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Getting Started with BIAB.

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With a few extract kits under my belt, I am ready to move on to all-grain. At the moment I only have a 5.5 gallon kettle, a 5 gallon fermenting bucket, a 5g bottling bucket, and a 6 gallon glass carboy.

I was thinking of doing a few 3 gallon batches as I really enjoy the process, have plenty of free time, and enjoy having a variety of beers. Will the equipment I have be okay to use or should I upgrade to a bigger pot/more carboys. Is it okay to ferment a 3g batch in a 5g bucket? What about the conversion rates from 5 to 3 on recipes?

I was also looking at purchasing a Dark Star Burner from NB. Does anyone have any experience with this?
 

mb82

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I can't comment on the Dark Star Burner but I use the standard Ale Pale for my 3 gal batches. I don't secondary and I would not in a large carboy I would get a smaller one if you secondary.. And the conversion rates are basically 3/5 of a batch. Personally I use Beersmith to scale my beers.
 

ZenBW

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All I do is 3 gallon stove-top BIAB batches. You are fine with the gear you have, just go to Home Depot or Lowes and buy 5 gallon paint strainer bags in the paint department. Seeing as how your kettle is on the small side, pick up some firmcap and add a drop per gallon before your boil to avoid boil-overs. Also pick up some PH mash stabilizer and add it as prescribed before your mash. On the conversion from 5 to 3 gallons, you can enter your recipe as 5 gallons into brewersfriend. com and convert it to 3 using their handy scale tool. Works like a charm. I ferment my 3 gallon batches in 5 gallon better bottles, no problem. If you are worried, the firmcap will also cut down on foaming and help you avoid blowoffs just use 2 drops per gallon. As for sparging, I don't and I also don't do a mashout... I just remove the bag as it is very manageable and let it drain into the kettle, put it in my bottling bucket and twist the bag to get the wort out of the bag and add it back in before the boil. I then top off to pre-boil vol and begin. I'm hitting 78-80% that way, no problems.

I've been doing a lot of these lately, so if you have any more questions just ask. There is a bit of a learning curve.
 

el_caro

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I love the 3 gallon batch approach.

You will be absolutely fine primary fermenting 3 gallons in a 5 gallon bucket or the 6 gallon carboy. I do it all the time. CO2 is heavier than air and will push all the oxygen out of the headspace. I would not recommend racking to a secondary at all - just leave it in primary.

A good free software program is BREWMATE and that will allow easy conversion of recipes from one volume to another.

I have never found need to add Fermcap and I would not start adding 5.2 Stabiliser until you have read all the negative reports on its effectiveness and possible impact on beer taste.

My recommendation is to do a sparge as I find this does improve efficiency.
 

MMJfan

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I tried ordering the Dark Star burner in the spring and they were sold out and it seemed they were back ordered for at least a month. So I got a Bayou Classic burner instead...
 
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