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Old 08-16-2009, 09:52 PM   #1
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Default Mini mash vs. All grain - Mini Mash wins

I had been invited to join in a Homebrew festival and since I did not know of the event I felt I should check it out first.

So me and a friend of mine went to said festival this weekend and we took our critical taste buds and notebooks to unofficially judge beer. The goal was to just increase our knowledge and awareness of beer.

Once we were done and pretty well toasted (no 2 oz. servings HERE)!! we were talking about the brews the good and the bad and I had been asking every so often the techniques, seemed 50/50 between mini mash and AG.

SO I got up out of my chair (no easy task at that point) and with notebook asked each of the brewers their technique.

WELL - the brews that got the highest ratings were the partial mashers and NOT the All grain people.

Thinking about this we all know that All Grain IS better then Partial mash IF the brewer is skilled.

I feel many All Grain brewers (this is ONLY my personal experience) make worse beer then Mini mashers because All Grain is harder. They do not have the experience. They do 3 or 4 mini mashes and say I want to make GOOD beer and move to AG before they are ready.

it's then the technique - it's the brewer.

I've gotten into the bad habit of when someone says they are an all grain brewer I have been lowering my expectations on what I'm about to drink.

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Old 08-16-2009, 10:47 PM   #2
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because All Grain is harder. T
Honestly, I think all grain is easier than Partial mash. PM, you have to do everything you do in AG, and then you still need to worry about introducing the extract and such.
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Old 08-16-2009, 11:07 PM   #3
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Honestly, I think all grain is easier than Partial mash. PM, you have to do everything you do in AG, and then you still need to worry about introducing the extract and such.
Adding extract to a PM batch is not really much to worry about-- measure, dump, stir.

I think doing a PM is easier than AG, in a way, because you don't need to be excessively concerned about efficiency. You can adjust the wort gravity with extract, as needed, if you are over or under your expected efficiency.

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Old 08-16-2009, 11:17 PM   #4
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Oh, and I agree with Grinder12000... all-grain does not equate to beer that is better than extract. I would even go so far as to say that with fresh ingredients and good technique, the difference between AG and extract is small, if any.

-Steve

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Old 08-16-2009, 11:35 PM   #5
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first I should say I am a Partial mash full Boil guy.

When I said "harder" perhaps it is harder to stay focused? I can make a batch in just under 3.5 hours. All grain seems to take longer and I wonder if focus sometimes becomes a factor in the length of time it takes?

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Old 08-17-2009, 12:18 AM   #6
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first I should say I am a Partial mash full Boil guy.

When I said "harder" perhaps it is harder to stay focused? I can make a batch in just under 3.5 hours. All grain seems to take longer and I wonder if focus sometimes becomes a factor in the length of time it takes?
I don't know. An AG batch takes me 4 hours, and the beer is the best beer I've ever made. Is it because I sucked as a brewer when I did PM? I doubt it- but fresh ingredients are hard to come by unless I ordered online right before a brew day. Now I buy in bulk, and crush my grain while my strike water is heating. That's about as fresh as you can get.

I've had some terrible AG beers, and some excellent extract brews. Overall, though, the good AG beers I've had have been better than the good extract brews.

Nothing wrong with PM if that's what the brewer likes, and has time to do. I just don't see any real advantage to a PM over an AG brew if you already have the equipment.
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Old 08-17-2009, 02:13 AM   #7
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Adding extract to a PM batch is not really much to worry about-- measure, dump, stir.
And why can't you do that with AG? If I miss my OG I usually don't worry about it, but I'm sure I could just dump in a little DME if I wanted.


You might technically call it a PM at that point, but I think its all semantics at that point.
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Old 08-17-2009, 02:39 AM   #8
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And why can't you do that with AG? If I miss my OG I usually don't worry about it, but I'm sure I could just dump in a little DME if I wanted.

You might technically call it a PM at that point, but I think its all semantics at that point.
Yes, you can adjust the gravity of an AG brew with extract, but that's not what I was debating. Your assertion was that AG is easier than PM because:
PM, you have to do everything you do in AG, and then you still need to worry about introducing the extract and such.
and I simply countered that:
Adding extract to a PM batch is not really much to worry about-- measure, dump, stir.
and I still stand by that. I just don't think that's enough of a difference to make AG easier than PM. If you add a little extract to an AG brew to meet a target OG, then that narrows the difference even more.

-Steve
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Old 08-17-2009, 02:44 AM   #9
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Steve, my whole point is that there are essentially more steps in a PM brew than an AG brew. You're essentially doing AG, and then adding on worries about whether you're doing late addition of extract, or early, worries about burning the extract, etc.

IMO, people do PM instead of AG because of space/equipment needs, not because its easier. I don't really think AG is easier, but I don't think its any harder.

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Old 08-17-2009, 02:57 AM   #10
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Yes, there are more steps to PM than AG, and, in some ways, that makes it easier. Worries about late addition of extract and burning the extract are really tied to technique not related to PM. For me, adding extract is easy because, with my technique, I don't have to worry about timing and burning. I guess "easiness" is subjective.

To tie this back to the OP, just because a beer was made using an AG technique does not make it inherently better than PM or all-extract (AE?). I started doing PM to improve the quality of my beer, but honestly, there were other more important factors that made a much larger contribution to improving my beer than replacing some of my extract with fresh wort from a mash.

-Steve

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