My first allgrain BIAB and first experience with BIABacus.

Post #1 made 4 years ago
First of all. I have read many posts on this forum and I am truly amazed about all the knowledgeable people and the willingness to share knowledge and tips! Very valuable indeed!

Yesterday I brewed my first allgrain BIAB brew with full volume and no sparging. Here is my short write-up.
My equipment consist of a 50-liter kettle, a stainless steel grain basket and a plate chiller.

The brew was an 25 liter IPA allgrain set - with a fixed grain bill, pre-weighted hops, and a pack of Safale US-05.

My main question is about BIABacus and how to adjust the "Desired volume into Fermentor (VIF)" versus the "What you will use" numbers suggested by BIABacus - against the fixed amount of grains I have.

Even though I had a test-run without grains up front, I was caught by overflowing basket when grains was added, ha ha :-). The kettle held the total volume :-)

I had to make a makeshift hanging device in order not drown the grain-basket in the kettle (it overflowed with approx. 2 inches). This unfortunately prohibited me from mashing with a completely closed lid, albeit I made an arrangement there too :-)

A bit stumbled over the overflow, I went over the numbers again, and as many already has pointed out in other posts, what does actually a 25 liter kit mean? Is it "Desired Volume into Fermentor (VIF)" or is it "Volume into Packaging (VIP"? I remember I also where puzzled about this but somewhere I got the idea that VIF should be 23 liter, so that is what I was working on :-)
During the mashing-period I had the time to really READ what the BIABacus told me. That was when I first actually paid notice to the "What You Will Use" numbers! Below you see my numbers:
BIABacus - Current Status.png
The WYWU-numbers are much higher than my fixed grain bill! This led me to experiment a little with VIF, in order to get the WYWU-numbers closer to my grain bill. Below you see how the numbers changed when I set VIF to 18.1 liter.
BIABacus - Adjusted VIF.png
The question is therefore; Is this right usage of BIABacus and correct thinking?

The rest of brew went fairly well. Really loved the stainless steel basket as it contained all grains and the wort was pretty much free from any grain residues. After the mash, I emptied the basked, cleaned it with a garden hose, and used it as a giant hop-sock during boiling. Again the basked contain almost all the trub and after the boil, super easy to clean :-)

Transferring the wort to the fermenter went somewhat slower than my test-run with water and it took a while before I understood that I could also reduce the water flow to increase the temperature of the flowing wort. Well it all ended up with a 24C wort, which I pitched.
Now, a day later, the fermentor is plopping away :-)
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Last edited by rvoith on 20 Mar 2015, 17:08, edited 1 time in total.
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Post #2 made 4 years ago
Sounds like you had some fun on your first brew day Bob. Nice work on correcting on the fly :thumbs:,

Your questions above are great such as, "What does a 25 L kit mean?" Unless it means Volume of Ambient Wort (Volume at Flame-Out once cooled) then it's not really a very useful bit of info for the brewer. Even if it does mean VAW, unless you use the same system as the original brewer, your Original Gravity will vary because the two systems are unlikely to have identical efficiencies (although BIAB kettle efficeincies on different systems will be close). Here is what I am trying to say is ...

A Brewer Should Plan the Brew before Buying the Ingredients if Possible.

A kit and pretty much all brewing software works backwards from best practice. A kit makes you think that it will make x L of beer but as the above shows, it wont. Similarly most brewing software has you typing in weights until you reach a desired OG. Both these practices are clumsy and far from accurate.

The BIABAcus is designed to force you as mush as possible into best practices such as planning before buying ingredients but it also can handle many scenarios such as...

What do I do Though if I have Already Bought the Ingredients or a Kit?

You've worked this answer out on your own. Nice job! The answer, when you already have purchased a fixed amount of grain, is to play with the VIF in Section B until both sides of Section C match. The BIABacus does many calculations when you do this that no other software can. You have seen some of these. Also, things like the efficiencies in Section P will change as well as the hop amounts in Section D. Everything in a brew is very inter-related and the BIABacus is the only holistic brewing software out there.

Note that unless you knew and had exactly the same equipment as the original brewer, you will never get both the grain and hop bill quantities to match a 'kit' ingredients. The best you can do if you have purchased a kit, is to juggle VIF to match the grains and let the hops (which depend greatly on VAW) fall where they may.

On the next brew, if it is possible to buy ingredient weights to order, let's see if we can plan the brew first as it is a better, more accurate practice.

The Other Things

The over-flow is a bit weird. Treat this one as an aberration as unless you have a way of double-checking the initial water you used (eg, weigh the water in on bathroom scales and a bucket and then check the headspace or depth with a ruler) there is no certainty that you did start with the correct amount of water. Filling in Section L can also help identify if an initial water measurement error occurred unless of course you hae a big spillage :o :P .

I'm a little concerned about using the basket without a bag. A BIAB bag is actually very fine, much finer than any basket I can imagine. I'd really consider lining the basket with a fine BIAB bag.

Make sure you keep that plate chiller very clean and sanitised. You live in Norway... Why do you even need a chiller? I thought you could just blow on the wort for five minutes?

Last edited by PistolPatch on 20 Mar 2015, 18:07, edited 1 time in total.
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Post #3 made 4 years ago
PistolPatch - Thank you very much for your quick response!! I am glad I understood the concept correctly with BIABacus. During the mash (even though my first batch had too much water, the OG is too low and what-not - I put into my learning curve anyway :-)) the numbers in the first screen shot in section K ("Your Estimated Volumes") actually played out pretty good. I will look into a traditional BIAB bag too. On my next batch I will use a little steel bowl as a rest for the basket, so over-flow in the future won't be a problem. Thanks again!!
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Post #4 made 4 years ago
rvoith - I have seen stainless Brewing Baskets online. Some come with feet welded to the bottom to raise the basket off the kettle bottom and bring it close to the brim. Sounds like your idea will work. How did you lift the basket to drain into the kettle? Was the wort clear?


Post #5 made 4 years ago
Chuck. Yes, my stainless steel grain basket has some feet to elevate it approx. 1 inch from the kettle bottom. You can see the basket here I believe the supplier in US is When I lifted the basket, I simply rested it on the rim and using my mash-padle (just a huge wooden spoon) accros. No problem what so ever. If you get tired of lifting, you could always use some sort of lift, such as this ... je-334110/. Sorry for linking to Norwegian pages, but I hope you get the idea from looking at the pictures :-) And finally, yes, very little trub indeed. I am not sure what really clear wort would look like. Mine was definately brownish, and not see-through :-)
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Post #7 made 4 years ago
I believe PP was referring to the size of the holes between the mesh of the basket being larger than ideal. If the holes are too large you will get too much debris in the kettle. Adding a voile cloth bag in the kettle will help to keep that debris out of the wort.
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Post #8 made 4 years ago
Lumpy5oh - Not that I have full experience with bags around :-) I humbly believe that the mesh in the basket is pretty small. In the image below you see a small section of it
Maltkurv - mesh.png
A little hard to see the real details on the mesh from the Norwegian web site page (" onclick=";return false;), but from Utah Biodiesel Supply's brew-page (which I believe Bryggselv has sourced it's mash basket from -" onclick=";return false;) it looks like it is either 300 or 400 micron sized mesh.

What would a BIAB bag-user normally recommend for the bags?
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Last edited by rvoith on 24 Mar 2015, 20:04, edited 1 time in total.
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Post #9 made 4 years ago
hi rvoith, this might help ... or not :scratch: its from this thread :lol: viewtopic.php?f=53&t=2614
PistolPatch wrote:We've always said 30-40 threads per centimetre here Aamcle but the other day, I had that disappointing thought that this advice might be quite ambiguous, possibly meaningless...

What I'm trying to say here is that the thickness of your threads will make a real difference. I think we are going to have to come up with a better standard. Here's some thoughts for you though...

Don't grind your grain fine.

Just squash it or break it in two or three places. If you do this, instead of the hard, tanniny, lignin getting pulverised and forced into your brew, it will act as a nice filter.

I was about to say that my first BIAB bag was about 20 threads per cm and used to drain much faster than the ones I have now but I have to learn to stop saying threads per cm I think :roll:.

Just be sensible in your crush and then the 'bag' porosity becomes far less important. I certainly wouldn't have any problems giving what you have said, a go, even though I have never seen stainless cloth. Got a pic?

Last edited by blu_afro on 24 Mar 2015, 20:58, edited 1 time in total.
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Post #10 made 4 years ago
To be an A-Hole....

Mesh depends in the warp/whelp SIZE of threads, as in cloth.

Micron Screen is the Size of the Holes in the material.

A minor difference in Reality, but The Micron size is what we need consider to catch the Tiny Husk and Bran Debris.

Example: a 300-400 Micron Screen has a hole size of .0165" to .0177" or .300mm to .400mm.

Yep, Micron hole size is Metric
From a company that makes Plastic Spheres.." onclick=";return false; ... meters.htm
Last edited by joshua on 24 Mar 2015, 21:36, edited 1 time in total.
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Post #11 made 4 years ago
Rvoith. Thanks for the picture. I understand now what the overflow issue is all about.
If you use a bowl to raise the basket rim above the water line I have some concerns regarding placement. If you put the bowl in upside down the water trapped under the bowl will never be in contact with the grains and sugars until it is removed.
Another concern is that by lifting the basket you are restricting the amount of space for the grains and water to come into contact with each other essentially thickening the mash. An up and down stirring motion with a potato masher may help to get the water at the bottom in contact with the grains. I'm not sure how much of a difference it will make with the mash efficiency.
Just some thoughts. Let us know how things work out on your next brew.
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Post #12 made 4 years ago
rvoith. I have been thinking about your brewing basket. Have you found a solution yet? Lifting the basket with the smallest amount of displacement is ideal. Can you get longer stainless legs welded to the basket?

Putting a bag in the basket and draping over the kettle sides would work, but then why have a basket at all?

Let us know if you find a solution. Just curious.

Post #15 made 4 years ago
Just want to report back that the first bacth was very successful! Had a large family-gathering this weekend, and got super feedback! My confidence in BIAB stands firm!
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Post #16 made 3 years ago
Mad_Scientist wrote:This was me once too. The draining came to a crawl.

Later I learned that I could have used my paddle to open up a pathway/hole
to drain. Live and learn.

One pound of hop pellets.
7/12/2013 by Mad Scientist Brewhaus, on Flickr

My keggle has a similar pickup tube and I get gobs of fine material coming through my counter-flow chiller into the fermenter. It must be mostly fine crush flour leaking out of the brew bag during the mash (I use hop sacks in the boil).

I bought some #60 screen (250 micron) and did a shake test on my grain to see what is in there. It looks like maybe 5-10% of the crush is fine enough to go through the screen and my brew bag since they are about the same mesh size. The bag drains like a champ when I pull it, so I don't really want to change to muslin or something else.

Question for the group: Is there a disadvantage to screening my grain to remove the flour before mashing? Obviously I have to make up for missing material in the grain bill, but the $3 more is worth it considering the hassle I seem to have with excess trub and chiller clogs at the end of the run.
Last edited by CaliBrewer on 05 Sep 2015, 02:08, edited 1 time in total.

Post #17 made 3 years ago
Cal-brewer - Firstly that is an old photo and process. I use voile fabric bag for mashing and a paint strainer bag (a little more coarser) for a hop bag. I squeeze both bags and drain hot wort into a no chill container. That is rather simple for me.

Not sure what material you are seeing, but I wouldn't worry about it. If so, try out the fabrics I use.

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Post #18 made 3 years ago
Thanks Mad Scientist, I figured that was and old photo. It's an awesome one though! The no-chill process seems pretty simple since you can pour clear wort out of the cube after everything settles. I'll probably have to try the voile bag eventually after I put some more wear on this one (bought it on the internet, and it has nice hoisting handles and stitching).

Time for me to stop worrying about the huge trub cake. It just looks messy going into the ferementer. The flavor is great and a cold-crash clears everything up anyway.

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