Stove Top Small Batch Brewing Question (BIAB)

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum:

pshankstar

BIAB Homebrewer & Coffee Roaster
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jun 29, 2015
Messages
6,678
Reaction score
19,534
Location
Canandaigua
As winter is here in Western, NY I find myself not wanting to go outside and brew. If it's not snowing, the wind is blowing like crazy. I guess I'm starting to show my age. LOL

I've tossed around the idea of brewing smaller batches indoors on my stove top. I would brew a 3 gallon BIAB batch, so I can keg 2.5 gallons in my smaller keg. I have a 7 gallon aluminum pot (flat bottom) and my stove is a flat top electric stove that is 2 years old. The element that would fit my aluminum pot is 3000W and it's the same diameter of the pot. Without wasting hours and hours of trying to achieve a boil, does anyone know if I would be successful or not? I know my brew day will probably be longer since it would take a while to get about 4 gallons of wort boiling. I'm just curious to know if anyone has any insight to if it would work or not.

If my stove top won't work, then I guess I'll need to keep an eye on the weather more often to squeeze in a brew day out in the garage on the few nice days we will have over the next 4 months. Thanks in advance everyone!
 

dstockwell

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2015
Messages
994
Reaction score
139
I brew 3.25G batches outside, and I fired up the burner to start the boil and :mad: I was out of propane.. So to the stove-top I went. I use a 30QT aluminum pot, but since I also have a range hood I needed to partially (just a little) leave the lid on (i could still monitor the boil) to cut down on the condensation I was getting on the range hood, and cabinet above the stove, but it worked...
 

Weezy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2013
Messages
2,673
Reaction score
624
Location
Pittsburgh
It'd be easier to split boil imho. Pick up a couple $12 16-quart cheapo pots from Walmart. BIAB (mash in a bag) with 2 gallons of water in one pot and dunk sparge in the other pot. Simple, clean, neat.
 

Black Island Brewer

An Ode to Beer
Joined
Sep 6, 2011
Messages
2,161
Reaction score
895
Location
Isla Negra
One thought - to shorten the time to boil, you could put a 16 qt stock pot into the oven set to 200F the night before brew day, and on brew day heat the remaining water in the 7 gallon on the stove top, then add the water from the oven.
 

Weezy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2013
Messages
2,673
Reaction score
624
Location
Pittsburgh
You could pick up a cheap 1800w induction cooker as another option. I'm guessing 1800w is more than your stove, and induction is 90% efficient too.
 
OP
OP
pshankstar

pshankstar

BIAB Homebrewer & Coffee Roaster
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jun 29, 2015
Messages
6,678
Reaction score
19,534
Location
Canandaigua
Great, thanks for all the feedback guys! I also have fermcap on hand to help keep the boil over from happening too. I will probably have to do the same thing as @dstockwell with keeping the lid on partially. We have one of those range vents that are part of the microwave about the stove. Honestly, I think those range vents are useless...

Also, the other suggestions made about splitting the batch or using the oven, etc... are all great thoughts too. I'm happy to hear that I may be able to brew indoors this winter. Now, I hope I don't upset the wife and girls too much with the awesome smell of brewing that they hate. ;) Thanks everyone I really appreciate the quick responses!!! :mug:
 
OP
OP
pshankstar

pshankstar

BIAB Homebrewer & Coffee Roaster
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jun 29, 2015
Messages
6,678
Reaction score
19,534
Location
Canandaigua
It'd be easier to split boil imho. Pick up a couple $12 16-quart cheapo pots from Walmart. BIAB (mash in a bag) with 2 gallons of water in one pot and dunk sparge in the other pot. Simple, clean, neat.

Ok I'm not familiar with sparging since I have only started doing BIAB without sparging. So please excuse my ignorance with my question(s).

With that being said, wouldn't I need to combine the liquids from both pots after the mash and the dunk sparge? If so, then I would be maxed out on the 16qt (gallon) pot once combined, so I would still need my aluminum pot (7 gallons). Isn't my assumption correct? I have read if you sparge, then it may increase your efficiency by a few points. Regardless of that, wouldn't I just be better off use using my 7 gallon pot? i.e. Less equipment to clean afterwards?

Thanks Weezy, but I'm just trying to understand this better.
 

Iceman6409

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2008
Messages
433
Reaction score
22
Location
Rochester
I have been brewing 2.5-3 gallon batches on my stove for awhile now. In fact I can do 5 gallon batches s well with now problem. I have and electric start gas stove, not a new one. I had the exact same questions before I started as you did. One very simple test answered everything for me. I put 7 gallons of water in my kettle and positioned it over both burners, front and backs ones and turned it on. Of course it takes a little while to heat up to boil but it will on any flame. But it absolutely works for me, even on a 7 gallon boil. However I cannot speak to a flat top. I say put 4-5 gallons of water in your kettle over both front and back burner and see what happens. Simple. Give it awhile. Losing nothing but a little water and some time. Use a lid too until it comes to boil. Helps big time if you're not doing it now. I am now a BIAB brewer as well so I don't really have a need to brew outside if I don't want to. And I also live in Western NY and totally understand the weather statement. Much luck to you.
 

Iceman6409

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2008
Messages
433
Reaction score
22
Location
Rochester
By the way. I know nothing about induction cookers. Does anyone know if an 1800 watt induction table top cooker could handle a 5 gallon kettle and bring and maintain 4 gallons to boil?
 
OP
OP
pshankstar

pshankstar

BIAB Homebrewer & Coffee Roaster
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jun 29, 2015
Messages
6,678
Reaction score
19,534
Location
Canandaigua
I have been brewing 2.5-3 gallon batches on my stove for awhile now. In fact I can do 5 gallon batches s well with now problem. I have and electric start gas stove, not a new one. I had the exact same questions before I started as you did. One very simple test answered everything for me. I put 7 gallons of water in my kettle and positioned it over both burners, front and backs ones and turned it on. Of course it takes a little while to heat up to boil but it will on any flame. But it absolutely works for me, even on a 7 gallon boil. However I cannot speak to a flat top. I say put 4-5 gallons of water in your kettle over both front and back burner and see what happens. Simple. Give it awhile. Losing nothing but a little water and some time. Use a lid too until it comes to boil. Helps big time if you're not doing it now. I am now a BIAB brewer as well so I don't really have a need to brew outside if I don't want to. And I also live in Western NY and totally understand the weather statement. Much luck to you.

You feel my pain being only 30 mins north of me (I'm in Canandaigua) with our winters here in WNY. ;) I'm keeping my fingers crossed this year will be like last years winter.

I don't think having my pot straddle two burners would benefit me, b/c the element I would use is the same diameter of the pot. So it would make full contact with the bottom of my pot. You do have a good point to place 4-4.5 gallons of water in the pot and see how long it takes to boil.
 

Iceman6409

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2008
Messages
433
Reaction score
22
Location
Rochester
Like I said it's free and it cost you nothing more than whatever time involved sitting around waiting for something to happen. :)
 

Weezy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2013
Messages
2,673
Reaction score
624
Location
Pittsburgh
Ok I'm not familiar with sparging since I have only started doing BIAB without sparging. So please excuse my ignorance with my question(s).

With that being said, wouldn't I need to combine the liquids from both pots after the mash and the dunk sparge? If so, then I would be maxed out on the 16qt (gallon) pot once combined, so I would still need my aluminum pot (7 gallons). Isn't my assumption correct? I have read if you sparge, then it may increase your efficiency by a few points. Regardless of that, wouldn't I just be better off use using my 7 gallon pot? i.e. Less equipment to clean afterwards?

Thanks Weezy, but I'm just trying to understand this better.

You can combine and boil in one. I've had about 3-3/4 gallons in the 16-quart pot (the pots are bigger than 16-quarts). But that's with gas. On electric, you'd pour some of the mash wort into the sparge wort, and boil both pots. You want two 16-quart pots. Mash in a 5-gallon paint strainer bag while second pot heats to 170F. When done mashing, lift bag and put into second pot, stir with a metal wisk in bag. Lift bag (and squeeze if you want, assuming you have nice brewing gloves) and discard grains. Pour some of the sweeter mash wort into the sparge put. Boil both pots. You can split hops between pots or do all in one.

Cheers!
 

GoHokiesGo

Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2016
Messages
17
Reaction score
5
Somewhat related question since I'm looking to go to partial mash or full BIAB on a kitchen stove-
Does anything negative happen if it takes longer to get your mash to a boil, or is it just the fact that it takes more of your time?
For example, if all other parts were equal with two batches, one brew is on a propane burner that came to boil temp in a few minutes compared to say 20-30 mins on a stove top to reach boiling, would you expect any difference in the wort and final product?

I have a propane burner that I could use, but I probably wont break it out until the weather warms up next spring. My kitchen has a decent 20k BTU burner for my gas stove, but that's big difference from a high output 60-80k BTU propane burner. Am I losing anything other than time?
 

Lefou

Danged rascally furt
Joined
May 1, 2016
Messages
2,290
Reaction score
1,213
Location
East of Filthadelphia, south of Nyack
My last brew was a 3gal batch boiled down from 4gal on a gas stove in my kitchen. Slow, but steady.
I bought 5gal of Poland Spring water and used the jugs to collect and sparge the mash in a 10gal Igloo mash tun. The wort was then transferred into a basic 20qt stainless steel kettle to boil.
After the boil, my kettle gets cooled in the sink with an ice and water bath then transferred to a 6gal carboy to the kitchen floor.

All told, this batch cost me barely $5US because I had enough customer bonus points at the brew shop to get my grain and yeast discounted for free. The only cost was for my water. Grist was 7.5lb and one wet WLP400 yeast pack into a starter.
Now THIS is the way to brew, especially for a cheap Jersey bastidge like me. You can't beat good beer when it's THAT cheap.
 

Weezy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2013
Messages
2,673
Reaction score
624
Location
Pittsburgh
Somewhat related question since I'm looking to go to partial mash or full BIAB on a kitchen stove-
Does anything negative happen if it takes longer to get your mash to a boil, or is it just the fact that it takes more of your time?
For example, if all other parts were equal with two batches, one brew is on a propane burner that came to boil temp in a few minutes compared to say 20-30 mins on a stove top to reach boiling, would you expect any difference in the wort and final product?

I have a propane burner that I could use, but I probably wont break it out until the weather warms up next spring. My kitchen has a decent 20k BTU burner for my gas stove, but that's big difference from a high output 60-80k BTU propane burner. Am I losing anything other than time?

You really don't need a mash out at the scale we're brewing at, so don't sweat it.
 

pepindavid

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2015
Messages
136
Reaction score
70
I do stove-top "Maxi BIAB", with a 4-gallon kettle. I'm able to do "regular" gravity beers in 4 gallon batches. I end up with 2.5 gallon of concentrated wort, and then dilute with fresh cold water (top-up to 4 gallons). It works well for me.
Pros:
- Not too long to get 3.5 gallons to boil
- The top-up water helps cooling
- The top-up water helps oxygenating

Con:
- Less hop isomerization (more concentrated wort)
- Maybe slightly more darkening (although I was able to do very pale beers without a problem)
- The fresh cold water has to be treated for chlorine, if using tap water
 

BitterSweetBrews

Tim Trabold
Joined
Dec 9, 2014
Messages
452
Reaction score
102
Location
Omaha
It'd be easier to split boil imho. Pick up a couple $12 16-quart cheapo pots from Walmart. BIAB (mash in a bag) with 2 gallons of water in one pot and dunk sparge in the other pot. Simple, clean, neat.

Harbor Freight has a set of 4 Stainless Steel stock pots for $21.99 (6, 8, 12, and 16 quarts). They are not real heavy duty (thickness), but they do work and for the money can't be beat.

If you use the always available 20% of an item coupon from Valpak.com you can pick them up for $17.59.

They work well for small batches, BIAB, split boils and decoctions. I just used my set to make 1 1/4 gallons of 2-row starter wort that I later pressure canned (BIAB - 1lb 9oz 2 row, 3.25 gal water, 60 minute - 153 deg. mash, 60 min boil).

http://www.harborfreight.com/4-pc-stainless-steel-stock-pot-set-60624.html
 
OP
OP
pshankstar

pshankstar

BIAB Homebrewer & Coffee Roaster
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jun 29, 2015
Messages
6,678
Reaction score
19,534
Location
Canandaigua
So my stove top did the boil and with ease!! I mashed with 4.6 gallons and the stove brought it up to mashing temps.

Then it didn't take long for the boil to start going! Then I had to dial back to burner.
 
Top