Lifting the Mash Colander out of the BIAC fermenter
In the BIAC method of brewing, after mashing, the Mash Colander is lifted out of the 3-in-1 or 4-in-1 fermenter in order to complete vorlauf (clear any sediment out of the wort by pumping it out the bottom of the fermenter and back through the grain bed which acts as a filter) and drain all the wort into the fermenter for boiling. While an overhead hoist for lifting the Colander out of the fermenter is handy as it facilitates gradual lifting and a more controlled lauter and sparge, it is not necessary.
Lifting the Mash Colander out of the fermenter by oneself is relatively easy in the Small BIAC as with most recipes it will weigh about 13kg/28lbs before the wort drains (it can weigh up to 18kg/39lbs with a large recipe).
The Mash Colander for the Medium BIAC can be more challenging, however, as it will normally weigh around 40kg/88lb before the wort drains and can weigh up to 55kg/120lbs. So unless you are Brian Shaw, in this situation you will likely need to acquire the assistance of a friend to lift the colander out, or alternatively, install an overhead pulley or hoist system to lift the colander out. A hoist is discussed below, and one customer set his BIAC up in his basement and used a pulley system. Click here to read about it.
The Mash Colander for the Large BIAC can weigh up to about 160kg/350lbs and will require an overhead lift. A relatively inexpensive solution is to install an overhead hoist. One such hoist with a a 440lb rating currently sells on Amazon for $125 (shown in picture to the left; click here for more details; Canadians can purchase one by clicking here) and can be installed to an overhead beam or a gantry.
For lifting the Colander out of the 3BBL and 5BBL systems, a hoist can be either attached to an overhead beam or a portable gantry can be purchased such as the adjustable height, 10' wide, 1 ton gantry available from Harbor Freight for about $800. (When securing the hoist to the gantry/beam, it is important to first ensure that the beam can support the weight of the hoist and full Mash Colander. For safety, add a large margin of additional weight when deciding on a gantry and hoist.) For more gantry and hoist options, refer to this page.
For more information, watch the following videos:
Video: Lifting the Mash Colander out of the fermenter