This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Mash Bag Brewing in a Bag is an all-grain brewing method currently under trial but already producing some splendid all-grain beers. It is an extremely simple method of brewing requiring a low level of equipment, knowledge and space. It is also highly flexible and the instructions contained in the BIAB guide can be highly modified to suit the brewer’s resources. The BIAB Guide is made up of this booklet as well as 4 Excel files. In combination, these files give detailed instructions on how to brew a, ‘black beer,’ with BIAB. BIAB is essentially what I will call a, ‘Full Volume,’ brewing method where the entire water volume needed for a brew is added to the kettle at the start of the brewing process. This alleviates the need for sparging and sparge water calculations. To simplify the process even further, this guide will also use what I will call, ‘an escalator mash,’ in the brewing instructions. This is where the grain is added to the full volume of water shortly after heating begins and then the mash (grain plus the water) is raised to the strike temperature (66 degrees in the case of our black beer) as quickly as possible and then held at this temperature for 90 minutes. In layman’s terms, BIAB can be summarized as follows. You put a nylon bag in a big pot of water, pour in some grain, heat it to a specific temperature and hold it at that temperature for 90 minutes. At the end of the 90 minutes, the bag holding the grain is removed and then the remaining liquid (hot liquor) is boiled for 90 minutes with hops being added at several stages during the boil. After the boil, the resulting liquid (now called wort) is cooled rapidly and the yeast pitched. All other stages of the brewing process should be familiar to those who have done some kit brews. CREATING A BLACK BEER BY BIAB The black beer created using the BIAB Guide uses Ross’s Schwartzbier recipe. A schwartzbier is a lager but as we will use an ale yeast, (the sachet yeast Safale-US56), I have called our beer a, ‘black beer’. In other words, our black beer is an ale clone of the Schwartzbier. Both Ross and myself have found no loss in taste quality when using the Safale US-56 to brew this beer. This recipe has been chosen for several other reasons… A) B) C) It produces a high quality beer. It is a very forgiving recipe therefore a new brewer can make some, ‘stuff-ups,’ yet still get to taste a great end result. It is highly flexible. A lager yeast can be substituted for the ale yeast for those in colder climates or for those wishing to brew their first lager. A beautiful, full-bodied mid-strength beer can also be brewed with the same recipe using a reduced grain bill.
Let’s get under way… Before proceeding further, please print out the Excel file called, ‘BIAB Checklist—Black Beer.xls’ THE BIAB CHECKLIST—BLACK BEER.XLS The BIAB checklists are all in Microsoft Excel format. Many brewers are familiar with excel and so should be able to readily modify the checklists to suit their experience and equipment. The checklist is split into various sections. The next part of this booklet will walk the brewer through the, ‘BIAB Checklist—Black Beer.xls,’ expanding on any sections where necessary. These explanations and accompanying pictures will provide detailed instructions on how to BIAB a black beer. The BIAB Guide is very detailed and written for the new brewer. Many sections can be skipped by more advanced brewers. The checklists allow the new brewer several rests, usually called, ’Checks,’ throughout the brew day where they can stop, have a break and ensure that they are on track. As the new brewer gains experience, these checks can be deleted and brew time reduced. Appendix A shows how to fill out the BIAB Checklist. Brew Summary The first twenty lines of the BIAB Checklist comprises main brew details, the recipe and important notes. Blank cells should be filled out by the brewer at various stages of the brewing process. Most of this section is hopefully selfexplanatory but any questions on this or other sections should be posted to the AHB thread, ‘A Guide to Brewing in a Bag.’ Some further explanation follows... BJCP Style Information: This is contained in Cells J1-J6 of the spreadsheet. Hops: The AA (Alpha Acid) rating of hops varies from year to year and from supplier to supplier therefore the new brewer needs to learn how to adjust the weight of hops used to achieve the IBUs (International Bitterness Units) used in the recipe. Preliminary Notes: This space allows the brewer to jot down notes on what they will do differently from the last time they brewed. Errors/Adjustments: Here the brewer can note any part of the brewing process that didn’t go to plan. This helps identify the reason/s should the resulting brew not be up to scratch. Notes for Next Time: Essentially this field should be pasted into the, ‘Preliminary Notes,’ field of the next BIAB Checklist
the above procedure checked and the ‘Start’ procedure reviewed. Also ensure that you have a clean fermenter. a 3 ring burner.’ After laying out the above areas. remove your grain from the fridge. Put lid on loosely and shake. These instructions are based on using a 70 litre Robinox pot as the kettle. either make a smaller batch or just add top water when you can throughout the . The reflectors are two scrap bits of shiny metal which are again not necessary items. A further discussion on equipment is contained in Appendix B. On the Friday night. mix up 5 litres of no-rinse sanitizer in your fermenter. various clean nappies. coffee mug. The wet area has the fermenter containing no-rinse. aeration pump. 2 reflectors. In fact. siphon hoses. 1 medium jug (sterilized). I brew in a one bedroom apartment but still make 3 lay out areas—a dry area. 1 small jug (sterilized). From your fermenter fill a spray bottle with no rinse and spray your brewing lay out areas. 2 bungs. Start Our brew day time officially starts when water is added to the kettle and ends after the fermenter is sealed and original gravity reading taken. the brewer should finalise what they wish to brew (in our case a black beer) and write down any ingredients needed that they do not have on hand. thermometer. this is not a problem. stainless steel ruler. Personally I put in my aeration hoses. ‘Equipment. The auto-siphon acts as both a cane and a siphon. large jug. Place the equipment you would like to keep sterile inside the fermenter. The italicized items can be deleted for the new brewer. On Saturday. you could scrape by with no changes to these instructions with a 40 lt pot. no-rinse sterilizer spray bottle. At $15 it is one of the best bits of equipment a brewer can own. the checklist should be printed out. tidy up and clean your brewing area allowing plenty of clear space to lay out your equipment. a heatproof base. mash paddle (paint stirrer). hop sock. The remainder of the BIAB Checklist is broken up into time stages based on a brew day of Saturday. The flame area has the bag of grain. These stages are… Prior On the Tuesday before brew day. When the grains arrive. On this I lay out. If you have a smaller pot size. an adjustable regulator hose. hop scales. brew sheet.as it should record changes the brewer would like to make or areas they would like to concentrate on when brewing next. store them in a fridge until Friday night. starter bottle. a tap or two and my fermenter O-ring. pH paper. a gas bottle. The dry area is a drying rack covered with a clean towel. a kettle. Where appropriate. This will depend on your equipment. notes will be made in these instructions on how the kettle size and shape affect the procedure the first note being… Should you have a smaller pot. a bucket with auto-siphon and immersion chiller. These ingredients should be ordered the following day from a reputable supplier. Half a dozen nappies or similar sized toweling cloths also will make your brew day easier and lower the risk of contamination. Your large jug can be used to fill the kettle if a hose is not available. It begins four days before brew day and extends right through to the time that the brew can be tasted. citric acid. The adjustable regulator hose allows a better flame but a standard hose will get you brewing. The heatproof base is because I am brewing indoors which is a safety no-no for many reasons especially gas leak possibilities. pen and calculator. the kettle lid and a filling hose from the tap to the kettle. Unless you have a grain mill ensure that you ask for your grains to be crushed. a wet area and a flame area. mash bag. I have not italicized the auto-siphon as I personally believe a racking cane is a necessary item. and 3 small hop containers.
It is similar to a potato masher with a long handle. at a guess. My Robinox. some knowledge of hop utilization and. hold the ruler in the centre of the kettle just in case the kettle is not based on level ground. To start the brew day. ‘Mash Ends. I would. 2 and 3 with permanent marker. I fill the kettle with 38 litres of water. So. If you don’t have scales. suggest that these brewers reduce their initial volume of water from 38 to 33 litres. The pictures below show the grain immediately after adding to the kettle and then after agitation.’ brewing will be very helpful. have a 5 minute break to check that you are on track and review the mash checklist. See Appendix C. With my equipment. The third picture shows a thermometer suspended in the mash to monitor temperature [Edit Note: Third picture needs changing. put your lid on the kettle but have the mash paddle handle poking out. To obtain an accurate temperature reading agitate the grain first. Once done. I raise it to 67 and then leave it for the remaining 50 minutes. unlike a keg. just divide your known quantity of hops up as best as you can. add the grain. The scoops are labeled 1. take another break. Only use hops that are fresh and green and which are labeled with their alpha acid rating. raise the temperature of the mash to 66 degrees at which time the mash officially starts.’ checklist. Start timing your mash when you have finished this check. Make sure that your mash bag is in no danger of burning.] The checklist shows various temperature checks after the grain is added. This paddle works splendidly when used like a potato masher—just jiggle it rapidly up and down. These are taller and narrower than the Robinox and so evaporation levels are less. is even in shape and calibration has told me that every litre added to the kettle increases the water depth by 0. In my case. you should calibrate your kettle using a jug and stainless steel ruler. Most of the mash conversion takes place in the first 20 minutes and so the checklist has 5 minute agitations and temperature checks during this period. ‘single-sparge.2 cms. Mash The mash section is very easy. I use electronic scales and 3 washing powder scoops to measure out my boiling. I fill it to a depth of 23. Once you have done the above. Simply add known quantities of water to the kettle and make a note of how deep the water is in the kettle at each level. do a check and also review the.5 degrees. this takes about 20 minutes although the checklist allows 35 minutes for this. Before your first brew. to add 38 litres of water to the kettle. When 66 degrees is reached either turn off the flame or have it on very low (very unlikely.’ for assistance here. Pouring in this manner avoids the grains clumping together. To do this. When measuring the depth. while waiting for the 90 minute mash to end. flavour and aroma hops. I usually only have to turn the 2nd ring of my burner on for about 5 minutes at the 40 minute mark.61 cm.brew day. While the kettle is filling. . Once this is done. Many brewers use kettles that are keg-like in shape. simply pour it reasonable quickly and evenly over the surface of the water from a height of about 40 cm if possible. Burners come with air adjustment rings which should be adjusted so that the flame is blue—no yellow. All that is required is several temperature checks and then the weighing out of hops. At this stage the mash has usually dropped to about 64. To do this. This keeps things simple.) To conserve temperature.) The paddle I use is a $10 paint stirrer from Bunnings. When the kettle has been filled to the required volume. ‘Useful Links. agitate with the mash paddle to make it spread evenly and to ensure that no grain has clumped (very unlikely. add the mash bag (Appendix A has more information on mash bag construction) to the kettle and turn your burner on as full as possible without flames leaping up the sides. After the grain has been poured and agitated.
‘Efficiency into Boiler. ‘feel. Take your time! You may notice as the brew starts to boil a creamy foam forming. Boil-overs are not a problem with a 70 litre pot as a kettle. suspend your hop sock in the kettle. Until you develop these eyes in the back of your head. Saving 50 cents on gas or trying to boil more liquid than you are capable off should be avoided. These are explained in the checklist.Mash Ends This section involves removing the mash bag and raising the resultant sweet liquor to the boil. A hop sock greatly reduces trub (solids forming on the bottom of your kettle at the end of the boil.’ for boiling wort. Sweet liquor expands when it is hot so multiplying the figure you have by 0. Then place an empty bucket as close to the kettle as possible. Then simply dump the bag into the bucket. Firstly use your stainless steel ruler to check the volume in the kettle.) Ten minutes later give the mash bag another squeeze and then dump the bag somewhere appropriate. (I then suspend the bag from a door handle to help draining. After skimming. ‘Useful Links. This can be done with your hydrometer or for those a little less financially challenged. Our recipe allows for a 90 minute boil. doing a volume and gravity check at this time will give you an. Appendix C. Like a 3 year old. Some equipment . Let it cool to 20 degrees before taking the reading or use tables to compensate for the temperature. If time is very important to you then you can reduce both the mash time and boil time to 60 minutes to save an hour off the brew day. if for no other reason. several ingredient additions are made. a refractometer. I suggest new brewers avoid this. light your burner and adjust to full heat. Pour the few litres of sweet liquor that you have gained from draining and squeezing into the kettle. Firstly. With smaller kettles a boil-over IS a problem so keep your eyes on the kettle. The addition of hops may once again cause a boil-over so keep your eyes open even wider! At this stage. monitor the boil constantly. The checklist then tells the brewer to add hops and a teaspoon of table salt into the hop sock. you will develop what is best known as a. Some people advocate skimming this off with a strainer. As your brewing skills increase along with your equipment knowledge. Towards the end of the boil. I dump mine in the laundry sink. boiling wort seems to know what you are doing at any given time and uses the times when you are not watching to cause mischief. I have included this step because. It may stop boiling or boil over for unknown reasons at any time. Boil A good rolling boil is necessary to produce a good beer. there is an hour’s gap until the next hop addition. Lift your grain bag slightly above the kettle liquor level and twirl the bag around to get rid of excess liquor. it will force the new brewer to keep an eye on the brew. Remove some liquor from the kettle to use for a hydrometer reading.’ figure which can be interesting. I use 2 hanging basket hooks from Bunnings to suspend my hop sock. Boiling wort has a mind of its own. While waiting for the liquor to start boiling check that you are on track and review the boil checklist.) If you cannot afford a hop sock then you can thoroughly rinse your mash bag and re-fit this to the kettle.95 will give you a more accurate volume figure. Whilst not essential.’ contains some links to help you calculate your efficiency into the boiler.
I use 2 bungs to tilt the kettle. I then transfer the siphon into the fermenter. aim for the lower end of the above range but do not go under 16 degrees. Once tilted I leave the kettle to settle for ten minutes during which time I sterilize the auto-siphon and empty the equipment and sanitizing solution from my fermenter into my bucket. you can stop the chill. After you turn the flame off. This is done because the Robinox has such a large diameter. At the end of the boil turn the flame off and cover the kettle with the lid. A link to this. Tilting allows the maximum amount of wort to be siphoned off. ensure that your thermometer is cleaned and sterilized. Obviously. Depending on your tap water temperature you may have to add ice towards the end of your chill to reduce the brew temperature to 25 degrees. take another break to ensure all is going as planned and to review the Chill checklist. Chill Turn your chiller on if you have one. If you do not have a chiller. Pitch After cooling is completed. Give the outside of the kettle and surrounding areas a quick spray with no-rinse sterilizer along with a clean nappy. Cover the kettle with the nappy. For this reason. Allow your mash paddle handle to protrude.additions are also made fifteen minutes before the end of the boil—the chiller. If you have aeration equipment then put your sanitized hose and stone into the fermenter and turn your air pump on while the wort siphons. Initially this can be done by agitating the wort and then feeling the side of the kettle. the BIAB checklist requires the wort to be cooled to around 25 degrees. Do not cover the kettle completely with the lid as this is likely to result in a boil-over. Use your common sense to feel the kettle sides and work out when a proper thermometer check should be taken. If you have poor equipment for cooling your fermenter. To do this. When doing this. During the chill it is necessary to monitor temperature. before taking any temperature checks. the cleanliness of your brewing area will affect how much you can aerate in this way without increasing the risk of infection to an unacceptable level. Your kettle may even fit in your sink where you could adjust tap flow so that water enters the sink as fast as it leaves. Monitor the siphon tube.0 lt per minute is adequate. A few minutes before adding these. Don’t! Waiting a little longer will be well worth it. spray them with no-rinse sterilizer as not all parts of the equipment will be sterilized through steam exposure. This is a method that many brewers are comfortable with. Anywhere from 16-30 degrees will be fine though.’ method is included in Appendix C. paddle and lid. I then set the fermenter and large jug up below the kettle ready for siphoning.75 to 1. If you’re a new brewer you’ll probably be tempted to crack a beer at this stage. In other words. Any brewer using this method should also be well aware of the dangers of infection during the gap between boiling and pitching. Agitating the wort from time to time speeds up the cooling process. ice baths etc. The checklist allows for a 25 minute chill but this could be an hour or even longer. Chilling your wort will greatly depend on your equipment and tap water temperature. To assist with clarity. have the end of the siphon tube at the top of the fermenter. you don’t need much water flow. If you do not have a pump and airstone then just allow the wort to splash when siphoning. Obviously doing this straight after flame off is unnecessary and will lead to burns. pinch and remove it as soon as you see the clarity . The most accepted procedure is to cool your wort as quickly as possible using whatever means available—water baths. If you cannot afford a chiller. When you hit this temperature range. I would estimate from 0. To make things easier for newer brewers. Another chilling method is to allow the brew to cool naturally inside a sealed container. simply lift the paddle handle up and down a few times. just add the paddle and lid. you have several options available to you. ‘No-Chill. I siphon the first 200 mls or so into the empty jug pinching the siphon tube as soon as I see the wort running clear. When you reach your chosen temperature stop the chill and review the Pitch checklist.
deteriorate. now is the time. move your brew to a fridge at 2 degrees. Keg and carbonate as per normal practices. Appendix B. You can even use tap water for this if your water tastes OK. If this occurs then continue to siphon into the spare jug so as you can measure how much extra wort you had. The checklist allows for two. The checklist has been written for kegging. When calculating your efficiency figure add any litres that you couldn’t fit into the fermenter. Record what you think of the beer. Remove any aeration equipment. How good your experience level and equipment are will affect how often you need to maintain your brew during fermentation. This is probably not a healthy sign! Ferment This section of the ferment checklist contains a few steps to keep an eye on your brew while fermenting. Natural enthusiasm from new brewers will usually avoid any lack of maintainence. Other people’s opinions should have less importance unless they are experienced brewers or you are brewing the beer for other people. Gravity Keg and Taste After 2 weeks of cold conditioning take a final gravity reading. give the outside of your fermenter a clean and spray as well then move it to your fermentation area whether that be a fridge.’ I simply put the fermenter in the kettle. Condition Fourteen days from pitching. After a few brew days. Once you have everything clean. you should siphon the brew into a keg at this stage. cupboard or anything in between. Extremes should certainly be avoided. Our checklist allows for 7 days fermentation in the primary vessel. the new brewer will be able to do most of the cleaning earlier in the day. Also. move the fermenter to the fermentation space and start temperature control. Covering this with a little more mat and the kettle lid has been working extremely well and allows me to now have 3 brews fermenting in my 1 bedroom apartment. ‘Useful Links. Microfibre cloths and nonscratch cleaning pads give a thorough clean and eliminate the need for using chemicals. Appendix C. ‘fermenting fridge. I do my cleaning in the shower! A flexible shower hose with a head that quickly screws on and off is brilliant. If you have a 25 litre fermenter then you may have to stop the siphon before clarity deteriorates i. then just leave the brew for another 7 days. pack it with a camping foam mat and a few ice bricks.e. take a final gravity reading at this point so as Alcohol By Volume (ABV) can be determined. . If your wort became cloudy and you had to therefore stop siphoning before the 23 litre mark then add some water that has been boiled and cooled into your fermenter now to achieve the 23 litre level. Knowing this will help you adjust your initial volume on your next brew. Once again. Secondary After 7 days. contains links to information on controlling temperatures. Now sprinkle your yeast evenly over the surface of the wort and seal your fermenter. Take a hydrometer sample immediately so as you can determine your efficiency into fermenter figure as well as your original gravity. Follow the same bottling procedure you would use for any other beer. Reduce the temperature of your fermenter to 16 degrees as soon as possible. Use the same siphoning principles as outlined in the Pitch checklist. assuming you are kegging. Calculate ABV. Temperature control is less important at this stage but should be maintained if possible.’ will help in this area. I have recently started using my kettle as a. If bottling though. siphon the wort to a secondary vessel if you have one. 16 degrees is the lower end of the fermentation scale and is what we are after in this case as we are doing a lager ‘clone’. Clean This part of the checklist allows 45 minutes to clean up. when the fermenter level reaches the 23 litre mark. If you did not previously siphon into a secondary vessel. Another good practice is to use the no-rinse sanitizer to spray your equipment before drying and packing it away. If you do not have a secondary vessel such as a cube. It will also allow you to determine an efficiency into fermenter figure. To perfect clarity. allow to cold condition for at least a week. Taste and assess the beer while taking time to record your tasting notes.
’ column would be an exact match to those times in the.’ column. The BIAB Checklist—Black Beer. For example.’ section that finalises the checklist. Time was gained as some experience enabled me to advance the checks. beside the. Use this column to either record the times that actual events are completed or the actual results of the event. The other I fill out neatly during each check. BIAB Master Ale Checklist. In this example.’ column.031 specific gravity. At the end of the spreadsheet. Time was lost on the chill as tap water temperature had increased significantly since the last brew.’ event a notation such as 34 @ 31 should be made. ‘mocked up. For example. If the brew day ran exactly to plan then the times in the. I use this column when something of significance has occurred.’ to some extent. Brew day times vary greatly with experience and equipment. Just save this file under a different name and fill in the blanks. Or beside the.’ column to note down the time at which stage the next step on the checklist is likely to be completed. I have extended the chill time. allowed for pH adjustments and also included steps on giving the yeast a little bit of a head start. This checklist shows how I have modified the Master Ale Checklist for my equipment and skill level.APPENDIX A—USING THE BIAB CHECKLISTS Four BIAB Checklists have been included in the BIAB Guide. . Another significant column on brew day is the. the brew day started early. In this column I simply place a letter of the alphabet. ‘Agitate/Temp Check.xls As your brewing skills develop you can add or delete steps from your master checklist. The BIAB Checklist Example—Black Beer. ‘Note Details. (This means 34 litres at 1. can quickly throw the brew plan out the window time-wise. BIAB Checklist Example—Black Beer. Interruptions etc. ‘Volume and Gravity Check.’ event the temperature should be recorded instead of the time. I also include the brew day date in the file name. To help with this.’ column.xls BIAB Master Ale Checklist Personalised.xls shows examples of this. BIAB Checklist—Black Beer 200806. the brewer can use the. I use one for scribbling and basically making a mess of. These letters are listed and expanded upon in the. On a brew day I actually print 2 of these checklists. ‘Likely. I elaborate on the event. ‘Notes.) The final column of interest is the. ‘Planned. ‘Result. The note column on the right contains letters.xls This checklist shows an example of a completed Black Beer checklist which has been. For example.xls This checklist contains the instructions for brewing a black beer using BIAB.xls This checklist can be used as a template for new ale recipes. ‘Likely.
Nylon material should be used throughout. . The materials can be easily purchased from Spotlite for around $10. These materials are… Fabric: 100% Swiss Voile Ivory Thread: Any White Nylon Thread Drawstring: Gutterman Poly Thread. Further Thoughts on BIAB Equipment To be completed. Other BIAB Equipment To be completed.APPENDIX B—BIAB EQUIPMENT Mash Bag Material and Construction The mash bag should be sewn so as to form a liner for the brewers kettle similar to the way in which a garbage bin liner fits in a bin.
APPENDIX C—USEFUL LINKS The following links will be useful to the BIAB brewer or for those interested in full volume brewing… To be completed. .