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Stepping up to BIAB/ All Grain

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7 months 1 week ago #3761 by davidevans
Stepping up to BIAB/ All Grain was created by davidevans
Hi Gash,
I've been a home brewer for more than 30 years but thanks to your site & excellent videos my extract beers have made a quantum leap forward in terms of taste and consistency.
Recently, I made your NEIPA partial mash recipe a couple of times with excellent results.
Given that it was much easier than I thought, this got me interested in the all grain concept and as a starting point maybe, Brew in a Bag.
I've watched countless videos, read extensively and looked at what sort of equipment I'd need to start to the point where I'm now a bit confused as to the way forward.
Given that you've 'been there, done that' I would really appreciate your thoughts on these questions:

1. Boiler options: electric, stainless pot with gas burner or s/h converted keg? what are the pros and cons?
2. Boiler capacity to make 21-23 ltrs wort with minimal risk of boil over ( I use a Fermentasaurus 30 L)
4. Grain mill - best option that will accommodate a power drill?
5. Should I just bite the bullet and go straight to a Robobrew?
I'm keen to keep the process as simple as possible and not over capitalise on gear that I maybe would regret later.

Thanks again for a great site and for sharing your knowledge.

Cheers,

David

p.s. on your recommendation on YouTube I recently purchased a carbonation cap. Best thing since sliced bread and makes transferring from keg to bottles dead easy! Love your work.

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7 months 1 week ago #3762 by Gash
Replied by Gash on topic Stepping up to BIAB/ All Grain
Sorry for delay in reply, will give you an answer soon, cheers mate.

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7 months 6 days ago #3763 by Gash
Replied by Gash on topic Stepping up to BIAB/ All Grain
Nah mate, not much thinking time, I just didnt see the message till this morning and had to go shopping lol
1. I think electric is the best, you don't run out half way through a brew and you can brew inside if needed. Either in and old keg or a pot.
2. Size. smallest you can get away with comfortably is 40L that allows for a few litres losses due to chillers and trub etc, though something like a robobrew is 35L but you dont have much loss in that type of system. 50L is great.. and you can do bigger brews without cutting down batch size.
3. Most mills will be able to run by drill, though you usually need a 13mm/1/2inch chuck, or get and adapter chuck from hardware shop. Biggest thing with drills is you need low speed and high torque, some drills have that some don't, going too fast is no good.
4. Robobrew is cheap, you can get away with spending less making your own.. pot, bag, burner/element, thats if you get a keg or pot cheap, for less stuff around you really need a decent element or high pressure burner (high pressure regulator on gas tank at least). There's great satisfaction in making your own set up, more flexibility in size etc. Its really hard to make that call for you, which way you should go. I find myself using the robobrew most of the time here because its fast and easy, cleaning is quicker etc than my 3V. A lot of people dont sparge with brew in bag, because it can be tricky, people say they dont lose efficiency but every time I havent sparged I have, its not much though. Robobrew has a small footprint with is an advantage, all in one. If I were to start again I'd go something like a robobrew, I prefer the design of the robobrew over Guten and even over Grainfather, though grainfather has a nice controller and wifi etc to be honest I'd have no use for the wifi, its fancy but not much use to me. I still really enjoy my 3V system but thats a whole different beast. I should stop rambling, myself I'd go for one of the urn systems over BIAB just for a slightly easier brew day. Robobrew has limitations like the most grain easily used is probably 6ish kilo, 6-7% beer, depending. So if you want to make 23L of 12% you're going to have a hard time in a robobrew sized machine, though it can be done with a bit of work. Advantage of BIAB that you make, you can always repair easily since you made it!
That may of made the decision harder?? lol Ask anymore questions you like, Cheers!

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7 months 6 days ago #3764 by davidevans
Replied by davidevans on topic Stepping up to BIAB/ All Grain
Gash,
Thanks for the very comprehensive reply and for sharing your knowledge. For around $400, the Robobrew seems the best option as it comes ready to go.
Just to confirm the 35L capacity would be enough to finish up with 21-23 ltrs of wort?
Reading the specs, it also comes with an immersion chiller, do you have any thoughts on this? I've not had any experience using one. Also, would you recommend the hop spider?
Your input is very much appreciated.
Cheers!

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7 months 5 days ago #3765 by Gash
Replied by Gash on topic Stepping up to BIAB/ All Grain
Yep no worries getting 21-23 Litres. Can fit probably 7kg of grain if you work it.
The immersion chiller works, it of course depends on your ground water temp. Its a little slow for the last bit of the chill and it uses a far amount of water, though you can recycle that water for cleaning, chuck it in the washing machine, water garden etc. There are more efficient chillers you can upgrade to later but immersion chillers are an easy first chiller. If using the immersion chiller hop spiders arent really necessary. I do use it sometimes, but most of the time I use a grain bag if I want to lessen the amount of hop matter in the wort .
The following user(s) said Thank You: davidevans

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6 months 2 weeks ago - 6 months 2 weeks ago #3820 by portas1971
Replied by portas1971 on topic Stepping up to BIAB/ All Grain
As gash says, go with the Robobrew 35l. For the price, you can produce great results. The only downside I find that it is only good for single step mashes as element takes ages to heat up for stepped mash regime as you are only supposed to use the 500w element when mashing,
Also, cubing is a cheap and easy way which doesn’t waste copious amounts of water to chill wort. On brew day I usually brew 2, chill one and cube the second.
Last edit: 6 months 2 weeks ago by portas1971. Reason: Spelling

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6 months 2 weeks ago #3821 by Gash
Replied by Gash on topic Stepping up to BIAB/ All Grain
I use both elements all the time and don't get scorching, I think you have to be careful to keep enough wort over the elements by just making sure you match your pump flow to the speed the wort is draining through the grainbed.
I cant say everyone wont get scorching but I never have.
Another reason they may say not to use both is that they think the heat of the element after turning off may make you over shoot your temps ?? I've never had any issues with that, that happens with any of the different units I've tried but I've never seen it as an issue, its so small and sorts itself out within a minute or two , Guten, Grainfather etc. It's not much and levels out pretty quickly.
I cant think of anymore reasons why they would say not to use both?

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6 months 2 weeks ago #3824 by davidevans
Replied by davidevans on topic Stepping up to BIAB/ All Grain
Appreciate the comments, won’t get involved in the merits or otherwise of one or two elements, will cross that bridge when I come to it. On cubing, my understanding is that it’s just filling a food grade plastic cube with hot wort from the Robobrew, squeezing the air out and allowing to cool to pitching temp naturally. Sounds way simpler than using a chiller and as Gash says, copious quantities of water. Is there any downside to this method? Any videos I should watch? Thanks again for your input.

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6 months 2 weeks ago #3825 by portas1971
Replied by portas1971 on topic Stepping up to BIAB/ All Grain
This is good to hear gash. I will try both elements next brew. I did endure scorching on on occasion but will give it a go. Thx for the tip mate.

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6 months 2 weeks ago #3826 by portas1971
Replied by portas1971 on topic Stepping up to BIAB/ All Grain
Hi Davidevans, regarding cubing. Easy as. Wort is bloody hot when it goes in. I use thick industrial rubber gloves (from work) when squeezing air out during sealing with lid. I usually give it a good rinse with water prior, soak the lid in starsan and swish about 1lt of starsan in the cube also for about a minute. Not sure that’s necessary as the wort is boiling temp anyway but after doing all that work I’m not taking any risks.
Just let it cool in a dark place and store. I have 2 cubed beers in my cupboard at the moment. Cubing is really good for lagers as when you are ready to ferment your cubed lager, simply place in your fermenter fridge to get it down to lager fermentation temp.

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Drunken Ramblings

OwenA - Tue 13 Aug - 18:18

Cheers Gash

Gash - Tue 13 Aug - 07:47

Gday Owen, only a couple of points, might of had a finer crush or something! Cheers mate! Good luck!

OwenA - Sun 11 Aug - 12:04

Hey Gash, I brewed up your Zombie Lust yesterday. Got 1.053 pre boil & 1.059 OG! Not sure why my numbers were high? Thanks for the great advice & videos. Cheers

Finnroo's Avatar Finnroo - Sun 11 Aug - 10:06

Navsingh, i started algrain brewing with 2 x15 litre budget boil pots. Sparged into one and then the other, Boiled them both but only added hops into the strongest wort. Made some great beer :)

Gash - Fri 9 Aug - 08:21

Only if you do a strong brew and then water it done or you can probably get a 14-15L batch I guess without watering down.

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