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Old 09-05-2013, 11:35 PM   #1
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Default Partial mash test - millet versus buckwheat

This is my first post and the topic is my first attempts at partial mash with gluten free grain. My goal is to eventually be able to use the partial mash to diminish the sorghum twang but still be able to make 5 gal batches with a 3 gallon boil. I wanted to test the impact of millet and buckwheat separately so I used a pretty tame hop profile and did not add Belgium candy syrup or other flavor additives that I normally use.

I basically followed Powmonster’s “Gluten Free Saison” schedule (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f240/glu...saison-376455/) except I used a single rest main mash instead of a multi-rest (three stage) main mash. I did this because I used a home made mash tun for my main mash and did not want to try to make big changes in temp once the mash was in there.

Basic recipe (3 gallon batch):
5 pounds pale malted grain from Colorado Malting Co. (batch A 100% millet, batch B 100% buckwheat)
3.3 lb Briessweet sorghum LME (had to use this much because of poor efficiency)
½ oz Cascade T60
¼ oz Cascade T15
½ oz Cascade T0
whirlfloc tablet
Safale US-05 yeast (hydrated)

Mash Water: 3 gallons of distilled water treated with 2.2g Chalk (CaCo3), 1g Gypsum (CaSo4), 1.2g Epsom Salt (Mgs04) and Lactic acid to get to pH of ~5.9
<<EDIT - Made a mistake in formulating water treatment. Result is that Sulfate and Chloride are out of balance and this should not be used >>
Sparge Water: 2 gallon Publix drinking water treated with acid to bring pH to 5.6

Note: I had aquarium pH strips and brewing pH strips purchased on line to test water and they did not work well at all. Don’t really know what the pH was but hope that it was close to target. If I keep doing partial mash batches I am going to have to get a reasonable pH measurement.

Mash Result:
I used a corona grain mill and tried to get a fine grind. Millet was hard to get a fine grind but buckwheat ground pretty fine.
The millet mash ran really well and never got stuck. Used 1 lb rice hulls with the mash.
The buckwheat batch was different. It was extremely thick and gooey. I had a lot of trouble separating some mash water for the mash out step after the protein rest and could not get the full 2 quarts I was shooting for. Even with rice hulls, I got a stuck sparge almost immediately and it never recovered. I had to hand sparge in a mesh bag, which was a huge mess.

For both batches, I got a room temperature gravity of 1.017 to 1.020 for 3 gallons of collected wart. Pretty poor compared to what others are reporting. As a result I had to use more LME then I had hoped.
Both finished primary fermentation in a week and were in secondary for two weeks. Millet was crystal clear even before cold crash for 24 hours before transfer to keg. The buckwheat batch was not as clear.

Both are carbonating and conditioning. Probably won’t be able to wait more than a week or two to crack them open and see what I get.

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Old 09-22-2013, 01:55 PM   #2
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Ok, the experiment is complete. No big surprise that both brews ended up very different. I was sort of hoping that the partial mash would not be a big improvement over the extract batches because the partial mash is a twice the effort and a longer brew day. Both were better though and both did a great job hiding the sorghum twang.

The millet came out really clear and the millet malt taste really came through. Some of my friends noticed the citrus notes and I think that was partially because I used Cascade hops.

Many have commented that Buckwheat does not bring much taste to the table and this experiment confirmed that for me. However, I think I really liked that. I seem to like beer and wine that has subtler flavor and I think the Buckwheat is going to do that for me. Although I had a lot of trouble with the Buckwheat batch I think it showed me what I needed to know. I did not do a good job in the starch gel rest and as a result I had stuck sparge and the final beer came out fairly cloudy. The buckwheat batch had a much thicker head and smooth taste which was good. I think with more hops and some coriander at the end of the boil, I might end up with my favorite.

Since I have both batches tapped at the same time, I have been mixing the millet and buckwheat half and half when I drink them.

I think now I will work on improving my methods for conversion and improving my process for the mash out phase. I like the partial mash because I don’t have to have great efficiency and I can always back fill with LME to get the OG that I want. I am going to be using a larger percentage of buckwheat in the grain bill and I think I will try E.K. Goldings hops for late additions to get further away from the citrus flavor. Probably should be adding some roasted malt as well.

Comments and suggestions welcome as this is a work in progress!

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Old 09-22-2013, 02:54 PM   #3
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Great work man! I too am wanting to get away from straight sorghum. I enjoy the sorghum twang but would like some variety in flavors as well as added complexity. Partial mash may be the way to go for me now. What exactly does EK Goldings impart in a late boil?

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Old 09-22-2013, 03:05 PM   #4
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mullet versus buckwheat?



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Old 09-22-2013, 07:19 PM   #5
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Awesome! My names for these batches were:
Monster Millet Mash
And
"O-Tay" Buckwheat Ale

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Old 10-02-2013, 11:04 PM   #6
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Thanks for sharing your experiments. I am thinking of doing a partial mash with Millet. Does it make sense to add alpha enzymes to overcome the low efficiency you get with mashing millet? I am new to GF brewing and have not used enzymes in the past, but this is what CMC recommended to me.

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Old 10-03-2013, 02:25 AM   #7
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I would use enzymes in addition to the mash out step in the schedule. Also, I think I could have achieved better efficiency with a finer grind but the partial mash did very well. If you use a large percentage of Buckwheat in your grain bill then I would consider some of the advice in the following link: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f164/mash-schedule-428417/
My next partial mash will have a large percentage of buckwheat as I really liked the buckwheat test batch and I will use a schedule that will include a cereal mash with a near boiling step like the link above.

This is the mash schedule that I used, which I would only consider if you use mostly millet:

_________________________________________________
Treat 3 gallons distilled water. Let sit over night to dissolve mineral additions. Separate as follows:
- 3 quarts in ice bath
- 5 quarts strike water at 110F
- keep remainder at boiling point for rest additions
Treat 2 gallons sparge water

Add strike water to grain.
Beta-glucan rest at 104F for 25 minutes
Intermediate step:
- Add 1.5 quarts boiling water to bring mash to 125F
Protein Rest at 125F for 25 minutes
Intermediate step:
- 2 quarts clear mash water out
- 2.2 quarts boiling water to bring mash to 150F
Partial Conversion Rest at 150F for 25 minutes
Intermediate step:
- Heat while stirring to 180F
Hold between 180 and 190F for 5 minutes to gel starches
Intermediate step
- Add 2 quarts mash water at 32F to bring mash below 160F
- Return mash-out water (held at 133F) to mash
- Add 1 pound hydrated rice hulls (some to bottom of mash tun, the rest added to mash)
- Preheat mash tun by rinsing with some boiling water
- Add additional water hot or cold as needed to bring mash to 153F
- Add mash to mash tun
Mash at 153F for 60 minutes
Recirculate and drain into brew pot
Sparge with 165F sparge water until 3 gallons wart is collected

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