New eBIAB with Inverted Keggle?

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Wootonius

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Hey HBT folks!
I've been brewing for 6 or so years with extract and partial grain brewing 5 gallon batches in a single pot. I've been wanting to take the next step for some time to larger all-grain batches, but I can't afford any of the off the shelf systems. Planning to DYI, I bought an old Keg to convert to a keggle last year but haven't cut it yet. After finding HBT, I've been really intrigued by the BIAB systems and electric brewing and plan to build my own panel with a Craft Beer Pi type setup. I like the idea of being able to manage the brew from a PC or tablet and with just a single 5500W element, and one pump, I'm hoping it'll be a simpler build than some of the one's I've seen on here.

I was just about ready to cut the top off my keg when I came across several posts suggesting cutting the bottom instead so that you can use the Sanke as a drain. I really like the idea, but I'm having doubts about how that might affect things with BIAB method. I intend to use a pump to recirculate during mash to maintain uniform temps and to pump into the fermenter. Would you use a false bottom of some kind to prevent any solids from going down the drain? How does that affect whirlpooling with the drain in the middle?

I figure a basket of some kind would be the way to go, but they are way more pricey than I expected. I found this Bayou Classic on Amazon for $89. Man it all adds up quick! This means I'd have to cut a bigger hole that the 12" one I had planned, but I guess that's not a huge deal. I'll just need a bigger lid.

I'm hoping some of you experienced brewers could give me you thoughts on what I'm planning so far. Thanks in advance!!
 
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apache_brew

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1/2 bbl kegs don’t make the best biab kettles for larger than 5 gallon batches. If you want to do 10 gallon batches, you’re gonna need a seperate mash tun to hold all the grain and water for a full volume batch. Not to mention the narrow keg opening typically restricts easy bag lift out unless you have a dedicated taper in the bag design. I think kegland or the like make a keggle bag.

I don’t think the upside down configuration is worth it. You’re gonna have clog issues if you attempt to seperate trub/hops because it’s going to all want to drain. You’re going through the hassle of inserting a heating element through the sidewall, another 1/2” fitting for a drain is easy. Also, your handles are going to be upside down...

Check out the Blichmann BrewCommander. ~$375 ish all in one controller ready to go.

Saving money upfront with 10+ gallon electric system is tough if not impossible. I used a 2 vessel keg system for a while (k-rims) with a propane burner under BK and blichmann autosparge in the mash tun. I was able to do 10 gallon batches but the mash temp variations and stuck recirculation headaches weren’t worth it. I’ve since switched over to a static 2 vessel full volume system. Big cooler mash tun (120qt) with bag to hold grain. Stable full volume mash temps have since simplified my mashing efforts to not require any additional heating. Once converted, just drain the full volume into the boil kettle and start the boil as usual.
 

wilserbrewer

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How big is your current kettle? Perhaps try a BIAB batch with that kettle while dreaming of your dream lol

agree with the above, not a fan of keggles, step away with the mini grinder :) jmo
 

Bobby_M

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Agree. I'm not a fan of keg vessels in most cases but especially for eBIAB. The element sits way too high. The overall bulk sucks. The openings are usually too small for the bag.
 
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Wootonius

Wootonius

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1/2 bbl kegs don’t make the best biab kettles for larger than 5 gallon batches. If you want to do 10 gallon batches, you’re gonna need a seperate mash tun to hold all the grain and water for a full volume batch. Not to mention the narrow keg opening typically restricts easy bag lift out unless you have a dedicated taper in the bag design. I think kegland or the like make a keggle bag.

I don’t think the upside down configuration is worth it. You’re gonna have clog issues if you attempt to seperate trub/hops because it’s going to all want to drain. You’re going through the hassle of inserting a heating element through the sidewall, another 1/2” fitting for a drain is easy. Also, your handles are going to be upside down...

Check out the Blichmann BrewCommander. ~$375 ish all in one controller ready to go.

Saving money upfront with 10+ gallon electric system is tough if not impossible. I used a 2 vessel keg system for a while (k-rims) with a propane burner under BK and blichmann autosparge in the mash tun. I was able to do 10 gallon batches but the mash temp variations and stuck recirculation headaches weren’t worth it. I’ve since switched over to a static 2 vessel full volume system. Big cooler mash tun (120qt) with bag to hold grain. Stable full volume mash temps have since simplified my mashing efforts to not require any additional heating. Once converted, just drain the full volume into the boil kettle and start the boil as usual.
Thanks Apache, I appreciate the input. I tend to get distracted easily if you couldn't tell! Forget the inverted idea! If I used a separate vessel, such as a cooler for the mash, as you suggest and the keggle upright, I can see how that will eliminate the hassles you mentioned. Plus I can use the keggle with gas until I can afford the electric setup. I think that's something I can do!
 
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Wootonius

Wootonius

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How big is your current kettle? Perhaps try a BIAB batch with that kettle while dreaming of your dream lol

agree with the above, not a fan of keggles, step away with the mini grinder :) jmo
I'm currently working with a 22qt Walmart special, and I've been using a bag for the grains. It really simplifies things! My thought was just to upscale what I've been doing, but I'm thinking I could compromise with the cooler mash tun for now.
 
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Wootonius

Wootonius

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Saving money upfront with 10+ gallon electric system is tough if not impossible. I used a 2 vessel keg system for a while (k-rims) with a propane burner under BK and blichmann autosparge in the mash tun. I was able to do 10 gallon batches but the mash temp variations and stuck recirculation headaches weren’t worth it. I’ve since switched over to a static 2 vessel full volume system. Big cooler mash tun (120qt) with bag to hold grain. Stable full volume mash temps have since simplified my mashing efforts to not require any additional heating. Once converted, just drain the full volume into the boil kettle and start the boil as usual.
I just realized you said 120 qt mash tun! Wow! What size batch do you end up with?
 
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Wootonius

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I’ve since switched over to a static 2 vessel full volume system. Big cooler mash tun (120qt) with bag to hold grain. Stable full volume mash temps have since simplified my mashing efforts to not require any additional heating. Once converted, just drain the full volume into the boil kettle and start the boil as usual.
Apache, in your method, do you batch sparge at all? I was thinking I would do a batch sparge, but then I run into the problem of needing another vessel to hold the sparge water at temp. Ultimately, I like your 2 vessel method since it keeps things simple.
 

apache_brew

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Ah, cool! So no need for a false bottom setup. How much was the bag?
I built a false bottom for the hell of it that goes under the bag. Check Wilser's website, very reasonable.

false bottom.jpg


Apache, in your method, do you batch sparge at all? I was thinking I would do a batch sparge, but then I run into the problem of needing another vessel to hold the sparge water at temp. Ultimately, I like your 2 vessel method since it keeps things simple.
I don't batch sparge no. Crush on the finer side and give the bag a little squeeze at the end.
 
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Wootonius

Wootonius

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I built a false bottom for the hell of it that goes under the bag. Check Wilser's website, very reasonable.

View attachment 717121


I don't batch sparge no. Crush on the finer side and give the bag a little squeeze at the end.
Gotcha! Do you find that to be as efficient? ...or efficient enough? I like the false bottom.
 

Staticsouls

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I have an inverted bottom drain keg as a biab kettle. I cut the keg at the seam where the bottom skirt meets the actual keg body to make for a very large 15 inch opening. I'm using an anheiser straight side keg so there is plenty of room for mesh bag. I use a ss basket though, because it sit on my whirlpools port and stops the bag from ever hitting the elements.

Downsides, as other have stated, due to the vessel shape the elements aren't covered until there are at least 4 gallons of strike water. This forces me to do full or mostly full volume mashes. You could possibly do a 10 gallon batch but you would likely need to spare or something.
 
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