Over 7 years of homebrewing and not one brew in a bag under my belt. This method is generally considered the next step up from extract brewing, though some just never go away from it either. The main reason is it’s easy and cuts the brew day time down by a lot.
In the event that someone stumbled upon this post and is brand new to brewing, a brew in a bag is where you put your grain into a bag and all your water in one mash and lift out the grain when the mash is done and you have your wort. There is no sparging (running off your wort and adding more water to rinse the grains more). While there are ways to calculate brew in a bag numbers, such as here, for those who use BeerSmith, it’s built in pretty nicely. In my brew day video I go over how I calculate that in the program (see the video below). It’s as easy as a few clicks.
Once mashed in, the goal for this was to hold the temp for an hour. As this is performed in a kettle (usually), it can lose heat fast. I’ve heard of people keeping it warm via blankets, insulating wraps, and even with the use of a Sous Vide. Even I’ve done the later with some success, but for this first attempt I will just keep it on the burner and heat it up every 10 minutes or so.
The other weird thing on this is I’m doing a 100% rye IPA. I have done a 100% bye beer once before with success, but I wanted to crank up the bitterness this time. Rye can get really gummy due to the soluble fiber beta-glucan, so normally one would want to add rice hulls to the mash so it won’t get stuck, but with a brew in a bag you don’t need to worry about that as there is no running off the wort and a chance for it to get stuck.
Batch Size: 1 Gallon
Est ABV: 6%-ish
Boil Time: 38 Min
(100%) – Rye Malt
60 Min @ 150F
(35 IBUs) Ekuanot (14.2% AA) @ 38 min
(40 IBUs) Ekuanot (14.2% AA) @ 15 min
.75 oz Ekuanot (17% AA) @ Kegging
Set the options for BIAB in BeerSmith and for 2.3 lbs of grain, it said to add 1.5 gallons of water. I like to add rounded up or down amounts (aka, 1.25, 1.5, 1.75) in gallons of water, so to adjust it to 1.5 I changed the boil to 38 minutes.
My initial mash in temp was 153F, but within 10 minutes was below 150F. I just turned the burner on every 10 minutes and kept it at 150F.
I collected 1.15 gallons of wort at 1.038, and after the boil got my .8 gallons at 1.060. I was actually aiming for 1.055 as I didn’t expect to get the 72% efficiency I got.
I will say upon transfer to the jug, this was GUMMY. All that fiber transferred over into the wort, perhaps due to it being a brew in a bag and not a full rinse of grains leaving it behind in a normal mash? Just a theory.
11/17/18: Added the dry hops. Below is a photo of how much gunk, proteins, and fiber was in the beer. I’m only going to get a 1/2 a gallon out of it!