Friday, August 8, 2014


So after posting my Custom BIAB Review, I realized (and got several questions about) that not many people mash in a bag, in a cooler.

So I got to thinking and I'd really like opinions on this, but why not?

Higher efficiency through super fine crush. I mill my own grain and have it set to .032 and double mill. Around 75-80% efficiency depending on grist, though I've hit 86% once on a super simple brew.

Zero fear of stuck anything because nothing gets out of the bag except for some very fine particles. And wort. Lots of delicious tasty wort.

Speaking of nothing getting out of the bag except wort. The vorlauf process is stupid easy, because even the first runnings will run clear when I open it full blast after about a second. I batch sparge and the second runnings are clear after about the same amount of time, one second on full blast.

A big one for me that I'm sure also plays into the efficiency, but one that a lot of people rarely consider: Less wort loss. Hows that? Simple. Without a bag, you can't very well squeeze your grain to get every last bit of precious wort out of it. You could wait with the tun tilted, but sooner or later it stops and you're left with less wort due to absorption by the grain. I just grab the handles, lift it up and give it a twist. I can then slide an oven rack under it solo or if a friend is helping, have him do that part. Solo isn't even hard, I'm just lazy.

Cleanup is a breeze. I know it isn't terribly difficult without a bag, but it's easier with a bag. Simply dump the grain by turning the bag inside out, hose the bag down and hang it up to try. The cooler just needs a quick rinse with the hose as well, and there are no grain bits in there.

So. Am I crazy? Why don't more people do this? The only thing I can think of is "it isn't the traditional way." And if that's your way of thinking then so be it, but I've just taken that "traditional" way and made it easier.

If you can think of an actual reason why this is a bad idea, or somehow less optimal than I believe it to be, I really want to know. I am not opposed to installing a false bottom or whatever in my mash tun, I simply don't see any real benefit over using a bag. I do see potential drawbacks though, hence my reluctance to do so.

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