Brew in a Bag - Why not add grain before water?

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enicholson

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So I'm getting ready to start a BIAB batch, and I'm reading all these comments about avoiding clumping when you add the grain...

Why not add the grain to the pot, then the water, and then bring it up to temperature? Obviously you have to worry about overshooting the mash temp, but other than that is there any problem?

Thanks!
 

magnj

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I usually put in like half the grain, then a little more than half the water, then the rest of the grain, rest of the water and mix thoroughly just so I don't miss any dough balls at the bottom. I wouldn't stress about how you do it just make sure it's an even mix.
 

Nugu

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I think it's a concern about burning the bag if it sits on the bottom of the pot with direct heat applied.
 

Daddymem

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I've never had problems with dough balls. The volume of water to grain is so high it is really easy to mix it up thoroughly.

+1 on the bag burning. If you have heat applied, you should stir to make sure you don't get charring.
 

malkore

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my grain always wants to ball up, and though i can work them back out, its just easier in my MLT cooler to add grain to the water.
 

The Pol

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I see one problem, aside from the obvious chance of melting the bag in the kettle.

Typically with BIAB you use ALL of your water when you mash, so you are mashing pretty thin. This also means that your volume is very large... 10 gallons for a 5 gallon batch?

So, how long will YOUR burner take to heat a 10 gallon mash from 80F to 155F? With todays highly modified malts, Id submit that much of your conversion would take place before you ever made it to sacc. rest temp.
 

The Pol

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I usually put in like half the grain, then a little more than half the water, then the rest of the grain, rest of the water and mix thoroughly just so I don't miss any dough balls at the bottom. I wouldn't stress about how you do it just make sure it's an even mix.
This is how you brew with BIAB? Do you heat your water in another vessel?
 
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enicholson

enicholson

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Thanks everybody! I brewed yesterday and decided to try adding water to the grain. It was only a partial mash (5.5 lbs grain) because I had some LME that I needed to use.

I put a folding stainless steel steamer basket in the kettle like a false bottom to prevent scorching. Then I added a paint strainer bag, the grain, and finally hot tap water. I put in about 8 gallons and it worked out about 1 quart more than I needed. You do use ALL the water up front but there is no system loss and less grain absorption with BiaB so the amount is a little less than typical.

I had a little trouble keeping temp even during mashing. I overshot to 158 and then it cooled to 149 in about 40 minutes, then I overshot back to 160...

My OG ended up at 1.063 which is pretty much what I wanted and the wort tasted the way I'd expect, so I'm pretty happy! 24 hrs later it's bubbling along. Assuming it ferments nicely, I'll definitely be doing it again!
 
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enicholson

enicholson

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So, how long will YOUR burner take to heat a 10 gallon mash from 80F to 155F? With todays highly modified malts, Id submit that much of your conversion would take place before you ever made it to sacc. rest temp.
I have a 50,000 BTU wok burner, so it's reasonably quick, but any extra conversion time would be a good thing right? Or should I be worried about finishing too dry?

Thanks again!
 

The Pol

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I have a 50,000 BTU wok burner, so it's reasonably quick, but any extra conversion time would be a good thing right? Or should I be worried about finishing too dry?

Thanks again!
Conversion will be taking place while the temp ramps up... meaning that you will be drying out your beer.

Also, in the 40 minutes it took to cool your mash from 158F to 149F, conversion was already complete. At 158F or so, 30 miuntes it probably all it really takes to convert in a nice thin mash.
 

magnj

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This is how you brew with BIAB? Do you heat your water in another vessel?
Yea I heat up the mash water in the Boil Kettle and then dump it into the MLT(Cooler) with a huge bag filled with my grains. After a 60-90 minute mash I lift the bag and let it drain back into the MLT, I guess this is my first runnings. Then in the BK I have 170F water waiting to Sparge/Mash out. Usually I mash in the 1.25-1.5 qt/lb range and then do a single sparge to get the rest of my volume.

ATM I'm getting 65% efficiency but I think I can get above 70% with a good crush and a little refinement. It was a super cheap setup that works reasonably well though I will probably be upgrading to a proper MLT cooler conversion in the future.

Mash


Sparge


Boil
 

LandofOZ

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:confused:I have started all grain 2.5 gallon BIB batches doing the same thing only with my water about split in half for both mash and BAG SPARGE (new term???) both done in the Gott cooler my question is how long do you let the bag sit in your sparge water before you pull it out and let drain, i have a large collander i can just put accros the cooler to put the bag in to let drain. this seems like a vary effective and cheap way to all grain:ban:
 

magnj

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I've been leaving it in a little longer than I used to, say 20 minutes. I'll rotate between stirring, soaking and lifting/draining a few times over that 20 minutes in an effort to get most of the sugar out. A 2 part sparge might help, maybe I'll try that this weekend.

Maybe we should make a new thread for BIAB techniques?
 

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