Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The bag is the key to BIAB!

Once I realized the benefits of Single Vessel brewing (AKA Brewing in a Bag), I eagerly read as much as I could find regarding this method.  I rushed out to Walmart and purchased a $5 Voile curtain and sewed myself a bag.

Several brews later, and I was hooked.  The technique was beautiful and made great beer!  But then one day, I decided to split my grains among 2 bags....but this time I used the infamous Home Depot 5 Gallon paint strainer bags that are often used for hops additions.  I simply used binder clips to hold each bag around the edge of my brewpot.

Wow!  What a difference.  By splitting the grains into 2 bags, each bag was easier to handle, and actually provided more surface area for the water/wort to contact the grains. 

Additionally, when mashing was finished, lifting each bag out to drain was much easier, and even better, the wort flowed out of the bag much more freely it seemed.  Could it be that the paint strainer bags have a slightly coarser weave than the voile curtain???  Well, my eyes are no longer able to see that level of detail even with glasses, and I sold my microscope/chemistry kit decades ago.  I took some pics with my phone camera, and while blurry, it does appear that the paint strainer bags are significantly coarser in weave than the voile.

So for now, I'm sticking with 2 paint strainer bags and retiring the voile. Actually, the voile bags came in handy this weekend when I harvested my hops.  I just dumped them into a voile bag and hung it next to a fan.  Twenty-four hours later, I had dried hops!

Please let me know if you've tried different types of material for your grain bag, and what your results have been.


I've used a paint strainer bag for all my brews so far. No clips because it fits perfectly into a turkey fryer pot. I've been happy with it but it's only a 7.5 gallon pot. Now that I want a bigger pot, I'm getting a special one.

Voile is ~210 micron - paint strainers size varies but commonly used are 300 to 400. They are generally made of nylon and not nearly as strong as voile (polyester).

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