Is This B a Good Choice for BIAB?

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Clint Yeastwood

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I have been brewing less than a month, and I already outgrew the Braumeister. I want to make a fake Belgian tripel I used to make, and it takes 13.5 pounds of grain, which is just over the 13.2-pound limit. For this reason, I had to climb a ladder this morning and retrieve my 40-quart pot and homemade chiller. Think I should go ahead and boil the chiller with the cobwebs and lizard poop still on it? Washing it seems like a lot of work.

Life is expensive now. That pot currently retails for $180.

Anyway, I have to look into BIAB for this and other heavy beers. Bacbrewing makes a gadget that raises the Braumeister grain limit, but there will still be beers that won't fit.

So...how about some help finding a bag?

I was planning to order stuff from Hearts Homebrew. They list an enormous "Brew in a Bag" bag about 24" by 26". My pot is 16.5" wide and 12" high. I assume I want to go way overboard with the bag size so I will have a lot of slack. Look okay?

Link to Bag

Second thing...what do people do about sparging with bags? I assume they don't just pick them up and stand there for 20 minutes waiting for them to drip out. I guess I could rig something up to hold it.

Finally, do I really need to mash and boil crystal malt? I've seen people saying it can be steeped. I guess that could be done with a bag before the boil, and that would put me under the pound limit. I would still need a bag for other beers, though.
 
First, you can make an oversized bag work without too much trouble, but I wouldn't say it's desirable. You could also have a custom bag made for the size of your pot: wilserbrewer BIAB Brew in a Bag

Second, I do small batches and indeed do hold the bag (for really small batches, I can squeeze it in one hand). But most folks use a ratcheting pulley: wilserbrewer BIAB Brew in a Bag

I'd go ahead and mash crystal malts. If you're short on room, you can mash with less that the full volume of water, and top off after the mash or even during the boil.

And also, wilserbrewer BIAB Brew in a Bag.

Did I mention wilserbrewer BIAB Brew in a Bag?
 
I BIAB with a 5G kettle and regularly put 4G into the fermenter at up to 1.095.

Single dunk sparge. Split your water so the sparge is 40-60% of your pre-boil volume. Drain the 1st runnings fully. Move the drained bag into the (room temp!) sparge in a bucket. Open the bag, mix it up really well. Close, lift, drain again.

Not only do you move ~40% of your water out of your mash volume, you also gain ~8% efficiency which frees even more space in the tun.

+1 on the wilserbag. There are brewbag users who are adamant that their bag is superior. Whatever. If you can tie or learn to tie a Prusik hitch, all perceived benefits of the brewbag are neutralized if not turned on themselves.
 
Wait..."tun"? Am I missing something? I thought there was no tun with BIAB. Are you talking about the kettle?

I'll go with the Wilserbag.

This pot is pretty big, so I'm not worried about room. I'm impressed that you get so much from a smaller one.
 
Alex Kay is High Lord of the Small Batch, so I'm not sure he's the right guy to go to for advice on how to handle 14 lbs of grain. :yes:

But personally I would split the batch before I spent money on bigger bags, vessels, etc.
 
Yes go Wilser bag, you won't regret it. I use a 15 gallon kettle with a custom Wilser bag, brewing takes place on my back patio. I have a screw hook above my head into the pergola, and use a Wilser-provided ratcheting pulley to lift and suspend the grain bag, (no sparge), after mashing. I crank up the heat with the bag hanging out of the wort, and by the time it comes to a boil the bag is pretty much drained. Maybe a slight squeeze is required depending on the grains used, though a lot of squeezing is required for recipes with a lot of wheat malt. Hopefully @RM-MN chimes in here, he's a great resource for all things biab.

F3B99297-659C-42BA-ABB8-1901F562ED91.jpeg
 
Alex Kay is High Lord of the Small Batch, so I'm not sure he's the right guy to go to for advice on how to handle 14 lbs of grain. :yes:
This is true. The most I've dealt with is 8-9 pounds for 2.5-gallon batches of my biggest beers.

I just bottled a rye schwarzbier. 80 ounces in the mash tun, ~50 in the fermenter, 32 into a single EZ-cap bottle.
 
I want to make a fake Belgian tripel I used to make, and it takes 13.5 pounds of grain
No it doesn't take 13.5 pounds of grain, it requires a certain OG and you have been getting there with your 13.5 pounds of grain. What kind of brewhouse efficiency is the 13.5 pounds based on? With BIAB you can mill much finer than a conventional tun so you can get the same OG with less grain. Sparging can be simple and you can raise the efficiency that way too.
Finally, do I really need to mash and boil crystal malt?
Extract brewers have been steeping Crystal malts forever. As all grain brewers we tend to add them to the mash to gain a little more conversion out of the grains but it isn't needed except if one needs all the efficiency they can get to make the brew fit into the pot.
 
All I know about the efficiency is that Beersmith thinks it was 75% in 2004. I can't control the crush because I have not yet replaced the crusher I threw out when I moved.

The OG was 1.084, if that is of interest.
 
All I know about the efficiency is that Beersmith thinks it was 75% in 2004. I can't control the crush because I have not yet replaced the crusher I threw out when I moved.

So are you planning to buy the grains crushed and take what you get? Not that there's anything wrong with that, but you won't know your efficiency until you check your gravity after the mash and you could wind up either high or low on your OG target. Might be worth calculating with a few different assumptions for kettle efficiency and see how it looks.
 
Regarding the cobwebs and lizard poop, I would probably just rinse if off, and then boil it. Wipe it down after the boil and call it good.

If you want to use the Braumeister, why not just make 4 or 4.5 gallons instead of 5? Or backoff the grain bill just a little and add 1 pound of DME to make up for it?
 
OK. So you used to get five gallons of 1.084 wort with 13.5 lbs at 75% efficiency. But you don't know what your efficiency is going to be with your new system, whether BIAB or something else. If you're adjusting the gravity anyway, why not just mash an amount of grain that you're set up to handle and take what you get for final volume?
 
Dang, for this brew I would not change anything and brew the 13.5 lbs in the brewmeister with no questions asked. 0.3 lbs of grain is not much. I know there are some folks doing vids about maxing out the Anvil with way more grain that they recommend. Also as stated above if you reduce the amount of water there is room for more grain. Brew it and enjoy. :mug:
 
Yeah, I don't think any of the AIOs would be able to really do an RIS at 5 gals anyway. But with the Wilser bag you should be good to go. I plan on getting a bag made for my Anvil without the pipe at some time, but who knows when. Good luck.
 
For those without an overhead attachment point, Trent Musho’s technique of resting the bag on a baking rack to drain might work. In my case, my bag ended up spreading too wide and draining some content outside of the kettle. I was able to find some 15” diameter Chinese colanders on Amazon for ~$20-25.

Winco Stainless Steel Chinese Colander with 2.5mm Holes, 15-Inch Diameter https://a.co/d/do4Oq7i

+1 on learning to tie a Prusik hitch.
 
I suppose I'm an outcast using The Brew Bag - I didn't know about the wilser bag until I came to the forum, whoops.
I will say that The Brew Bag is a little hard to clean sometimes but that's due to me being careless and using the bag inside-out at times. I can get quite anxious/excited during the brew day..."LET'S GET THIS SUCKER MASHED IN!"
I raise my bag up and pour room temp RO water in the top of the bag and around the sides to sparge. While not being totally effective, I don't mind much as I'm really just doing this to raise my pre-boil volume on my higher gravity beers while the side effect hopefully being rinsing some sugars out. I like the idea of the dunk sparge though. Would need a larger bucket to do this.
 
I'd most definitely do a sparge, even smallish, when brewing high gravity wort.
Any wort trapped in the grain is at that high gravity, and will get wasted if you don't sparge. It's so easy to rinse it out, and gain a few extra points, while leaving more space for your mash.

You can sparge with cold water. Use a large bucket, a tub, or storage container of the right size.
 
I made an Old Rasputin Stout clone a while back.
Here is 19 lbs of grain mashing in my 40 qt pot - yeah, it's a bit full.
I held back 1 gallon of water from the mash and when I drained the Wilsner Bag I let it rest on an oven grate over the pot and did a simple pour over sparge with the gallon of water I held back, I did hit my pre-boil gravity.
The rest of the boil and final gravity (1.080) was normal.

OldRasputin-Mash.jpg


OldRasputin-Drain.jpg


OldRasputin-HotBreak.jpg
 
I suppose I'm an outcast using The Brew Bag - I didn't know about the wilser bag until I came to the forum, whoops.
they are both essentially the same. No difference in use or effectiveness. You will never taste a difference in your beer.

But Wilser is one of us. He hand makes each bag to your personal specs. He is a small mom & pop business.

The other bags, while basically identical, are likely mass produced in china.

cost difference is negligible.

but no one will ever look down at you for not having a Wilser.
 
If you have time after reading the warm fermented lager thread you can try your hand at this: make your own bag.

As others have said, I make big beers in a smallish kettle doing brew in a bag and batch sparging. Do your initial mash as thick as 1 pound of grain per quart of water and batch sparge with the rest of the water. You can increase efficiency some with extra sparge water and boiling longer but that uses extra fuel or electricity. Long boil is kind of common for imperial stouts.
 
I suppose I'm an outcast using The Brew Bag - I didn't know about the wilser bag until I came to the forum, whoops.
I will say that The Brew Bag is a little hard to clean sometimes but that's due to me being careless and using the bag inside-out at times. I can get quite anxious/excited during the brew day..."LET'S GET THIS SUCKER MASHED IN!"
I raise my bag up and pour room temp RO water in the top of the bag and around the sides to sparge. While not being totally effective, I don't mind much as I'm really just doing this to raise my pre-boil volume on my higher gravity beers while the side effect hopefully being rinsing some sugars out. I like the idea of the dunk sparge though. Would need a larger bucket to do this.
I agree, I looked at both bags and picked The Brew Bag due to it's lifting lugs making things easier than tying knots around the top of the bag to lift
 
I agree, I looked at both bags and picked The Brew Bag due to it's lifting lugs making things easier than tying knots around the top of the bag to lift
Did you consider that the handles on the Brew Bag require more vertical clearance for lifting than a Wilser Bag tied with a Prusik knot. Of course, if you do encounter a vertical clearance issue, you could always tie a Prusik knot around the top of your Brew Bag, and not use the handles. :rolleyes:

Brew on :mug:
 
I know what a Prusik hitch is, and vaguely know how to tie one, but what are you using it for? I use the drawstring in my wilser bag to pick it up. Do you wrap it around the top to make a shorter handle?
 
OK, why are you just using a step ladder instead of building some seriously over-engineered superstructure to hoist your grain bag?:D
 
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