Brew In a Bag “BIAB”
What is brew in a bag you ask? Never heard of it? You must just have gotten into the hobby then my friend. It puts the grains in the bag or else it gets the hose again!
Well don’t worry I was once a fresh brewer new off the streets of CT looking hungry to learn how to make some stellar Beer of my own.
Well Brew in a Bag, known as BIAB for short is a method of all grain beer brewing that doesn’t require you to break the bank on investing in a three vessel system.
All grain three vessel Considerations
There are many advantages to BIAB and one of the most important is time. Where an extract beer kit might take you a few hours on a Saturday afternoon in your kitchen full blown all grain brewing with a three vessel system is a hell of lot more extensive.
Why would that be you ask? I know right doesn’t seem all that daunting until you do your first brew day. You start by hauling all of the equipment out piece by piece. All the hoses, testing instruments, cooling tools, cleaning buckets, fermenting buckets etc…
That isn’t even counting the kettle, mash tun and hot liquor tank or the equipment to heat it up. Not to mention how do you get that sweet wort you just mashed over to the brew kettle after your done mashing?
Cleaning and sanitizing is at least an hour and half chore from lugging it to where you can wash, rinse and sanitize it all.
Once you have that all out the way your next step is to get mashed into your mash tun hold your temperature on the grain and water for 90 minutes.
While that’s going you have to prepare water for a sparge which is basically 170 degree water that your going to slowly trickle over your grain bed while your mash tun is open at the top and collect the wort from the tun into the boil kettle.
If all goes well with this laborious and oh so traditional method your about four to five hours in at this point. Next up is the boil for an additional 60 minutes sometimes longer depending on the style and recipe your brewing.
Now your in for six hours if all goes on schedule which if you know me buddy Murphy never happens right?
You start your brew day nice and sober with coffee even then as you progress through the sanitation routine and then you have a beer or six. Before you know it you’re at it for eight or nine fookin hours in wondering were the time went and if you were supposed to pick up the kid or mow the lawn. A hem….. I digress.
To cut to the chase, employ this sleek method of BIAB and reduce all the washing, rinsing and sanitizing down to a manageable level.
You only need a brew kettle, a fermentor, air lock, grain bag, chiller, mash paddle and maybe some pharmaceutical grade rubber gloves to work with the hot bag of grains.
BIAB reduces the vessel requirement from three to a single vessel. You mash in the kettle. Then yank the grain bag out, let it drain into the kettle while your firing it up to bring it to a boil.
This method saves two huge steps one in cleaning and sanitizing and the other is not having to sparge to rinse the sugar from the grain bed as raising the bag and allowing it to drain does the trick.
Pro tip if you so desire you can perform a mash out just before you haul the bag out. This stops starch to sugar conversion which is one of the reasons to sparge. To do this simple heat the mash to 170 degree F for a few minutes, stirring to ensure no scorching and then remove the bag and drain.
While draining the bag fire up your heat source and get that the batch cooking. Time to boil this baby. Once you have drained your bag all the way go ahead and toss it aside in a bucket or somewhere safe to throw out, recycle, feed the neighbor’s goat or what ever your into with it.
Hell I have seen a lot of people making dog treats and bread with the spent grains so have at it. There are tons of recipes and how to’s out there on that sort of ying and yang.
Boil the wort as called for in your recipe.
Now you just boil your wort for the required sixty or ninety minutes adding your merry hops along the way! Once the boil is out of the way cool the wort, add it to the fermentor and pitch you yeasties!
The whole process takes all grain from a six to eight hour day and compresses it to around a four hour session. You can probably even compress that more with some careful planning and thinking ahead.
So what are you waiting for? Get over to https://www.homebrewing.org/Brew-in-a-Bag-Equipment_c_222.html
and get what you need to start making some seriously damn good beer at home. In a fraction of the time it would take to do the traditional three vessel method.
Here are some technical resource links to more information on brewing in a bag.