Pressure Cooker Rack to Protect Wilser Bag?

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Clint Yeastwood

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It looks like I am going to be a full-throttle BIAB guy from now on. I do step mashes on the stove. I got away with using a Wilser bag and no protection, but I am told I may burn it eventually.

Real false bottoms cost a lot of money, but pressure cooker racks cost about $10, so I'm thinking of getting one of those. I don't need to strain anything.

The only issue is that the flat part of the pot's bottom is about 14.5" wide, and pressure cookers go about 11.5". Has anyone else tried this? I think it ought to work, since the bag's contact with the pot would not be too good out at the edges.

Maybe I could find a sheet of perforated silicone and cut it to size.
 
I tried once to use an amazon SS rack that I bent to heck to do BIAB in my electric keggle and it's likely just me, but it was such a PITA, I'm going back to the "Buy Once, Cry Once" and before the next time I try it, I'll be getting @Bobby_M 's reasonably priced FB:
https://www.brewhardware.com/product_p/biabbottom17.htmNot too costly and he's got them in various sizes.
:mug:
 
search amazon and ebay and walmart. I got a ss baking/cooling rack for like 10 bucks that covered the whole bottom.

somewhere out there is the size and price you need.
 
Don't forget to start thinking about a bent piece of wire or something with a little J hook shape on the bottom to fish out whatever you end up using. I suppose you could actually leave something in through the whole boil but it just feels like it's better to take it out.
 
I am inclined to get the silicone sheet, cut it to size, poke a hole in it, and run a piece of twine through it to pull it out.

All you really need is something heat-resistant that provides a thermal barrier, with holes to allow steam bubbles to pass through.

The silicone baking pad should do the trick.
 
A friend of mine uses BIAB for his small batches and swears by his vegetable steamer basket. It keeps any bag you could use off the bottom of the pot where it could scorch.
 
The silicone thing is on the way.

I guess this is a digression, but I've noticed some brewers have a problem with people who come up with cheap, better solutions to problems others spend a lot of money on. I've spent a lot of money on brewing stuff, and I can't justify a lot of it, but I also like a cheap, elegant solution.

My Smartref is really cool. I have to say that.
 
I found in interesting product. A perforated silicone baking sheet.
[...] it's so big, I can cut out a circle that fits the pot.
"Silicone coated fiber glass"
I wonder how long that will last before it starts fraying little bits all over the place...

The silicone thing is on the way.
I hope it works for you, keep us posted.
 
Thanks for catching that. I didn't know it had fiberglass in it. Guess I'll get something else.

I already have silicone trivets.

A quick check on Amazon, and even the more expensive ones, like Silpat, have fiberglass mesh inside.

Maybe there's a trivet that's big enough. Most I've seen are around 7-8" dia.
 
I use a stainless steel BBQ grill rack with stainless bolts for legs. I found it hard to get anything else in the diameter I was looking for. You might be able to get offcuts of stainless sheet mesh if you ask around engineering workshops or material suppliers.
 
I tried once to use an amazon SS rack that I bent to heck to do BIAB in my electric keggle and it's likely just me, but it was such a PITA, I'm going back to the "Buy Once, Cry Once" and before the next time I try it, I'll be getting @Bobby_M 's reasonably priced FB:
https://www.brewhardware.com/product_p/biabbottom17.htmNot too costly and he's got them in various sizes.
:mug:

That's the way I'm going but I first have to decide if I'm going to stick with my 10gal kettle or go up to a 15. Gotta do a bit more noodling on batch size & OG vs kettle size. Don't envision going much above 5 gal at a whack but a big beer every now and then might come up.
 
Don't forget to start thinking about a bent piece of wire or something with a little J hook shape on the bottom to fish out whatever you end up using. I suppose you could actually leave something in through the whole boil but it just feels like it's better to take it out.
No need - I never take out for the boil
 
It looks like I am going to be a full-throttle BIAB guy from now on. I do step mashes on the stove. I got away with using a Wilser bag and no protection, but I am told I may burn it eventually.
Can we take a step back...
Don't you have trouble stirring the mash inside the bag? How do you get around the bag twisting around your mash paddle the whole time?

We know, stirring and turning over the mash is essential, because hot mash from the bottom needs to be brought upward to heat the cooler mash above it.
I'm curious, how well does that work with the bag being in there?

Due to the bag, you can't scrape the bottom of the kettle to prevent stickage and scorching/burning.
Hence I understand your idea of using a (thin) silicone mat to provide enough insulation to prevent the bag from scorching/burning/melting, while there should be enough heat convection through the mat to heat the bottom of the mash (in the bag).

On the other hand, using a false bottom would require some form of wort recirculation, to bring the hotter wort from underneath the false bottom to the top.
 
I grabbed a spatula I use to turn eggs, and I moved the mash around carefully. It looks like I got 70% efficiency, so my guess is that it worked. I don't think I have my old mash paddle. Maybe it's here somewhere.

I don't know if I need the silicone thing. The bag looks fine after its first use. I have a pretty good pot with a heavy bottom, and I'm not using a flame. Maybe I should just gamble $35 and keep using the bag with no protection until something happens. If I have a problem, I can always dump the mash into the Braumeister.
 
"Silicone coated fiber glass"
I wonder how long that will last before it starts fraying little bits all over the place...


I hope it works for you, keep us posted.
Fibers will contaminate all things once it is cut! Learned about that in a sourdough group.
 
Can we take a step back...
Don't you have trouble stirring the mash inside the bag? How do you get around the bag twisting around your mash paddle the whole time?

We know, stirring and turning over the mash is essential, because hot mash from the bottom needs to be brought upward to heat the cooler mash above it.
I'm curious, how well does that work with the bag being in there?

Due to the bag, you can't scrape the bottom of the kettle to prevent stickage and scorching/burning.
Hence I understand your idea of using a (thin) silicone mat to provide enough insulation to prevent the bag from scorching/burning/melting, while there should be enough heat convection through the mat to heat the bottom of the mash (in the bag).

On the other hand, using a false bottom would require some form of wort recirculation, to bring the hotter wort from underneath the false bottom to the top.

I have those stainless false bottoms from Brew Hardware. I bought the shortest legs, to minimize wort below the bag. Just enough spacing to keep the bag off the bottom. BTW, you can use them without legs at all. The false bottoms are constructed with rims that keep the mesh about 1/2" up.

As for stirring, I stir like I'm drawing a big asterisk on the bottom. Keeps the bag from twisting. And I use a big honkin' French whip, so it doesn't create as much rotation as a mash paddle would. Breaks up the dough balls nicely.
 
I too went with the Brewhardware FB; I have the bigger one for my BIAB 15g kettle, and the smaller (11" I think) for my cooler mash tun. The big one stays in the kettle during the entire mash and boil; has the added bonus of keeping the hop bag off the bottom as well. Yes they are pricey, but as @Broken Crow said, buy once cry once. They are super sturdy and being stainless will last a long long long time. I also went with Bobby's bent diptube; fits under the FB and gets every last drop of wort from the kettle with some judicious tipping.
 

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