How do you Mash in w/BIAB?

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DaveTF

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I've been pouring and stirring when mashing in with BIAB, but I've caught glimpses of people where it looked like they crushed their grain directly in the bag and then dropped it all in the mash and then stirred. What do you do?
 

odie

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doesn't matter as long as it's stirred well and no dough balls.
 
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DaveTF

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Someone else recommended a comically large whisk to stir the grains into the mash water, and it is amazing. Probably works for whichever of these methods you choose to eliminate dough balls.

I've been using one of those. SO much better than a mash paddle or spoon.
 
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I can't speed speak for BIAB-ing a 5 gal batch, but with smaller batches (I'm using a mash paddle) I recently tried putting the crushed grains in the bag then the bag in the strike water. After a couple of batches, I'm back to "slowly pouring the grains in" rather than "lowering the bag". A big wire whisk is something that I may try in the future.
 
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marc1

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I can't speed for BIAB-ing a 5 gal batch, but with smaller batches (I'm using a mash paddle) I recently tried putting the crushed grains in the bag then the bag in the strike water. After a couple of batches, I'm back to "slowly pouring the grains in" rather than "lowering the bag". A big wire whisk is something that I may try in the future.

The whisk was one of the process improvements that was huge bang for the buck. Really great improvement for the brew day, saves a ton of time. I had been slowly pouring the grains onto the water and stirring as I poured to prevent dough balls, and it took forever. Now it's pretty much dump and stir.

First time I tried it, it was so much faster I way overshot my mash temp :)
 
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DBhomebrew

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A big wire whisk is something that I may try in the future.

Big fan of the whisk! I find a swirling motion at the surface while adding grain a cup or so at a time to be best practice. Virtually no dough balls at all. Maybe a few pea-size balls easily broken up in the final full-volume mix.
 

d40dave

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I also crush in the bag. I started doing this when I realized how much dust was in my brew room. I crush my grains in the garage by the door and put the bag with the grains in my mash kettle when the water is up to temperature. The whisk sounds like a great idea.
 

beernutz

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The few times I tried to combine LODO with BIAB I put all the grain in the bag and then underlet the pre-boiled mash water into the boil kettle. This was one of the recommendations from the LODO community.

I think my efficiency dropped doing this if compared to my normal approach of adding the grain to boil kettle while stirring the mash water. However I was somewhat paranoid about stirring the underlet grain too much and introducing oxygen which would undermine the reason for underletting so that might explain the efficiency drop.
 
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DaveTF

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LOL, that's exactly what I find myself doing which is why I wondered if there were people that just put the whole thing in there at once and stirred like a banshee.
 

HopSing

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+1 for the comically large whisk. It is a gamechanger. Mashing in alone, I use to slowly dump 1/2 the grains, then stir with the mash paddle, then dump the remaining 1/2 bag, then stir again. If it was a good brew day, I got all the grains in the BIAB, but often I'd lose some. Now I dump the whole bag all at once then bring in the whisk. Within 15 seconds of bouncing it up and down and a quick stir, all dough balls are busted and the mash is consistent. Since the mash in is quicker, I lose less heat from the strike water too. It's also easy on the brew bags. I tore a few with the stainless mash paddle, but no worries with the whisk. Well worth the $15 via the link @MaxStout posted.


Whisk.JPG


~HopSing.
 

BQ&W

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I have been a "slowly add the grain while stirring with a spoon" guy. I am thinking I need a whisk like all the cool kids.

I swear over the years I have spent about $800 on my "real" brewing gear, and about $2,000 on various $15 to $30 gadgets.
Suddenly the normal-sized whisk I repurposed from the kitchen utility drawer doesn't seem adequate! Off to the restaurant supply I go!😁
 

Shenanigans

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I'm also a pour and stir guy.
Great idea with the whisk - will be the next thing I buy for brewing for sure.
It's a PITA squashing the dough balls with a big spoon.

Another thing on the list is silicon gloves for squeezing the hot wet bag.
 

Beermeister32

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I never get dough balls. Set up two bags ahead of time. Grind your grist directly into a 5 gallon bucket. Pour dry grist into your bags setting in previously prepared LODO brewing water. This is essentially the same as under letting. I use what I call the DBIAB (double brew in a bag) method, keeps the bag weight less, easy to handle. I use a long stainless spoon. I also use insulating foam mash caps on more oxidation sensitive beers like Helles, Pilsners and IPAs.

348B65EE-45CB-4538-A017-D0C6AE00B6B6.jpeg
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Shenanigans

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I never get dough balls. Set up two bags ahead of time. Grind your grist directly into a 5 gallon bucket. Pour dry grist into your bags setting in previously prepared LODO brewing water. This is essentially the same as under letting. I use what I call the DBIAB (double brew in a bag) method, keeps the bag weight less, easy to handle. I use a long stainless spoon. I also use insulating foam mash caps on more oxidation sensitive beers like Helles, Pilsners and IPAs.

View attachment 738619 View attachment 738620 View attachment 738621

Good idea with the double bag, a back-saving tip for high gravity beers. :thumbsup:
 

k-daddy

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I underlet, then bring out the big whisk to insure the mash is well mixed. I do struggle with mash efficiency and cannot seem to get much over 68%, even with my Monster Mill 2”, 2 roller set to a gap of .025”. I don’t sparge but I do squeeze as much wort from the bag.
 

wilserbrewer

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I dump the entire grain bill into the bag installed in the mash water and stir until smooth.

I will caution those that seem to panic at the thought of dough balls and stir like a lunatic. I have observed BIAB bags damaged by what I believe to be lunatic all manly stirring.
This often happens with steel spoons but I believe can also happen with wooden paddles.
What I believe happens is when the spoon or paddle bangs into the bottom or side of the kettle, the fiber of the bag is crushed and eventually creates a small hole. A bag abused in this fashion will display many small holes less then 1/8” size.
This is the only explanation I have for someone whose bag deteriorates with numerous small holes after many batches.

Bottom line, be gentle mashing in, don’t get caught up with a sense of urgency to destroy dough balls, just continue to stir gently touching the bottom of the kettle, and they will disappear with little time and effort. No need to go all manly and stir like a lunatic!!!! Your bag will thank you and last a very long time!!!!

Just my theory on bags showing small holes.
 

k-daddy

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I dump the entire grain bill into the bag installed in the mash water and stir until smooth.

I will caution those that seem to panic at the thought of dough balls and stir like a lunatic. I have observed BIAB bags damaged by what I believe to be lunatic all manly stirring.
This often happens with steel spoons but I believe can also happen with wooden paddles.
What I believe happens is when the spoon or paddle bangs into the bottom or side of the kettle, the fiber of the bag is crushed and eventually creates a small hole. A bag abused in this fashion will display many small holes less then 1/8” size.
This is the only explanation I have for someone whose bag deteriorates with numerous small holes after many batches.

Bottom line, be gentle mashing in, don’t get caught up with a sense of urgency to destroy dough balls, just continue to stir gently touching the bottom of the kettle, and they will disappear with little time and effort. No need to go all manly and stir like a lunatic!!!! Your bag will thank you and last a very long time!!!!

Just my theory on bags showing small holes.
I agree, but for those who cannot control themselves, a large whisk will help to minimize bag damage.
 

Carolina_Matt

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I grind directly into a wilser bag the day before brewing. I also get my water ready and set my digiboil for strike temperature before going to bed. When I wake up, I put the bag full of grains into my kettle, mix it with a huge whisk, then cover it up.
 

DavidWood2115

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I put the BIAB bag in the kettle and use a separate "grist case" bag to more-or-less-hands-free slowly pour in the grist, leaving two hands free to stir with my homemade mash paddle. The grist bag is just an old pillow case that my wife sewed D-rings on either side of the original opening and stitched a taper to an opening at the originally closed end. I hang it from the same pulley I use to haul out the wet bag after the mash is done and use a huge binder clip to keep it closed until I'm ready to mash in. It's not 100% hands free because the grist sometimes gets stuck and needs a poke to restart the flow, or it will start to spin a little aggressively and I need to slow it down so it doesn't spray grist outside the edge of the kettle.

Pouring the grist in slowly is particularly important for me since I am currently brewing 5 gallon batches in an 8 gallon kettle. I usually mash with 6 gallons of strike water and ~14 pounds of grain, which gets me pretty close to the rim.
 

A1sportsdad

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Someone else recommended a comically large whisk to stir the grains into the mash water, and it is amazing. Probably works for whichever of these methods you choose to eliminate dough balls.
I’m a comic as well. Love that whisk. I double mill into a bucket then pour it into my BIAB bag already mounted in my kettle then whisk it really well. Never had an issue with dough balls.
 

rancocas

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+1 for the comically large whisk. It is a gamechanger. Mashing in alone, I use to slowly dump 1/2 the grains, then stir with the mash paddle, then dump the remaining 1/2 bag, then stir again. If it was a good brew day, I got all the grains in the BIAB, but often I'd lose some. Now I dump the whole bag all at once then bring in the whisk. Within 15 seconds of bouncing it up and down and a quick stir, all dough balls are busted and the mash is consistent. Since the mash in is quicker, I lose less heat from the strike water too. It's also easy on the brew bags. I tore a few with the stainless mash paddle, but no worries with the whisk. Well worth the $15 via the link @MaxStout posted.


View attachment 738615

~HopSing.
It’s exactly what I use.
 

mirthfuldragon

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I set my grain mill over my kettle on some 2x4s and crush directly into the mash water, giving it a bit of a stir every couple of pounds or so. 84% brewhouse efficiency. And less work. Mostly the "less work" part.
 

odie

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I mash in at room temperature and then immediately heat to 150'. Rarely have any dough ball issues.
 

porterguy

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LOL, that's exactly what I find myself doing which is why I wondered if there were people that just put the whole thing in there at once and stirred like a banshee.
Have you ever SEEN a banshee brewing? They are classic RDWHAHB followers, and religiously take their time when mashing in, stirring just enough to prevent doughballs, but not a bit more.
 

Shenanigans

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I just ordered a 100cm (40 inches) whisk for 13.50 € (about $15) from German Ebay.
I have a 15 gallon Megapot so it shouldn't be too big.
Any Banshees that come near my wort will get their asses whipped or my now spare mega spoon wrapped around their heads. :mischievous:
They know not to mess with us Irish guys anyway 😈
 

nymtber

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This is also what I use (my amazon account confirms that is the one I bought!) I add some grain, stir, add, stir, add, stir. Yea, about 1/3 at a time. I THEN let it sit (with my home-made reflectix coozie around it) for 5-10 minutes, STIR again, and then start my 60min timer.

I tried my first few with a stainless spoon, and it was impossible to break up all dough balls. The whisk solves that, and I don't worry it will rip the bag, being smooth all around.

I mill into a 5gal bucket JUST for milled grain while the water heats up to my strike temp. I hit 81% efficiency, sometimes better. Cereal killer mill spaced to an old credit card worked for me.
 

Shenanigans

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Well my whisk finally arrived today.
The company put the wrong postal code on my address so it got returned to them :rolleyes:
It would have arrived in the middle of my holiday so told them to wait until this week to resend.
It's 40 inches but more than half of it is the handle so I'll see how it works when I brew again next month.
 

Gusso

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Ever since getting my big whisk from a restaurant supply last year, my mash paddle has been basically a display piece. The whisk is so much better.
 
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