Extract brewer eyeing BIAB

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jwil911

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This is what I've narrowed it down to at this point but the target has been moving. Currently I have an 8 gal kettle. I could make smaller size batches in what I have but. I'm thinking the Brewbuilt 15 gal w/whirllpool port kettle (I like that one), wilserbrewer Grandslam. I'll research and add the pump, tubing and fittings for the whirlpool in time. (retired and on a budget). Going one step at a time is my style. Still using propane, I'd love to go electric but that requires and electrical project I'm not ready for yet.
Is there anything else I'm missing other than grain bill, hops, and yeast?
Thanks, jw
 

doug293cz

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I transitioned from extract to BIAB in an 8 gal kettle. 5 gal batches are doable in an 8 gal kettle, but you may need to add a sparge (either pour over or dunk) for higher OG beers. All you need in addition to what you already have is the bag - you can't go wrong with Wilser. I also agree that a 15 gal kettle is the correct next upgrade (it will require a new bag as well.)

If you don't already have one, you will also need an accurate thermometer. Most of the cheap digital "lollypop" type are actually pretty good. The gold standard is a Thermapen, but they are a little spendy.

Brew on :mug:
 
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Coastalbrew

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Fwiw, you should look into an AIO system. They start out fairly reasonably priced and are way easier to deal with. Some, like the anvil or mash and boil are 120V, so no electrical project necessary. The anvil system also offers the ability to switch to 220V on the fly if you want. Electric gives you the ability to brew indoors and the AIO's are so easy to use and work with. One 5G batch of full volume BIAB on my stove top was enough for me to know I never wanted to do that again, and I bought an AIO system. Best piece of brewing equipment I've ever bought.
 

RufusBrewer

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Seems to me you are about a bag away from trying out an all grain BIAB. May not be the all out ideal perfect set up, but it will get you going.

As an extract brewer, you now how to make beer after the mash step.

Get a basic moderate OG recipe. If it were me, I would dial down the batch size to 4 gallons.

If you like the results, you can make upgrades in steps.
 
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jwil911

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All good input. I may buy a bag and try a smaller batch to get my feet wet with BIAB before I spend on the 15 gal kettle. Hadn’t really considered AIO so thats something else to look at.
Thanks,
Jw
 

MaxStout

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Welcome to the world of all-grain!

With all-grain, the water you brew with becomes more important. The good news is that you don't have to dive deep into the chemistry. You can get well into the ballpark by starting with very soft water (or reverse osmosis water from the grocery store), and some calcium chloride and calcium sulfate (gypsum). The 2 additives can be purchased for a couple bucks from the brew store.

Here is a very basic primer on brewing water.
 

palmtrees

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You'll love jumping to BIAB! You just can get a cheap bag to try it out, if you want a starting place. 8 gallons should be big enough for most batches.

If you look into a AIO system, I would also check out Clawhammer Supply. If I drank enough beer to make 5 gallon batches, I would have one of their systems! If you prefer adding one thing at a time, they do have a less expensive starter system that is really just the kettle and grain basket. You can use it with your current propane system for heat. Because their stuff is modular, you can easily upgrade it to electric (either 120 or 240) whenever you want. Their YouTube channel is great, if you want to get a sense of their system.
 

madscientist451

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Is there anything else I'm missing other than grain bill, hops, and yeast?
Thanks, jw
I saw it here on HBT: "If you can make tea with a tea bag, you can make beer with grain and BIAB"
I do BIAB on my electric stove. It beats being outside in the winter/summer. And I don't have to worry about running out of propane.
I mostly run 2.5-3 gallons, but I can do 5 gallon batches in my 8 gallon pot.
For your first couple of runs, why not try 2.5 gallons and see how it works before going bigger?
Spend $20 for a 16 quart pot for a dunk sparge, Get both pots boiling on the stove, then combine. I can get a brew done in 3 hours or less using stovetop BIAB. But I usually take longer because I don't fuss with the mash, I go do something else and come back to it when I want.
Smaller carboys are easier to handle and clean up.
I get my boil going faster with smaller batches.
I dump the wort from the kettle to the carboy, so its way easier with a smaller batch.
I always have a lot of variety of homebrew on hand.
If spending money on brewing is an issue, I'd get a chest freezer for temperature control/kegs before I spent any money getting a "system" to make wort. Look for used homebrew gear on FB/Craigslist, you might even find a good deal on an electric system if you want to go in that direction.
 

RufusBrewer

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A cheap corona mill might be a nice add for you. You’ll probably want a finer grind than you’ll get from the LHBS.
I do not know about this.

Seems to me that a guy that wants to start explore All Grain and BIAB techniques, a grain mill is more of a luxury.

Any place he gets his grains can crush them as well.

He will have more important things to work out before he can begin worrying about how fine to mill his grains.
 

Steverus07

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I’ll offer that the consideration to eventually go electric (if you’re thinking along those lines) should drive your eventual kettle purchase. Agreed that especially given budget constraints you don’t have to go there now. I’ve seen other people suggest an induction cooktop like the one here: Duxtop 1800W Portable Induction Cooktop Countertop Burner, Gold 8100MC/BT-180G3 Amazon.com

I personally have a Unibrau AIO that I bought for a “buy once, cry once” experience but you can get what you’re looking for piecemeal just like you’ve planned. I’ll also add that if electric is in your eventual plans, consider getting one of the kettles with a port for a 1.5”tc heater. the combination of an induction cooktop with another 120v heating element ~1650w (connected to extension cords off different circuits in your home) can offer respectable heating times compared to propane. You could get the kettle before or after the cooktop and even without another heating element you can get where you’re going. With the added advantage that you could eventually cobble together a controller unit for the pump and heating element, you’d be getting yourself a high end AIO one piece at a time without ever having a single purchase more expensive than the kettle itself.
 

TkmLinus

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I have done plenty of BIAB batches in my 8 gallon kettle. As mentioned above you will have to sparge. I find most 5 gallon batches use about 7 gallons of water. In my 8 gallon I would mash with 5 gallons then sparge with the remaining 2 giving me about 6.5 gallons of wort. I would use a spray bottle with water to keep the hot break from boiling over. My advice would be to get a bag(this one is 14.99 from MoreBeer Mesh Grain Bag - 27.5 x 32.5 in. | MoreBeer) and find a spot where you can hang it to drain over the kettle and try it out! Good luck!
 

jtratcliff

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He will have more important things to work out before he can begin worrying about how fine to mill his grains.
Sure, not for his 1st batch perhaps, but many (most?) LHBS crushes are notoriously poor. My LHBS was crush your
own with their mill. I had to double crush to get decent efficiency. When they "banned" double crushing, an ugly junk
corona mill in a bucket was my next purchase/project.

It's a worthwhile top-of-list improvement if BIABing going forward.
 
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jtratcliff

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Fwiw, you should look into an AIO system. They start out fairly reasonably priced and are way easier to deal with.
I scored a 35L Klarstein Maishfest for $150 on an Amazon Warehouse lightning deal... It's almost identical to the Ver. 1 Brewer's Edge Mash & Boil.
3 Batches with it so far. Liking it. Still trying hone in the new process, but haven't gone back to stovetop BIAB, yet.

So if you keep an eye out for Black Friday deals, might find one of the more basic AIO systems at really good price.
 

Beernik

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I suggested a corona mill because there are some really cheap versions of them for ≈$35. Add a bolt, a bucket, a 2x4, & a 4” duct tube & if he has a drill, they are there.

It’s not the most awesome setup, but it is cheap, functional, & effective.

My old LHBS let me grind my own. I double ran them and got great efficiency. Since my move, my new LHBS has the mill in a back room & they do it. It gives me sub-70% efficiency, which more than anything is making me want to retrieve the rest of my household crap from storage.
 
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jwil911

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I scored a 35L Klarstein Maishfest for $150 on an Amazon Warehouse lightning deal... It's almost identical to the Ver. 1 Brewer's Edge Mash & Boil.
3 Batches with it so far. Liking it. Still trying hone in the new process, but haven't gone back to stovetop BIAB, yet.

So if you keep an eye out for Black Friday deals, might find one of the more basic AIO systems at really good price.
Probably going to have to wait till after 1st if the year to pull the trigger on 3-4 hundred $ purchase. By then I will be decided what direction I go. Too many good options. But a 15 gal kettle w/ 1.5 TC port to head to electric brewing sounds very tempting. But so does AIO. Decisions, decisions. Keep brewing.
John
 

jtgoral

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This is what I've narrowed it down to at this point but the target has been moving. Currently I have an 8 gal kettle. I could make smaller size batches in what I have but. I'm thinking the Brewbuilt 15 gal w/whirllpool port kettle (I like that one), wilserbrewer Grandslam. I'll research and add the pump, tubing and fittings for the whirlpool in time. (retired and on a budget). Going one step at a time is my style. Still using propane, I'd love to go electric but that requires and electrical project I'm not ready for yet.
Is there anything else I'm missing other than grain bill, hops, and yeast?
Thanks, jw
For 5.5-5.75 batch volume I use 8.25 gallons of water and 1 campden tablet in my 15 gallon pot. This is for 1.040-1.055 OG beers. A fridge magnet sticks to the pot even the pot is SS, so I know that my induction heater will work with the pot. I find 3.5kW induction heater strong enough for my setup. I have no pump, extra tubing and so on. I made over 150 BIAB batches without them and I see no need to spend money for them.
 
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As Rufusbrewer noted above, a 4 gallon batch in an 8 gallon kettle works great. Easily done indoors in my experience. 4 gallons will yield about 35 bottles or fit easily in a 5G keg.
4 gallons will use 8 or 9 pounds of grain and that easily crushes in a corona style mill. I hand crank mine. It keeps the dust down. In general, you can put the water on, crank the grain out, and be right around mash temp.
 

RufusBrewer

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IMHO Some homebrewers (especially beginners) are way too distracted by efficiency and by extension the "quality" of their grain crush.. There are more important variables and processes to concentrate on during the brewing process. For example, the mash, maintaining and regulating mash temps is big.

The penalty for a less than wonderful grain crush is lower efficiency (and a lower ABV) or the burdon of buying a bit more grain. Neither consequence will produce "bad" beer.

A mash with a perfectly crushed grainbill but fundamentals such as temp control are out of whack will result in less than desired beer.

To address the OP, get a recipe, get the basics of mashing. I suggest BIAB for the simple process, and the low invest cost to do a few test rides, decide if it is for you.

All In One systems are nice. You can get by with a 120 VAC system, but the 220 VAC are very nice, but you probably have to invest in a visit from an electrician.

If you do not mind the limitations of the Foundry 6.5 gallon, you can be up and running with purchase of a plug in 120 VAC GFCI. Plus you get portability options. Brew in the garage, back porch, take it to your buddy's house.
 

doug293cz

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IMHO Some homebrewers (especially beginners) are way too distracted by efficiency and by extension the "quality" of their grain crush.. There are more important variables and processes to concentrate on during the brewing process. For example, the mash, maintaining and regulating mash temps is big.

The penalty for a less than wonderful grain crush is lower efficiency (and a lower ABV) or the burdon of buying a bit more grain. Neither consequence will produce "bad" beer.

A mash with a perfectly crushed grainbill but fundamentals such as temp control are out of whack will result in less than desired beer.

To address the OP, get a recipe, get the basics of mashing. I suggest BIAB for the simple process, and the low invest cost to do a few test rides, decide if it is for you.

All In One systems are nice. You can get by with a 120 VAC system, but the 220 VAC are very nice, but you probably have to invest in a visit from an electrician.

If you do not mind the limitations of the Foundry 6.5 gallon, you can be up and running with purchase of a plug in 120 VAC GFCI. Plus you get portability options. Brew in the garage, back porch, take it to your buddy's house.
Agree, learning how to make wort from grain is the most important first step in the transition from extract to all-grain (or partial mash) brewing.

Eventually, you need to know what your mash efficiency is, so you can adjust grain bills to achieve target OG's. Fixing extraordinarily low mash efficiencies is much higher on the to do list than tweaking for a few percentage point increase. The time to start understanding efficiency is when you start asking questions about: "why is my OG so much lower (or higher) than the recipe says it should be?"

Brew on :mug:
 

Transamguy77

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When I started BIAB I bought a 7.5 gallon turkey fryer (which you don’t need) and a $5 2 pack of paint strainer bags from Home Depot and just like that I was making beer with grains!
I did a “dunk” sparge in a 2 gallon kettle and was getting high efficiency using that method, I used an old colander to sit my grains on to drain. I can’t speak for the AIO systems I’ve never used one and have no interest in getting one.
 
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