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What else do I need to do the "Brew in a bag method"?

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by Providence, Dec 27, 2012.

  1. Is the answer simply this: http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/brewmaster-filter-bag-214-214.html

    I was lucky enough to get a 10 gallon pot that I am quite excited to use. I am hoping to make the jump to all grain someday, but I don't really have the money to pull it of now. Nevertheless, I'd like to try the "brew in a bag method." I recently saw northernbrewer advertising it, here it is: http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/biab-3-gallon-system.html. However, having the 10 gallon pot already makes it silly to buy the kit as a whole. So again, my question is what else do I need? Is it simply a mesh bag or is there other equipment necessary to brew in a bag?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. koopa

    koopa Champion (835) New Jersey Apr 20, 2008

  3. Thank you one hundred times over. Not only did I not think of the bag off the bottom thing, but your suggestion of a cooling rack is a great alternative to more expensive options. Thanks again!
  4. Is it ok if there's room between the cooling rack and the inside wall of the kettle. I would imagine that if you used a 13.5" cooling rack on a 15 gallon pot there'd be a good bit of space, right? I only ask because I just measure the pot I have and it's got a 15" diameter, so I think that the 13.5 inch rack should do nicely, even though it won't be a "snug" fit that's right up against the inside wall.

    EDIT: Just found this online, if I flipped it upside down, those handles look like the would elevate the grate nicely off of the bottom. http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/pro...121226_4034128044596e65e2193b9e22492fef:0000&

    Thanks again!
  5. inchrisin

    inchrisin Savant (470) Indiana Sep 25, 2008

    How about a plate from the cupboard turned upside down?
  6. inchrisin

    inchrisin Savant (470) Indiana Sep 25, 2008

    OP: There's NO financial excuse to hold back from all grain. Especially if you're doing BIAB. When you get set up (even with a mash tun) the price of 10 gal of beer already offsets the extra price you would have paid in extract malt.

    When you do get ready for your BIAB, See if you can fit your pot into the oven after you take out one of the racks. The pot should be empty at first. It'll be easier on your back. :) If it will fit in there you can preheat your oven (200Fish) and just get the mash done in there. No burners needed, and less inconsistency in the heat to your grains. Also, grab a few 5 gal paint straining bags from a hardware store. They should be around a buck a piece and might work out for you if you ever tear your fancy bag.
  7. HerbMeowing

    HerbMeowing Savant (420) Virginia Nov 10, 2010

    Woman: Make sure your man double-bags. Last time, the bottom near came out.
    Manager: Make sure you double-bag like the lady says. Understand?
    Brooks: Yes, sir. Surely will.

    - apologies to Shawshank Redemption
    JrGtr and good_gracious like this.
  8. koopa

    koopa Champion (835) New Jersey Apr 20, 2008

    I'm guessing that would trap the heat and lead to a less then uniform mash temperature throughout the kettle.
  9. jae

    jae Savant (325) Washington Feb 21, 2010

    I use paint strainer bags and a stainless steel vegetable steamer to keep the nylon off the bottom. Once mashing, I wrap the kettle in a blanket fresh from the drier. BIAB is a great all grain method that condenses the brewday . . . I usually use it for strong 3 gallon batches (i.e.: Belgian Dark Strong, OG 1.093; Foreign Extra Stout, OG 1.074;), though recently I did a 5 gallon batch of no-boil Berliner Weisse in my 30 qt kettle.
  10. inchrisin

    inchrisin Savant (470) Indiana Sep 25, 2008

    I've been curious about BIAB for a while. I'm wondering what kind of efficiency you guys get and how you sparge. I was looking around online and it sounds like the best method is to dunk the bag in a new pot of hot water. Stir, and let it sit for 10 min, add the worts together and boil. I'd guess 70% efficiency is good here?

    For some reason I keep seeing a 2 by 4 entering the equation. The grain bag is precariously tied and hanging above a kettle and then comes the hot water. I wish I took up cheese making instead. :)
  11. koopa

    koopa Champion (835) New Jersey Apr 20, 2008

    I did a no sparge BIAB for a couple dozen all grain batches and could pull mash extraction efficiencies in the lower 80's at times, although 74-78% was my usual range.
  12. Are these paint bags "food safe"? Do they need to be? Honestly, I am not really sure what food grade means, ha ha. Nevertheless, I don't really want to submerge a material into hot water that was not designed to be submerged into hot water. Gnarly ass chemicals and what not getting into the brew would be a bummer. Of course, such things could happen with the bags northernbrewer sells...
  13. inchrisin

    inchrisin Savant (470) Indiana Sep 25, 2008

    I like the way you think, but the bags should be made of nylon. I can vouch for several of us that use them in the boil for hop additions. I hope they're safe, but I've never looked into it. It just seems like common practice around here.

    Definitely something to keep in mind when you are working on the hot side with bev tubing.
  14. koopa

    koopa Champion (835) New Jersey Apr 20, 2008

    My kettle had a 15.7" internal diameter and I used the 13.5" diameter stainless steel cooling rack that I provided a link to without issue. Actually the smaller rack worked out really well for me because my kettle is a Blichmann Boilermaker with a diptube that comes out from the ball valve on the inside of the kettle. So the 13.5" cooling rack actually fits nice and snuggly between the diptube and the opposite kettle wall.
  15. Cool, thanks a lot!
  16. That's great, thanks again!
  17. koopa

    koopa Champion (835) New Jersey Apr 20, 2008

    You're welcome. I also recommend that you find some clips to clip your bag on to the top edge of the kettle with. I just used the ones you get at an office supply store (black plastic with metal) and they keep the bag perfectly in place. They also can be used to some degree to adjust how far down the inside of the kettle you want the bag to go.
  18. More kick ass advice. You're making this transition that much easier.
  19. koopa

    koopa Champion (835) New Jersey Apr 20, 2008

  20. akakii

    akakii Aficionado (125) Virginia Jun 18, 2009

    You can get a pretty nice bag from bagbrewer.com

    They'll make a custom size if you give them the dimensions of your pot.
  21. ultravista

    ultravista Zealot (90) Nevada Dec 11, 2010

    Buy your voile at Walmart. You can get entire panels (e.g. curtains) really cheap. Sew up the bags yourself, or have someone with a machine do it for you. For $15, I had enough material for 5 bags. I have used the same bag for nearly two years now. The seam I believe is called a "felled" seam; the seam common to blue jeans.

    For the price of a single bag, you can make 10.
  22. Thanks for the tip. I'll look into this avenue (hopefully I can find such materials somewhere else besides Wal-Mart, I'd rather my business not go to them).
  23. pointyskull

    pointyskull Savant (260) Illinois Mar 17, 2010

    Considering the BIAB jump from my current extract ways. I'm in the market for a new kettle, as now I do 5 gallon batches (which is unlikely to change). I have been eyeballing a 10 gal but I'm curious if 15 would be better...
  24. koopa

    koopa Champion (835) New Jersey Apr 20, 2008

    The general rule of thumb with BIAB is that you should be able to produce a batch that is half the size of your kettle capacity for most OG's. So a 10 gallon kettle can definitely get 5 gallons of wort into a fermenter, provided the style of beer doesn't have too high of an Original Gravity, requiring a recipe calling for a large amount of grain.

    Basically you have to keep in mind that with BIAB your kettle is both a mash kettle and a boil kettle. If you go no sparge, then you need to be able to put all of your brewing water and all of your grain into the kettle at the same time.

    I used to BIAB with a 15 gallon kettle myself so that I could produce larger (10 gallon) batches of low OG beer (wit, kolsch, pale ale, mild, esb, etc) with it and/or a full 5 gallon batch of higher OG beer (like a DIPA, RIS, etc).

    For these reasons I would recommend the 15 gallon kettle. It is not required but it certainly will be better.