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BIAB Custom Bags You Can Order

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012

Looking for a custom made brew bag for doing BIAB? Check out this article. If you don’t know what BIAB is yet, check out our previous article for complete details on BIAB.

But where can I buy a BIAB bag?

Finding a suitable bag has been a long standing problem. The multitude of kettle shapes and sizes makes it difficult for manufacturers to mass produce these bags. From a DIY perspective, finding the right fabric and then getting someone to sew it up takes a lot of time and effort. These issues and the general lack of availability for a ready made BIAB bag is why I never personally tried BIAB.

The good news is, the team at Brew Bag will make you a custom bag. The price is only $35!

BIAB brew bag

The folks at Brew Bag are really nice to work with. They go to the trouble of understanding your situation and they make sure you get what you need.

The bag is built to last and has nice handles. The first time you get the bag it needs to be washed in Woolite or a light bleach solution on the delicate setting.

I must say, BIAB is a great way to brew! There is less equipment to deal with. The brewing process is simpler because all the mash water is added up front. It is fun to setup a rope and pulley to hoist the bag when it drains. I highly recommend BIAB for home brewers looking to go all grain for the first time. With BIAB the mash tun and HLT are not needed. All that is required is a sufficiently large kettle (5 gallon batches need roughly a 10 gallon kettle). A false bottom is also needed.

An easy BIAB false bottom:

The bag should never touch the heating element or the bottom of the kettle. No matter what the heat source, some sort of false bottom is required with BIAB. Jeff at Brew Bag suggested I go with a DIY pizza pan with legs.

home brewing kettle false bottom DIY

This false bottom is built from a $8.39 aluminum pizza pan, and 4 stainless steel screws.  It is a bit flimsy but it works. Central Restaurant has pans of this style in just about every size.

Here are some images from the brew day:

Summer Citra Kölsch (an experiment)

(By the way, the brew feature at Brewer’s Friend flawlessly calculated the mash water volume needed and allowed me to calculate the strike temperature with ease. BIAB is fully supported by the Brewer’s Friend recipe editor and brewing software.)

BIAB home brewing

home brew in a bag

home brewing in a bag

To lift the bag out of the kettle and let it drain a pulley can help. Turns out there isn’t quite enough clearance where the kettle is (but I can move it up to the mash tun position next time). For this batch, lifting the wet bag into a clean bucket and letting it drain there for 10 minutes worked well enough.

BIAB pulley

BIAB pulley

BIAB Considerations:

BIAB mashes thin. My brew was around 3.5 quarts per pound. This can lower efficiency.

Make sure to do a mash out step. Raise the temperature to 170F and rinse the grains thoroughly.

Mash for 75-90 minutes instead of just 60 to get better efficiency.

Compensate for the false bottom when measuring for the size of the bag.

There is more trub from the BIAB method. It is all settled at the bottom of the carboy.

If you go with a pulley system, make sure the rope can handle the weight of the grains plus the water they absorb. For a batch that has 10 pounds of grain, the bag itself when wet is probably closer to 20 pounds.

Due to capacity issues, high gravity beers may not be possible given your equipment. One way around that is to add extract to boost gravity for those occasional high gravity beers.

 

Brewer’s Friend was provided with a complimentary bag from Brew Bags.

  1. 5 Responses to “BIAB Custom Bags You Can Order”

  2. Thanks. I have been thinking about moving from extract only to partial and full mash, so this is a big help.

    Is the fabric the same as (for example) a paint strainer bag?

    Also thanks for the pizza-pan false bottom idea!

    SC

    By Scott Charles on Jun 23, 2012

  3. Whoops. Ignore my question about the fabric. I followed the link to BIAB and found the answer. Mea Culpa.

    By Scott Charles on Jun 23, 2012

  4. I do BIAB exclusively, doing 5-gallon batches in a 10-gallon pot.

    You DEFINITELY have to do a long mash for efficiency (I do 90-120 minutes) but you can do some pretty high gravity stuff.

    I have hit 10.5% with a Tripel, using 20 pounds of grain and 2 pounds of candi sugar.

    20 pounds is an absolute limit with a 10-gallon pot, though, and you have to be very careful when stirring. (You have to stir every few minutes because the convection in the water is not strong enough to keep the temperature even.)

    By Brian on Jun 23, 2012

  5. MoreBeer had a April Fools joke on their site this year … a “special” Brew-in-Bag setup that was basically a zip-lock bag, with the ingredients to make the equivalent of prison swill. It was priced at $1000 or something like that … too funny!

    By Guy on Jun 27, 2012

  6. Excellent, and here is a complete write up at another site about DIY prison wine complete with results:
    http://www.thesneeze.com/mt-archives/000373.php/

    By Larry on Jun 28, 2012

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