Brew In A Bag - Sparge

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Brew In A Bag - Sparge

Postby daryl » Sun Nov 01, 2015 2:29 pm

I have been looking at trying BIAB. After mashing in the grain, the bag is lifted out and placed in some type of strainer over the kettle and allowed to drain. And then sparge water is poured over the grains and allowed to drip through the grains and into the kettle.

Why not just place the grain bag in a vessel with the sparge water and let it steep? After the sparge, lift the bag into the strainer over the kettle, and add the pour the sparge water over the grains, and allow to drain.

Would this be equivalent or maybe more effective in extracting the sugars from the grain?
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Re: Brew In A Bag - Sparge

Postby DrPaulsen » Sun Nov 01, 2015 2:48 pm

That's basically how I do small, stove top batches these days. I do a BIAB mash with 2.5 gal of water. After the madh is complete, I pull out the grain bag and let it drip for a bit, then transfer it to a small bucket. I pour around 2 qts of sparge water into the bucket, stir up the grain, then pull out the bag, let it drip, and pour the contents of the sparge bucket into the main kettle. After 2-3 of these batch sparging sessions, I'm ready to boil. Works great for small batches, routinely yielding 80%+ sparge efficiencies.
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Re: Brew In A Bag - Sparge

Postby carrisr » Sun Nov 01, 2015 9:17 pm

Yes you can certainly do that. The bag method was originally intended as a way to have single vessel brewing. I guess there's still some advantages if you have more than one kettle and don't want to set up a traditional tun. The downside in my experience is that the bag tends to create a sticky mess. There's ways to deal with that but I decided to upgrade to a mash tun.

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Re: Brew In A Bag - Sparge

Postby czubak » Mon Nov 02, 2015 8:09 am

IF I go BIAB I only want one kettle, so that means a rather large one to be able to do 5 and 10 gallon batches. If I wanted to use two kettles from time to time I could use my bottom drain keggle I haven't finished yet. 15 gallon kettle affects OG limits, especially for a 10 gallon batch. Makes 10 a huge PITA the way I see it.


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Re: Brew In A Bag - Sparge

Postby andrewmaixner » Mon Nov 02, 2015 8:52 am

daryl wrote:Why not just place the grain bag in a vessel with the sparge water and let it steep?
...
Would this be equivalent or maybe more effective in extracting the sugars from the grain?

The main point of BIAB seems to be equipment simplicity. Ideally, you would crush tight and properly handle pH / temperature to get good very good / fast conversion, then just pull it and let it drain while you hit the boil heat.

If you aren't doing full-volume, you could pour your water volume addition through the grain to get a little better efficiency, but... Once you know your efficiency for your setup, you could just spend another dollar or two on grain to hit your desired numbers
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Re: Brew In A Bag - Sparge

Postby DrPaulsen » Mon Nov 02, 2015 9:11 am

One thing I should add - based on my experience doing this with small batches, I can't imagine trying it with anything bigger than ~2.5 gal batches. As Randy said, the bag of grain becomes a hot sticky mess. Bucket/Batch sparging the bag helps that issue a lot, but would likely become more trouble than its worth in a large batch vs just having a dedicated mash/lauter tun.
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Re: Brew In A Bag - Sparge

Postby whitedj » Mon Nov 02, 2015 10:28 am

I tend to think that dealing with large sticky amounts of grain would be annoying.

I remember seeing an ad for someone that had a large stainless strainer [as opposed to a bag] that could be hoisted out of the kettle with a wench or similar device

Or you could do something similar to the blichman easy brew.... basically a 2 vessel system.
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Re: Brew In A Bag - Sparge

Postby TappedOut » Mon Nov 02, 2015 11:19 am

Aaah. Brewing wenches and hot stick messes. I'm starting to see the appeal of BIAB.
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Re: Brew In A Bag - Sparge

Postby Matt F » Mon Nov 02, 2015 11:55 am

I did one 2 gallon BIAB batch of Saison last January. Not sure how it turned out yet because I threw it in a small keg with dregs from a bottle of Boulevard Saison Brett. It smells good and I may put in on tap in time for the Christmas party if it tastes ready. Great way to make a starter for a larger batch.
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Re: Brew In A Bag - Sparge

Postby czubak » Mon Nov 02, 2015 12:32 pm

I do small ~2 gallon BIAB in the winter since I don't have access to water in the garage where I brew. It works well and is silly simple. While I am heating strike water I turn my oven on 170, get mashed in, turn the oven off and let it rest there for an hour while watching TV. Drain it with a colander over the same 4 gallon kettle on the stovetop where I boil away.

Only issue now is I don't have an immersion chiller anymore so I do the no chill game. I like to live on the edge. :twisted:

If I go 5-10 gallon batches BIAB, this is what I am going for and will have a hoist of some sort to lift the basket. Haven't gone much past the daydream stage since I am trying to cram 10# of brewing gear into a 5# basement area so I can get 30% of my garage back so I can hoard more motorcycles.

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Re: Brew In A Bag - Sparge

Postby Eric B » Mon Nov 02, 2015 8:35 pm

Matt F wrote:I did one 2 gallon BIAB batch of Saison last January. Not sure how it turned out yet because I threw it in a small keg with dregs from a bottle of Boulevard Saison Brett. It smells good and I may put in on tap in time for the Christmas party if it tastes ready. Great way to make a starter for a larger batch.



Im curious to see how that turns out. I do know that they pasteurize all of their beer and add a yeast that they use specifically for bottling. But since it is Saison-Brett... I don't know if they do a different process for that specific beer.
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Re: Brew In A Bag - Sparge

Postby Matt F » Tue Nov 03, 2015 12:44 am

On the bottle it says, "It was dry hopped, followed by bottle conditioning with various yeasts, including Brettanomyces," and, "further cellaring will continue to enhance the "Brett" character." It smells like Brett is at work for sure. Looking forward to finally drinking it.
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