# good BIAB calculator??

### Help Support Homebrew Talk:

#### Keqwow

##### Well-Known Member
I've seen several, but does anyone recommend a particular BIAB calculator over another? I need to figure out how much water to start with and it seems I get different answers depending on the calculator. Of course I know it will vary with equipment and location, but I'd kind of like to find something to stick with for consistency from here on out and was wondering if there is a 'favorite' of most BIAB brewers?

#### MTate37

##### Well-Known Member
Not sure what your experience level with BIAB is, but I just made my second batch with BIAB and used BIABacus from BIABrewer.info. It is a great forum with guys who know a lot about BIAB. The BIABacus contains a lot of data but I found it to be extremely helpful and really accurate. If you fill it out and post it on the forum, they will look it over and give you pointers or let you know if you are missing something. Check it out!

#### whiskeyjack

##### Well-Known Member
Sorry I don't know any good calculators but I can tell you how to do it by hand. Take your grain absorption 0.06 gallons per pound +boil off + total boil volume = Total Volume needed. For instance if you had 11 pounds. 11 x 0.06 + 1.5 gallon boil off + 6 gallon batch = 8.16 gallons

And if you want to see if your kettle will hold the full volume I take that amount of 8.16g x 4 = 32.64 quarts, divide that by the amount of grain gives you your quarts/pound.
32.64/11= 2.97 qts/lb You can then take the 2.97 and plug it into the Green Bay rackers website and see if it will fit

http://www.rackers.org/calcs.shtml

The thing that will make your numbers different then mine would be your absorption rate. If you find your exact absorption rate it will dial in your system, but it should be really close to this

#### dzlater

##### Well-Known Member
I don't do brew in a bag but I have done a few no sparge brews which is basically the same thing.
Can't one just use any mash/sparge water caculator, put in a random water to grist ratio. This will give you the total volume of mash and sparge water. Just add the two together and use that?
Example:
6 gallon preboil
10 lbs of grain
1.5 quarts per lb
.1 grain absorbtion
3.75 gallons mash
3.25 gallons sparge
total water 7 gallons for brew in a bag ?

#### johns

##### Well-Known Member
not sure what your experience level with biab is, but i just made my second batch with biab and used biabacus from biabrewer.info. It is a great forum with guys who know a lot about biab. The biabacus contains a lot of data but i found it to be extremely helpful and really accurate. If you fill it out and post it on the forum, they will look it over and give you pointers or let you know if you are missing something. Check it out!
+1

#### Skeptikos

##### New Member
Another vote for BIABacus. It looks a little intimidating when you first look at it but is actually pretty simple to use and quite powerful.

OP
K

#### Keqwow

##### Well-Known Member
I have been playing around with the BIABacus a little, but it is a pain in the A\$\$ to have to convert everything into metric measurements. Unless they have finally made a version where you can plug in imperial units first instead of metric units???

#### johns

##### Well-Known Member
one of the lower tabs has a conversions on it. You only need to convert 4 or 5 settings. Yea its not on the english system, but its useful and once you have those mesurments saved its less work in the future.

#### bsilva132

##### Member
I have been playing around with the BIABacus a little, but it is a pain in the A\$\$ to have to convert everything into metric measurements. Unless they have finally made a version where you can plug in imperial units first instead of metric units???
Just insert a column next to the metric units and add the need formula to convert to imperial; that is what I did.

#### HopSong

##### Senior Member
Another vote for BIABrewer. I found BIABacus a bit daunting.. only because I was asking too many question of the gurus at once.. But, they were gracious guys who helped me thru my idiotcyncracies. Lotta knowledge there for BIAB.. heck, they invented it.

#### JeepDiver

##### Well-Known Member
I hit my numbers dead on using BeerSmith 2.0. May be overkill for what you want, but I like the ability to do recipies, and the changes they made in 2.0 for BIAB work really well

#### MTate37

##### Well-Known Member
I hit my numbers dead on using BeerSmith 2.0. May be overkill for what you want, but I like the ability to do recipies, and the changes they made in 2.0 for BIAB work really well
I used Beersmith 2, simplebiabcalculator.com and BIABacus for my last BIAB batch and got three different numbers from each. The simple calculator was about .75G below BIABacus and Beersmith was telling me to use one more gallon than my pot will hold. I went through all my Beersmith settings and couldn't find anything that looked wonky so I dismissed that calculation and went with BIABacus. I was blown away with how accurate it was at each step of the way because out of the eight or so batches that I've brewed I've never hit my volume with the exception of my first two partial boil extract batches.

#### laserghost

##### Well-Known Member
this is old, but i am concerned about people finding this thread and taking this quote as fact, and it's not true.

I don't do brew in a bag but I have done a few no sparge brews which is basically the same thing.
biab is NOT no sparge. the difference is, it's not an active sparge. biab is a passive sparge.

i recently did a no sparge mash with biab (1.35 qt/lb) and dropped the efficiency into kettle down to 64%. i typically get 79% or more efficiency into kettle doing normal full volume biab mashes (2.53 qt/lb). it's a great way to brew.

biabacus is legit and so is biabrewer.info

#### dzlater

##### Well-Known Member
this is old, but i am concerned about people finding this thread and taking this quote as fact, and it's not true.

biab is NOT no sparge. the difference is, it's not an active sparge. biab is a passive sparge.

i recently did a no sparge mash with biab (1.35 qt/lb) and dropped the efficiency into kettle down to 64%. i typically get 79% or more efficiency into kettle doing normal full volume biab mashes (2.53 qt/lb). it's a great way to brew.

biabacus is legit and so is biabrewer.info
I stand corrected.
I was under the impression that the reason people did BIAB was so they could use only one kettle for mashing and boiling. Dunking the grain bag in another kettle full of water, I am guessing that's a passive sparge?
I still don't see why BIAB water volumes and temperature calcs. are different then in more traditional methods?
You still have a certain amount of grain, a target temp. and preboil volume of wort. And a grist to water ratio.
What makes the BIAB numbers different?

#### DigB

##### Well-Known Member
I'll have to add a vote to the BIABacus column...I brewed my first BIAB this past weekend and I used BIABacus. It was a little confusing/intimidating at first but to be honest I am so glad I found it, after a little searching. This is so usefull and quite accurate, once you get comfortable with how to use it.

Here is the link to save you some time searching!

http://www.biabrewer.info/viewtopic.php?f=95&t=1869

Happy brewing!

#### laserghost

##### Well-Known Member
DigB is on the money. Dzlater, you shouldn't need a second kettle for typical BIAB. The passive sparge means it's occurring while you are mashing because the mash is extra fluid and rinsing the grains during the mash. You don't need to dunk the bag in another vessel after (that's batch sparging). As for the volumes, etc. the BIABacus will solve all of that for you, including strike temp. One difference for calculating strike temp with BIAB is that the mash tun is also the same temp as the strike water. In Beersmith, I believe that makes a difference and there is an area under the mash profile to set the mash tun temp.

#### dzlater

##### Well-Known Member
DigB is on the money. Dzlater, you shouldn't need a second kettle for typical BIAB. The passive sparge means it's occurring while you are mashing because the mash is extra fluid and rinsing the grains during the mash. You don't need to dunk the bag in another vessel after (that's batch sparging). As for the volumes, etc. the BIABacus will solve all of that for you, including strike temp. One difference for calculating strike temp with BIAB is that the mash tun is also the same temp as the strike water. In Beersmith, I believe that makes a difference and there is an area under the mash profile to set the mash tun temp.
If you are using all the water in the mash it's no sparge. Sparging is rinsing the grains with hot water, if you don't do this you are not sparging.
I didn't think the of the mash tun temp. when figuring strike water temps.
Thanks for pointing that out.
I have just been wondering why BIAB would need different calcs. then traditional methods.

#### DigB

##### Well-Known Member
If you are using all the water in the mash it's no sparge. Sparging is rinsing the grains with hot water, if you don't do this you are not sparging.
I didn't think the of the mash tun temp. when figuring strike water temps.
Thanks for pointing that out.
I have just been wondering why BIAB would need different calcs. then traditional methods.
I'm not sure about the different calcs but that would be a great question for the guys over on BIABrewer.info as they have a TON of great info there and the guys there are very helpful and should clear everything up.

As far as the sparge/no sparge debate, as they've explained to me on BIABrewer.info, BIAB includes a form of sparging during the mash as there's a lot of water moving around "washing" the grains in a full volume and you can stir either during or at the end of the mash and this effectively rinses your grains effectively eliminating the need for a traditional sparge.

Check out BIABrewer.info as this is the home for the guys who pioneered the BIAB method and they are more than happy to help out!

#### dzlater

##### Well-Known Member
If I do a no sparge brew in a mash tun and stir the mash it isn't sparging it's stirring.

#### C-Rider

##### Senior Member
Just make a spread sheet that takes all these into concideration. In a short while you'll know what's what.
Grain weight-StrikeGal-PreBoilVolLoss to grain
PreBoilVol-PostBoilVol=BoilLoss
PostBoilVolHot-PostBoilCold=TempLoss
PostBoilCold-BottlingVol=Loss to Trub

#### Johnnyhitch1

##### Well-Known Member
I stand corrected.
I was under the impression that the reason people did BIAB was so they could use only one kettle for mashing and boiling. Dunking the grain bag in another kettle full of water, I am guessing that's a passive sparge?
I still don't see why BIAB water volumes and temperature calcs. are different then in more traditional methods?
You still have a certain amount of grain, a target temp. and preboil volume of wort. And a grist to water ratio.
What makes the BIAB numbers different?
Equipment Lose. Made that mistake once.

#### C-Rider

##### Senior Member
That Aussie site is cool, but I don't speak or think metric. LOL

#### smyrnaquince

##### Well-Known Member
If I do a no sparge brew in a mash tun and stir the mash it isn't sparging it's stirring.
No sparge uses the standard 1.5-2 qts of water per pound of grain. It leaves a lot of sugars behind in the grain because there is no sparge. There are quality reasons claimed for doing this. Not having tried it, I don't know if the claims are true, but the arguments are reasonable.

BIAB combines the extra sparge water with the mash water, so it is mashing and sparging in one step. If you did a traditional mash, then dumped the sparge water into the mash tun before draining it, you would have approximately the same thing.

#### RM-MN

##### Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
No sparge uses the standard 1.5-2 qts of water per pound of grain. It leaves a lot of sugars behind in the grain because there is no sparge. There are quality reasons claimed for doing this. Not having tried it, I don't know if the claims are true, but the arguments are reasonable.

BIAB combines the extra sparge water with the mash water, so it is mashing and sparging in one step. If you did a traditional mash, then dumped the sparge water into the mash tun before draining it, you would have approximately the same thing.
I've tried it both ways and with a separate sparge I gain quite a bit of efficiency, more than 5% more. Definitely not the same thing.

#### laserghost

##### Well-Known Member
smyrnaquince said:
No sparge uses the standard 1.5-2 qts of water per pound of grain. It leaves a lot of sugars behind in the grain because there is no sparge. There are quality reasons claimed for doing this. Not having tried it, I don't know if the claims are true, but the arguments are reasonable. BIAB combines the extra sparge water with the mash water, so it is mashing and sparging in one step. If you did a traditional mash, then dumped the sparge water into the mash tun before draining it, you would have approximately the same thing.
Yep. BIAB has the sparge built right into the mash. Dzlater, you don't need to build a spreadsheet, the Aussies have already done it for you. They invented BIAB, just go check out the BACUS. It's awesome!

FWIW, I did a no sparge BIAB recently, using 1.35qt/lb, that's a lot thicker than traditional BIAB. I topped the kettle up to boil volume without rinsing the grains. Mash efficiency into kettle was 63%.

My traditional BIABs are generally 2.5&ndash;3qt/lb, much more water in the mash. Just pull the bag and I'm at boil volume with 80% efficiency into kettle. So there's definitely some rinsing occurring in the mash.

#### dzlater

##### Well-Known Member
No sparge uses the standard 1.5-2 qts of water per pound of grain. It leaves a lot of sugars behind in the grain because there is no sparge. There are quality reasons claimed for doing this. Not having tried it, I don't know if the claims are true, but the arguments are reasonable.

BIAB combines the extra sparge water with the mash water, so it is mashing and sparging in one step. If you did a traditional mash, then dumped the sparge water into the mash tun before draining it, you would have approximately the same thing.
Thanks I think I finally understand.
You mash with a traditional water to grist ratio.
Then add the sparge water before draining the mash tun.
I still am not sure why the numbers would be different then a batch or fly sparge?

#### dzlater

##### Well-Known Member
Equipment Lose. Made that mistake once.
Equipment lose is different on every system regardless of the mash or sparge method. It's just another variable in the equation.

#### laserghost

##### Well-Known Member
dzlater said:
You mash with a traditional water to grist ratio. Then add the sparge water before draining the mash tun.
You actually mash with ALL of the water, so you add your entire volume of water to the kettle before doughing in. All of the water being in during the mash is how the grains are being rinsed during the mash. When you're done mashing pull the bag, let it drain, and you are at boil volume.

You should only have to add water one time, your strike water.

#### dzlater

##### Well-Known Member
You actually mash with ALL of the water, so you add your entire volume of water to the kettle before doughing in. All of the water being in during the mash is how the grains are being rinsed during the mash. When you're done mashing pull the bag, let it drain, and you are at boil volume.

You should only have to add water one time, your strike water.
http://www.brewersfriend.com/2009/07/04/sparging-methods/
"No Sparge, um, Sparging: This method is just as the name suggests a method by which there is NO sparge. In order to accomplish this method, a brewer will mash in with ALL of the water that their brew will require., this could be upwards of 9-10 gallons of water alone for a 5 gallon brew session. When the mash is complete the brewer will vorlaugh and simply drain the entire MLT into the boil kettle, and if calculated correctly, meet their pre-boil volume.'

#### DigB

##### Well-Known Member
I recommend going to BIABrewer.info and they may be able to clear things up a little bit better than we are. Everything I've read is that the sparge is completed when you lift the grains out of your mash tun as you mash and boil in the same vessel. By lifting the grains out you force the wort to drain quickly out of the bag which I'm assuming rinses the grains, thus accomplishing the sparge step. You can also squeeze the bag to get the last few drops of wort out. These guys at BIABrewer.info are the ones who invented BIAB and can explain why they say sparging is accomplished during the mash. These guys are getting the same efficiency as traditional AG brewers so there has to be a reason for it.

#### laserghost

##### Well-Known Member
DZ, if you wanna sparge so bad go setup a three vessel system. Doesn't seem like you want to BIAB or you would have gone to biabrewer.info instead of posting a steady loop of noise here.

If there is no sparge then how do you explain the huge difference in mash efficiency, simply by mashing with all the water (high) vs holding some back and topping up after (low)?

#### HBngNOK

##### Well-Known Member
DZ, if you wanna sparge so bad go setup a three vessel system. Doesn't seem like you want to BIAB or you would have gone to biabrewer.info instead of posting a steady loop of noise here.
....snipped....
Good point, especially since everything after the third response has been moot .

#### smyrnaquince

##### Well-Known Member
I've tried it both ways and with a separate sparge I gain quite a bit of efficiency, more than 5% more. Definitely not the same thing.
By "approximately the same thing" I mean the process. As far as results go, I'm typically around 82-83% with BIAB, so for me "approximately the same thing" still holds.

#### beernut70

##### Well-Known Member
http://www.brewersfriend.com/2009/07/04/sparging-methods/
"No Sparge, um, Sparging: This method is just as the name suggests a method by which there is NO sparge. In order to accomplish this method, a brewer will mash in with ALL of the water that their brew will require., this could be upwards of 9-10 gallons of water alone for a 5 gallon brew session. When the mash is complete the brewer will vorlaugh and simply drain the entire MLT into the boil kettle, and if calculated correctly, meet their pre-boil volume.'
What your quoting here has nothing to do with BIAB you don't vorlaugh and drain an MLT.

#### calvey

##### Well-Known Member
I have just created http://biabcalculator.com to meet the need of a simple calculator specifically for BIAB. It can be used to calculate water needed, strike temperature and even the maximum your brew kettle can hold.

#### Weezy

##### Well-Known Member
If you work in metric, id definitely recommend at least checking out Brewmate software. It is a full recipe formulator & misc calculators all in one.

http://www.brewmate.net/

It has a 'brew day' portion that works great for biab, and it will generate automatically based on the recipe you have up. The Brew day part only works if you use metric units though. Screenshot of brew day screen here:
http://www.brewmate.net/screenshots
(the screenshot shows traditional brew method. Brew day page will change appropriately when you switch to biab in the settings)