Day 91 Brew Day, First All-Grain, Brew in a Bag!

Brew in a Bag (BIAB), all-grain.

Brew in a Bag (BIAB), all-grain.

Today was my first experience with an all-grain brew! I took a class and got supplies a couple of weeks ago and today was a beautiful day for brewing. I probably wouldn’t get another chance for a couple of weeks, so I went for it.  Everything went surprisingly well. The target temperature for the mash in was 150 F. That was supposed to be accomplished by adding the grain to the full volume of water ( 6.25 gallons) heated to 158F. The temperature actually went to 155 and didn’t get down to 150 until the last 15 out of 60 minutes with no heat on.

The set-up.

The set-up.

I dunked and drained the bag a few times. The refractometer showed an SG of around 1.042…supposed to end up at 1.053, so I was a little worried. I put the bag back down in and raised the temp to 168F  to mash out.



Next, I cut the flame and allowed the bag to drain well…SG still looked low.

Drain the grain.

Drain the grain.

I went ahead with the 60 minute boil and hop additions at 60, 15, 5 and 1 minutes. I also added 1 teaspoon Irish Moss with 15 minutes left to boil. With the concentration from the boil, the SG was up to about 1.062.



I did the ice tub chill-down of the wort and it went reasonably quickly. I rehydrated the dry yeast in water while I finished cooling the wort. I then transferred the wort to a bottling bucket for primary fermentation. I wound up with just under 5 gallons. I added water to bring it up to about 5-1/2 gallons and the FG nailed the 1.053 target! (Using my hydrometer and correcting for temperature.) The sample was malty/sweet (which will convert) and very tasty. It actually separated pretty quickly and the wort is a nice color.

Nice color in the sample.

Nice color in the sample.

I put the sample in the fridge to look at/taste again later. I pitched the yeast at about 1:45 pm. Over the next few hours, I did not see any action in the airlock and I noticed a small drip around the spigot. I decided around 7:00 pm, that I should go ahead and transfer to another bucket, since efforts to tighten the spigot did not stop the leak. I took advantage of the opportunity to aerate some more in the process of the transfer. I also realized that the temperature in the house had gone up to 77F, so I turned on the A/C. Crossing my fingers that I get some action overnight. I am a little concerned with the temperature fluctuations. The wife will complain about the house being too cold and how much it costs, when she gets home from a business trip in a couple of days. Then the temp will go up again. The yeast’s  upper range is up to 71F  for fermentation temps, ideally. It could have an effect, but it should be ok, at worst. (I hope!)


6 thoughts on “Day 91 Brew Day, First All-Grain, Brew in a Bag!

  1. Manfred Geier says:

    Matt, thanks for sharing your process. I just did my second BIAB with a bag from my LHBS. It’s a tight fit over the 15 gallon kettle that I got from them as well. Your bag looks exactly what I’m looking for. Where did you get it? Also been looking for a rig to suspend/drain bag from over the kettle. Closest thing I’ve found was a strainer with a 14″ diameter. Where did you find yours?

    Thanks, Fred

    • Hi Fred,
      Thanks for checking out the blog! My drain rack is actually an upside down jar rack from a canning set-up. I had someone suggest a replacement grill grate from a hardware store…like for a Weber Grill. I just happened to have the jar rack on hand.Sounds like your pot is bigger than mine, but I got my bag at Atlantic Brew Supply in Raleigh, NC. If you have trouble finding one local to you, they have a website and the folks there are very helpful and friendly!

      • Manfred Geier says:

        Thanks Matt. It looks like the bag wouldn’t be wide enough but I will email them. I’ve been looking at grill grates but I think they’re chrome-plated and prone to rust? I’ve been combing the websites for something stainless steel and have yet to find a good fit. Your jar rack looks good.

      • i think my canning rack is just chrome plated, too. It is made to be submerged, but only with stuff sealed in glass jars…but it’s working. In my restaurant equipment selling days, I remember there were pizza screens that came in pretty big sizes. They’re made of aluminum, so I don’t think rust would be a problem. They aren’t made to hold a lot of weight, but with the bag of grain, it would be distributed well enough anyway, I think. See if you have a local restaurant equipment supplier with a showroom. Most are open to the public and have commercial quality stuff cheaper than you would pay at a kitchen gadget store!

      • Manfred Geier says:

        Good idea. I’ve been looking for a restaurant supply place, looked at pizza pans and you’re right—they’re mostly aluminum. I’d rather not use that in my brewing. I’ll let you know if I find anything that works really well, but for now it looks like you’ve made the best use of what’s available. Thanks again!

  2. Pingback: Brew in a Bag a Good Transition to All Grain Brewing Without Intimidation

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