Tell my why I shouldn’t use a bag for a filter in my mash tun.

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Evan La Marr

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So I got a bag for my cooler b/c it just seemed like a better all-around idea than Bazookas, false bottoms, or manifolds.

Now, I want to know what’s NOT GOOD about it, and why I might want to change to something else in the future. I want to become a professional - not just a hobbyist - so I’d like to know every little detail.

Hit me!
 

brewbama

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Sorry I can’t help you. I’ve been using a bag in my MLT for years and haven’t found a downside yet. I get clean wort in the kettle, I get an easy way to lift the grain out of the MLT to dump it, and the MLT cleaning is a snap.

I do prefer using it with a false bottom to give the wort a place to drain but that’s just me.
 

mongoose33

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I don't know of anything that's not good about it, provided you also have something like a torpedo screen. Just a bag by itself with a small outlet is more likely to clog, in fact, I'd be surprised if it didn't.

I've done exactly what you propose--had Wilserbags make me a bag that fit my cube Igloo cooler. That cooler has a torpedo braid, so all the bag did was:

A. Help with lautering
B. Make cleanup easier.

I now do full infusion in a mash tun with a false bottom. I have a bag that will fit it, just haven't used it yet. I'm lautering off just with the grain bed as the filter (I typically add a scoop of rice hulls because A) why not, and B) I once bought 10# of them not knowing how LARGE a volume 10# of rice hulls takes up :).

Here are a couple pics just for fun.

tun1.jpg tun2.jpg foamboardmashcap.jpg
 

Vale71

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Do you really want to start a fight? Asking that question here is like stepping into a Harley Davidson Club and calling out loud enough for everybody to hear, "I'm thinking of getting a Honda. What's not good about a Honda?". Except that leaving with multiple stab wounds is a rather unlikely outcome on HBT as opposed to the other situation where it's almost guaranteed. :D
 

RM-MN

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NO!! Don't start! Once you use the bag a couple times you will realize that you don't get a stuck mash or sparge because you can raise the bag and expose a lot more filter area. Then you will get the idea that you can do a wheat beer without the rice hulls and your LHBS will lose that sale. Well, if you can do a wheat beer without rice hulls, why not try a finer crush? Now your mash efficiency will be higher so you need to adjust the amount of grains and your LHBS loses the sale of that much grain. With the finer crush, you will probably learn that the conversion during the mash is much quicker and more complete so you will cut the mash period in half. What will you do with that extra time? You will probably also learn that the mash is so complete that you don't need to do a mash out as there is no remaining activity to stop. Then you will get the idea that since the conversion is over so quickly you don't need that insulated mash tun and can just put the bag of grains right in the boil kettle and someone loses out on selling you a new cooler. You'll discover that you don't need to have hot water for a sparge so your HLT is useless....unless you use it for another boil kettle and make 2 batches at once. Now you have twice as much beer in half the time and how will you deal with that?

It's a slippery slope so it might be best if you just throw that bag away and go back to the traditional mash tun.
 

myndflyte

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I have nothing bad to say about the bag. Maybe the one bad thing that's ever happened with it was the knot came loose from my pulley system when I was lifting it once. But I clearly can't blame the bag for that.

I'm not one to bash those that like the traditional setup. But using BIAB was the singular thing that got me back into brewing. For me, a traditional setup was too time consuming, too much juggling of pots and burner, and just not fun.
 

balrog

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NO!! Don't start! Once you use the bag a couple times you will realize that you don't get a stuck mash or sparge because you can raise the bag and expose a lot more filter area. Then you will get the idea that you can do a wheat beer without the rice hulls and your LHBS will lose that sale. Well, if you can do a wheat beer without rice hulls, why not try a finer crush? Now your mash efficiency will be higher so you need to adjust the amount of grains and your LHBS loses the sale of that much grain. With the finer crush, you will probably learn that the conversion during the mash is much quicker and more complete so you will cut the mash period in half. What will you do with that extra time? You will probably also learn that the mash is so complete that you don't need to do a mash out as there is no remaining activity to stop. Then you will get the idea that since the conversion is over so quickly you don't need that insulated mash tun and can just put the bag of grains right in the boil kettle and someone loses out on selling you a new cooler. You'll discover that you don't need to have hot water for a sparge so your HLT is useless....unless you use it for another boil kettle and make 2 batches at once. Now you have twice as much beer in half the time and how will you deal with that?

It's a slippery slope so it might be best if you just throw that bag away and go back to the traditional mash tun.
If you feed a moose a muffin, he'll want a Wilserbag to go with it...
 
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Evan La Marr

Evan La Marr

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NO!! Don't start! Once you use the bag a couple times you will realize that you don't get a stuck mash or sparge because you can raise the bag and expose a lot more filter area. Then you will get the idea that you can do a wheat beer without the rice hulls and your LHBS will lose that sale. Well, if you can do a wheat beer without rice hulls, why not try a finer crush? Now your mash efficiency will be higher so you need to adjust the amount of grains and your LHBS loses the sale of that much grain. With the finer crush, you will probably learn that the conversion during the mash is much quicker and more complete so you will cut the mash period in half. What will you do with that extra time? You will probably also learn that the mash is so complete that you don't need to do a mash out as there is no remaining activity to stop. Then you will get the idea that since the conversion is over so quickly you don't need that insulated mash tun and can just put the bag of grains right in the boil kettle and someone loses out on selling you a new cooler. You'll discover that you don't need to have hot water for a sparge so your HLT is useless....unless you use it for another boil kettle and make 2 batches at once. Now you have twice as much beer in half the time and how will you deal with that?

It's a slippery slope so it might be best if you just throw that bag away and go back to the traditional mash tun.
Hahahaha ok then. Advice NOT taken. Also an large amount of helpful ancillary information!
 

RM-MN

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Hahahaha ok then. Advice NOT taken. Also an large amount of helpful ancillary information!
Since you aren't going to take my tongue in cheek advice, read on.

I want to become a professional - not just a hobbyist - so I’d like to know every little detail.
Check with Wilserbrewer to see just how big of a bag he has made.
 

fofusak

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I love my bag in my mash tun, RM-MN pretty much summed it up.

But... straight to the point I wanted to make: A solution that works great at small scale, doesn't necessarily scale well. So if you aim to produce tens of BBLs at a time, you can either try to imagine problems at that scale, like the fabric of the bag probably not being able to withstand that much wet grain. How are you going to ever lift such a heavy load and so on... Or you can just stick with tried and true traditional methods that you know they work.

Do you want to homebrew? I highly recommend a bag. I can comfortably brew and lift the bag for 10 gal batches.
Other than that, I'd personally stick with a traditional method. Or be prepared to try a potentially great thing at big scale, with a chance that you'll fail and waste money and effort (but can have good payoffs)
 

wilserbrewer

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seatazzz

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I've been using a bag in my mash tun for almost 2.5 years, and will never go back. To beat a dead horse, cleanup is so easy, clear wort into the BK, can crush as fine as I want, CLEANUP IS DEAD EASY, and cleanup is easy. With all grain brewing, cleanup seems to take up at least 1/3 of the brewday; with my bag all I do is heft it up to drain out completely, then once it's cool dump it into whatever I'm using to hold the spent grain (old grain bags work great) and get rid of it. Rinse out the tun with hot water, and rinse the bag then hang up to dry. I don't even worry about rinsing all the grain bits out of it, because once it's dry they shake right out. In 2.5 years I've only had two of them; the first one got a couple of snaggy holes, so it got relegated to being a big hop bag that fits right in the keggle for those times I don't want to use a small bag, or I'm using a ton of hops in the boil. BIG fan of bag in the tun here.
 

verboten

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I’ll respond with a simple no. I won’t tell you it’s bad, because it’s not.

Be all kinds of professional. I know people with huge systems that wish they could use a bag still.
 

mashpaddled

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Try it out and if you don't like the beer it makes you can almost certainly find another use for it in the brewhouse and install a filter mechanism in your mash tun.

In my experience I always ended up with a lot of sediment carrying through to the kettle and fermentation vessel but as you can see others have better experiences. I have my mill set to mill finely which produces a lot of flour (which is a preference for the large amount of unmalted grain I use) which is not a good fit for using a bag as a filter--at least not the bag I own.
 

z-bob

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So I got a bag for my cooler b/c it just seemed like a better all-around idea than Bazookas, false bottoms, or manifolds.

Now, I want to know what’s NOT GOOD about it, and why I might want to change to something else in the future. I want to become a professional - not just a hobbyist - so I’d like to know every little detail.

Hit me!
The only downside that I can think of, is BIAB doesn't scale easily to large batches.
 
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I won't tell you not to, because that's what I do! I also have a bazooka tube in the bottom, the bag is another filter and cleanup is way easier. Plus you can double crush your grains if you'd like. Oh and I use one of those 24" whisks, no dough balls or stuck mashes!
 

MikeScott

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I do use the bag in the mash tun as well, although I have a false bottom in there too.
Started playing around with BiaB and so far, so good. I think I might be sticking with it.
 

Yooper

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Me too. I have a very large bag lining my MLT, and clean up is so much easier (and no clogged pumps). I have a nice false bottom on a stand in there, but the grainbag ensures no stuck mashes or stuck sparges. I will never go back!
 

RM-MN

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I do use the bag in the mash tun as well, although I have a false bottom in there too.
Started playing around with BiaB and so far, so good. I think I might be sticking with it.
Me too. I have a very large bag lining my MLT, and clean up is so much easier (and no clogged pumps). I have a nice false bottom on a stand in there, but the grainbag ensures no stuck mashes or stuck sparges. I will never go back!
I warned you about trying BIAB!:p
 

Yooper

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I warned you about trying BIAB!:p
Haha- that's the weird thing. I"m still doing the traditional three vessel brewing, but with the bag lining the MLT. I can't lift it or anything, but it keeps the grain from going under the false bottom in my bottom-draining MLT. Usually, I do 11 gallon batches, and it would be too heavy for me to deal with so it's not a traditional BIAB.

However, today I was doing a small batch and my PID on my HLT seems to be fried (or at least needing some attention), and I did do a more traditional BIAB. I even went no sparge for the very first time!
 

hawkbox

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I've done a 3 vessel mash in a bag for almost 2 years now. I just have a pulley to lift the bag out and drip and it works great. Probably could just biab but i like my system.
 

postalbunny

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There are really only two downsides to using a bag... cleaning it and lifting it. If you move onto larger batches you may have to get a winch and/or figure out how to suspend that bag. Cleaning it can be a hassle, but prob not much more difficult than cleaning a hop spider if you're using one of those.
 

Queequeg

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As someone how has used a bazooka, a bag and a false bottom. I have to say the false bottom is by far the best.

It's not one of the crappy dome shaped ones it's a 2 mm sheet of Lazer cut steel that covers the entire bottom of the tun and about 1/2 inch off the bottom. It closely resembles a profession brewery launter tun stage.

Works amazing, I get a really fast flow from the tun, it's easy to clean and you can throw everything at it and not get stuck. I did a 50% rye beer with it and it drained easily.
 
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