My first BIAB and a first how to BIAB
Last weekend I made my first attempt at BIAB, and I wanted to explain a bit about the process, how I made the conversion from extract and my take on it.
First, a little about BIAB – it stands for Brew (or Beer) In A Bag. The method is as literal as it comes – the mashing is done in a bag that is soaked in a pot and than being taken out, drained, and the remaining liquid is the wort. The idea is to be able to do an all-grain brew using one pot, and it is meant to reduce time and tools – perfect for the “space poor” among us.
1. Buy grains, simple. I will write more about grains later, but you need enough grains to make a specific recipe. I tried to convert my Black Ale recipe to all grain, and after much research, found that I need 1 kg of Pale Malt, 400g of Chocolate Malt and 100g of Roasted Barley to make the equivalent of 1kg of Dark Malt extract (they come in 1.5kg tins).
2. Get a pot big enough to have all the grains an all the water you need in it. My usual recipe uses 4.5 litres of water, so I wanted 3 litres of water left for my wort. The mashing assumes 30%-50% water loss, so to make my beer I mashed 1.5kg of grains in 4 litres of water. My regular pot was enough.
3. Pre boil the water to 70°C. Mashing needs to be done at 65°C to 69°C to break the enzymes in the grains and release the sugars to crate the malt we need to the wort and than from the fermentation. The rule of thumb is closer to 65°C more fermentable sugars are released, and closer to 69°C, the sweeter the beer will be. By bringing the mashing water to 70°C you accommodate the drop of temperature from adding the grains.
5. Keep the mashing for 60 to 90 minutes. The longer the mashing is going, the more fermentable sugars are released, and the higher the OG will be. Aim for at least 60 minutes (though there are recipes that need less), and around 70-90 minutes seems to be the common suggestion. i went for 90 minutes. You must keep the temperature below 70°C and avoid stirring to much. Stirring too much might introduce too much oxygen to the wort and increase haziness later on.
6. When the mashing is done – take the bag out and leave in you fermenting bucket to catch more liquid. At this point you are done with the mashing and you can move the pot to full boil and start treating the wort as if you’ve been using extract.
As you can see, the process is simple, and the important part is temperature control. I have a feeling I haven’t done that so well this time, but it seems that a learning curve is a must here to get the control on you heat source right.
in terms of the conversion from extract, from I understand, for every 1 kg of extract, you will need 1.5 kg of grains. The mix of grains is up to you, and I was trying to recreate a dark extract (with 65L colour).
BIAB is an exciting way to get into all-grain, and having more control over your brews. I look forward to try and make more beers and see what can be achieved. On thing to remember is that it is a long brew day (4-5 hours), and much cooking is going on, so a lot of ventilation is needed, so not sure that a small flat on a cold winter day is the right place. I will try and and make more BIAB, but I think it will be less common than using extract with specialty grains.
Do you have any good tricks to make the brew days easier when using BIAB method? Let me know any tricks you have, and maybe can find a way to make it to BIAB more often.