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What BIAB brewing actually is (Mythbusting for traditionalists)

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Iseneye

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Over on the other forum some brewers have started replacing brewtan with acid from pomegranate. I think its called oleic acid but could be wrong (checked and it's ellagic acid). Supposed to be easier to source than brewtan.
 
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Clear wort can easily achieve by either filter with another bag pre boil or let post boil cool a little slower say 2 hours or so. Most heavy stuff dropped to the bottom and you can use siphon to draw out crystal clear wort from the top. I have done that multiple times, but never see any improvement. In fact I pour everything into the fermentor and had not issue at all beside wasting 1 litre or so in the end.
We were on a thread of discussing how to do a side by side comparison of a batch where no mash trub makes it into a kettle vs one that has mash sediment. I speculated that you could allow wort to settle prior to the boil and rack the top half to a separate kettle. He was suggesting wort doesn't settle well until the hot break occurs. That's not to say there are not benefits to leaving kettle trub behind but we were backed up from there talking about mash trub, grain particles ore whatever you want to call it.
 

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Actually it seems to me that Low Dissolved Oxygen methods should be part all brew procedure discussions. For example pre-boiling your strike water then cool to the strike temperature and not splashing hot side wort can be done by any brewer and perhaps should be. The real game changer for me in reducing the oxidation in my beers was moving from bucket bottling to closed beer transfers to kegs. Also stopping the dry hop practice which was too risky. The true is I tell people using kegs are so much faster and easier in every way over bottling. After a certain amount of brews you'll ask yourself am I committed enough and tired enough of bottling to make the change. It's like a brewer before the era of BIAB considering paring down his brewing footprint.
Preach to the choir, Brother! I'm doing all those things now, although I did drop some dry hops on a pale ale yesterday. First time in 8 or 10 months.

On another point, have you tried yeast oxygen scavenging instead of pre-boiling for deoxygenizing? I was skeptical at first, but it really works quite nicely, and you don't have to chill your strike water down to mash-in temperature. I treat mine the night before since it stays deoxygenated for up to a week after treatment. Then I just start heating the water immediately for dough-in. Works great.

Brooo Brother
 

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Preach to the choir, Brother! I'm doing all those things now, although I did drop some dry hops on a pale ale yesterday. First time in 8 or 10 months.

On another point, have you tried yeast oxygen scavenging instead of pre-boiling for deoxygenizing? I was skeptical at first, but it really works quite nicely, and you don't have to chill your strike water down to mash-in temperature. I treat mine the night before since it stays deoxygenated for up to a week after treatment. Then I just start heating the water immediately for dough-in. Works great.

Brooo Brother
What is your process for this?
 

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Sodium Metasulite for the oxygen, ascorbic acid for scurvy eh mash pH, but where are you finding the BrewTan B for sale?
First hit on Google, didn't go any further...https://www.williamsbrewing.com/Home-Brewing-Supplies/Additives-Spices-Soda-Extract/Clarifying-Foam-Control/Brewtan-B
 

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We were on a thread of discussing how to do a side by side comparison of a batch where no mash trub makes it into a kettle vs one that has mash sediment. I speculated that you could allow wort to settle prior to the boil and rack the top half to a separate kettle. He was suggesting wort doesn't settle well until the hot break occurs. That's not to say there are not benefits to leaving kettle trub behind but we were backed up from there talking about mash trub, grain particles ore whatever you want to call it.
The best and really to only way to eliminate mash particles is to vorlauf the wort until it's clear. By bucket or pump. You all know this.

yeast oxygen scavenging
Sounds like a great idea. Haven't heard about this before. But for me that would be 3 days for brewing and more work which I would consider as a step backward. Yikes, but would save water and energy!
 

Iseneye

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Bobby - just want to say it's a shame that no one is energized by this thread. Crickets, right?
What is there to be energized about? My guess is that there is a high proportion of people on this forum who already BIAB.
 
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Bobby_M

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What is there to be energized about? My guess is that there is a high proportion of people on this forum who already BIAB.
I don't know the numbers, but I'd be surprise if BIAB broke over the 30% mark across the forum. That's a guess, but I think there are way more 3 vessel brewers out there. It's shifting to BIAB via all the new all in one systems but there's half a century of tradition to make up for.
 

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Well thought through Bobby. Thanks for posting. One thing to potentially add to your item number 4 is an idea from the recently passed Pat Holingdale who did so much to pioneer BIAB over in the land of Oz (as in Australia).
We often compare BIAB with a 60 minute mash to a three vessel system with a 60 minute mash and an x minute fly sparge or batch sparge. Let's say lauter and sparge take 20 minutes. So the real comparison should be 80 minute BIAB mash to 80 minute mash, lauter, sparge and transfer of wort to boil kettle. Pat always said 90 minutes was a better estimate and therefore recommended a 90 minute BIAB mash.
Given that, the extra 1 or 2 pounds of grain you mention may not be necessary at all - each brewers experience will tell.
Not that the 1 or 2 pounds of grain is not one way to skin that cat. It is.
The other piece with a longer mash may be revealed above by RM-MN.. Take time enough to extract the sugars, but also the unique blend of flavors in a specific recipe.
Thanks again for posting this.
@Bobby_M...great write up and I agree on all points. It's crazy to me that this method still has to be defended but I'm glad this is now a sticky so new brewers or lurkers trying to decide what kind of system to go with can weigh out things for themselves.

@soccerdad I'm glad you brought up Pat and to further the conversation on new systems such as the Foundry and GrainFather he himself admitted that maybe BIAB wasn't the best name for it and in hind sight would have gone with Single Vessel All-grain (SVA) brewing. This was eluded to over on another great site he was a member of, Biabrewer.info, that is seemingly down now but hopefully not gone for good as their is a wealth of knowledge stored over there.

Edit: The Biabrewer site is back up for now at least. Here is the link: BIABrewer.info - Index. I highly recommend any BIABers here at least take a look. Also if you aren't all in on your current calculator once you become a member you'll have access to the BIABacus calculator that has been fantastic in my experience.
 
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No doubt the method could have benefited from an early PR campaign but no one really knows what processes or names are going to stick. I mean does anyone really think HERMS and RIMS system are really adequately descriptive of what they are and how they relate to each other?

I think SVA is as good as any. In my previous career as a telecom desk jockey, I spent years in charge of naming standards including categorization, mnemonics and abbreviations. Even with experience like that, I find the task of classifying brewing systems and methods to be daunting.

I think in terms of vessel count, heat source,sparge method, pump vs gravity, One could probably come up with an inclusive naming system.

3V-E-H-FS-2P = 3-vessel, electric, heat exchange coil, Fly Sparge, 2 pumps
3V-E-I-BS-1P1G = 3-vessel, electric, insulated MLT, Batch Sparge, 1 pump, 1 gravity
2V-G-KR-NS-1P1G = Blich Breweasy... 2 vessel, Gas fired, Kettle RIMS, No Sparge, 1 pump, 1 gravity.
1V-E-NS-1P =my system. 1 Vessel, electric, no sparge, 1 pump

I had to resort to the name "kettle RIMS" because I'm at a loss of what you call it when the mash is heated in the boil kettle away from the mash tun. I mean I know it's called kettle RIMS but the acronym RIMS is crap.
 

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We were on a thread of discussing how to do a side by side comparison of a batch where no mash trub makes it into a kettle vs one that has mash sediment. I speculated that you could allow wort to settle prior to the boil and rack the top half to a separate kettle. He was suggesting wort doesn't settle well until the hot break occurs. That's not to say there are not benefits to leaving kettle trub behind but we were backed up from there talking about mash trub, grain particles ore whatever you want to call it.
oh, i missed that part. But similarly I would argue mash with coarse mill or use find mesh bag. I tried them too, with great success getting clear wort in single kettle. But really what I tried to say is mash sediment does not has any effect during boil or in fermentation from my experience. Clear wort can be done with BIAB, but additionally I am in that camp where turb is not a concern at all stage until before package.
 
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oh, i missed that part. But similarly I would argue mash with coarse mill or use find mesh bag. I tried them too, with great success getting clear wort in single kettle. But really what I tried to say is mash sediment does not has any effect during boil or in fermentation from my experience. Clear wort can be done with BIAB, but additionally I am in that camp where turb is not a concern at all stage until before package.
Saying or thinking that a cloudy wort doesn't negatively affect beer quality is a hypothesis.

I can argue that it seems to be true given my relative success brewing very good beers most of the time but I'm not naive enough to believe my beer cant be improved incrementally.

The righteous path forward is experimentation.
 

BarryBrews

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Saying or thinking that a cloudy wort doesn't negatively affect beer quality is a hypothesis.
Earlier on in this post we discussed nuances in brewing and this is just one of perhaps hundreds of little things that brewers do differently. I'm always looking for a better way to skin a cat, but for others changed is harder.

I found a very similar situation or nuance with rice hulls. In one of those first principle moments reviewing my procedures I hit upon the idea to check the "clean" rice hulls I used for wheat beers. I added 2 grams to 8 ounces of 150 F water which made a medium colored tea with an awful smell and a very strong rice flavor! Holy S**t (can i say that here?)! I checked all the online information sources, including HBT, and found nothing but "rice hulls have not effect on beer". So I then purchased some poundage from the next two largest online stores. The two new "clean" rice hulls made teas that were indistinguishable and equally horrible. So I came up with a cleaning procedure and ran about 12 pounds through boiling, rinsing, and oven drying (bad smell). The results were maybe 95% better but after a couple more brews I just stopped using the rice hulls altogether. A false bottom mash tun (or BIAB system) with a brew bag when under let (BIAB lowered) and not stirred (requires continuous recirculation) just never gets stuck, hence no filtration aid is ever needed.

The righteous path forward is experimentation.
In regards to clear wort benefits, the literature is out there. As I stated previously, my beers became smoother and without harshness when I started boiling clear wort and putting only clear wort into the fermenters. Though I didn't perform these two methods side by side, they do agree with the literature.

Bobby, you would probably know as well as anyone what steps or hardware might improve the different BIAB systems out there to make a clearer wort. I use a 2 vessel-RIMS-pump system and don't have experience with a BIAB system. I have studied them and if I was just starting out would be very tempted to purchase the Clawhammer Supply BIAB system and use a brew bag in the grain basket. And definitely no rice hulls!
 

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Earlier on in this post we discussed nuances in brewing and this is just one of perhaps hundreds of little things that brewers do differently. I'm always looking for a better way to skin a cat, but for others changed is harder.

I found a very similar situation or nuance with rice hulls. In one of those first principle moments reviewing my procedures I hit upon the idea to check the "clean" rice hulls I used for wheat beers. I added 2 grams to 8 ounces of 150 F water which made a medium colored tea with an awful smell and a very strong rice flavor! Holy S**t (can i say that here?)! I checked all the online information sources, including HBT, and found nothing but "rice hulls have not effect on beer". So I then purchased some poundage from the next two largest online stores. The two new "clean" rice hulls made teas that were indistinguishable and equally horrible. So I came up with a cleaning procedure and ran about 12 pounds through boiling, rinsing, and oven drying (bad smell). The results were maybe 95% better but after a couple more brews I just stopped using the rice hulls altogether. A false bottom mash tun (or BIAB system) with a brew bag when under let (BIAB lowered) and not stirred (requires continuous recirculation) just never gets stuck, hence no filtration aid is ever needed.



In regards to clear wort benefits, the literature is out there. As I stated previously, my beers became smoother and without harshness when I started boiling clear wort and putting only clear wort into the fermenters. Though I didn't perform these two methods side by side, they do agree with the literature.

Bobby, you would probably know as well as anyone what steps or hardware might improve the different BIAB systems out there to make a clearer wort. I use a 2 vessel-RIMS-pump system and don't have experience with a BIAB system. I have studied them and if I was just starting out would be very tempted to purchase the Clawhammer Supply BIAB system and use a brew bag in the grain basket. And definitely no rice hulls!
In respect of clarity issues, i have not found clarity any different by using a bag, but i do recirculate. In respect of rice hulls i was a once an avid user of them in high flaked oat mashes, now i dont use at all, they have a tea like smell once you start the transfer from the higher mash out temperature.Be interesting what others think too.
 

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The literature may be out there but it doesn't completely quantify the real world impact for me at least. All of the things we convince ourselves are important or not tend to be confirmed through personal experience. It did for you and I'm willing to figure that out for myself soon too.

I think any time the boil kettle is part of the mash wort path, there's a chance of sediment. In a 2 vessel kettle RIMS system, I would be inclined to let all of the wort from the boil kettle get pumped to the mash tun at the end of the mash, give the kettle a rinse, and then run the wort over to the kettle.

A system like the clawhammer would definitely result in typical cloudy BIAB wort.
 

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What is your process for this?
Was the question about dry hopping or YOS? For the dry hop (1st one in a while) I just went old school: remove the top TC fitting just long enough to drop in 2 oz of hops. Certainly not LoDO 'compliant', but fermentation was still active 5 days in so hopefully the yeast will mitigate any O2 that crashed the party, even if it is gaseous O2 in the headspace instead of dissolved O2 in the wort.

As to the Yeast Oxygen Scavenging, it's amazingly simple. I just fill the wort liquor tank (in this case my all-in-one Braumeister) literally to the brim with water from the faucet. I adjust the flow between hot/cold to get 95F-104F water temperature, which is the most 'difficult' part of the process. Then I sprinkle basic bread yeast onto the surface at a rate of 2 grams per gallon H2O. Put on the lid and go to bed.

Then next morning I drain off 3~4 gallons of reserve/topoff/sparge water and start the mash water warming to 55C strike temperature. According to the data posted by the German LOB forum, the level of dissolved O2 is nearly undetectable and stays that way until the yeast are denatured by the heat from the mash. The mash water does appear to be a thin milky white when doughing-in, but it has no effect on the mash or the wort other than scavenging virtually all the D.O. That said, I don't own a D.O. meter so can't empirically validate their data. However the results I see in my finished beer certainly seem to support it, at least anecdotally.

Brooo Brother
 

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Was the question about dry hopping or YOS? For the dry hop (1st one in a while) I just went old school: remove the top TC fitting just long enough to drop in 2 oz of hops. Certainly not LoDO 'compliant', but fermentation was still active 5 days in so hopefully the yeast will mitigate any O2 that crashed the party, even if it is gaseous O2 in the headspace instead of dissolved O2 in the wort.

As to the Yeast Oxygen Scavenging, it's amazingly simple. I just fill the wort liquor tank (in this case my all-in-one Braumeister) literally to the brim with water from the faucet. I adjust the flow between hot/cold to get 95F-104F water temperature, which is the most 'difficult' part of the process. Then I sprinkle basic bread yeast onto the surface at a rate of 2 grams per gallon H2O. Put on the lid and go to bed.

Then next morning I drain off 3~4 gallons of reserve/topoff/sparge water and start the mash water warming to 55C strike temperature. According to the data posted by the German LOB forum, the level of dissolved O2 is nearly undetectable and stays that way until the yeast are denatured by the heat from the mash. The mash water does appear to be a thin milky white when doughing-in, but it has no effect on the mash or the wort other than scavenging virtually all the D.O. That said, I don't own a D.O. meter so can't empirically validate their data. However the results I see in my finished beer certainly seem to support it, at least anecdotally.
It was about the yeast scavenging, thanks! Do you have a link to the German thread maybe?
 

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I think any time the boil kettle is part of the mash wort path, there's a chance of sediment. In a 2 vessel kettle RIMS system, I would be inclined to let all of the wort from the boil kettle get pumped to the mash tun at the end of the mash, give the kettle a rinse, and then run the wort over to the kettle.
On my system, the pump is always connected through the RIMS tube. The pump runs constantly with the exception of tube connection changes and the first 75 minutes of the boil. The strike water is heated in the boil kettle while being recirculated through the RIMS/pump for a total of 7150 watts of heating power. The strike water is then under let to the grist filled mash tun and then recirculated for 90 minutes. I usually produce the highest fermentable wort by starting at 145F for 30 min and then slowly heat to 160F over an hour with the RIMS. By then the wort is very clear and is pumped over to the boil kettle. The mash tun has a false bottom and brew bag. The RIMS tube, probe adapters and 1650 watt element from brewhardware.com are the ticket for mash temperature control. Using wireless temperature probes on the input and output of the RIMS tube allows monitoring the mash out and return without having kettle probes in the way! Additionally using a SCR to control the voltage mediates the temperature gradient between the element and wort. Told you left field - SCR use is much simpler than PID control.

The kettle RIMS system described above sounds cumbersome. I guess because I started with an igloo cooler and a brewer's best 4 gallon kettle I've perpetuated the same 2 vessel process, hot water from boil kettle to mash tun and the wort back to boil kettle. Adding the RIMS and pump has made a nearly hands off brew day, in comparison that is.

A system like the clawhammer would definitely result in typical cloudy BIAB wort.
Even with a brew bag fitted inside the basket and NOT squeezing the bag?
 

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I'm sitting here catching up on this thread, reading all the posts about clarity, pumps, multiple vessels, RIMS, chilling, etc.........and I hold my beer up to the screen.

In the photo you can see the clarity, the head retention, and the lacing. What you can't see is the great taste and the wonderful mouthfeel. It was brewed single vessel BIAB with no sparge, no re-circulation, no squeeze, and no chill. Fermentation gas purged the keg prior to a gravity powered closed transfer.

Some folks love complexity, and there's nothing wrong with that. I love elegant simplicity. It would bug me to brew on a system that I knew was more complicated than it had to be.

To me that's the heart of what BIAB has brought to the table. It has revealed that home brewers have been unnecessarily complicating the process for a very long time. Some are still trying to justify it, but the cat's out of the bag.

IMG_20201127_172517699.jpg
 
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Simplicity is at the heart of the BIAB for sure. It's fully reasonable to start and end there. Speaking for myself, I'm willing to do a little more work and accept a little complexity if I can find improvement in the beer. The alternative is knowing you can do something that will make the beer a little better and just saying the beer is good enough right where it is. That's perfectly fine too. Where you get into delusional thinking is that you are currently brewing the best beer possible as is.
 

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I'm sitting here catching up on this thread, reading all the posts about clarity, pumps, multiple vessels, RIMS, chilling, etc.........and I hold my beer up to the screen.

In the photo you can see the clarity, the head retention, and the lacing. What you can't see is the great taste and the wonderful mouthfeel. It was brewed single vessel BIAB with no sparge, no re-circulation, no squeeze, and no chill. Fermentation gas purged the keg prior to a gravity powered closed transfer.

Some folks love complexity, and there's nothing wrong with that. I love elegant simplicity. It would bug me to brew on a system that I knew was more complicated than it had to be.

To me that's the heart of what BIAB has brought to the table. It has revealed that home brewers have been unnecessarily complicating the process for a very long time. Some are still trying to justify it, but the cat's out of the bag.

View attachment 708149
Schweeeeet! Great lookin' beer. Can only imagine how good it tastes.

Brooo Brother
 

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You know the continuing question, if you started over what would you change? I built a 25g HERMS 3V system over 10 years ago. I had every intention of going pro. Bought the building and property, and brewed like crazy. Unexpected health changed life as I know it. Now I have this big system and love it. BUT the problem is that brew days are 8hrs start to cleanup. I no longer need 20g of beer. I can brew smaller batches, but the time will be the same. What would I change? I'd be brewing single vessel BIAB. I'd be electric and timing my strike for when I wake up. I'd wake up and dough in and save time. I have just finished a bag in a cooler for my temp BIAB system. I have a spare 25g kettle I'm going to make singe vessel. I will never believe that this process doesn't make equal beer as my 3V. There is a lot more to it than just the mashing mechanism. I believe solid practice is key. Why wouldn't anyone want less cleaning and time involved? Good information here, and I hope people take this and think of the benefits. The benefits to BIAB outweigh any negatives anyone could find.
 

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One thing we all have in common is making beer, talking beer and drinking beer. Of the 93 brews I've made over 9 years ever single one has had a modification or upgrade from the previous brew. Half the fun is trying to make a better beer and making it with less effort.

Found this on Brulosophy. More squeeze-phobia.
Mash Methods: Brew In A Bag (BIAB) vs. No Sparge | exBEERiment Results!
 

Iseneye

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I don't know the numbers, but I'd be surprise if BIAB broke over the 30% mark across the forum. That's a guess, but I think there are way more 3 vessel brewers out there. It's shifting to BIAB via all the new all in one systems but there's half a century of tradition to make up for.
I dislike Brulosophy but the 2020 survey had 30% BIAB and 27% all in one electric brewing (BIAB with a fancy name). This percentage reflects what I see in my local homebrew circle and this forum. So with the majority of brewers already doing BIAB I dont see the need to get energized about it as if the brewers are being oppressed by 2 or 3 vessel users. 5 or so years ago it was the case that BIAB was frowned upon but I just dont see that anymore, or at least it had drastically reduced.

But you live in the home brewing world more than me so I respect your take on it.
 

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To the “Hot sticky bag” argument. An overhead pulley is not the only way to remove the bag. See the picture below. The bag is inside the basket. After setting the basket and bag on the grating I use a pair of heavy rubber gloves to squeeze the bag. I do 5.5 gallon batches so there is anywhere from 9 to 14 lbs of grist in the bag (plus water) when I pull it. No mess, no fuss.

I have thought of trying the pulley system but my Dad always said; “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.
I've been using the pulley included with my Wilser package. I'm back into brewing after a 5-6 year hiatus and the BIAB is so much better than my old braid in a cooler. But, for simplicity sake, I may forego the pulley in lieu of a colander. The US Chef Store has a huge, heavy duty colander that will fit over my brew pot. Only $20 or so. Easier than dragging out my ridiculously heavy ladder. Either way, BIAB for the rest of my brewing days.
 

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I couldn't agree more about the spraying BS. It's why I used a locline tube for my recirc, to put the outflow below liquid.
I just switched to this after trying a spiral spray nozzle and then a hose that theoretically was lying on top of the grain bed. Locline is definitely the way to go if one is recirculating. I get a nice gentle swirling and if I lift the lid its no mess, no fuss.
 

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I just switched to this after trying a spiral spray nozzle and then a hose that theoretically was lying on top of the grain bed. Locline is definitely the way to go if one is recirculating. I get a nice gentle swirling and if I lift the lid its no mess, no fuss.
I just started using locline with a gravity system I’m sure it would distribute better with some pressure but so far I like it better than the old colander I was using.
 

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First let me say that I really don't give a damn WHAT method you chose, as long as you enjoy yourself, make beer you like, and are happy. As a brewer who has made beers for 35 years, and has brewed with 3 vessel, BIAB, All-in-one, HERMS, and recently lost ALL of my equipment to fire and thus could choose ANY system or style I liked to rebuild my brewing, I would like to make a couple of observations on this topic - play a little Satan advocate if you will:

For starters, I have not seen this much rationalization and positive affirmation in one place since Stuart Smally was a character on Saturday Night Live! ANYTHING so completely free of flaw, and so wrought full of virtue, simplicity, and utter excellence RARELY needs such devoted and wholesale defense! Odd.

ALL BREWING SYSTEMS - Have issues. All require some attention to water chemistry, can produce unwanted characteristics, and need attention at differing points and times. ALL can and do produce fine beers. ALL can produce excellent beers, and are far more dependent on the cook and the ingredients than the pots and pans used to make it.

Let me look at some of the downsides I EXPERIENCED in my home brewing with BIAB, and why I dropped it to begin with and why I had/have ZERO interest in it as i rebuild. (I know some of these things will come as a shock to many of the readers on this thread since once again a good common sense thread about BIAB, has morphed into an inclusion of LODO, and has gradually devolved into a religious tome wherein the miracles of this system are rivaled only by the resurrection of Lazarus, and maybe the whole loaves and fishes thingy!

I heat my water for mash in a 5 gallon pot on the kitchen stove. I mash in a 10 gallon cooler on the counter. I sparge into a 10 gallon pot, take it on the porch and boil away. I heat a bit more than half my water for the mash. It does not take long on the stove. I crush grain and get parts together while it warms. I mash for an hour which is MORE than enough time to heat sparge water to temp. This sits a few minutes in the mash tun before draining. Pretty typical sort of 3 vessel.

Now when I tried BIAB I had to heat ALL the water at once- but still had to do so on the stove. I could have bought another expensive 10+ gallon pot to do this BUT it would not fit on the stove anyway and even if it did it would have taken a whole lot longer to get it ALL up to temp. Getting the 20 gallon BIAB pot on the stove was out of the question entirely! SURE i could have built a big expensive brew room with heater big enough to heat ALL the water at once in the 20 gal. but I don't want to. SO I had to heat it all in three pots (Still more gear for this SIMPLE system) Then I DID have to buy a much bigger brew pot because my ten gallon pot was not big enough for am huge bag of grain and ALL the water. So more expense AND a BIGGER pot that is more of a pain to store, clean, handle, move when full, etc. Then of course there is that whole LIFTING IT THING. So now I need to install a pulley in my kitchen ceiling (WE already established I do not have time, money or desire to build a dedicated brewery room) I do not WANT a pulley in my kitchen ceiling. So I either need to recruit someone to brew with EVERY TIME I BREW, so we can both stand there like fools holding a hot bag of wet grain. OR jury rig some sort of ladder, tri-pod or other system to hold a pulley to life the heavy wet bag. WAY convenient so far. And so far all i can see i have saved for TIME is the short period of waiting for the sparge to be done the second time, so a few minutes. (I lost all these few minutes dragging the clumsy ladder rig in and out of the house and fussing around with the pulley) So now i have wort, and I gotta tote that big ass 20 gallon pot out the door to the porch to boil. The old 10 gallon was awkward enough but the big pot is a real pain. I prefer to brew alone - and like to brew on MY schedule, not dependent on having someone else on hand all the time. But now i am horsing around giant pots that don't get lighter as I age! They will not for you either. Still, boil and pitch and done!

So now the clean up - AH YES the clean up, where BIAB REALLY kicks ass! So in stead of wiping out my ONE water pot and storing it, I now have three. STILL is is only water, so easy. Then I have to go outside and dump my grain out of the cooler, and rinse it out with the hose. THAT takes pert-near 5 minutes. When I did BIAB, I had to drag the bag outside and dump it, then clean it out. Thing is AFTER draining the wort initially, I STILL had a messy bag hanging there, and it was still dripping. SO I needed a pot to catch the drips which had to be cleaned (another item to clean) And it took a good half hour to get ALL THE CRAP off the bag, and get the bag washed up. So I cannot see the clean up advantage to BIAB, I gotta clean a tun or a bag one way or the other, and I need something to catch the drips or else i have to mop up the mess when done. After the boil, I gotta clean a big heavy 10 gal pot or an even bigger heavier 20 gal pot. Point is, I still gotta clean up pots and bags and utensils and saying that BIAB is less dirty, easier clean up, simpler, is just self- deluding.

So far I have had to buy more water pots, OR try to fit a big old 20 gallon pot on my stove (Even if I could do this and was willing to wait half a day for it to get to temp, I still at SOME POINT need to move this WHOLE POT full of water or i can't use my rigged up pulley to lift things. So for necessity I HAVE TO heat the water separately and add it to my BIAB pot.) I need to clan a bag or a mash tun, I need to move a big pot or bigger pot to boil. I have to clean my pot. I do not yet see any savings on cost or convenience - NONE

Now you can argue, that I am twisting some things, or that my circumstance is different than yours - True to some extent on both counts. I COULD put my heavier, more costly 20 gallon pot out on the porch and heat it there. I COULD rig my jury rigged ladder pulley outside over the top. Then I could just heat in one pot, drain, boil, WOOHOO!!!! But I still gotta buy heavier more expensive gear. Rig a pulley. Put a catch pot under the drippy bag. clean out a mash bag. AND adjust my grind, recipe, water chemistry, etc from all my old recipes. Now ALL while freezing my ass off 8 months out of the year on the porch. BIG FUN THAT! Thank you BIAB preachers! Thank you!

The fact is as I said to start: ALL SYSTEMS have negatives. All have positives> If yours fits your environment, lifestyle, brewing needs, etc. THEN ENJOY IT and be happy. But I would suggest that endless rationalization and defensiveness really does nothing to further the cause for ANY brewing style. And it feels to me like more than ANY other system the BIAB seems to foster a sort of zealous insistence that new brewers must join in and old brewers must convert than anything else i have seen. In my circumstance/environment I found BIAB at BEST an inconvenient PITA. It does not mean you will or should. In a different circumstance I might find it a joy. When I had a large dedicated space, I also had a HERMS system and did not mess with BIAB, perhaps in that environment it would have been great. But in my original kitchen set up, then in the kitchen set up at our home that burned, as well as the one we are in now - it offers nothing but bulky gear, and mess. I brewed for the first time since the fire on a hotch-pot assortment of a 3-vessel system that friends and family fixed me up with as a surprise! Currently it is THE BEST system I ever had! Had I had the spare cash, I probably would have gone to an all-in-one of some sort. I had an anvil for a short period that I sold to a nephew before our fire - I liked it. But the igloo cooler, water pot, 10 gallon boil kettle works like a charm and fits our current kitchen and porch just dandy.

NO SYSTEM is perfect- use what you like and do not work so hard to prove yours is best. It is really only BEST for YOU. There is a difference.
 

Miraculix

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First let me say that I really don't give a damn WHAT method you chose, as long as you enjoy yourself, make beer you like, and are happy. As a brewer who has made beers for 35 years, and has brewed with 3 vessel, BIAB, All-in-one, HERMS, and recently lost ALL of my equipment to fire and thus could choose ANY system or style I liked to rebuild my brewing, I would like to make a couple of observations on this topic - play a little Satan advocate if you will:

For starters, I have not seen this much rationalization and positive affirmation in one place since Stuart Smally was a character on Saturday Night Live! ANYTHING so completely free of flaw, and so wrought full of virtue, simplicity, and utter excellence RARELY needs such devoted and wholesale defense! Odd.

ALL BREWING SYSTEMS - Have issues. All require some attention to water chemistry, can produce unwanted characteristics, and need attention at differing points and times. ALL can and do produce fine beers. ALL can produce excellent beers, and are far more dependent on the cook and the ingredients than the pots and pans used to make it.

Let me look at some of the downsides I EXPERIENCED in my home brewing with BIAB, and why I dropped it to begin with and why I had/have ZERO interest in it as i rebuild. (I know some of these things will come as a shock to many of the readers on this thread since once again a good common sense thread about BIAB, has morphed into an inclusion of LODO, and has gradually devolved into a religious tome wherein the miracles of this system are rivaled only by the resurrection of Lazarus, and maybe the whole loaves and fishes thingy!

I heat my water for mash in a 5 gallon pot on the kitchen stove. I mash in a 10 gallon cooler on the counter. I sparge into a 10 gallon pot, take it on the porch and boil away. I heat a bit more than half my water for the mash. It does not take long on the stove. I crush grain and get parts together while it warms. I mash for an hour which is MORE than enough time to heat sparge water to temp. This sits a few minutes in the mash tun before draining. Pretty typical sort of 3 vessel.

Now when I tried BIAB I had to heat ALL the water at once- but still had to do so on the stove. I could have bought another expensive 10+ gallon pot to do this BUT it would not fit on the stove anyway and even if it did it would have taken a whole lot longer to get it ALL up to temp. Getting the 20 gallon BIAB pot on the stove was out of the question entirely! SURE i could have built a big expensive brew room with heater big enough to heat ALL the water at once in the 20 gal. but I don't want to. SO I had to heat it all in three pots (Still more gear for this SIMPLE system) Then I DID have to buy a much bigger brew pot because my ten gallon pot was not big enough for am huge bag of grain and ALL the water. So more expense AND a BIGGER pot that is more of a pain to store, clean, handle, move when full, etc. Then of course there is that whole LIFTING IT THING. So now I need to install a pulley in my kitchen ceiling (WE already established I do not have time, money or desire to build a dedicated brewery room) I do not WANT a pulley in my kitchen ceiling. So I either need to recruit someone to brew with EVERY TIME I BREW, so we can both stand there like fools holding a hot bag of wet grain. OR jury rig some sort of ladder, tri-pod or other system to hold a pulley to life the heavy wet bag. WAY convenient so far. And so far all i can see i have saved for TIME is the short period of waiting for the sparge to be done the second time, so a few minutes. (I lost all these few minutes dragging the clumsy ladder rig in and out of the house and fussing around with the pulley) So now i have wort, and I gotta tote that big ass 20 gallon pot out the door to the porch to boil. The old 10 gallon was awkward enough but the big pot is a real pain. I prefer to brew alone - and like to brew on MY schedule, not dependent on having someone else on hand all the time. But now i am horsing around giant pots that don't get lighter as I age! They will not for you either. Still, boil and pitch and done!

So now the clean up - AH YES the clean up, where BIAB REALLY kicks ass! So in stead of wiping out my ONE water pot and storing it, I now have three. STILL is is only water, so easy. Then I have to go outside and dump my grain out of the cooler, and rinse it out with the hose. THAT takes pert-near 5 minutes. When I did BIAB, I had to drag the bag outside and dump it, then clean it out. Thing is AFTER draining the wort initially, I STILL had a messy bag hanging there, and it was still dripping. SO I needed a pot to catch the drips which had to be cleaned (another item to clean) And it took a good half hour to get ALL THE CRAP off the bag, and get the bag washed up. So I cannot see the clean up advantage to BIAB, I gotta clean a tun or a bag one way or the other, and I need something to catch the drips or else i have to mop up the mess when done. After the boil, I gotta clean a big heavy 10 gal pot or an even bigger heavier 20 gal pot. Point is, I still gotta clean up pots and bags and utensils and saying that BIAB is less dirty, easier clean up, simpler, is just self- deluding.

So far I have had to buy more water pots, OR try to fit a big old 20 gallon pot on my stove (Even if I could do this and was willing to wait half a day for it to get to temp, I still at SOME POINT need to move this WHOLE POT full of water or i can't use my rigged up pulley to lift things. So for necessity I HAVE TO heat the water separately and add it to my BIAB pot.) I need to clan a bag or a mash tun, I need to move a big pot or bigger pot to boil. I have to clean my pot. I do not yet see any savings on cost or convenience - NONE

Now you can argue, that I am twisting some things, or that my circumstance is different than yours - True to some extent on both counts. I COULD put my heavier, more costly 20 gallon pot out on the porch and heat it there. I COULD rig my jury rigged ladder pulley outside over the top. Then I could just heat in one pot, drain, boil, WOOHOO!!!! But I still gotta buy heavier more expensive gear. Rig a pulley. Put a catch pot under the drippy bag. clean out a mash bag. AND adjust my grind, recipe, water chemistry, etc from all my old recipes. Now ALL while freezing my ass off 8 months out of the year on the porch. BIG FUN THAT! Thank you BIAB preachers! Thank you!

The fact is as I said to start: ALL SYSTEMS have negatives. All have positives> If yours fits your environment, lifestyle, brewing needs, etc. THEN ENJOY IT and be happy. But I would suggest that endless rationalization and defensiveness really does nothing to further the cause for ANY brewing style. And it feels to me like more than ANY other system the BIAB seems to foster a sort of zealous insistence that new brewers must join in and old brewers must convert than anything else i have seen. In my circumstance/environment I found BIAB at BEST an inconvenient PITA. It does not mean you will or should. In a different circumstance I might find it a joy. When I had a large dedicated space, I also had a HERMS system and did not mess with BIAB, perhaps in that environment it would have been great. But in my original kitchen set up, then in the kitchen set up at our home that burned, as well as the one we are in now - it offers nothing but bulky gear, and mess. I brewed for the first time since the fire on a hotch-pot assortment of a 3-vessel system that friends and family fixed me up with as a surprise! Currently it is THE BEST system I ever had! Had I had the spare cash, I probably would have gone to an all-in-one of some sort. I had an anvil for a short period that I sold to a nephew before our fire - I liked it. But the igloo cooler, water pot, 10 gallon boil kettle works like a charm and fits our current kitchen and porch just dandy.

NO SYSTEM is perfect- use what you like and do not work so hard to prove yours is best. It is really only BEST for YOU. There is a difference.
Well said.
 

dwhite60

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One thing I've really enjoyed about getting older, I really could give a rat's behind what people think.

I BIAB. I make good beer. Any unrequested comments or opinions are cheerfully ignored.

I've done the mash tun, lauter tun thing. BIAB saves me an hour at least on my brew day. Cleanup is easier. I've been at this thirty years. Easier is better.

Oh, yeah, I hand prime my bottles individually with white sugar too. Never a problem

Have a great week.
 
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Bobby_M

Bobby_M

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...........The fact is as I said to start: ALL SYSTEMS have negatives. All have positives> If yours fits your environment, lifestyle, brewing needs, etc. THEN ENJOY IT and be happy. But I would suggest that endless rationalization and defensiveness really does nothing to further the cause for ANY brewing style. And it feels to me like more than ANY other system the BIAB seems to foster a sort of zealous insistence that new brewers must join in and old brewers must convert than anything else i have seen.
I fear you may have misinterpreted the original post quite a bit. If what you got out of it was that I was preaching BIAB as the best way to brew and that everyone should convert to using it, you've misread it. It was very specifically pointed at people who have claimed one or more of the numbered points I listed. I completely agree that it's not going to be a fit for everyone's situation, and I peppered such commentary in the whole way through.

In summary, I was debunking myths that are continuously perpetuated about the brewing method. That's it. I never said it was the end all, be all of brewing and I certainly never said your method was garbage.
 

McKnuckle

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What I want is a system like Bobby's that's able to brew batch sizes below 2.5 gallons in size. :) I know that's counter to the standard "bigger is better" mantra, but it's something I like to do.

I bought a 10L Braumeister because it's perfect for 2.5 gallons, but the BM lacks the ability to do 1 gallon batches because the malt pipe is too tall. I had to cobble together a piecemeal system and it works, but isn't elegant. Of course I could go old school with such a small batch and mash in a cooler, etc., but why settle for that?
 

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