1. One Hundred Mags (Rule). Check out the sneak peek of BeerAdvocate magazine #100, plus some of the changes coming your way.

Brew in a bag

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by Eriktheipaman, Sep 28, 2012.

  1. Brewing up my first Brew in a Bag and have a few questions. I am doing a small batch (maybe 1.5 gallons) and my concern is how much water the grains will soak up. It is too easy to under or over shoot gravities with such a small batch size. Any input would be great.

    Also it will be a Rye IPA. It is my first time working with Rye and I'm wondering how everyone thinks the grain bill looks.

    LB OZ
    73% 3 0 Rahr Pale Ale
    12% 0 8 Rahr Two-Row
    12% 0 8 Flaked Rye
    3% 0 2 Caramel/Crystal Malt - 20L
  2. VikeMan

    VikeMan Champion (820) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009

    I don't do BIAB, so can't help much there. Grain/water absorption varies from system to system. IIRC, mine's about 0.12 gallons per pound, but I don't have my spreadsheets here.

    Have to ask though... why both pale ale malt and plain 2-row malt?
  3. I just have both lying around. I wanted to use each in separate beers to see if I could pic up any difference. And I assume you mean .12 gallons per pound?
  4. VikeMan

    VikeMan Champion (820) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009

    Yep. Just fixed that a moment ago.
  5. Ah ok. So I could be looking at loosing as much as half a gallon? That's kinda what I figured but I'll try to play it safe. Any input on brewing with Rye?
  6. VikeMan

    VikeMan Champion (820) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009

    Add some rice hulls. Rye can be very sticky. Though I'm not sure how critical that is with BIAB. (Just don't know.)

    Also, that's a pretty subtantial amout of rye, but not crazy.
    Eriktheipaman likes this.
  7. theCoder

    theCoder Savant (340) Minnesota Oct 24, 2011

  8. My last small BIAB batch I mashed at 1.5 qt/lb for 5 lb of grain, so 7.5 qt. The first runnings were a little under 7 qt or so and I sparged up to about 10 qt, which was my target - so .5 qt lost, plus or minus a little bit. Other batches have been less efficient but I don't have the numbers at hand.

    I haven't used rye for BIAB so can't help with the stickiness.
    Eriktheipaman likes this.
  9. I'm hoping for a Ruthless Rye type of feel so I'm just guessing 10% to see. Rice hauls might be a good idea but I feel it wouldn't be as necessary since there will be lots of room in the mesh bag for the wort to drain.
  10. I've brewed in a bag for the last 8-10 batches or so. I found that if you multiply the grain weight in lbs x .074, you will find your grain absorption pretty spot on. Just make sure to 'squeeze' the bag and get all the juice out.

    Batch size + evaporation + trub + (lbs of grain x .074) = stike water volume
  11. dgs

    dgs Aficionado (195) Pennsylvania Jul 18, 2005

    .05 - .06 gallon/lb are numbers I've seen and this worked well for me. This is when mashing with the full volume - I guess that's standard BiaB. It also depends how much you squeeze, but I think many would say to give it a good one.
  12. It's my understanding that squeezing the grains like this introduces a lot of tannins. Have you found this to be the case?
  13. That is also what I've heard. So if it's only .05 I shouldn't have to worry so much since it's such a small amount.
  14. This is false from what I've read. The way it's been explained is that the weigh of the grain in a normal mashtun at a production brewery would exert much more pressure than we are exerting by 'squeezing' the bag.

    Never had a tannin issues as a result of squeezing the bag. I wouldn't worry about it.
    Eriktheipaman likes this.
  15. Derranged

    Derranged Advocate (535) New York Mar 7, 2010

  16. koopa

    koopa Champion (835) New Jersey Apr 20, 2008

    I've squeezed BIAB batches without tannin extraction (my understanding is that tannin extraction is due to a combination of higher temps and higher ph then you would have during the mash process) and used to always lose the following to grain absorption:

    # pounds of grain x 0.045 gallons
  17. Glad to hear you guys aren't having problems after squeezing. The whole tannin extraction concept came from Mr Charlie P, or at least it was the first place I heard it.
  18. BIAB seems to be an intermediate step to nowhere...assuming you'll have a mash tun eventually. I started with a 3 gal mash tun that I still use for bigger beers. Don't get me wrong. I'm sure it will work fine, but not something you will be using in even a year. 2 cents only.
  19. dgs

    dgs Aficionado (195) Pennsylvania Jul 18, 2005

    Why do you say that? I think I may be getting you wrong.
  20. I say that because noone (I believe) will be using BIAB over the long haul...maybe for a few batches, but for all-grain brewers a real mash tun (cooler or direct-fired) is a must. Hell, I take shit all the time from buddies with direct-fire tuns because I have a cooler, but I figure the cooler makes sense for me...maybe the BIAB makes sense for you.
  21. The only reason it makes sense to me, and I'm sure many others on here, is because I can only make 1-2.5 gallon batches on my crappy stove in my tiny apartment. Even if I outgrow it, which I would already have if I lived in a bigger place, why is it a step to nowhere? Going AG for less than $5 seems like a pretty good step to me.
  22. dgs

    dgs Aficionado (195) Pennsylvania Jul 18, 2005

    But seriously, why is a "real" mash tun a must? Just so you don't have to take shit from buddies doesn't quite explain it. Is wort from a BiaB mash somehow inferior? I know I've heard brewers use BiaB even though they also have the mash tun option.
  23. Homebrew42

    Homebrew42 Savant (435) New York Dec 20, 2006

    BIAB wort will contain more protein and husk material than mash tun wort, which in theory will produce an inferior beer.
  24. No stuck sparges in BIAB! I just finished my first traditional 3 vessel brew this evening and damn if that pumpkin didn't kill my lautering. I was aiming for 7 gallons pre-boil and could only manage 6 after two hours of sparging (3 sparges in total). Lots to learn!
  25. Seriously. Turns out my options right now are this:
    1. Try to do a full boil on my shitty apartment stove. The last time I tried this (yes, in a 10gal pot) the stovetop scorched before the pot got to a boil. Or even close. With ~4 gal of water in it.
    2. Partial boil. Nobody likes this.
    3. Follow the NC state laws for flames/grills near a structure, in which case I have to go down to the ground floor, boil outdoors at least 10 ft from the structure of my apartment building, and then carry the liquid back upstairs for everything, or try to cool everything down on a separate floor from my apartment and then still carry it back up.
    4. Not follow the state laws and hope nobody from the apartment staff or fire marshals show up ever during my frequent brew-days.
    5. BIAB.

    And "an intermediate step to nowhere"? Don't be an asshole (at GreenKrusty101). Here's what BIAB is - an intermediate step between extract and all-grain, you dick.
  26. dgs

    dgs Aficionado (195) Pennsylvania Jul 18, 2005

    I don't understand this. How you mash and how much you boil can be independent. The kettle doesn't care whether your X gallons came from a mash tun or BiaB. With BiaB, your kettle just happens to be where you mash, as well. What am I missing?

    I thought BiaB was all-grain. There is no extract involved, unless you want to use some. But that's the same as other methods.
  27. I'll say that the only thing that is pushing me towards traditional 3 vessel brewing is high gravity beers (20+ lbs of grain for 5 gallons) and the fact that I want to move to 10 gallon batches early next year. Otherwise, my BIAB beers have not suffered in quality of taste/mouthfeel/aroma. Clarity can be an issue, buti think even that can be overcome.
  28. Homebrew42

    Homebrew42 Savant (435) New York Dec 20, 2006

    I brew using both techniques, I generally use a mash tun but on occasion will brew a stove top BIAB batch, so I am certainly not against brewing this way. I have brewed some excellent beers using BIAB, but without brewing the same beer using both techniques and comparing them side by side I think it's difficult to really say that they produce beers of the same quality.
  29. hopsandmalt

    hopsandmalt Savant (365) Michigan Dec 14, 2006

    You should build yourself an electric heat stick. Then your boil size is only limited by the size of your kettle.

  30. dgs

    dgs Aficionado (195) Pennsylvania Jul 18, 2005

    Thanks for the follow-ups in this thread (as usual). Mentioning the theory previously, plus this post, is good info.
  31. A very valid point.