What is the differences between BIAB and All-grain?

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Miles_1111

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What is the differences between BIAB and All-grain? Can anyone help me walk through it? Or they are both the same?

Thank you.
 

PADave

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BIAB is a type of all grain brewing. With BIAB the mash and boil are done in the same kettle, and if you do full volume mash, there is no sparge. Traditional brewing uses three vessels. The mash is done in one, the boil in another, and the third is used to hold the sparge water. Obviously there are variations to each method. Some might say BIAB is an easier way to brew all grain, myself included.
 

madscientist451

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There are lots of great youtube videos that can show you BIAB and other brewing methods better than they can be explained here with words alone.
I started out BIAB, but the temperature swings during the mash and the mess that is created when pulling the bag out made me decide to go with a round cooler with a spigot, and I just put the BIAB bag in that. So basically a 2 vessel system, although I use a smaller cheap pot to heat my strike and sparge water, its easier to dump that in the cooler compared to using the kettle.
 

RM-MN

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There are lots of great youtube videos that can show you BIAB and other brewing methods better than they can be explained here with words alone.
I started out BIAB, but the temperature swings during the mash and the mess that is created when pulling the bag out made me decide to go with a round cooler with a spigot, and I just put the BIAB bag in that. So basically a 2 vessel system, although I use a smaller cheap pot to heat my strike and sparge water, its easier to dump that in the cooler compared to using the kettle.
Did your temperature swings get you noticeably different beer? With my grain milling the conversion is over before the temperature has much chance to change.
 

Cevan65

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How did you get fluctuations? I would think you'd only get a small downward trend in temps. I put a cheap insulator blanket around mine and even if I mash for a full hour, it only drops about 2 degrees.
 

McKnuckle

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Here's a really simple way to understand the difference: With traditional all-grain methods, the wort is removed from the mash by draining. The grist is left behind. With BIAB, the grist is removed from the wort (because it's in a bag). The wort is left behind.

One could get more verbose and talk about full volume mashes, mashing in a bag, etc. etc. - but ultimately the difference is just about how we separate the grist from the wort after mashing. Otherwise, the same basic processes are at play. BIAB is another form of all-grain brewing.
 

mongoose33

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Did your temperature swings get you noticeably different beer? With my grain milling the conversion is over before the temperature has much chance to change.
Interesting thing about milling:

I used to do traditional mash tun, switched about 17 batches ago to BIAB. When I did that, Morrey suggested reducing the gap on my mill from .035 to .020. I did that, and to my surprise, I had exactly the same efficiency. That was nice, no adjusting of recipes.

As you know, RM, we've been looking at how fast conversion occurs, and with the .020 crush gap, it happens darned fast. Mostly over in 30 minutes in my experience.

I recently upgraded to a Monster Mill 3. Morrey (that guy has his fingerprints on my brewing process) suggested using the gap he uses on his MM3, .035. I did that. At the end of the mash, I had exactly the same conversion as before (i.e., I got lucky twice).

The conversion finished at the same place with the wider gap, but it took all 60 minutes to do it. It seems obvious (to me, anyway) that the larger particles of grist (at .035) take longer to gelatinize and be converted to sugar by the enzymes than when the grist was crushed at .020.

So--yes, conversion may be over by 30 minutes or by the time the temps start to drop, but that's also dependent on the fineness of the crush.
 

jdauria

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I use Reflectix insulation wrapped around my kettle secured with Velcro and then a sleeping blanket on top of that with my BIAB brewing. My temps drop less than 2 degrees if ambient temps are above 40 degrees in my garage, over the course of an hour mash. Sure I would lose more in colder weather, but below 40, I move inside to brew. But the good thing with BIAB is you can always fire up the burner if you start seeing a big temp drop.
 

metaltim

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If you BIAG, when you pull bag out and wort is left behind, does that get all the sugar you need? You don't have to rinse the bag, say in another pot, and add that liquid to your wort?

I'm just comparing to my process, which uses a mash tun and HLT. After mash, I drain. Then I fill up again, stir and drain. Most times, I even fill up mash tun about 1/3 or 1/2 again, stir and drain. This gives me my 13 gallons or so, and a large percentage of the sugars I need. Just draining the mash tun once would hardly get me anything as far as volume and sugars.
 

timeasterday

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If you BIAG, when you pull bag out and wort is left behind, does that get all the sugar you need? You don't have to rinse the bag, say in another pot, and add that liquid to your wort?
Some people do that or other sparge variations. I squeeze the bejeesus out of my bag, getting every drop I can. No sparging.
 

metaltim

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Ahh. Is this pretty limited to 5 gallon or smaller batches? That seems it would be hard to do with my 20+ pounds of grain with all the water. I don't know that I could pick it up, let alone squeeze it, without another set of hands, and heat resistant gloves.
I guess BIAB is more driven by having less equipment/more inexpensive as opposed it being much easier? It obviously gets rid of 2 pots, possibly pumps, and a second or even third heat source.
 

RM-MN

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If you BIAG, when you pull bag out and wort is left behind, does that get all the sugar you need? You don't have to rinse the bag, say in another pot, and add that liquid to your wort?

I'm just comparing to my process, which uses a mash tun and HLT. After mash, I drain. Then I fill up again, stir and drain. Most times, I even fill up mash tun about 1/3 or 1/2 again, stir and drain. This gives me my 13 gallons or so, and a large percentage of the sugars I need. Just draining the mash tun once would hardly get me anything as far as volume and sugars.
\

Yes, maybe. It will depend a lot on the milling of your grain. For my first batch BIAB I took a recipe and did the mash without knowing what efficiency I might have. I suppose the recipe was written for an efficiency of 65 or 70% but I got 80% with no sparge. Of course that changed my expected OG from a nice 1.050 to 1.070 which was a bit of a surprise. You may or may not be able to do a full volume mash with no sparge and hit your numbers but it certainly is possible.
 

RM-MN

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Ahh. Is this pretty limited to 5 gallon or smaller batches? That seems it would be hard to do with my 20+ pounds of grain with all the water. I don't know that I could pick it up, let alone squeeze it, without another set of hands, and heat resistant gloves.
I guess BIAB is more driven by having less equipment/more inexpensive as opposed it being much easier? It obviously gets rid of 2 pots, possibly pumps, and a second or even third heat source.
Do some reading in the BIAB section of HomeBrewTalk. There are ways around all your assumptions. First off would be increasing the efficiency of your mash so you don't need 20 pounds of grain. Pulleys can be a big help when it is time to lift the bag of grain, even pulleys with locks so you lift it an it just stays up. Hanging the bag over the pot accomplishes nearly the same "squeeze" as one would do with ones hands, it just takes a little longer.
 

jpakstis

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How did you get fluctuations? I would think you'd only get a small downward trend in temps. I put a cheap insulator blanket around mine and even if I mash for a full hour, it only drops about 2 degrees.
I used to BIAB in the kettle and outside during some New England winters, the temps would sometimes drop close to 20 degrees, even with wrapping heavy blankets around it. I switched to BIAB in a cooler and its not been an issue.
 

mongoose33

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Ahh. Is this pretty limited to 5 gallon or smaller batches? That seems it would be hard to do with my 20+ pounds of grain with all the water. I don't know that I could pick it up, let alone squeeze it, without another set of hands, and heat resistant gloves.
As RM says, you can use a pulley setup to do this. I do.

Interesting you mention heat-resistant gloves. I bought a pair of rubberized gloves at the home store. I washed the hell out of them, and that's what I use to squeeze. My hands are insulated from 150-degree wort and grist, the rubber keeps the inside dry, works. I've tried pressing down into a stainless colander, it doesn't work as well as just using my hands to squeeze.

About the largest grain bill I've done w/ BIAB is 13 pounds, it'd be a bit difficult to squeeze 20 pounds, but you could just let it drain.

I guess BIAB is more driven by having less equipment/more inexpensive as opposed it being much easier? It obviously gets rid of 2 pots, possibly pumps, and a second or even third heat source.
You do have less equipment, but I'd also say it's easier. It really simplified my brew day, and there's more downtime while I wait for things to happen. I kind of like that, sort of like how golf is, purposeful actions interspersed with pleasant inactivity. Brewing is in some ways zen-like for me, and BIAB is more so than the traditional mash-tun system I used before.
 

jalc6927

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Do you guys start the boil while the bag is draining? Or wait until you have collected the full amount?
 

timeasterday

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Do you guys start the boil while the bag is draining? Or wait until you have collected the full amount?
I do smaller batches so what I do is put a spaghetti strainer under the bag while I'm holding it up, set the strainer on top of the pot, then fire the burner. While it's heating I put on silicone gloves and start squeezing the bag.
 

metaltim

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No reason not to fire it up as soon as you have liquid in the pot, which with BIAB, you already do.

I know as soon as I open my valve from mash tun to kettle (gravity fed) I fire up burner. By the time I've collected my second or third runnings, it's not far from boiling.
 
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