My BIAB Bubble Burst

I was looking to simplify my brewday and my outlook on homebrewing.  Things got a bit ahead of me in 2013 and I soon found myself in over my head.  My solution was to give BIAB (Brew in a Bag) brewing a whirl.  BIAB promised to reduce the length of a brewday by a couple of hours as well as allowing me to brew at short notice – no more scrabbling around in the roof to find my kit – just one stock pot and the stove. 

I got off to a positive start and brewed a couple of SMASH (Single Malt and Single Hop) beers, the first using Amarillo and the second with Apollo*.  Despite BIAB being the supposed answer to ALL of my problems, I soon realised that All Grain / Full Mash brewing wasn’t really the issue at all, it was more a case of me allowing beer – in general – to muscle its way to the top of my priorities list.  The problem with this – for me personally – is that even when I managed to brew, it was usually at the expense of time spent doing more important things.  The result of this was that the enjoyment I used to get from homebrewing soon faded.  So, what’s changed? and why do I think that brewing at home will be different this time? I don’t know that it will be different, but I’ve drastically reduced the number of evenings spent in the pub; attending other beery events – of which there were many – and partaking in less casual drinking on the sofa, all mean that I can set some time aside that doesn’t need to be a rush job, or spoilt by the guilt from knowing that I should be probably be somewhere else.

BIAB#3 or AG#30, it doesn’t really matter which, but my next brewday will be soon, and I’m looking forward to it, and getting back to blogging.

Happy new year!  

* Both BIAB brews turned out ok, pretty thin in body, despite a high mash temp, something I will work on next.  I think both beers will be perfectly acceptable lawnmower beers come the summer months.

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12 thoughts on “My BIAB Bubble Burst

  1. I do BIAB too at the moment because it’s quicker than traditional 3 vessel and easier to fit in with work & family stuff. I’ve not had problems with beer being thin though, I’ve done about 15 brews mainly hoppy IPA or APA being most successful. I mash at 65-66 degrees for 90 minutes, tip 3l of 78 degree water through when draining the bag, and put the grain bag back in at 78 degrees for 10 minutes. I also boil for 90 minutes. I haven’t done a single grain, I always add wheatmalt, munich, vienna etc too and don’t add extra for BIAB inefficiencies. Normally I’m not too far off expected gravity, or spot on.
    Only quicker way to brew all grain is the Braumeister! People I know who use them churn out consistently good beer quickly and efficiently with a lot less cleaning up.

    • Agreed, definitely quicker…I was getting a brew done and cleared away in 4 hours, but think my focus on time-savings have affected the results. Will now mash for 90 (not 60 as I would have done with 3 vessel), will insulate the pot further, and will use other malts to add some body (in addition to the warmer mash). Appreciate your comments, and you sharing your method…all very useful stuff.

      • No worries, pleased to help. It started as a quick simple all grain brewing process, using old towels for insulation and making do with stuff etc…. but it isn’t long before you start getting drawn into more elaborate processes. I’m now looking at digital temperature control 🙂

  2. Well this is good news for the home brewing scene as your recipes and informative posts have certainly inspired and assisted many of us and speaking personally, helped me to get started in the first place.

    I can relate to your comments around the challenge of finding the time and found that as my process (and equipment) improved, bringing the time required to brew down, the number of brews I was able to get through increased. It sounds obvious but I found it easier to justify putting half a day aside rather than feeling bad for spending the whole day (and earlier on, evening too!) and ‘wasting’ half the precious weekend, so was more likely to take the plunge that put things off for another week. Also with practice, I was more prepared for those fun things that pop up to test us during the brewing process and certainly get de-railed less frequently now.

    • Cheers Andy, kind words, and I’ll take a lot from them. The penny has dropped for me now….I can’t do everything I want to do in my beery social life AND still take a day to brew a beer. I’ve been unrealistic and pretty selfish at times. I’ll now be able to plan in some time and enjoy it again. Great to see the kinds of beers you’re on with now….I’ll be checking your blog for tips on sour beers and beers with bugs in 🙂

  3. It’s depressing when something that was once a hobby turns into a chore. I had an allotment until all too recently – I gave it up because I had so much other important stuff going on that spending time there became riddled with guilt and was no longer enjoyable. Hopefully this year I can enjoy growing stuff on a smaller scale in the garden – much as you are planning to do with BIAB!

    Good luck with it all, I wish you all the best and hope your brewing gets back to what it should be…fun!

    • Thanks Richard, good luck with the veg….I also have aspirations to do the same, but will most likely stick to what I can grow in the greenhouse for now….thinking small 🙂

    • I understand you there Richard. just had to give up my allotment after 6 years of ownership. Work, family and other hobbies & not enough time. It was a hobby that became stressful! I will be back when I retire, until then tomato plants in pots & potatoes in bags on the patio.

  4. Great to see you back on twitter and hope you get your brewing mojo returns post haste. I enjoy your blog. It even spurred me to get hold of a stove top kit. I look forward to seeing you back blogging beginning with some top notch BIAB recipes. Cheers mate.

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