BIAB All Grain Brewing – Easy Brewing On A Sunny Day

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Digital Mashing Bin And A Big Pan

Lately I’ve been doing the BIAB method of brewing with my electrim mashing bin, I’ve found it to be a lot more enjoyable than the traditional methods. The usual way of getting out my mash tun and boiler seems to require a lot more space and time. Being quite new to all grain brewing (which means this blog could contain mistakes so please let me know if you spot anything a bit odd) I find it a bit more manageable and doing just 20 or 30 bottles at a time suits me fine, gives me more of a chance to get more batches done and try to perfect my recipes and methods.

As it was a nice sunny weekend I decided to take some pics of the process and write a small guide for anyone else that is in a similar position, new to all grain with limited space and funds.

The beer I’m making is a simple one, not from a recipe and is a bit of an experiment. The grain is all Fawcett Grains and consists of Maris Otter 95%, Dark Crystal Malt, 4% and Torrified Wheat 1%, (Total 4kg of grains which should work out as 3.5 gallon batch). East Kent Golding Hops 30g in the boil for 1 hour then 15g for last 15 minutes for aroma.

Mashing Stage
Mashing Stage

I start of by putting in the mashing bag into the mashing bin and tying it up very tight. Its going to have a lot of grain in there so you don’t won’t it coming lose. Fill it up to 20 litres and turn it on at 66 degrees C. When the water is up to temperature add the grain and mix with a stainless steel paddle thoroughly to get out any dough balls. Stick the lid back on a leave to mash for 1 hour. After an hour turn it up to 75 degrees C for 10 minutes then turn it off.

Sparging The Grains
Sparging The Grains

Now the mashing stage is complete you need to start draining it off into another vessel and start the sparging stage. For my sparging water I heat up 10 litres of water up to 67 degrees C in a big pan. My sparging method is simply using a jug and pouring it over the grains whilst still in the mashing bag.

Draining Off
Draining Off

Once all the wort has drained through into the vessel its time to remove the bag of grain from the mashing bin, take care as its heavier than you would expect. Clean out the mashing bin and bag, then pour the wort back into the mashing bin and place the mashing bag back inside. Set the mashing bin to 101 and get it up to the boil. When you have a good rolling boil its time to add your hops. Boil for an hour and for the last 15 minutes of the boil you’ll want to add a bit more hops for aroma and some Irish Moss (copper finings) to help clear your beer.

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Home Made Wort Cooler

After the boil you’ll need to cool it down as quick as possible using a wort cooler. I made my own wort cooler, its 10 metres of 10mm copper tube bent round a paint tin, with 2 washer machine hoses on either side, tightened on with some jubilee clips. Much cheaper than buying one as does the job great. How it works is by attaching one hose to a tap and the other end goes into the drain, the water passes through the coil and takes the heat out of the wort.

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Wort Cooler Doing Its Job

Drain it off out from the Mashing bin into another vessel. When doing this I put a little hop bag over the tap to collect any bits of hops. I cool it then take a sample for testing and tasting. A refractometer is a great device for getting gravity readings. Once you’re happy with the gravity reading and cooled it down enough its time to pitch the yeast. I used a Saf US-05 for this beer, I’ve had some great results so far with it so its gets included in my recipes quite a lot.

Its quite a quick guide but hope this helps, feel free to ask any questions below.

Mark Donnelly

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Little Taster
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8 Comments Add yours

  1. Tim Stevenson says:

    Your method is very like mine, and I too get good results with an Electrim bin.

    One problem I have found with it is the weight of the malt can press he (man made fibre) mashing bag onto the element, on odd occasions causing overheating and burning a slit into it! This is darnable, but not good. A solution I have tried is to place a cotton flannel over the element – this does not seem to burn (so far!). I also make a tea with my aroma hops (as you would with the builder’s variety, but a longer steep), drain and add them to the boil for the last 15 minutes as you do, and add the tea to the cooled wort. This gets out the finer aromas without danger of degrading them by a boil.

    I find the (older style, non electronic) Electrim boils rather too vigorously, particularly with the lid on, unless you need to reduce volume. I have knocked up a device that turns it on for 20 seconds, the off for 40, which seems to maintain a good boil.

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  2. hbobrewblog says:

    Thats great, thanks for the comment and tips. Will deffinetly try your hopping method next time round. Next project I’m thinking about is to try and make my electrim mashing bin a recirculating mash. I’ve seen some cheap pumps, tranformers and control units on ebay. Bit more research to do yet but how hard can it be? I’ll post the results.

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  3. Jim C says:

    Hi there, would I be correct in saying that you use 20l of water to mash with, 10l to sparge with – so the total amount brewed / bottled is 30l?

    Most recipes I have made with extract method only, are around 21l.

    Looking to use BIAB but need some reassurance here!

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    1. Tim Stevenson says:

      Yes and no! Firstly, a not insignificant amount of liquid seems to remain in the grain, even though I hang up the mashing bag until it has virtually finished draining. And, yes, using this amount of water does sometimes (my figures are approximate and my practice can be variable) produce rather too much wort. In this case I do what my local craft brewer does, and reduce the quantity by a rather more vigorous boil with the lid off.

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    2. hbobrewblog says:

      Hi, thanks for the comment, sorry its took a while to reply. Working out how much you’re going to end up with is pretty complicated as you lose a few litres soaked in the grains and also around 20% when you boil, to evaporation, depending on your set up. With this batch I ended up with 16 litres. You can estimate quickly how much you’re going to end up with by multiplying the wieght of the grain by 4, so I started with 4 kilograms of grain and ended up with 16 litres of beer.

      I use this website to work out my quantities, http://www.brewersfriend.com makes it much easier to plan your brew day. There is a brew day sheet you can print out witch is nice to have.

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  4. Daniel Midgley says:

    How do you sterilise your wort cooler? do you submerge completely in a tub of sanitiser or do you use sanitiser in a spray bottle?

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    1. homebrewonline says:

      Hello Daniel

      Sorry about delayed reply. You can do either but if you were to spray it you would need to use a no rinse sanitiser like brewsafe or starsan. Here are some links to both:

      http://www.home-brew-online.com/equipment-c40/general-c179/cleaning-c256/five-star-m77

      http://www.home-brew-online.com/search/brewsafe

      Hope this helps.
      HBO

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    2. Tim Stevenson says:

      I wash it in plain water under the tap, both before and after use. The key thing is that I empty cooling water out of it after use, and put into the wort (still empty of cooling water) while it is still boiling for a minute or two, which steralises it. Only then do I run cooling water through it. This seems to work – have had no problems.

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