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Well figured it was about time I put up a pictorial of my brew day, this is how I do BIAB at the moment, ive made many tweaks to the process over time and I can get higher efficiencys doing it another way, however I find this is the best way to get consistent results across varied grain bill sizes, meaning I only lose about 3-5% if im doing a big 7kg batch! So to start out - I weigh out the grain, which is normally done with the hops a couple of days before i brew in anticipation :o)

The beer im brewing is a CAP - Classic American Pilsner, a pre-prohibition beer in the US, this is my recipe 2kg German Pils 1.5kg Bohemian Pils 1.25kg FLaked Maize 125g CaraPils 250g Munich II FWH - 12g Columbus 15 - 10g Amarillo, 15g Centennial FO - 15g Centennial Wyeast 2124 Bohemian Lager - 10litre starter The grain goes into the JoKing style hopper and is ready to mill

Post Crush - my mill gap is set at 0.040"

I then dough in at about 2 degrees higher than what my desired mash temp is, for some reason, every time, it settles perfectly 2 degrees lower, probably because of the slightly higher LQR that BIAB has... A PH check is essential to ensure lack of haze in my beers, I find the 5.6 mark gives me the desired results, a couple of pinchs of citric acid, and a teaspoon of gypsum solve this for me!

I then put the lid on the kettle, and cover it with a big fluffy blanket for insulation - I keep the thermometer in so that I can monitor the mash temp... Even tho I havnt calibrated my pot, I allways try to make sure its full to the brim when mashing as the temp will only drop about 1.5*c this way.. Im also having under-attenuation problems at the mo so have mashed this beer at 64*c to try to counter this...

Now after the grain has been mashing for around 60 mins its time to mash out, now with the standard BIAB practice, you raise the mash temp to 78 to make the sugars more soluble, so that they run off the bag easier and dont get trapped... I skip this part and have added my own extra sparge step - mainly because my 2 ring burner is piss poor and takes a good half an hour if not more to raise to 78*c with the lid off. So what I do, is stir the grain really well, lift the bag out, then line an old bucket fermenter with the bag, spread the grain out to make a bed, then sparge with 2 litres at a time of water at 78*c, I stop when ive sparged with 4-6 litres, collect all the runnings in a bucket, then recirculate this through the grain bed. And of course when the bag comes out, the FWH goes in :o)

The sparge bucket

Once the runnings have been recirculated a couple of times, its added to the kettle and the whole lot is brought to the boil. Its boiled for 90 min to drive any DMS off, especially as im using mainly Pils malt in this brew, and added carageenen and wyeast nutrient at 10 mins... Then the chiller is run for 5 mins before I put the FO hops in, and the batch is chilled for a further 30-50 mins... I then dump the contents into a sanitised fermenter, seal it up, then if I was doing an ale would let it drop naturally to 20-22*c then pitch, but in this case, I need to get the wort down to 10*c, so im going to put it in the keg fridge, and once its down to pitching temp transfer it into a fermenting cube (which is what i use for lagers) which has a nice big fat cake of yeast to pitch on! The cube is then put into my small lager fermenting fridge (which only fits a cube) and set to 1 on the dial, which funnily enough, keeps the wort fermenting at a perfect 10*c without a tempmate :o) By this time ive earnt myself a beer ;o)

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Comment by JackoNZ on July 23, 2009 at 10:49am
Nice blog Rev. Was wondering the other day why you hadn't put something up for BIAB yet! I was gonna take some pics of my next brew and post but it's pretty damn similar to yours! I def notice a bigger temp drop if I don't fill to the top but I get better efficiency if I mash in less water. I will get hold of some polystyrene I think and use less water but stick the poly on top of the mash then lid to see if that helps, seen it on Denim's pics. I also use an old duvet wrapped around the pot, then an old sleeping bag stuck over the top, works well.
I don't bother with mashout either, dunk sparge in a bucket is the way to go.
Comment by Reviled on July 23, 2009 at 10:55am
Yeah the polystyrene will def help! And sleeping bags are great insulators, I used to use one but burnt a hole in it and SWMBO was not happy, so im no longer allowed to use it :o) lol
And its not really a dunk sparge im doing anymore, more of a batch sparge in a strange kind of way..
Comment by JackoNZ on July 23, 2009 at 11:13am
Better results with the batch sparge then?
Comment by Reviled on July 23, 2009 at 11:18am
I seemed to get higher eff with the dunk sparge on 4-5kg grist, but when I tried 6-7 my eff would drop massively, like, more than 10 points sometimes... I find with this method im consistently getting between 70-75% eff, which im happy with.. Id rather be able to hit my targets, and get it consistent, than have a high eff some days, and a low eff others...
Comment by JackoNZ on July 23, 2009 at 11:27am
So what are you doing different with the batch sparge, just recirculating?
Comment by Reviled on July 23, 2009 at 11:50am
Not dunking/squeezing the bag, just lining the bucket fermenter, then sparging, and recirculating...
Comment by JoKing on July 23, 2009 at 3:13pm
Konventional BIABing
Comment by Pilgrim on July 23, 2009 at 7:38pm
Nice one. I wasn't sure about sparging and I'd read one of you guys' comment about dunking so I hauled the bag up and let it drain, then dunked it again. Did this three times until I my arms were tired. Going to put in a sky hook and a pulley system I think. Liked your comment about the sleeping bag lol. See you got yourself a mill then :-)
Comment by Reviled on July 23, 2009 at 7:45pm
Yeah alot of people have a sky hook set up and it would make life alot easier, specially for double batches!!

And I couldnt resist the temptation of the mill any longer! I had to have one :o) lol
Comment by JackoNZ on July 23, 2009 at 8:11pm
Can't see the point of the sky hook myself, lift the bag, drain for a minute, dump it in your bucket, sparge, dunk, however you do it, drain bag again, add wort back to kettle and dump the grain/bag back in the bucket, piece of piss. The sky hooks got some nice bling factor going for them though give you that!

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