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Simple Apartment BIAB?

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FatDragon

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Although I'm only two days into fermenting my first batch, I'm already looking forward to the future. After spending over $100 on an extract kit (imported extract is crazy expensive in China), and finding Aussie two-row for about $1.25/kilo, I'm planning on going all-grain soon. Since I'm brewing in an apartment with limited space, I'm hoping I can do single-vessel BIAB. That much said, I'm curious about a couple different options:

From a perspective of learning and equipment setup, cooking on gas would be the easiest move. I would have to buy a burner since the hood over my stove would be restrictive to lifting the grain bag, but I could brew in my current ~8 gal kettle with no new equipment beyond a grain bag and a standalone burner.

However, I'm also considering electric. That way I could avoid using an unvented burner in my apartment or brewing on the balcony, and I imagine it would be manageable with less equipment to clutter up the apartment when I'm not brewing. The major downside is that I don't yet know much, if anything, about electric brewing yet. I gather that I would basically need to get a heating element like those in electric water kettles, and use it in the bottom of my brew kettle as the heating element. Is that the basic idea of EBIAB or is there more to it from an equipment perspective?

Clearly, I'm only in most basic stage of learning and considering so far, but I'd love to get some insight so that I can start preparing for a BIAB in the near future.
 

BigFloppy

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You might be able to use a standalone induction cook-top with an 8 gal kettle, that's what I use
 

beersk

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Also, you can move the kettle to a chair (what I do) to lift the bag out, let drain for a bit, then move the bag to a bucket where you can squeeze and get some more out to dump into the kettle as it's coming to a boil. Maybe consider starting off with 3 or 4 gallon batches. Less grain to dispose of, lift out of kettle, and more space in kettle to fit full volume mash.
But if you do eBIAB, that would be pretty sweet if you could do that on your balcony. I'd probably go that route if you can hack the electrical work.
 

SDJay

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You can split the grain bill and use two bags. I do that, and use "tea bag dunking" combined with a stir or two with a spoon in each bag. Makes it easier to manage the grains, and I have hit my OG with each batch I have done.
 
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FatDragon

FatDragon

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A beer club buddy of mine brews on his balcony, over 250 gallons a year. It's just a matter of what you want to do.
I've thought of balcony brewing, but the amount of construction here is insane - I'm sure I'd get all sorts of nasty dust in my brews if I did it on my balcony. That's why I'm hoping for an indoor solution.
 

RM-MN

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I brew a bunch of 2 1/2 gallon batches on my stovetop. As long as the pot fits under the vent hood you are good to go because you can take the pot off the burner to pull the bag out, then put the pot back on when you are done draining/squeezing to do the boil. My stove has a high output burner and I can use a 7 1/2 gallon turkey fryer and do a 5 gallon batch that way even. Chilling the big batch will be the bigger worry.
 
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FatDragon

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I brew a bunch of 2 1/2 gallon batches on my stovetop. As long as the pot fits under the vent hood you are good to go because you can take the pot off the burner to pull the bag out, then put the pot back on when you are done draining/squeezing to do the boil. My stove has a high output burner and I can use a 7 1/2 gallon turkey fryer and do a 5 gallon batch that way even. Chilling the big batch will be the bigger worry.
I had enough headroom and burner power to do a 5-gallon extract batch on my stovetop, so it sounds like if I just take the pot off the burner to remove and drain the grain bag, I'll be all set for a stovetop BIAB. Electric still seems like a fun idea so I might study up and try to get an electric setup for the future, but stovetop covers my current needs.

Cooling a 5 gal batch without a wort chiller is indeed a pain. I'm considering trying to install an outlet on my brew kettle sometime so I can use a counterflow chiller in the future, but for now it's mostly immersion. With my first batch, I pitched too warm because I had already rehydrated my yeast and didn't have the ability to cool my wort below 30 C in the tub - no more ice and 27 C ambient temp. In the future, I'll probably put it in the fermenter and let that cool it to pitching temps overnight.
 

RM-MN

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As an experiment I did one (notice it was only one, I wanted to wait to see the results before I committed myself to more) batch where I didn't chill the wort, just poured the boiling wort into the plastic bucket (yes they will take it without damaging them or you, I checked the specs first) and put a sanitized lid on with the airlock that had so little water in it that it couldn't be sucked back into the fermenter. It took about 30 hours to cool and I waited until the wort was in the mid 60's before I pitched the yeast. For a comparison I did an identical batch and chilled it like I should. Now, 6 months later, I can't tell the difference. This was only one batch so I'm not really certain about the results yet. More testing to come. I did reduce the boil time on the hops since the wort would take time to chill.
 
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FatDragon

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As an experiment I did one (notice it was only one, I wanted to wait to see the results before I committed myself to more) batch where I didn't chill the wort, just poured the boiling wort into the plastic bucket (yes they will take it without damaging them or you, I checked the specs first) and put a sanitized lid on with the airlock that had so little water in it that it couldn't be sucked back into the fermenter. It took about 30 hours to cool and I waited until the wort was in the mid 60's before I pitched the yeast. For a comparison I did an identical batch and chilled it like I should. Now, 6 months later, I can't tell the difference. This was only one batch so I'm not really certain about the results yet. More testing to come. I did reduce the boil time on the hops since the wort would take time to chill.
I like the experimental spirit, and it encourages me that waiting to pitch isn't a big deal, but since it's easy enough to immerse down to the forties or so (Celsius) even when I can't get ice, I'll probably do that much at least before transferring to the fermenter. No good reason for me to skip that step and risk (over time if not on the first batch) leaching chemicals out of the plastic with hot wort. If I become a regular brewer with multiple batches fermenting at all times, I might experiment more, but as it stands I expect to be a five-gallons-a-month brewer for a while, and that means each five gallon batch is my precious, precious baby.
 

RM-MN

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One advantage of pouring boiling wort into the fermenter is the sanitation. You'll have to be much more careful of that if your wort is cooler as bacteria will have a chance to grow.
 

cpl-america

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the big deal about chilling faster is to prevent off flavors as well as chill haze. before i got a wort chiller, i got chill haze once, and it made the beer very undesirable.
check out the forums here on electric brewing, they are very informative.

also http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/ is pretty informative.

besides getting the element in there, separating it from the bag is another issue, alot of us use baskets which is more than enough, or a false bottom over your element. either way, ventilation is still important, as the amount of vapor created in boil off is a lot more than you would think.

i ebiab, and have taken to doing it on the porch, i just use a lid to keep stuff out. or you could just open your balcony door and point a fan that way.

as for the element, there are a lot on amazon, i find the ones with brewer reviews.

here is a nice element

either way let us know what you decide.
 
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