the hop stockpile in my freezer).

The kegs have been a bottleneck, and I have not prodded myself into spending $180 on another pair. I think I need to lean more toward bottling batches, and maybe shifting some brewing towards 1 to 1.5 gal batches.
 

madscientist451

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I've recently tried something kind of crazy: Mashing in a ziplock bag using a sous vide stick and a water bath.
I was interviewed about it by James Spencer on Basic Brewing Radio
I'd love to know what you guys think.
I just listened to it this morning, I'm going to get a sous vide stick, some 2 gallon ziplock bags and see what happens with 2 and 2.5 gallon batches. I've been happy with stovetop BIAB, but
the sous vide stick could provide a more steady mash temp for not a lot of money.
 

Murphys_Law

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Sounds interesting. I may try a 2G batch with some inventory I already have just to see how it turns out for me. Thanks for posting this.
 
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melloworchard

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soup4lunch

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The sous vide stick is really versatile. I use mine for 5g BIAB mashing to hold the temperature under a sleeping bag. Clips hold the bag off the stick and the circulation features works. I'm looking at 2.5g kegs so this seems spot on for simple brewing... thanks!!
 
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melloworchard

melloworchard

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The sous vide stick is really versatile. I use mine for 5g BIAB mashing to hold the temperature under a sleeping bag. Clips hold the bag off the stick and the circulation features works. I'm looking at 2.5g kegs so this seems spot on for simple brewing... thanks!!
I also have two 2.5 gallon ball-lock kegs and I really like them. Perfect size for me. I'm happy to hear the sous vide stick works well for you even without a ziplock bag/water bath :) Maybe I was just doing it wrong hahaha!
 

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