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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > AHS mini-mash vs. Deathbrewer's partial mash
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Old 12-22-2009, 12:20 AM   #1
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Default AHS mini-mash vs. Deathbrewer's partial mash

I was wondering about the differences between the AHS mini-mash kit instructions, and Deathbrewer's partial mash method.

Basically, the AHS mini-mash instructions are to take grain bill (usually around 4 lbs. I think), mash in 2 1/2 gallons for 45 minutes @ 155F, and then rinse the grain bag with 170F water using a relatively small amount of water (like 1 qt./2 lbs. I think).

Deathbrewer's instructions are similar, but he mashes with less volume, and sparges with more in a separate pot, leaving the grains in 170F sparge water for 10 minutes (possibly getting better efficiency, and definitely ending up with more boil volume?).

I'm just wondering what the difference is to the end resulting beer? Is the partial mash method preferable in any way? AHS instructions are easier, but I have enough pots and things to do it the way Deathbrewer wrote up if that's a better way to do it...

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Old 12-22-2009, 12:29 AM   #2
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I've been doing AHS mini mash for about the last 6 brews. I always hit my target OG. If that helps.

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Old 12-22-2009, 01:55 PM   #3
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So far I've done my last 6 or so batches by PM and while I haven't exactly hit my OGs, the beers have turned out fine. I too have wondered about going with the AHS instructions but it seems with AG and PM everyone here agrees on ~ 1.25 qt/lb for the mash so I've stuck with that. But I'd say whichever you think is easier. AHS knows what they're doing too and they make fantastic beers

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Old 12-22-2009, 02:50 PM   #4
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I venture a guess that AHS is just making the instructions work well for all the PM recipes by erring on the high side with the water volume. Personally I'd keep the ratio to 2qts/lb or less. For 4lbs, it's 2 gallons so it's not that far off from AHS. Pouring water over the bag is kind of a hap hazzard way of sparging and I'd much rather dunk the bag in a container of 180F water (about a gallon) assuming you have the room to boil like 2.5 gallons total (4 pounds of grain will keep a half gallon sucked up).

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Old 12-22-2009, 03:03 PM   #5
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I have had really good luck with the Austin Homebrew PM's. I can't say anything about Deathbrewers because I have never done it but try it one way and then the other and see which way feels better to you.

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Old 12-22-2009, 05:10 PM   #6
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I was going to ask this exact same question after my last brew. I had read Deathbrewers method a few times and when I got the AHS instructions I was like whaaa? I ended up doing a hybrid of the two. I used the 2.5 gallons to mash in (worried it was too thin myself...seemed more like steeping) but then ended up "sparging" by dunking the bag in about a gallon of water. I agree with Bobby M...pouring water over the bag didn't seem like it would be good enough, and if you don't have a large enough strainer to hold the grain bag over your pot, it can be a pain to hold the bag up and can easily create a mess. In the end I hit my target gravity but I still need to work on my process. Not sure if the consistency of the mash matters much with only 3-4 lbs. of grain but when I do it again I will probably side closer to the ~ 1.25 qt/lb mark.

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Old 12-22-2009, 05:37 PM   #7
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FWIW, I used DB's method for a bunch of beers before going AG, and IMO it works great. Once I figured things out, I regularly got 70% efficiency. It's a great way to figure out the brewing process, and you can do things like play with water ratios to see what works best for you.

Think about it this way: if you're getting better efficiency with the same amount of grains, than more of the sugars in your wort will come from grains than from extract. This means that things like mash temps will have more of an effect on your final product than they would otherwise. I'm not saying that the beer you make will necessarily be better, but I always liked feeling more in control.

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Old 12-22-2009, 06:49 PM   #8
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One of the continuing oddities is homebrewers' love of thick mashes. I've noticed very little difference between a 3:1 mash and a 5:1 mash, except more water means better temperature stability and less sparging.

For a typical 4 lb PM from Austin Homebrew, 2.5 gallons is 5:1 by weight. When I'm doing AG, I shoot for 4:1.

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Old 12-22-2009, 06:56 PM   #9
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Of course there are some practical reasons you might mash thicker like making room for step mash infusions, mash tun volume limits, desire for max efficiency (from more sparging), etc. However, since this is a mini-mash discussion, they are all irrelevant. You just want to stay thick enough to not dilute the enzymes too much. I think 2 gallons, 2.5, whatever is fine.

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Old 12-22-2009, 08:02 PM   #10
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Like everyone says, it doesn't really matter, but one of AHS' employees told me early on to ignore their 2.5 gallon recommendation in a discussion regarding mash pH

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