Small (1-2gal) BIAB setup?

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Small (1-2gal) BIAB setup?

Postby andrewmaixner » Mon Nov 30, 2015 11:52 am

I did my first BIAB stove-top batch last week, and liked it.
I'm thinking about getting a hot-plate to connect to a temperature controller for small batches and experimentation, as the electric stove was somewhat annoying to get the mash temp correct. Anyone currently have a small setup like this, or have already looked into it?

Of course I'd like to eventually have a large all electric all-in-one BIAB in my basement, but small steps.
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Re: Small (1-2gal) BIAB setup?

Postby daryl » Mon Nov 30, 2015 12:11 pm

I would invest in induction heating. Some of those have built-in temperature control. You might need to get a ~3 gallon kettle to mash and boil. Even though they are 110V, for the mass of water you're heating/boiling, 220V may not be a huge benefit.

I think Aldi's sold them last month.
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Re: Small (1-2gal) BIAB setup?

Postby czubak » Mon Nov 30, 2015 12:53 pm

I do ~2 gallon BIAB in a 4 gallon pot. I turn on my oven to the lowest temp while I am mashing in. 170 for me. Once I am happy with my temp I shut off the oven and put the kettle in with the lid on. Temp stays right on target for as simple as it is to do.
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Re: Small (1-2gal) BIAB setup?

Postby DrPaulsen » Mon Nov 30, 2015 1:07 pm

I mitigate that problem by just doing a step mesh and using time in various temp regions to control mash performance. I dough-in around 148 (anything from 145-152 is probably fine) for a Beta Amylase rest (there's very little Alpha Amylase activity at these temps). After around 30 mins I start monitoring the wort gravity. Depending on the fermentability I'm looking for, I'll step up to 162 (158-166 is probably fine) once I've hit the right conversion percentage and allow Alpha Amylase to take over (Beta Amylase deactivates very quickly at these temps). This way, I only have to operate in the middle of either of the primary amylase enzyme activity bands and not have to worry about hitting some magic cross-over point. I've had as good or better results doing this on my stovetop than I get with my HERMS setup. No PID required, just a refractometer and a clock.
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Re: Small (1-2gal) BIAB setup?

Postby andrewmaixner » Mon Nov 30, 2015 1:10 pm

daryl wrote:I would invest in induction heating. Some of those have built-in temperature control. You might need to get a ~3 gallon kettle to mash and boil. Even though they are 110V, for the mass of water you're heating/boiling, 220V may not be a huge benefit.

I think Aldi's sold them last month.

Yes, I saw those when I was at the Aldi recently. However, the few induction plates I've looked at seem to
1) only allow temperature increments of 10F or greater
2) be all-digital, which i think means that an external temperature controller could not be use at the plug-in to control the temperature?
Are those issues not any cause for concern? Are there other ones with finer better control, or that work with an external controller?

amazon indicates that I can get a good SS induction-ready kettle for $52/4gal, $62/5gal.
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Re: Small (1-2gal) BIAB setup?

Postby andrewmaixner » Mon Nov 30, 2015 1:13 pm

DrPaulsen wrote:I mitigate that problem by just doing a step mesh and using time in various temp regions to control mash performance. I dough-in around 148 (anything from 145-152 is probably fine) for a Beta Amylase rest (there's very little Alpha Amylase activity at these temps). After around 30 mins I start monitoring the wort gravity. Depending on the fermentability I'm looking for, I'll step up to 162 (158-166 is probably fine) once I've hit the right conversion percentage and allow Alpha Amylase to take over (Beta Amylase deactivates very quickly at these temps). This way, I only have to operate in the middle of either of the primary amylase enzyme activity bands and not have to worry about hitting some magic cross-over point. I've had as good or better results doing this on my stovetop than I get with my HERMS setup. No PID required, just a refractometer and a clock.

Yes, that's pretty much what my stovetop mash ended up being, ramping from 130 -> 145 -> 169. I realize that the exact temperature points may not really be that big of a deal unless you have a very specific target fermentability goal.
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Re: Small (1-2gal) BIAB setup?

Postby DrPaulsen » Mon Nov 30, 2015 1:18 pm

Even then it won't matter. Unless you're brewing the exact same beer with the exact same malt every single time, the exact temp doesn't matter. In order for that to work, the total amount of each enzyme and the relative concentrations of each would have to be controlled by the maltster, or at least reported. Since they're unknowns, the best any of us can hope for with blind single infusion mashing is to follow a trend and keep our fingers crossed.
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