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Author Topic: First BIAB  (Read 1929 times)

Offline AtlanticRebel

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First BIAB
« on: February 19, 2018, 12:05:57 PM »
Hey guys,

With the warmer weather upon us, I'm starting to plan out my first BIAB session.  I think I have all the required equipment(16gal kettle, Anvil burner, grain mill, grain bag, wort chiller, and my new Fermentasaurus with the pressure lid kit).  Of course, the recipe that I found is for a 10gal brew(and I plan on doing about 5, the fermenter can take up to 35l, so just shy of 10gal), is it just as simple as halving all ingredients for this?  Does anyone have a favorite calculator for water needs/loss calculations?  I found one on biabrewing.com that seems simple, yet full featured.  Also, does anyone that uses BIAB have any tips/tricks they have picked up over the years?  I know @Two Wheeler uses BIAB, anyone else?
« Last Edit: February 19, 2018, 02:10:50 PM by AtlanticRebel »
Marc Mapplebeck
Currently planning: Thinking of a Citra SMASH
Currently fermenting: Oaked Gewürztraminer
Just bottled: Cinnamon Spice Cider
Running critically low: Citra Orange Cider, Red Citra Bomb

Offline feldmann

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Re: First BIAB
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2018, 01:13:00 PM »
I used Brewer's Friend for awhile before eventually buying beersmith, which is the calculator I use now.

My best advice for BIAB, especially if you're doing 10Gal, is to have a plan for how you're going to drain the grain and sparge after you've finished mashing. My first BIAB instructions were just the words "drain the grain".

Offline shazapple

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Re: First BIAB
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2018, 01:15:18 PM »
Pick a simple recipe as your first brew as you'll be focused on your technique. SMASH beers are nice and always tasty.

Halfing a 10gal recipe will certainly get you close. I'd round up your base grain as your efficiency will be lower (partially due to it being your first time, partially because of the nature of BIAB). For a smash type beer I generally end up with a total of 11lbs of grain

If you want to get a little more technical with recipes you could get beersmith or brewers friend. I use the water calculator that is built into brewers friend but i used to use the one you mentioned and it worked great.

For water calculations i'd expect higher losses all around. This time of year you tend to lose more from the boil (above 1.25gal in the winter, below in the summer). Expect more water loss from grain/hop absorption (I don't squeeze the bag anymore but just let it drip into a bucket). A little more wort in the fermenter means you don't have to get into the trub as much either when you are racking (I prefer to have a full keg and leave some beer behind in the fermenter). All in all I usually start with 7.75gal or more for my mash water and then I top up the fermenter if needed.

Mix your grain in slowly, dough balls are a bitch. I bought a big colander from davidsons (kitchen supply store) and let the bag drip through that onto a 5 gal bucket.

Some big blankets will help you keep your mash temp but it will still drop, especially in the winter. I stir the mash a couple times as well, when I remember. I always found it to be too much hassle to relight the burner so I just left it to do it's thing.

Otherwise just make sure everything is nice and clean. I use starsan and find it handy to have a bucket of it around to toss my equipment into so I can clean as I go.

Offline redroast

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Re: First BIAB
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2018, 08:57:12 PM »
I do brew in a bag.

I have used BIABaccus since I started all grain brewing and it works great and is free.  It's just an excel spreadsheet but very detailed. When I first started all grain, I was a little overwhelmed with where to start calculation wise and checked out a few programs, but this spreadsheet is so good I never needed anything else.

The only thing is that I found the strike water temp calculation a little bit off. So I wrote my own code which does it right.

I can send you the file if you can't find it.

Good luck and don't worry. It's nowhere near as complicated as folks on the internet make it out to be.


Offline Two Wheeler

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Re: First BIAB
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2018, 12:16:41 PM »
Great info from everyone so far! I use Beersmith now, but I did use Biabaccus before that.

To Feldman's point- have a plan for draining the grain. I use a ratchet hoist for 10gal batches, but I always was able to hold 5 gallons. It can get a bit messy/heavy, but you'll be fine!

If you're milling your own grain, then I'd recommend that finer is better.

I always try to hold back a gallon or two from the strike water, and I'll pour that over the spent grains. This helps improve efficiency and it gives you more room in the pot. If my calculator said to mash with 8 gallons for a 5.5gal yield, then I would actually only mash with 6 gallons. Then when I remove the bag (hoist above pot), I pour the remaining two gallons over the bag and it drains into the pot. This is a bit harder to do without a hoist. Many people will "dunk sparge" by dipping the bag into a pail of water, then adding that water to the boil.
Jordan Harris