Specific to homebrewing, to minimize the required time footprint for brewing a batch, many folks here in the US are starting to adopt a brewing technique from the Australian homebrewers: the Brew-In-A-Bag (BIAB) technique. Not only is it a shorter brew day, but the equipment costs and clean up time are considerably less than traditional all-grain set-ups. So in addition to the time savings, BIAB also makes for an attractive gateway for extract brewers to brew all-grain brews.
In a nutshell, BIAB uses a brew kettle as a mash tun, a hot liquor tank, and a kettle all in one. The milled grain is contained within a very large mesh bag steeped within the water-filled kettle in order to accomplish the mash. Think of it as when using steeping grains as part of an extract brew – except with BIAB, there is no malt extract, as all fermentables are derived from the ~10 lbs of steeping grains. Combine this with appropriate temperature control of the water to accomplish the right mashing/saccharification.
A friend and club member of my local homebrew club (RIFT) has been delving into BIAB over the past 6 months, whereby now, he is preaching the BIAB gospel and looking for converts. Jeff H. (yes, another Jeff – there is a lot of name duplicity in our club) happily agreed when I recruited him to photo-document a BIAB brew sessions and write up his notes on the process. Presented below is the photo record of Jeff H.’s recent BIAB brew day when brewing his Amarillo Pale Ale.
And that’s about it for the process – it’s simple and quick (about 4 hours start to finish). Everything is accomplished in the one vessel, making clean up simpler and faster.
As mentioned above, there are much more in depth guides and how-to’s on there on the web. If reading through this has given you even a shred of curiosity, take a moment and check out one or two of the following BIAB resources:
- Homebrew Talk’s Brew-In-A-Bag Wiki
- AussieHomeBrewer.com’s Guide to All-Grain Brewing in a Bag
- Basic Brewing’s Jan. 16th Video – Organic Corn Pilsner via BIAB
- The Brewing Network’s Forum – How to go from Extract to All Grain for < $10.00
Batch Size (Gal): 5.25
Total Grain (Lbs): 11.25
Brewhouse Efficiency: 72 %
Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes
9.75 lbs. Pale Malt (2 Row) US
0.6 lbs. Munich Malt
0.45 lbs. Crystal 15L
0.45 lbs. Crystal 45L
1.00 oz Amarillo Pellets (8.0% AA) at 60 minutes
0.50 oz Amarillo Pellets (8.0% AA) at 15 minutes
0.50 oz Amarillo Pellets (8.0% AA) at 1 minute
1.00 oz Amarillo Pellets (8.0% AA) as a Dry Hop (for 5 days)
1.0 Tab Whirlfloc at 15 Min
1x 11.5 g package – Safale US-05, Dry Yeast
60 min at 152°F
After digesting all the material above, please leave us a comment on your thoughts about BIAB – have you ever given it a try? How was the resulting beer?
And last, but not least, a big thank you to Jeff H. for taking the time to photo-document his process and for sharing his notes on the process.
“We brewers don’t make beer, we just get all the ingredients together and the beer makes itself.”