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My First Attempt At BIAB

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shrews824

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Ok guys/gals.

I had my first go this weekend with the BIAB method. All in all it went pretty well I thought. Couple of hiccups, but not anything that I don't think I can iron out with a few more attempts.

So, I brewed up a 3 gallon batch of an American Pale Ale:
6.0 lbs. of 2-Row
0.45 lbs. of Veinna
0.3 lbs. of Wheat
0.15 lbs. of Victory
0.06 lbs. of Special Roast
0.6 oz. of East Kent Goldings
0.6 oz. of Cascade
0.6 oz. of Citra
Safale S-05

Targets:
5.06 gallon of water
Strike water temp - 157F
Mash temp - 151
4.50 gallon of pre-boil wort
3.25 gallon of post boil wort
3.0 gallon into the fermenter
OG of 1.055

Boil recipe: 60 minutes
0.6 oz East Kent (60)
0.3 oz Cascade (30)
Whirfloc (15)
0.3 oz Cascade (10)
0.6 oz Citra (0)

Heating the strike water:

biab1.jpg


Not sure beings that this was my first all-grain, but this looked like it was double milled to me. It was pretty fine and found very few large chunks of grain.

biab2.jpg


When mashing I used my probe thermometer that I use in my smoker. It worked great. After mashing my temp. showed 152F.

biab4.jpg


I used several of my fall and winter coats for insulations. I actually used my big, burly Carhart jacket and zipped it up around the actual kettle. I noticed the temp dropped to 148F after about 17-18 minutes. That was really concerning. So, I stripped all the coats off, turned on the burner and gave it a nice stir from the bottom and tried to work some of the mash up to the top. I had the burner going on low for about 2 minutes and I moved my thermometer probe around checking the temp. in several different places and noticed that the temp was rising quickly. Too quickly in fact. I immediately killed the heat and stirred once more and bundled everything back up. The temp was reading 154F. From that point on the mash temp never dropped below 151F for the remainder of the 60 minute mash. I think next time I will do a better job of checking all areas of the mash to see exactly what my temp is. I also do not think I thoroughly stirred well the first time and my heat distribution was not consistent.

biab5.jpg


Just getting everything ready for the boil.

biab6.jpg


Finished the 60 minute mash. Everything looked and smelled wonderful I thought.

biab7.jpg


I let the bag drain for 5 minutes and then squeezed the crap out of it until I could barely get another drop. Note: Get a better colander. This plastic spaghetti colander was way too flimsy for the grain and absorption. It was teetering on totally collapsing. Total volume at this point was ~4.8/4.9 gallons pre-boil. Not quite as much absorption as I thought I might have.

biab8.jpg


Bringing to a rolling boil.

biab9.jpg


After the boil. With me stirring to help with cooling the chiller did its thing in about 15 minutes. Chilled to roughly 78F. About 3.8/3.9 gallons worth at this point. So, boiloff was about 1 gallon.

biab10.jpg


I let it set and settle in the fermenter overnight and pitched the yeast the next morning when it was at 70F. No starter. Just dry yeast and swirled it really well. It began showing bubbles after about 3 hours. It was going to town after about 24 hours and really getting after it. Looks healthy to me.

biab11.jpg


Ok. So, here was my major problem and maybe you guys can help me out. When I transferred to the fermenter I had a real problem keeping my sediment out of the fermenter. Never have I had a problem like this before. I usually get some, but nothing like this. I let it set for a while, but I still couldn't separate the liquid from the particles. No joke, I probably had about a gallon of sediment. I poured as slowly and gently as possible, but was still getting way too much. I thought my stirring as it cooled with the chiller would help in whirlpooling, but I guess I didn't do it correctly or something. Next time I think I'm just going to use my siphon and transfer that way or get some type of mesh screen or bag and try transferring.

All in all, it was a great brew day and things went pretty well. I'm guessing I'll get about 2.5 gallons of brew. I'm sure my efficiency is way off too, but that's ok for my first one I guess.

Oh, almost forgot. Went to take my OG reading and my hydrometer snapped and broke!!! I've ordered a new one and it should be here today. I save 250 mL of wort and am going to check it as soon as it arrives.

Can't wait to give it another go this coming weekend. I'm thinking I might try an American Porter.

Any feedback and criticism is welcome. Cheers!!!

Scott
 
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RM-MN

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Ok. So, here was my major problem and maybe you guys can help me out. When I transferred to the fermenter I had a real problem keeping my sediment out of the fermenter. Never have I had a problem like this before. I usually get some, but nothing like this. I let it set for a while, but I still couldn't separate the liquid from the particles. No joke, I probably had about a gallon of sediment. I poured as slowly and gently as possible, but was still getting way too much. I thought my stirring as it cooled with the chiller would help in whirlpooling, but I guess I didn't do it correctly or something. Next time I think I'm just going to use my siphon and transfer that way or get some type of mesh screen or bag and try transferring.
I too get a lot of sediment. I ignore it and just dump it all into the fermenter. When the fermentation is over it will settle out and given a bit of time, perhaps helped out with chilling, it settles to the bottom and I rack the beer off it for bottling. Leaving it in the kettle, you are also leaving behind wort. I like to make beer with all my wort.
 
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shrews824

shrews824

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I too get a lot of sediment. I ignore it and just dump it all into the fermenter. When the fermentation is over it will settle out and given a bit of time, perhaps helped out with chilling, it settles to the bottom and I rack the beer off it for bottling. Leaving it in the kettle, you are also leaving behind wort. I like to make beer with all my wort.
That sounds like a plan to me!!! I'll just dump it all in then. Like I said, I've always had some, but never this much. I guess it just shocked me when I saw how much it was. I'm cool with it as long as it ferments correctly and I can siphon off the top (which I've never had any trouble with before).
 

DBhomebrew

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This is not to refute the premise of trub not mattering in the fermenter...

If you're letting the wort sit overnight to finish cooling you could leave it in the kettle. This is what I do. Transfer, aerate, and pitch the next morning.

Some say the trub is healthy for fermentation so I put the siphon right down in the bottom of the kettle in the compacted trub. The first few seconds of transfer are rather cloudy, but after that it's super clear. Once fermentation is complete and the yeast floccs out I get a super clean yeast cake that needs no rinsing.

That said, if you don't plan on harvesting your yeast cake and you have all that room in the fermenter, might as well not worry about it.

Before you went BIAB, you did extract? Much less trub with extract. It was left behind at the factory.
 
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shrews824

shrews824

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This is not to refute the premise of trub not mattering in the fermenter...

If you're letting the wort sit overnight to finish cooling you could leave it in the kettle. This is what I do. Transfer, aerate, and pitch the next morning.

Some say the trub is healthy for fermentation so I put the siphon right down in the bottom of the kettle in the compacted trub. The first few seconds of transfer are rather cloudy, but after that it's super clear. Once fermentation is complete and the yeast floccs out I get a super clean yeast cake that needs no rinsing.

That said, if you don't plan on harvesting your yeast cake and you have all that room in the fermenter, might as well not worry about it.

Before you went BIAB, you did extract? Much less trub with extract. It was left behind at the factory.
Yes, I did extract before. That makes total sense now then. I guess I wasn't thinking about all of that trub being taken care of at the factory. That makes me feel much better. As of right now, I'm not going to be harvesting my yeast. Maybe in the future once I get a better handle on things I will.
 

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If you’re pouring into your fermenter not a whole lot you can do as the trub gets moved around as you pour. So no worries.
Once you start to siphon or have a kettle with a valve at the bottom you can whirlpool and siphon from the side of your kettle or run it out your valve. You’ll still get some trub, just not as much.
And awesome job on the first post. What a great step by step. I love it. It’s always great to get the whole picture of someone’s brew day.
 
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shrews824

shrews824

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If you’re pouring into your fermenter not a whole lot you can do as the trub gets moved around as you pour. So no worries.
Once you start to siphon or have a kettle with a valve at the bottom you can whirlpool and siphon from the side of your kettle or run it out your valve. You’ll still get some trub, just not as much.
And awesome job on the first post. What a great step by step. I love it. It’s always great to get the whole picture of someone’s brew day.
Thanks a bunch. I had a ball and enjoyed snapping the pics for documentation too. Yeah, everything I've ever seen or read talks about leaving as much sediment and trub behind as possible, but if it's really no big deal..... I'll not worry too much about it right now.
 

LittleRiver

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You obviously did your homework, because that's a great first BIAB!

Reading through it I was going to suggest that your mash temp "problem" was probably just stratification, and that a good stir before taking your temp reading would clear it up -- but you had already reached the same conclusion.

Regarding sediment transfer, I agree with the others above that putting everything into the fermenter works just fine. I've made some really good beers that way. Other times I've used a hop bag during the boil, and also filtered the wort through a 1gal paint strainer bag that was put over the fermenter opening (you'll need a wide mouth fermenter for that to work). I've made some really good beers that way.
 
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shrews824

shrews824

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You obviously did your homework, because that's a great first BIAB!

Reading through it I was going to suggest that your mash temp "problem" was probably just stratification, and that a good stir before taking your temp reading would clear it up -- but you had already reached the same conclusion.

Regarding sediment transfer, I agree with the others above that putting everything into the fermenter works just fine. I've made some really good beers that way. Other times I've used a hop bag during the boil, and also filtered the wort through a 1gal paint strainer bag that was put over the fermenter opening (you'll need a wide mouth fermenter for that to work). I've made some really good beers that way.
Really appreciate the compliment. Yeah, it didn't take me too long to figure out why my temp was all wacky. I learned my lesson on that one for sure. I thought about a paint strainer or just using a fine mesh strainer and putting it over my funnel for transfer, but if adding all the trub really makes no difference.... I may just let it ride.
 

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Really appreciate the compliment. Yeah, it didn't take me too long to figure out why my temp was all wacky. I learned my lesson on that one for sure. I thought about a paint strainer or just using a fine mesh strainer and putting it over my funnel for transfer, but if adding all the trub really makes no difference.... I may just let it ride.
In a pinch you can use a 5 gallon paint strainer. It’s not going to keep it all out but it’ll be 99% better than nothing
It doesn’t matter what ya do, may last batch I whirpooled and used my ball valve and still had about 2 inches of trub in my fermenter when I kegged
 

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Great thread! I'm still learning myself, so take my words for what they're worth, but as I've ventured into BIAB I've found the false bottom option on my brew kettle handy. Helps keep the bag off the burner, and (presumably) helps keep some of the trub out. Looks like the Megapot has such an option you can get on NB as well.

For strainer, I've been using this:

For being <$20 it has worked well on 5gal full volume batches for me so far!
 

Beermeister32

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The grist looks like there is too much fines and flour in it. That will cause a ton of break material in BIAB as it goes right through the bag and into the carboy.

Also, if you have the capacity, bump up your volume so that you run off the primary amount of wort into your carboy, and the final trub and break material into a separate 1 gallon fermentor. You can ferment the smaller trub laden carboy separately, it will have a different sharper flavor due to all the material held within it.
IMG_1292.JPG
 
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shrews824

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Great thread! I'm still learning myself, so take my words for what they're worth, but as I've ventured into BIAB I've found the false bottom option on my brew kettle handy. Helps keep the bag off the burner, and (presumably) helps keep some of the trub out. Looks like the Megapot has such an option you can get on NB as well.

For strainer, I've been using this:

For being <$20 it has worked well on 5gal full volume batches for me so far!
I would really like to have a pot with a false bottom and a valve. Maybe one of these days. I know I could convert mine, but I'm just not that confident in my fabrication skills to do that just yet. ;-)

The grist looks like there is too much fines and flour in it. That will cause a ton of break material in BIAB as it goes right through the bag and into the carboy.

Also, if you have the capacity, bump up your volume so that you run off the primary amount of wort into your carboy, and the final trub and break material into a separate 1 gallon fermentor. You can ferment the smaller trub laden carboy separately, it will have a different sharper flavor due to all the material held within it.View attachment 699558
The grain may very well have been too fine. It was almost like bug dust in some portions. However, I thought that was what was desired. Again, first time looking at milled grain so I really didn't know what I was looking at nor what the consistency should be. Either way, I may have to try your method at some point and see how it works out and see what the differences are. Thanks for the tip. Cheers.

In a pinch you can use a 5 gallon paint strainer. It’s not going to keep it all out but it’ll be 99% better than nothing
It doesn’t matter what ya do, may last batch I whirpooled and used my ball valve and still had about 2 inches of trub in my fermenter when I kegged
Yeah, the more I'm hearing from people and reading the trub isn't as big a deal as I had initially thought. I'm sure with time, practice, and possibly additionally equipment that I may be able to refine how I transfer. I'm obviously eager to see how the beer tastes and if it tastes decent I'm not going to sweat it too much right now.
 

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As a newbie to brewing this was awesome!!! Really cool to see it in photos!!! Thanks for that!
I did a BIAB for a stout that just didn’t get the OG that I was looking for, not enough water or time I’m sure! I think I’m going to scrap it next time and try the Mash Tun with a cooler idea. I post what I find. It will be a awhile for sure though!
Great read and a lot of awesome info!!
Jeff
 

DBhomebrew

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When I was weighing whether to go BIAB or to convert a cooler, I close BIAB largely due to the simplicity of the process and minimal equipment investment. False bottoms, ports, valves, physical effort (squeezing the crap out of the bag) just aren't needed.

I believe you are using a disposable paint strainer for your bag? My impression is that bags made specifically for BIAB are of a tighter weave and will hold the flour better. Also, I may be wrong here, but by squeezing the crap out of it you may be forcing more sediment through the weave into your wort. You might be putting in more effort for a less desirable product.

If you are using a disposable bag, however inexpensive, you're going to need to replace it. I would splurge (<$40, incl hoist) for a high quality durable bag. I'm very happy with wilserbrewer's, there are other on the market as well. My grist contains as much flour as yours, but I seem to have much less trub in the kettle.

As to squeezing the crap out of it, I'd let gravity do the work. Do you have a 8' ladder? It could be set up over your kettle to support a hoist. Or maybe your garage door has a wooden frame where you can sink an eyebolt? Set the kettle under it. My lautering process: gather top of bag, tie a very simple hitch around it, clip the hoist on, lift, flame on. That's it. Kettle comes up to a boil, bag continues dripping. I'm off doing other things like reading to my toddler. Volume loss to grain is consistent, about .07gal/lb. About the same as yours, but I put absolutely zero physical effort into it. Wort is as clear as my buddy's who uses a cooler and traditional vorlauf.

False bottom, valve. As discussed above, there usually isn't need to put a flame on while the bag is in there. And you already have a siphon. I'd put my money elsewhere, such as a cost effective Corona-type mill (~$40, all told).
 
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shrews824

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As a newbie to brewing this was awesome!!! Really cool to see it in photos!!! Thanks for that!
I did a BIAB for a stout that just didn’t get the OG that I was looking for, not enough water or time I’m sure! I think I’m going to scrap it next time and try the Mash Tun with a cooler idea. I post what I find. It will be a awhile for sure though!
Great read and a lot of awesome info!!
Jeff
Thanks for the compliment. I appreciate that. Looking forward to reading your post.


When I was weighing whether to go BIAB or to convert a cooler, I close BIAB largely due to the simplicity of the process and minimal equipment investment. False bottoms, ports, valves, physical effort (squeezing the crap out of the bag) just aren't needed.

I believe you are using a disposable paint strainer for your bag? My impression is that bags made specifically for BIAB are of a tighter weave and will hold the flour better. Also, I may be wrong here, but by squeezing the crap out of it you may be forcing more sediment through the weave into your wort. You might be putting in more effort for a less desirable product.

If you are using a disposable bag, however inexpensive, you're going to need to replace it. I would splurge (<$40, incl hoist) for a high quality durable bag. I'm very happy with wilserbrewer's, there are other on the market as well. My grist contains as much flour as yours, but I seem to have much less trub in the kettle.

As to squeezing the crap out of it, I'd let gravity do the work. Do you have a 8' ladder? It could be set up over your kettle to support a hoist. Or maybe your garage door has a wooden frame where you can sink an eyebolt? Set the kettle under it. My lautering process: gather top of bag, tie a very simple hitch around it, clip the hoist on, lift, flame on. That's it. Kettle comes up to a boil, bag continues dripping. I'm off doing other things like reading to my toddler. Volume loss to grain is consistent, about .07gal/lb. About the same as yours, but I put absolutely zero physical effort into it. Wort is as clear as my buddy's who uses a cooler and traditional vorlauf.

False bottom, valve. As discussed above, there usually isn't need to put a flame on while the bag is in there. And you already have a siphon. I'd put my money elsewhere, such as a cost effective Corona-type mill (~$40, all told).
Yeah, I've seen some pretty elaborate pully systems. Some look like they may require an engineering degree to hook up!!! Just kidding. I've thought about rigging something up, but I just gave the strainer and squeeze a try first to see how it went. It's possible I squeezed too much for sure. Again, first go at it so I wasn't really sure what to expect. These are the bags I purchased: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B088B58GR4/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 Says they are for brewing. I'm sure they aren't the best on the market, but....

I'd like to purchase a better bag for sure. I'd also love to get a mill eventually. I appreciate the advice. Thanks.
 

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These are the bags I purchased: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B088B58GR4/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 Says they are for brewing. I'm sure they aren't the best on the market, but....
Gotcha. Yeah, those are probably perfectly fine. Maybe just less squeezing will do the trick.

Hoist doesn't need to be complicated at all. At our grist weight you don't even need the mechanical advantage of a pulley.

Totally understand the first-go-giving-it-a-try. I'm not much further than you in my journey. Merely sharing where I've found success with less effort. You're doing great, you're going to really enjoy that beer.
 
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Gotcha. Yeah, those are probably perfectly fine. Maybe just less squeezing will do the trick.

Hoist doesn't need to be complicated at all. At our grist weight you don't even need the mechanical advantage of a pulley.

Totally understand the first-go-giving-it-a-try. I'm not much further than you in my journey. Merely sharing where I've found success with less effort. You're doing great, you're going to really enjoy that beer.
Really appreciate you sharing. I'm all ears at this point. Trying to learn as much as I possibly can. Appreciate the vote of confidence. Can't wait to try the brew that's for sure.
 

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You want a fine crush for BIAB- I have my mill set as tight as it will go and sometimes double crush. Only problem is for wheat I have to put in a food processor or blender as it will not pass through my mill.
Post your results and a photo once it's all finished.
 
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Looks to me like you have it all set up nicely and figured out!!!

You want a fine crush for BIAB- I have my mill set as tight as it will go and sometimes double crush. Only problem is for wheat I have to put in a food processor or blender as it will not pass through my mill.
Post your results and a photo once it's all finished.
It seems like I had read that before... that I "want" a fine crush. That's why to my untrained eye that I thought it looked about right.

I'll definitely add a photo once it's finished.

Cheers.
 

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Thanks for this write up! I’m interested in moving to BIAB and will also probably be doing 3 gal batches. I’m still in the reading phase (and have a few extract kits to get through that I got on Northern Brewers IPA Day), so I’m curious what size kettle you have? Trying to figure out the smallest one I can get away with. I’d love to not buy a new one (current one is 5gal I think) but that’s probably wishful thinking.
 

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Thanks for this write up! I’m interested in moving to BIAB and will also probably be doing 3 gal batches. I’m still in the reading phase (and have a few extract kits to get through that I got on Northern Brewers IPA Day), so I’m curious what size kettle you have? Trying to figure out the smallest one I can get away with. I’d love to not buy a new one (current one is 5gal I think) but that’s probably wishful thinking.
I've got a 3gal fermenter and a 5gal kettle.

With beers up to about 1.050 the fermenter is my limiting factor, ~2.8. Going north of that, the kettle starts to max out due to mash volume. For true session beers, I could easily output a solid 3gal into the fermenter if there was room for it.

Now that I've got my system and software dialed in, I've got a [edit: 1.079] batch planned at 2.5g into the fermenter. After that, a 1.100 barleywine which I'll plan to have 2.4 into the fermenter. That's all full-volume mash, no sparge. I could go with a dunk or pour over sparge and get the VIF back up if I wanted to. But with those bigger beers I figure I'll need more headspace anyway.

I've got my eyes on a 6gal pot, but I doubt I'll step up. The 5gal is paid for, fits in the kitchen sink, and does the job.
 
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To drain the bag, rather than a colander, I suggest you look at a vegetable basket for a bbq grill. They are cheap and mush sturdier than a colander. I also don’t use a hoist, just lift with both hands for 10 seconds until it loses some of the water and gets lighter, than hold with one hand while I use the other to insert this basket on top, then set the bag on the basket. I also use a silicone oven mitt to press the bag down into the basket to drain, flip it over and do it again. I used to then set the bag in a bucket to further drain during the beginning of the boil to recover more wort but this only got an extra cup or so, so I don’t bother with this anymore.
 

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I set my mill gap to 0.030 inch and get a fine crush with good mash efficiency usually 75-80% with squeezing the bag. My crush looks a bit more coarse than yours.
I use a step ladder and a ratchet pulley to lift the bag for larger grain bills. It‘s pretty simple.


For smaller grain bills I use a 15 inch colander that rests on top of the kettle.

I always strain from the kettle into the fermenter using a double mesh sieve to remove hops and some of the break material. I still generally have an inch and a half of trub in the primary when complete.
 
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Thanks for this write up! I’m interested in moving to BIAB and will also probably be doing 3 gal batches. I’m still in the reading phase (and have a few extract kits to get through that I got on Northern Brewers IPA Day), so I’m curious what size kettle you have? Trying to figure out the smallest one I can get away with. I’d love to not buy a new one (current one is 5gal I think) but that’s probably wishful thinking.
I have an 8 gallon kettle. I was doing 5 gallon extract batches, but that was producing too much beer (I'm for the most part the only one drinking it) so I thought 3 gallon all-grain batches might suit me better. I may even move to 2 or 2.5 gallon batches. I'm having a ball brewing and want to do it every weekend, however I'm getting so much beer I can't drink it fast enough!!!! I agree with @DBhomebrew 5 gallon will probably not be large enough for some 3 gallon batches. Maybe 2 gallon batches though.

To drain the bag, rather than a colander, I suggest you look at a vegetable basket for a bbq grill. They are cheap and mush sturdier than a colander. I also don’t use a hoist, just lift with both hands for 10 seconds until it loses some of the water and gets lighter, than hold with one hand while I use the other to insert this basket on top, then set the bag on the basket. I also use a silicone oven mitt to press the bag down into the basket to drain, flip it over and do it again. I used to then set the bag in a bucket to further drain during the beginning of the boil to recover more wort but this only got an extra cup or so, so I don’t bother with this anymore.
Now, that's a pretty good idea there. I like the basket. I'm still looking. @Nick&Worty gave me link to a nice looking strainer too. I'm jostling both in my mind as to which I'll try. Thanks!!!

I set my mill gap to 0.030 inch and get a fine crush with good mash efficiency usually 75-80% with squeezing the bag. My crush looks a bit more coarse than yours.
I use a step ladder and a ratchet pulley to lift the bag for larger grain bills. It‘s pretty simple.


For smaller grain bills I use a 15 inch colander that rests on top of the kettle.

I always strain from the kettle into the fermenter using a double mesh sieve to remove hops and some of the break material. I still generally have an inch and a half of trub in the primary when complete.
Yeah, I've looked at the pulley systems and that may be something I invest in down the road. That one you linked too is a great price. It might be worth it just to buy to have on hand for other things!!! As far as the crush... I'm sure I'll get a better eye once I receive a few more grist bills. That way I can judge the consistency, etc. I'll post some pictures of my trub as it stands now. Thanks.
 
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shrews824

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Ok, so here are two pictures of my fermenter with my brew in them to gauge the trub.

This picture was taken Saturday morning after brewing Friday night and before I pitched the yeast:

homebrewbeforepitch.jpg


This picture was taken this morning, Wednesday, after roughly 96 hours into fermentation.

homebrewafterpitch.jpg


There is still a tiny bit of action going on and still quite a bit of suspended solids, but the trub level is much more compact and settled.

Now, my question is, when calculating your trub loss do you figure from after fermentation or would I go by what is measured before I pitch? In this case, ~1 gallon vs. 1/2 gallon.
 

secretlevel

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Congrats, well done. You already have nicer equipment than I do!

I find this calculator handy, but there's different kinds of trub for me: Brew in a Bag (BIAB) Calculator ~
Initially, you have the protein and hops that settle out in the kettle when you chill/whirlpool. I leave 0.25 - 0.5 gal there. Then, there's trub in fermenter, I definitely make 5.5 gallons if I want 5 gal final volume in keg/bottles.

PS. It looks like you have about 3ish final gallons, did you count the boil-off rate?

Edit: just saw that you did 3 gallons, but target said 5 gal.
 
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shrews824

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Congrats, well done. You already have nicer equipment than I do!

I find this calculator handy, but there's different kinds of trub for me: Brew in a Bag (BIAB) Calculator ~
Initially, you have the protein and hops that settle out in the kettle when you chill/whirlpool. I leave 0.25 - 0.5 gal there. Then, there's trub in fermenter, I definitely make 5.5 gallons if I want 5 gal final volume in keg/bottles.

PS. It looks like you have about 3ish final gallons, did you count the boil-off rate?

Edit: just saw that you did 3 gallons, but target said 5 gal.
Thanks. Yes, that's the calculator that I used. My target was indeed 3 gallons. My target water in my kettle before mash was 5.06 gallons. I did count for boil off. I did a test run the night before with plain water to figure my boil off rate. It was about 1.1 to 1.2 gallons, but in actuality I lost about 1 gallon during my boil on brew night. I'm guessing I'll be able to fine tune that with more attempts.
 
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To drain the bag, rather than a colander, I suggest you look at a vegetable basket for a bbq grill. They are cheap and mush sturdier than a colander. I also don’t use a hoist, just lift with both hands for 10 seconds until it loses some of the water and gets lighter, than hold with one hand while I use the other to insert this basket on top, then set the bag on the basket. I also use a silicone oven mitt to press the bag down into the basket to drain, flip it over and do it again. I used to then set the bag in a bucket to further drain during the beginning of the boil to recover more wort but this only got an extra cup or so, so I don’t bother with this anymore.
Sir, this is a stupendous idea! I have one of these thingees and shall use it thusly.
 

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Great thread! I'm still learning myself, so take my words for what they're worth, but as I've ventured into BIAB I've found the false bottom option on my brew kettle handy. Helps keep the bag off the burner, and (presumably) helps keep some of the trub out. Looks like the Megapot has such an option you can get on NB as well.

For strainer, I've been using this:

For being <$20 it has worked well on 5gal full volume batches for me so far!
For a false bottom I just use a perforated pizza pan. I think I got mine at Target for about $8. It works fine to prevent scorching/melting the bag. I bent it a little to make it more concave and keep the bag a little further off the bottom of the kettle.
 

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Thanks for this write up! I’m interested in moving to BIAB and will also probably be doing 3 gal batches. I’m still in the reading phase (and have a few extract kits to get through that I got on Northern Brewers IPA Day), so I’m curious what size kettle you have? Trying to figure out the smallest one I can get away with. I’d love to not buy a new one (current one is 5gal I think) but that’s probably wishful thinking.
Check out joining a local brew club if possible. There are usually people upgrading to larger, or fancier equipment, who are more than happy to sell their no-longer-needed kettles, corona mills, larger fermenters, etc. since they're upgraded. I saved a fortune this way. Obviously the bigger the brew club the better the chances of equipment coming your way.
 

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To drain the bag, rather than a colander, I suggest you look at a vegetable basket for a bbq grill. They are cheap and mush sturdier than a colander. I also don’t use a hoist, just lift with both hands for 10 seconds until it loses some of the water and gets lighter, than hold with one hand while I use the other to insert this basket on top, then set the bag on the basket. I also use a silicone oven mitt to press the bag down into the basket to drain, flip it over and do it again. I used to then set the bag in a bucket to further drain during the beginning of the boil to recover more wort but this only got an extra cup or so, so I don’t bother with this anymore.
I also do not use a hoist as it is simply not feasible. Being somewhat elderly, it is also not feasible for me to lift and hold a 12lb+ bag of hot steaming grain, even for 10 seconds! Solution? I divide my grain between 3 or 4 zip fastener laundry bags. Extract them one at a time, squeeze gently, and put aside. Works for me. If working to a recipe, I usually increase my grain bill by 5 or 10%, and then adjust if using that recipe again.
 
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