Adding BIAB to RIMS...Sparge Experiment

Any method that is not a 'full-volume' mash. Usually, but not always, requires more than a single vessel or heat source. Includes traditional, three-vessel brewing.
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Adding BIAB to RIMS...Sparge Experiment

Post by grem » 3 years ago

Great Forum! I recently discovered BIAB brewing & have incorporated it into my brew day. I've been brewing 10 gallon batches of all grain on "RUBY" for almost three years now. A two tier, three pot system with a March pump, ice water pump, & chiller plate. The pots are 60 qt with false bottoms 3/4" off the bottom in two of them. (mash pot & boil pot) The HLT gravity feeds the mash for sparging. On some brew days I like a crowd: on others I want to be left alone. I think I found the answer for both using the BIAB method. I've done three batches so far dialing in an idea that's been running thru my head as of late.

The idea was to come up with a way to brew up 20 gallons of wort in a timeframe not much longer than a 10 gallon batch on those days I have company. Four of us could each take 5 gallons & pitch a different (or not) yeast strain. But first I needed to get my feet wet on the procedure; so I experimented with a 5 gallon batch by myself. I've carried enough wet buckets of spent wort out to the compost pile to know how heavy it can be; so my first purchase was a 1/4 ton ratchet chain hoist, a 4' piece of thick walled gas pipe threaded on both ends, a six ft piece of cable with loops on both ends, & a custom sewn tapered bag with handles to fit my pot. The garage has 10' walls with rafters on two foot centers. I bolted a couple pieces of 2x8 about a foot long to the rafters & drilled a hole big enough for the pipe to go thru & screwed a cap on each end. The result is a sturdy piece of pipe 4' long suspended from the ceiling slightly below the rafters allowing me to throw the cable over & hook the ratchet to. The cable slides sideways far enough to clear the brewpot; so the full bag can be lowered into a container for a trip to the compost while the wort is boiling.

On my first try I decided to do a 5 gallon full volume batch of pale ale & used my favorite recipe. Ground grist the same; profiled & used the same amount of water, & mashed at the same temp as normal. The pots are Bayou Classic, and a basket is available with a nice sturdy handle; so I ordered one thinking it would work great. Only problem is... when resting in place it sat about three inches above the bottom of the pot & the water wouldn't cover the grain in the bag. I removed the basket & lowered the bag onto the false bottom & it worked great! The basket works better for sparging as I found out on the second batch. In the end the pre-boil gravity was high, so I added enough hot water to reel it back in a bit before boiling.

On the second try I had some help from some other experienced brewing friends & together we decided to do a 10 gallon pale ale BIAB in the boil pot & sparge as needed for pre-boil volume. One of the guys wanted to do a Barley Wine; so while the BIAB was soaking we prepared the water & ingredients in the mash pot for a 5 gallon batch of Barley Wine with a real big grain bill. When doing all grain on this system I use 1.33 qts water per pound of grist with the false bottom installed. We used the same amount in the 10 gallon BIAB to start off with. After an hour we hoisted that bag out of the water; let it drain a while; lowered it into the basket I was talking about earlier with the sturdy handle; clipped the bag around the handles to open it up & let it hover just above the desired pre-boil water level. It hung too high for a gravity sparge; so I took a pitcher & used it to sparge with the 170 F water from the HLT letting it drain into the boil pot until pre-boil volume was reached. We lifted & then slid the basket w/bag out of the way; stirred the wort real good & took a gravity reading using a refractometer. Looking for a pre-boil gravity of 1.052 it came in at 1.054... :thumbs:

The third batch was done with a friend who has never brewed before & will be joining the BIAB community in the near future. We did another 5 gallon full volume batch of an easy drinker & nailed the pre-boil spot on. However, after boiling I had to add hot water & re-boil for a while as the gravity was higher than desired. So far... on the three batches of BIAB I've experimented with; I'm impressed & give it a big :thumbs:.

The fourth experiment is going to happen this upcoming weekend that will involve brewing up 20 gallons of a dark & hoppy ale. Ten gallons sparging the BIAB & then ten gallons an hour or so later using the standard all grain method. If this goes as well as the first three experiments; then I will consider purchasing a 100 qt boil pot. In my mind I would be able to do a full volume 10 gallon batch of wort using the BIAB method while mashing a standard all grain at the same time. Drain bag; and transfer simultaneously. Add hops & boil. Thoughts?

Hope I didn't put everyone to :sleep: A few pics to put everything into perspective...

Cheers,
grem
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Last edited by grem on 15 Jan 2014, 14:07, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by BobBrews » 3 years ago

Nice set up grem. Its a wonderful world where we can all work together to enjoy good home brew. keep on brewing. we await your insight on BIAB.
tap 1 Raspberry wine
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tap 3 Czech Pilsner
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Post by Dski » 3 years ago

Yeah, nice lookin set up Grem. Cheers for the pics.

Keen to hear the results of your experiment, as I'm sure you're keen to drink em!


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Post by grem » 3 years ago

Back again with some results. Yesterday after 6 days, I took a hydrometer reading from the third & full volume experimental batch. Pre boil gravity was 1.046. After a one hour boil at this altitude on this system OG was 1.054. After fermentation FG came in at 1.017 so I racked it off the trub & transferred it into a corny keg for cold crashing. I used 2 packets of re-hydrated US-05 dry yeast on this batch after aerating with pure oxygen for 15 seconds before pitching. I also adjust my water source (well water) to fit the beer profile on brewday. I saved & washed the yeast from primary for later use.

The fourth experiment didn't go quite as planned. I had some lager yeast that needed to be pitched soon; & I wanted to brew up an IPA for those who visit occasionally with a passion for the hoppy stuff. I brewed up a 5 gal batch of Bohemian Pilsner using the full volume BIAB setup & then later... ten gallons of an IPA using the standard all grain method. I've got a lot to learn about lagers in regards to fermentation temps & technique...but the pre-boil & OG gravity was almost "spot on" before pitching yeast.


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Post by PistolPatch » 3 years ago

grem,

I've been onto this thread since you first posted it but haven't had a chance to reply to it until now.

I've read it several times over the last week on and off and then lacked the time to reply properly. Rather than ask too many questions in a single post, maybe I should just do one?

You mentioned above about your Bayou Classic sitting about three inches above the bottom of your kettle. You then mentioned sparging. My first question, and maybe answer, is, "Could you have put all or most or your mash and sparge water into a single vessel from the beginning?"

What I am saying here is that we have found that it doesn't matter if you add all the water to your grain in one hit or in stages. In other words, you shouldn't be sparging if you don't have to.

Does that make sense?
PP
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Post by grem » 3 years ago

PistolPatch wrote:grem,

I've been onto this thread since you first posted it but haven't had a chance to reply to it until now.

I've read it several times over the last week on and off and then lacked the time to reply properly. Rather than ask too many questions in a single post, maybe I should just do one?

You mentioned above about your Bayou Classic sitting about three inches above the bottom of your kettle. You then mentioned sparging. My first question, and maybe answer, is, "Could you have put all or most or your mash and sparge water into a single vessel from the beginning?"

What I am saying here is that we have found that it doesn't matter if you add all the water to your grain in one hit or in stages. In other words, you shouldn't be sparging if you don't have to.

Does that make sense?
PP
pp,

Yes it does & I think you answered a question I've been meaning to experiment with on the next batch. Up to this point I've done three BIAB full volume 5 gal batchs in the 15 gal Bayou Classic kettle with great results. On the last two batches I didn't use the basket; just the bag with handles on top of a false bottom 3/4" off the kettle bottom. When brewing a typical ten gallon all grain batch; my pre boil volume needs to be at least 13 gallons in the 15 gallon kettle to get to where I need to be on this system & boil off rate at our altitude of 5,280 ft. Water boils here at 203 F degrees instead of 212 F degrees; so I use the same principle as I do when canning foods...boil longer. I usually boil for 75 to 90 minutes and as a result end up with just enough wort to fill two 6.5 gallon carboys with 5.5 gallons of wort in each.

If I'm reading you right; I should be able to mash enough grains for a ten gallon recipe in the bag; fill the kettle plumb full with mash temperature water; mash for an adequate amount of time; hoist bag & drain; then add water to desired pre boil gravity. Your thoughts?

Thanks,
grem
Last edited by grem on 22 Jan 2014, 13:13, edited 2 times in total.


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Post by PistolPatch » 3 years ago

Apologies grem, I meant to reply here last night but there has been a heatwave here and I had to take on a lot of coolant but after doing so ran out of fuel :interesting:.

There's several things that you have written above that deserve a good reply. I just looked at the clock though and I really have to go. Can I ask you to do the following?

Wade through the post I just wrote here. You may not think it relates here but it does.

I'll try and reply better in the next day or two*.

;)
PP

P.S. Also, see if you can find some posts on a 90 min boil here. Finally, relying on a pre-boil gravity reading is advice often given but not very useful as it assumes that your evaporation rate will be the same on every brew. It never is.

*Can you let me know if any of the above helps? This might save you a long-winded reply :).
Last edited by PistolPatch on 23 Jan 2014, 20:58, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by grem » 3 years ago

PistolPatch wrote:Apologies grem, I meant to reply here last night but there has been a heatwave here and I had to take on a lot of coolant but after doing so ran out of fuel :interesting:.

There's several things that you have written above that deserve a good reply. I just looked at the clock though and I really have to go. Can I ask you to do the following?

Wade through the post I just wrote here. You may not think it relates here but it does.

I'll try and reply better in the next day or two*.

;)
PP

P.S. Also, see if you can find some posts on a 90 min boil here. Finally, relying on a pre-boil gravity reading is advice often given but not very useful as it assumes that your evaporation rate will be the same on every brew. It never is.

*Can you let me know if any of the above helps? This might save you a long-winded reply :).
No need to apologize PP. Perhaps the apology should come from me. Sorry about the long-winded question in the first place without proper introduction and/or background....and yes...all of the above helped. Mostly this one...

http://bavarianbrewerytech.com/news/boilhops.htm

Thanks,
grem
Last edited by grem on 24 Jan 2014, 12:41, edited 2 times in total.

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