What am I screwing up in BIAB?

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Gunny1775, Oct 22, 2017.

  1. Gunny1775

    Gunny1775 Member

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    Good Morning Fellow Brewers. So here's my problem. So far I have done about 5 brew sessions of BIAB. I'm improving on my Conversion but I'm going up as much on my total brew house efficiency. I think my problem is in my boil? Since I am a semi Nerd I made a chart of last 5 brew sessions with the Conversion, Pre boil/Ending Kettle, and Brew house. My steps are fairly consistent although I'm still trying to dial in my loss ratio's (i.e. water, trub, etc). My steps are as follows:

    1. Fill kettle with 8.5 gallons water
    2. Mash Grains for 60-90 minutes
    3. Pull Grains and squeeze
    3. Mash out 10 minutes at 170 (roughly)
    4. Pull Grains and squeeze
    5. Boil for 60 minutes

    Above is a very simplified steps. My water loss ratio is different at just about every single brew session. I put 8 gallons in and ended with 4.5 gallons so I upped it to 9 gallons...ended in 5.5 gallons. My next brew session I'm going to try for 8.5 for my full volume mash. I'm actually thinking about heading to the hardware store and buy the parts for a mash tun and start doing traditional all grain brew with a batch sparge since I can't figure it out. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Gunny
     

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  2. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    On my BIAB, I mash with 6-6.5 gallons of water regardless of grain bill. I heat up separate sparge water to 170° and dump it through my grain bag after I pull the bag of grains from the mash water and then put it in an empty bucket on top of an upside down colander. I sparge a gallon at a time through the grains, until my preboil volume is 7.25 gallons. I seem to always have a boil off of .75 gallons. I like an end boil volume of 6.5 gallons (which includes a lot of trub) to get 5 gallons of packaged product.
     
  3. Ozarks Mountain Brew

    Staff Member

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    you will get a poorer efficiency with full water bib, you need to wash the sugar off the grain.

    if you can buy or make some sort of device where you can set your bag over the kettle but not in the wort and pour the remaining water over it so that means you need to mash with as little water as possible, just enough to look like runny oatmeal, maybe a few inches above the grain when settled
     
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  4. Mark D Pirate

    Mark D Pirate Well-Known Member

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    Hey Gunny , why are you lifting and squeezing twice ?
    Biab can work very well and get decent eff but dare say you're leaving too much sugar on your grain so a sparge and or using a hook for bag to drain properly will help
    What's your crush look like ?
     
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  5. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    2nd That you need to start sparging Gunny you'll be glad you did. Even though you may squeeze the grain bag to squish out any retained wort there is still plenty valuable sugar caught up in amongst the grain. Heat that sparge water up nice and hot around 75c and tricle this down through the suspended grain bag. Either plop a colander atop of the kettle or do a dunk sparge in a seperate bucket and pour this back into the boil kettle.:)
     
  6. Gunny1775

    Gunny1775 Member

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    I double milled my grains on this last batch. I was lifting and squeezing twice because that is how I thought you mashed out with BIAB...Obviously, I'm wrong. lol

    I've got a spare Lowes bucket I may drill holes in the bottom for sparking. I normally put my grain bag on a grate that I set across the kettle...I'm going to have to ponder on it. I was actually thinking about building me a mash tun just saying the hell with BIAB..haven't decided yet
     
  7. CRUNK

    CRUNK Well-Known Member

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    I also had efficiency issues, after trying a few suggestions, I found that I needed to stir my mash alittle bit during my first rests, because I step mash and recirculate, no sparge needed, and my numbers are right on the money ever since.
     
  8. Gunny1775

    Gunny1775 Member

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    Step Mash and recirculate? I've never heard of this?
     
  9. CRUNK

    CRUNK Well-Known Member

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    I have a pump set up that I recirculate the wort from my mash tun, to the boil kettle and back, constantly recirculates the entire mashing process, using the grain bed as a natural filter.

    I have a 2 vessel gas fired rims set up.

    My step mash schedule is as follows

    Dough in 131°f immediately raise temp 2 degrees per minutes to 144°f
    144°-20 minute rest stirring the mash gently for approximately 5 minutes
    148°-20 minute rest stirring the mash gently for approximately 5 minutes
    153°-20 minute rest
    163°-30 minute rest
    172°-10 minute rest
     
  10. Gunny1775

    Gunny1775 Member

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    Yea that's a little more complicated than i want
     
  11. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    Just find an old colander and put it upside down in a 5 gallon bucket. Pour a gallon at a time of 170° water through the grains, and when it’s drained, dump it in your kettle.
     
  12. CRUNK

    CRUNK Well-Known Member

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    Actually if you're doing a single vessel Brew in a bag it should be even easier for you than it is for me but we really got off topic your question was about your efficiency and I found that stirring a little bit during the mash rest. Is what really helped my efficiency jump up the other things that I tried helped a little bit and I gained a few points off of it but the stirring really took it over the top.

    I am running an average of 82 to 84% efficiency my mash tun is a cooler
     
  13. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    Stir the mash every 15 or 20 minutes for a bit.
     
  14. CRUNK

    CRUNK Well-Known Member

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    My biggest advice is don't get discouraged ask questions be as detailed as possible so that the answers you get will be more directly useful and above all have fun don't let this become a chore we were all new at one time and we've all asked the same questions trust me these guys will be able to get you the answers you're looking for
     
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  15. Gunny1775

    Gunny1775 Member

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    I don't get get discouraged...lol...Been in the Marine Corps long enough not too. I'm just trying to learn. I do stir the Mash every 30 minutes. Whats the point in sitting the Colander in up side down?
     
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  16. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    Helps to keep the bag rasied a bit more so it doesn't sit directly in whatever's draining out of it
     
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  17. Mark D Pirate

    Mark D Pirate Well-Known Member

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    False bottom helps , I have a pump on my single vessel biab set rig mainly so I can run the electric element to raise / maintain temps .
    Will take and post a pic of it tonight so you see how simple it can be ....mines a cake rack !
     
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  18. CRUNK

    CRUNK Well-Known Member

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    If you are already stirring your mash, then I recommend sparging. As the others have mentioned in this thread.
     
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  19. CRUNK

    CRUNK Well-Known Member

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    Here is some beer porn for encouragement this is my latest Oktoberfest.
     

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  20. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member

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    In my opinion - a dunk sparge in place of a mash out will help. Reduce your initial mash by 1G and set that aside in a bucket. When you pull the bag, drop it in that 1G for a final rinse. Just do one drain and squeeze. Rinse, stir, drain, squeeze if you must.

    I assume that you use a calculator to determine how much water you need as you start the boil? Yes?

    Ps .. don't believe those who say that efficiency suffers with BIAB. It's a myth. But keep it a secret. We want them to think that they are on to something.
     
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