Homebrewing can be an expensive way to past time that can prove too much for some people’s budget as well as taking up a lot of space in your home.
For many new brewers the most intimidating thing about starting your own brew isn’t learning the techniques, mash, or efficiency, but the funding and storage. Home brew equipment is often bulky and conspicuous, which requires more square footage for you to operate in your home comfortably.
Brewing in a bag, otherwise known as BIAB, takes some of the steps out of the brewing process as well as removes the need for large amounts of space. This is convenient for the novice home brewer who wants to give the process a shot.
BIAB is a simple one-pot system that doesn’t require a separate mash tun. This allows the brewer to conduct the entire fermentation and brewing process in just one space minimizing kettle. Keep reading for how you can get started brewing in a bag today!
What Is Brewing In A Bag?
Brewing in a bag is a wonderfully easy and condensed version of the brewing process. When you brew in a bag, you are using a bag and a kettle to render an equally delicious yet much simpler beer.
The brew in a bag way is a form of all-grain brewing. It is essentially like making tea but way cooler and more enjoyable. Aside from being extremely simple, there are steps that you can take to make your beer more complex.
You can incorporate more sparge steps that will involve additional kettles but will give a full range of exciting customizations.
Why Is Brewing In A Bag Great For Beginners?
Brewing in a bag is a wonderful way to dip your toe into the lovely waters of brewing from home. This simplified method takes a lot of thought out of the process and allows the brewer to observe and gather a greater understanding of the basics of the brewing process.
When using the typical equipment, multiple steps require you to prepare vats and sanitize all of the moving parts involved. The truth is, as simple as homebrewing is, it is never as easy as it looks. The more steps and instructions you have to follow the more room for error you inevitably encounter.
Let’s face it; most people just don’t have an abundance of space or spare cash lying around to sink into an immersive and challenging new hobby. This is perfect for someone who does not want to invest in an advanced system before they get the hang of things.
The beautiful part about the homebrewing community is that there is always someone who wants to start out. You’re bound to make some money reselling old tools and equipment market. The BIAB kits also make great gifts for the aspiring home brewer.
This step by step portion of the guide will show you how to brew in a bag. Fortunately for you, there aren’t a lot of things you need to add to your shopping list.
List of Tools
Large Pot (Seven to Eight Gallon Capacity)
So the few things that you are going to need to embark on your new hobby is a pot that can comfortably accommodate seven or eight gallons of water.
Most brews are approximately five gallons, so you need to be able to safely house your wort without it spilling over and causing excess waste.
A lot of people would make their own bags from materials like voile that is used in furniture and curtains. Now you can easily purchase a bag at your local homebrew store or online. Cheesecloth is a great substitute if you are in a pinch.
The first step is to take your newly furnished kettle and add the proper volume of pre-boiled water. You then want to determine the strike water temperature, which measures to be around 155 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit for five gallons worth.
Be mindful of your thermostat because the surface area of the grains will alter the temperature by showing a drop in readings.
So now you should be getting pretty excited. At this point, you should have hit your strike water temperature. After this temperature is met, you have to place the bag inside the kettle. When you do this, make sure that there is plenty of overhang from the bag or that it is secured to the kettle, so it does not slide in.
Then, you want to immerse your grains in the water fully. Next, you’ll have to stir the grains gently to break up any clumps that may have formed. If you do not make sure that the mash is stirred in properly the dough balls that are left behind can affect the flavor of your beer.
After you have done all of this, it is time to cover the pot with its lid, so the mash doesn’t lose heat.
This step requires you to be vigilant and stay on top of your brew is maintaining a steady temperature. If you start to lose heat, then make sure to immediately adjust your settings to keep up with your benchmark temperature.
You can ensure consistency when it comes to the temperature of the kettle by removing it from its heat source. Instead, wrap it in a towel or blanket.
It is obvious that you should do with caution, so you do not burn down your house.
Do not deviate from your mash time because this is the only chance you get to extract an optimal amount of fermentable sugar. All of the flavor you are going to get out of your mash comes from this singular step.
The fourth and final step is what will keep you coming back for more. After heating your wort for an hour to seventy minutes, you are going to remove the bag from the kettle. You want to do this precisely and slowly and be careful not to burn yourself.
After that is all finished, you are prepared for the big boil. Follow normal all-grain brewing extract methods, and you can officially consider yourself a brewer!
If you already have all the right equipment to get started on BIAB, then what are you waiting for? By adhering to the steps outlined above, you can figure out whether or not homebrewing is a hobby that is worth your time and money.
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