For those of you who BIAB + Sparge

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johnodon

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Do you find that you do not need to crush your grains as fine since you really are mashing in a more traditional fashion?

I have been contemplating moving from no sparge to pour sparge to avoid having to crush my grains so fine in the hopes that I would avoid so much trub.

Also, check this out: https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/ho...-separate-mash-tun-without-using-biab-476116/

I may fiddle with that too. I know BIAB is all about simplicity but I don't mind introducing ~30 minutes back into my process.

John
 

jnacey

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I do a BIAB in a 10gal cooler and then I do a "dunk" sparge in my boil kettle at mash out temps for 10 minutes. I don't mill my own grain, so I've never had much control on the crush. The dunk sparge definitely improves my efficiency compared to a full volume BIAB mash.
 

wilserbrewer

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Do you find that you do not need to crush your grains as fine since you really are mashing in a more traditional fashion?

I have been contemplating moving from no sparge to pour sparge to avoid having to crush my grains so fine in the hopes that I would avoid so much trub.

Also, check this out: https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/ho...-separate-mash-tun-without-using-biab-476116/

I may fiddle with that too. I know BIAB is all about simplicity but I don't mind introducing ~30 minutes back into my process.

John
I like to do a small pour over sparge for both efficiency and ease of brewing. With a pour over sparge, you can simply sparge until you reach the proper preboil volume in your kettle, rahter than trying to "calculate" where you think you might be.

As far as the trub, a finer bag material will likely help a bit, but BIAB will generally give more trub, but I have found that cloudy wort to the kettle, still yields nice clear beer to the glass....cheers!

cheers
 

RM-MN

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Do you find that you do not need to crush your grains as fine since you really are mashing in a more traditional fashion?

I have been contemplating moving from no sparge to pour sparge to avoid having to crush my grains so fine in the hopes that I would avoid so much trub.

Also, check this out: https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/ho...-separate-mash-tun-without-using-biab-476116/

I may fiddle with that too. I know BIAB is all about simplicity but I don't mind introducing ~30 minutes back into my process.

John
You never "have" to crush your grains fine to do BIAB but BIAB allows it. By crushing fine your conversion is done more quickly and completely so your efficiency goes up. With a coarser crush you can mash longer to get better efficiency but at some point the coarser crushes just won't totally convert and your efficiency will suffer.
 

BlueHouseBrewhaus

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I do BIAB with a sparge in my 9 gallon BK. I withhold 8-10 qts from my mash (use my old 5 gallon BK) for sparging after mashout. This still leaves enough mash water for a good water/grain ratio. My BK has a fryer basket that I put my bag in. I created a "sparge bucket" by cutting the bottom third off a Home Depot bucket and drilling some holes in the bottom. The sparge bucket fits perfectly in the top of the basket.

When mashout is done, I hoist the basket above the BK with a ratcheting pulley. Then I place the sparge bucket in the top of the basket, pour my sparge water in and relax. By trial and error, I figured out how many holes to drill to create a 30 min sparge for 8 qts of sparge water. Works great and bumped my efficiency up about 5 points. An added advantage is that I can mash more grain (i.e. higher gravity) since I have less water in the mash.

I still double crush. There really isn't any concern about a stuck sparge with this method.
 
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johnodon

johnodon

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Has anyone actually tried to do a hybrid BIAB + batch sparge? I am thinking of trying this with my next brew...

- Mash in my bag with half of my total water (~5 gallons).
- Vorlauf.
- Drain kettle into a bucket dedicated to hot wort transfer.
- Batch sparge for 10 minutes with 2.5 gallons.
- Vorlauf.
- Drain into bucket.
- Batch sparge with remaining 2.5 gallons.
- Vorlauf.
- Drain remaining wort into bucket.
- Remove bag.
- Transfer wort back to kettle.

Does anyone see any issues with this method? I know this adds time/complexity but I'm curious to see what this does to my efficiency compared to standard no sparge BIAB.

John
 

jnacey

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I do a version of that. I heat my strike water in my kettle and transfer to a cooler which I BIAB mash in. When that's almost done, I heat sparge water in my kettle (with the combined volumes being my full boil volume). Then, I pull the bag from the cooler, let it drain and then put the bag in my kettle to "dunk sparge". I stir like crazy and then pull the bag and drain. Then I pour the mash liquor into the kettle and start my boil. Works well for me.


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Oginme

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My version is along the same lines. I mash in one pot using a little over half the water. While the mash is sitting, I heat up the sparge water in a second pot. Once the mash is done, I lift the bag from the mash pot, squeeze out what I can of wort and then transfer the bag to the second pot. I stir the grains well to break them back up and allow for the sparge water to fully penetrate. After about 10 to 15 minutes, I remove the bag and squeeze as much of the "second runnings" out as possible. I then combine the contents of the pots for the boil.

Note: during the sparge step, I am also bringing the temperature up on the 1st pot so that it is close to boiling when I combine the two.
 

BlueHouseBrewhaus

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Johnodon, I'm curious. Does your brew/mash kettle have a valve on it to allow you to drain from the bottom? If so, do you use a bazooka screen or false bottom or just let the bag be your filter bed? In traditional AG brewing I know that you vorlauf until the grain bed settles enough to act as a filter and give you clear runnings. Then you stop your vorlauf and collect the runnings. If you're doing BIAB do you get that kind of filter bed that gives you clear runnings with just the bag as your filter?
 

nzbrew

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My version is along the same lines. I mash in one pot using a little over half the water. While the mash is sitting, I heat up the sparge water in a second pot. Once the mash is done, I lift the bag from the mash pot, squeeze out what I can of wort and then transfer the bag to the second pot. I stir the grains well to break them back up and allow for the sparge water to fully penetrate. After about 10 to 15 minutes, I remove the bag and squeeze as much of the "second runnings" out as possible. I then combine the contents of the pots for the boil.

Note: during the sparge step, I am also bringing the temperature up on the 1st pot so that it is close to boiling when I combine the two.
Exactly what I do, and it seems to work a treat!

With no sparge I sit around 68 % efficiency, with the batch sparge as above I'm consistently around 75%
 

Weezy

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You're essentially describing a more traditional brewing process... you're just using a bag.
Think of the bag as your false bottom. A more efficient, stuck sparge proof, false bottom. It's just another tool in your brew process. Using a bag doesn't mean we have to use the traditional BIAB full volume mash method.
 

RM-MN

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Johnodon, I'm curious. Does your brew/mash kettle have a valve on it to allow you to drain from the bottom? If so, do you use a bazooka screen or false bottom or just let the bag be your filter bed? In traditional AG brewing I know that you vorlauf until the grain bed settles enough to act as a filter and give you clear runnings. Then you stop your vorlauf and collect the runnings. If you're doing BIAB do you get that kind of filter bed that gives you clear runnings with just the bag as your filter?
You won't get clear runnings with BIAB and you don't really need to with a conventional mash tun. Lautering is to keep the grain and grain husks out of the boil kettle. Your beer will clear up just fine without getting clear wort.
 

Calichusetts

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You're essentially describing a more traditional brewing process... you're just using a bag.
Think of the bag as your false bottom. A more efficiency, stuck sparge proof, false bottom. It's just another tool in your brew process. Using a bag doesn't mean we have to use the traditional BIAB full volume mash method.
This is me. The bag is my "false bottom." I vorlauf, drain. Add it to the kettle and start the boil while I do a sparge, vorlauf and then drain the second. I don't do a very crazy crush either. I only hit 70% but I literally hit it every time.
 

Oginme

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You're essentially describing a more traditional brewing process... you're just using a bag.
Think of the bag as your false bottom. A more efficient, stuck sparge proof, false bottom. It's just another tool in your brew process. Using a bag doesn't mean we have to use the traditional BIAB full volume mash method.
Yup! I'm more focused on process and repeatibility rather than fancy equipment. My process described above is very consistent in giving me 85% to 86% efficiency. When my process is that dialed in, I can repeat my brews with confidence that they will taste pretty much the same from one brew to the next.

While I may collect more fines and hulls in the boil kettle, I also produce about a liter and a half more than I transfer into the carboy, so most of that gets left behind in the brew kettle.
 
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