Brew Day: Bells Two Hearted Clone (BIAB)

Brew in a Bag

Brew in a Bag

I recently brewed a Bell’s Two Hearted clone recipe (which I found in a back issue of Zymurgy – the magazine of the American Homebrewers Association).  This is a one hop IPA brewed by THE Bells Brewing in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  Since I’ve moved from extract brewing to all grain brewing, I really like how much “play” I have in the process.  I can change the grain and malt bill slightly or significantly, mash at different temperatures for different flavor profiles, etc.  The downside is the extra hours in invested (albeit a small price to pay for good beer)!

For this brew day I tried a new all grain technique, called Brew in a Bag (BIAB).  This is a way to mash your grains right in the brew pot, without needing a mash tun.  I was a little nervous at first, because most people lose efficiency by doing this, but after reading an excellent post on BeerSmith’s website, I decided to give it a try, and came out at over 85% efficiency (which is a great number for any type of all grain brewing).  I encourage you to read the Beersmith article, but I will throw out a few key things that likely helped with efficiency:

  • Insulate Your Brew Pot

    Insulate Your Brew Pot

    Double Crushed Grains

    Double Crushed Grains

    I think one of the keys to BIAB is to double crush your grains, which will aid in sugar extraction during the mash.

  • Using the pot, you have to make sure you can keep your mash temperature (which is not as easy as using an insulated mash tun).  It helps to heat the water to your strike temperature, stir in your grains, and cover the pot in a towel.  Try not to open the lid to often to check temp or you lose a significant amount of heat.  It helps to insulate the pot with a towel (with the burner off of course), and maybe check the temp halfway through the mash.  You can slowly heat the water if its fallen too far, but make sure you lift your grain bag off the bottom of the pot so you don’t scorch it.
  • Have a plan to remove your very hot grain bag at the end without burning yourself (such as using gloves).
  • Drain Your Wort

    Drain Your Wort

    Have a strainer/collinder that fits over your brew kettle so that you can remove the grains, and allow very concentrated wort to drain back into the boil.  After it’s cooled a bit, you can squeeze the bag to remove more highly concentrated wort, which will increase your efficiency.

  • At the end of your mash time (60 minutes in this case), raise the temp of your water to 168 for 10 to 15 minutes (considered a mash out) to extract additional sugar.

If you’re already an all grain brewer, I highly recommend you give this method a try for those times you want to experiment on formulating your own brew and don’t want to do a full 5 gallons.  It’s also great for those days when you want to cut your brew time down, but don’t want to do an extract brew.

Have A Hombrew

Have A Hombrew

As far as the beer itself, it is brewed with two grains and one hop (Centennial).  It’s in primary right now, and I plan to secondary/dry hop shortly.  I’m posting the recipe below from the Zymurgy magazine.  As always, I like to drink one of my prior home-brews, and in this case had a glass of my Pliny the Elder Clone brew (a double IPA), which turned out fantastic!

If you have any questions feel free to comment below!

Recipe note: mash at 150 for 60 minutes.

Recipe Details

Batch Size Boil Time IBU SRM Est. OG Est. FG ABV
5 gal 60 min 64.4 IBUs 9.4 SRM 1.063 1.012 6.7 %
Actuals 1.046 1.01 4.7 %


Name Amount %
Pale Malt (2 Row) US 9.5 lbs 71.27
Pale Malt (2 Row) UK 2.83 lbs 21.23
Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L 1 lbs 7.5


Name Amount Time Use Form Alpha %
Centennial 1.2 oz 45 min Boil Pellet 10
Centennial 1.2 oz 30 min Boil Pellet 10
Centennial 3.5 oz 5 days Dry Hop Pellet 10


Name Amount Time Use Type
Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) 4.00 g 60 min Mash Water Agent


Name Lab Attenuation Temperature
California Ale (WLP001) White Labs 77% 68°F - 73°F


Step Temperature Time
Saccharification 150°F 45 min
Mash Out 170°F 10 min



Add a Comment
  1. Hi Brett, I was just looking around for a BIAB IPA and stumbled across this recipe…looks good. I’ve done 2 BIABs so far so have an idea how it works but still trying to dial it in. I was wondering how much total water you used for this, and if your pot was big enough to add it all at the beginning. Thanks, Gabe

    1. Hi Gabe – I have an 8 gallon pot and my BIABs are typically small batches (this particular one was only 1 3/4 gallon). Because it was a small batch and I have a large enough pot, I can add all the water at the beginning. I typically don’t go over 3 gallon BIABs since my pot is only 8 gallons and I like to do a full boil.

      For the 1 3/4 gallon recipe, I started out with 2.8 Gallons, and with all my losses (boil off/grain absorption/etc) that gives me about 1 3/4 gallons out of the fermentor. That said, I think this recipe called for a 60 minute boil, but to help with extraction efficiency, I’ve since upped my boils to about 75 minutes.

      I’m still drinking this one, and it does really well after about a month in the bottle (I always have a hard time waiting to drink my brews). It turned out really well with a good malt balance to the hops.

      Good luck with it and let me know if you have any other questions Gabe!

      1. Based on your comment above, I’m guessing you downscaled the grain bill?

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