These are our best tips, to begin with, a successful brew in a bag method of brewing. For more information please check our How to Brew in a Bag: Beginners Guide.
1. Pick the right bag
Before going out to get the bag first consider the size of the bag you need. take a tape measure and find the width of the opening and the height of your kettle. then just search for a brew bag that is bigger than the size of your kettle. You want to avoid having a bag too small for your kettle. As far as materials go find a good heat resistant one.
2. Double crush
One of the benefits of brew in a bag is that you don’t have to worry too much about the grain crush size. On other systems, if you crush too fine you will end up with a stuck sparge. This means you can crush super fine even running the grain through the mill twice. Science tells us that by doing this you will make more of the grain starchy bits available during the mash to be converted into sugars effectively. Increasing your overall mash efficiency.
3. Clips on clips
Clips are your brew bag friend. You can use different sizes and for various purposes. There are so many uses.
4. Thermometer on kettle
A good thermometer is a key to any mash. But having to constantly check with a hand thermometer is a pretty maddening task to do. There’s no way to get a good sense of the entire mash temperature. Most brew kettles have a port on them and dedicating one to a thermal thermometer is a great idea. Usually, they are not designed to stick out too far or to be too sharp that they punch a hole in your bag. If your kettle doesn’t have a port you can always add one.
5. Keep it insulated
Probably one of the biggest drawbacks of brew in a bag is the lack of insulation kettles can have. It can be kind of frustrating to start a mash at your perfect temperature and then 15 minutes later it’s dropped 10 degrees. The first step is to leave the lid on as much as possible to trap the heat.
6. Stir it up
As the mash sits the temperature will start dropping slowly. But not in a consistent way. You may see that the top of the mash cools down faster or that the outer part of the kettle cools faster than the middle. Temperatures might be different throughout depending on the grain. The best way to fix this is to stir up the mash from time to time.
7. Drain the bag
At the end of the mash, it’s time to pull out the grains. Other styles of brewing use the gravity of pumps to move the wort from the grains. Pulleys are a great system if you have the capabilities. they reduce the amount of work you need by half if not more.
8. Squeeze it
It’s time to clear the air once and for all. It’s ok to squeeze your bag. Squeezing the bag doesn’t hurt your beer. It won’t extract tannins of astringency and it ensures you get the most wort into the kettle as possible.
9. Full volume VS sparge
If you have a large enough kettle you have the benefit of doing a full volume mash. Meaning all the water needed and all the grains can fit into your kettle without it overflowing. This makes brewing really simple. Sometimes you don’t have enough space. The solution is simple. Just take out the amount of water that you’re over and use it in the sparge.
10. Dump & clean
If you want to prolong the life of your bag you need to be on top of how you care for it. So as soon as you’re one dump out its content and give it a good wash. Washing it with water will get most of the grains off.