Category Archives: BIAB

The Brew Bag – End of Summer Sale… Free Shipping

The Brew Bag BIAB

The Brew Bag is a Made in the USA, purpose designed BIAB bag.  It has four loops for lifting the bag out of your kettle, every seam is reinforced for long life and it is available in a number of sizes for kettles, keggles and coolers.  If they don’t carry the size you want, The Brew Bag will custom make it for you.

I use The Brew Bag myself and it works very well. Check out my Hands on Review.

For a short time, coupon code D4XXT1QYFD1S gets you free shipping on up to 2 brew bags.  If you order more (let’s say add in a new BIAB Pulley setup) just add “$4.90 Discount” in the order comments box and you’ll receive a refund in that amount.

Check it out – Here – Remember Promo Code D4XXT1QYFD1S

Are you new to BIAB?  My BIAB Water Calculation Spreadsheet with narrative directions makes it easy!

from HBF Reader Jon: I have 2 of these bags and I can attest to the quality. They are second to none in a class by themselves really.

Pinned: Niko Hops Sale · Citra · Kegging System · Grain Sale · $24:Drip Tray

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29″ by 29″ BIAB Bag + BIAB Spreadsheet

Eagle Brewing BAG26 Mesh Brew in a Bag, 29" x 29"

Large (29″ x 29″) nylon mesh bag for brew in a bag (BIAB) brewing.  Includes draw string.  Additional uses including hop bag for straining whole hops [5 Most Recent Hop Finds], removing solids and pressing fruit for wine.

Eagle Brewing BAG26 Mesh Brew in a Bag, 29″ x 29″

RelatedAll Grain Tips & Gear · BIAB Brew Day Spreadsheet · The Brew Bag

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Ends Soon: Site-Wide Sale at The Brew Bag – BIAB Bags, Pulleys & Accessories

Brew Bag BIAB Filter

The Brew Bag is a Made in the USA, purpose designed BIAB bag.  It has four loops for lifting the bag out of your kettle, every seam is reinforced for long life and it is available in a number of sizes for kettles, keggles and coolers.  If they don’t carry the size you want, The Brew Bag will custom make it for you.

Along with BIAB Bags, The Brew Bag offers Pulley Setups and BIAB friendly accessories like PVC gloves and short stemmed thermometers.

I use The Brew Bag myself and it works very well. Check out my Hands on Review.

For a short time, coupon code IHAJ72MQNKEG takes 10% off site-wide.

Check it out – Here – Remember Promo Code IHAJ72MQNKEG

from HBF Reader Jon: I have 2 of these bags and I can attest to the quality. They are second to none in a class by themselves really.

AlsoAll Grain Tips & Gear

Pinned: Niko Hops Sale · Citra · Kegging System · Grain Sale · $24:Drip Tray

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BIAB Brew Day Spreadsheet – Water Calculations + Narrative Directions

Brew in a Bag (BIAB) is a quick, easy and economical way to brew all grain batches of beer.  I released my brew day spreadsheet some time ago along with a version of that to be used for small batch beers.  See below for links.  Either of those could be modified to work with BIAB by changing variables,  This version is specifically designed for full size BIAB batches.  Related: Hands on Review: The Brew Bag – Purpose Made BIAB

How do I use brew day spreadsheets?  First, I do use recipe formulation software.  Some of those programs have brew day components.  I’ve just never gotten into using those features.  For better or worse, I use a spreadsheet.  I make a copy and name it using the batch number and beer name and then quickly plug in the basics.  This creates a one sheet printable page that I can use on brew day.  That gives me a single piece of paper with all of my numbers and a spot for brew day notes.  Notes can go back into the spreadsheet for archival.

Brew Day Sheet (click to enlarge):

homebrew brew in a bag biab spreadsheetThis is the main sheet where you will fill in information about your beer and your mash parameters.

Color Coding: Green Cells are information that you can fill in and Blue/Light Gray Cells are calculated.

General Layout and Flow: Start with Beer Name, Brew Date, Batch Number and 1:Beer Info.  Fill in current grain temp under 2:Strike Water Temperature and step by step directions are populated under 3:BIAB Directions.  Constants on the right hand can be set once for your setup and adjusted as needed.  The bottom section of this sheet contains three calculators explained below.

1:Beer Info: Basic information about your beer and mash profile.

 “Reserve (gallons)” B12 Cell: Allows you to set aside a set number of gallons for sparge, dunking, topping off, etc.  This is subtracted from the total strike water value.  It is assumed that you will add or use this at some point.

“Mash Volume – Can I mash it?”: This field estimates total mash volume including grain and water.  This is an estimate.  The cell turns red if the projected volume of your mash exceeds the size of your mash tun.  This is an adaptation of the formula found on the Green Bay Rackers Calculators Page.

2:Strike Water Temp: Fill in the Beer Info section and your Grain’s current Temperature (cell B5) and the spreadsheet calculates your strike water temperature (cell B6).  Note that the temperature will be offset by the “Undershoot Mash Temp” (cell H7).  Read the constants section for more info on that.

Strike Water Volume: Calculates the amount of water you will need in both quarts and gallons.

Volume Needed – Start of Boil and 15 Minutes Remaining: These sections list required water volume at two important times.  The 15 minute calculation attempts to take into account expansion of wort at boiling.  Take a measurement at 15 minutes and use this figure to correct a low volume.

Constants: The constants section has some variables that you can adjust based on your setup.  For example, I’ve found that grain absorption for my crush is right around .11 gallons/lb.  I think that will be close for you but you can tweak it here if you observe something different.

A note on “Undershoot Mash Temp” – This cell allows you to come in under your desired mash temp.  Why would you want to do that?  It’s easier to ramp up a degree or two vs cool down a degree or two.  This number is subtracted from the calculated Strike Water Temperature recommendation (cell B6).

I suggest reviewing the Constants section to make adjustments for your setup.

3: BIAB Directions: These are narrative step-by-step directions that you can follow after you fill in Beer Info, Grain Temp and Constants.  Note that you can use the table from the “Summary Tab” for on the go adjustments to the strike temp referenced in step 1.

Calculators – The bottom three sections of this tab are calculators.  These calculators can pull from cells in the top portion of the tab, but they do not affect 3:BIAB Directions.

Gravity: This is an adaption of Sean Terrill’s Refractometer Calculator (used by permission).  Thanks Sean for your excellent work on this!

Efficiency: This calculation uses your recipe software’s efficiency setting for a particular recipe along with target gravity to figure efficiency.  That means no re-entering fermentables for every batch.  I figure efficiency when going from the mash tun to the boil kettle.  This is a calculator in the sense that it is standalone and has no bearing on other calculations or cells.

Anytime Gravity Estimate and Correction:  Plug in volume, boil time and gravity figures at any time during your brew day and this calculator will suggest volume and gravity corrections.  Accepts either gravity or Brix (if both are present the Brix value is used).  If you are under volume, I would suggest correcting volume and then re-checking gravity.  This calculator makes no attempt to correct volumes or gravities that are too high.

Summary Sheet (click to enlarge):BIAB Water Calculation Spreadsheet Homebrew

This is setup to print on a regular 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheet of paper and gives a rundown of essential brew day tasks and data.  I use this print out on brew day.

Prepare:  This is a simple to do checklist.  You can modify this section as you see fit based on your procedure.

Water Volumes/Gravity:  This projects the volume and gravity you should have at three stages (start of boil, 15 minutes remaining and end of boil).  The last two columns (lb DME/pt and grams) are meant to allow you to easily correct your gravity at those stages.  Each of those amounts should add 1 gravity point to your beer.  Let’s say you’re three points down at the start of the boil.  With the example in this graphic, you would add .42 lbs of DME to correct the gravity of the 6 gallon batch.  Bam… that’s easy!

Hop/Adjunct Schedule: You can choose either grams or ounces.  If you choose ounces it will also be converted to grams.

Strike Temp:  This is a table version of the calculated strike temp found on the brew day sheet.  The initial temperature can be changed.  This changes subsequent values.  If you’re using a summary printout, you can measure the temp of your grain and refer to this chart for the appropriate strike temp.

Log and Notes Sheet (click to enlarge):homebrewing excel spreadsheet

Log: This section is meant to log actions taken on the beer (fermentation temp changes, dry hopping, oak additions, etc).  It calculates the time that has elapsed since brew day, between actions and since the action took place.

Notes: Simple notes section.

Download
This is a Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet.  I would suggest running this through your previous calculation methods to double check that all this makes sense for you and to verify constants.  I don’t want you coming back to me and complaining the your double IPA is a Pale Ale because of me. :)

Homebrew Finds BIAB Spreadsheet

If you have a question or suggestion for the spreadsheet, send me an email.

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toppost:biabspreadsheet

Site-Wide Sale at The Brew Bag – BIAB Bags, Pulleys & Accessories

Brew Bag BIAB Filter

The Brew Bag is a Made in the USA, purpose designed BIAB bag.  It has four loops for lifting the bag out of your kettle, every seam is reinforced for long life and it is available in a number of sizes for kettles, keggles and coolers.  If they don’t carry the size you want, The Brew Bag will custom make it for you.

Along with BIAB Bags, The Brew Bag offers Pulley Setups and BIAB friendly accessories like PVC gloves and short stemmed thermometers.

I use The Brew Bag myself and it works very well. Check out my Hands on Review.

For a short time, coupon code IHAJ72MQNKEG takes 10% off site-wide.

Check it out – Here – Remember Promo Code IHAJ72MQNKEG

from HBF Reader Jon: I have 2 of these bags and I can attest to the quality. They are second to none in a class by themselves really.

AlsoAll Grain Tips & Gear

Pinned: Niko Hops Sale · Citra · Kegging System · Grain Sale · $24:Drip Tray

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Guest Post: Brew In a Bag – Bag Material – Does it Matter? by Rex Slagel + 10% Off

Brew in a Bag Homebrew Bag MaterialSpecial Thanks to Rex Slagel for this Guest Post!  Read more about Rex below

So you’re either itching to move to all grain but either don’t have the budget, space, or you just don’t want to spend $750 to $1,500 on three vessel (3V) set up. Maybe you just brewed with a buddy on your 3V system while he brewed using a fabric filter aka – brew in a bag – and he was having a homebrew while you were adding your first hop additions, or you used to brew and then life happened so those six hour brew days are just not possible anymore…but you still want to brew! Using a fabric filter solves all those issues. But, can it really be that simple, is the beer worth drinking, and what type of bag should I use?

I’ll first say that there have been many brewing competitions won using a fabric filter. In fact the 2014 AHA home brewer of the year Robert Helferding now brews exclusively using this method. Here’s what he said about it:

“I started BIAB about a year ago and am a huge fan and advocate of the brewing method. The only weak spot I found was the bag itself. The Brew Bag® is my fifth purchased bag in less than a year — others were not fine enough, didn’t last past a few brews or were cheaply made and fell apart. My wife had made a bag that was pretty darn good… but did not have webbing handles and had to be lifted with a strainer from the brew kettle. She said a new sewing machine would help… I brewed a batch of Porter using the same recipe I have used for BIAB before. I milled the grain at .30 instead of .37 to test if the bag was going to work for me. At the end of the brew my OG was .06 points higher! Good clean wort and easy as a breeze to lift it out. I use a block and tackle suspended over the pot to remove the bag. If you are just getting into all-grain I urge you to start with Brew in a Bag. If you are already brewing in a 2 or 3-vessel system, give BIAB a try. Less work, less cleanup, and less time in the brew day.”

Because it impacts efficiency, clarity, draining properties, and longevity, let’s talk about the fabric used by BIAB brewers. You’ve heard of guys using paint strainers, panty hose, and muslin bags like you get in the extract kits. While these do strain the mash, they each have a major flaw that is based on the fiber used – but using them to strain wort still results in beer.

Paint strainers are made of nylon, which is fine except that the threads per inch (TPI) is only 35 or so, and that lets a lot of husk pass through to the wort. They are also very easy to tear and are not made to fit every kettle so the bag can constrict the grain and impede the water to grain (WTGR) contact and thus conversion time.

Brew in a Bag Homebrew Bag Material

Panty hose – well just panty hose. Made of nylon and spandex the material stretches, is easily torn and just can’t hold much grain. That’s all I have to say.

Muslin is cotton and will work a few times, but because cotton is “hairy” (see photo) it absorbs and retains the grain bits, cannot be cleaned well and is prone to bacterial growth. It also degrades when exposed to moisture and cannot be used as a hop bag.

Brew in a Bag Homebrew Bag Material

So what material is food safe, woven fine enough to strain grain husk, can withstand boiling, is very strong, “slick” so it cleans easily and does not harbor bacteria, does not absorb water, and can be used over and over? It’s called Voile – a multi or monofilament polyester used in all manner of applications. It is commonly found in fabric stores and is generally less than $5 per yard. Many home brewers buy Voile curtains to make bags…and it works!

The photo below is Voile magnified so you can compare cotton fibers to polyester fibers. Notice the lack of loose fibers on the Voile and how uniform the openings are. Nylon, like polyester is also an extruded fiber and would look similar under a microscope, but because it is more elastic than Voile it is not a good choice for a brew bag, particularly for heavy grain bills.

Brew in a Bag Homebrew Bag Material

This is a close-up of Voile as used in a brew bag. The strapping is added to aid lifting and transfer part of the weight of the grain off the material.

Brew in a Bag Homebrew Bag Material

So why does fabric composition matter? When mashing the primary objective is to move the wort from the mash tun to the boil kettle, so when the flow rate out of the tun is high the wort (sugar water) moves with less friction across the grain and out of the bag. And a bag provides more surface area for filtering. Using a fabric that not only filters well but also allows sufficient drainage to carry the sugar is of great benefit.

This “less friction” logic is the primary reason for the 170º mash out / sparge, but some folk’s say its primary purpose is to set the sugar profile by denaturing the enzymes – and it does that. But high-temp sparging or mashing out occurs AFTER the majority of conversion has taken place, so in the thirty to sixty minutes it typically takes to sparge, there are not enough enzymes left, or starch to act on that could change the sugar profile to any noticeable degree. And because of the highly controlled modification (malting) process of the grains we use today, except in cases of raw or non-modified grain, this eliminates the need for a step-mash or a mash out.

When using a fabric filter and full mash volume, the pre-boil sugar profile (gravity) can easily be confirmed with a refractometer, but that won’t work for a 3V sparge brewer because the pre-boil gravity is not determined until the diluted volume in the kettle is reached. 3V mash tun gravity can be measured and conversion confirmed complete, but because the tun gravity measurement is different than the kettle gravity, the process is not controlled and thus confirmation of the sugar profile is inaccurate.

So if the above information is true, why the 170º mash out? Lot’s of 3V brewers do it to raise the viscosity of the wort so it moves through the grain bed with less restriction – hotter = thinner.

This brings us back to bag composition and out-flow rate. Just like a thin mash and typical 3V pick up and a wide open ball valve, a bag that has too few TPI will not filter the grain husks out of the wort, so clarity is affected. This can cure itself via time and temperature, but if you can eliminate the husk, why not?

And like a thick 3V mash, a bag that has too many TPI will restrict flow, impact efficiency, and take a long time to drain. We’re looking for the Goldilocks of brew bag material – and that’s Voile. The fabric has fairly uniform openings (as in the photo) of ~210 micron = to  #70 wire mesh and is very durable.  Most grain mills are set between .030” and .045” while the holes in the bag are 210 micron or.0083”, so the grain husks and chunks are left behind in the bag as the wort flows through the holes in the fabric. We can conclude that choice of fabric for filtering wort does matter.

So when you’re thinking you’d like to get back into brewing, or save some time and money, do a bit of research on using a fabric filter. It’s just not for BIAB anymore!

10% Off Site-Wide.  Rex is offering 10% Off Site-Wide for readers of this article.  That includes the full lineup of ready made Brew Bags, custom made Brew Bags, Pulleys and accessories.  Use promo code FET8AD1SDR4S to get the discount – visit brewinabag.com

About the author: Rex Slagel is the founding member of Brew In A Bag Supplies LLC. in Plainfield, IL which manufactures The Brew Bag®. He has brewed over one hundred batches, including over fifty using a fabric filter. As of this writing The Brew Bag® is being used by brewers in seventeen countries and is also used by the nation’s largest cold-brewed coffee brewer. He can be reached at rex@brewinabag.com

The Brew Bag is a Made in the USA, purpose designed BIAB bag.  It has four loops for lifting the bag out of your kettle, every seam is reinforced for long life and it is available in a number of sizes for kettles, keggles and coolers.  If they don’t carry the size you want, The Brew Bag will custom make it for you.

I use The Brew Bag myself and it works very well. Check out my Hands on Review.

AlsoAll Grain Tips & Gear

Pinned: Niko Hops Sale · Citra · Kegging System · Grain Sale · $24:Drip Tray

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BIAB Rope Pulley Setups – from $11.50

Ratchet Pulley Metal Gear - 3/8" Rope - 250 lbs Capacity

The Brew Bag has released a Ratchet Pulley System for Brew in a Bag/BIAB All Grain Brewing.  Two versions are available – 150 lb capacity and 250 lb capacity.  They start at just $11.50.  These are meant to help you easily lift your full bag of soaked grain at the end of the mash and let it drip as required – that’s one thing I love about BIAB… you can always hit your intended preboil volume.  To use just hang the pulley system, attach the load and pull the rope.  The hoist locks as you go to hold the weight.

Check them out – Here

Also – The Brew Bag  – Purpose made BIAB Bag Review

AlsoAll Grain Tips & Gear

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