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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Besides initial cost and equipment storage, why does anyone partial?

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Old 02-24-2012, 03:56 PM   #1
chuckda4th
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Default Besides initial cost and equipment storage, why does anyone partial?

Hey everyone...first time long time. This board has been beyond helpful in getting up to speed and quickly looking up stressful newby questions mid-brew day, so thanks a ton for that!


I've done about 12 extract brews...by the last one I had the process down great, and over the couple years I was doing them I had amassed quite the equipment collection - multiple primaries, better bottle secondary, immersion cooler, flask for doing starters, iBrewmaster, 3 kegs, dedicated mini-fridge that fits 2, etc... I even built a MAME arcade cabinet around the fridge I'll post some pictures of at some point - nothing beats playing Donkey Kong with real arcade controls and simply reaching down to refill my beer.

Around batch 8 I started tweaking the NB recipes, and by the 12th batch I decided it was time to partial as I wanted more control. I decided on the Speckled Heifer from NB, which looked pretty straightforward. I found it to be a complete PITA trying to keep the temperature steady doing the mash in the brew pot. I tried doing it on the stove, but then the pot had uneven temperatures in it even when stirring, and it was hard to maintain the temp. I tried putting it in the oven on low and had the same issue. Obviously you cant stir while it's in the oven, so I actually found that to be worse. It was quite stressful and if I was forced to do it again, I'm not even sure I learned enough to combat the issues.

Luckily the beer is pretty good - just a bit dry, which from my research is due to the mash temperature being low, which was what I noted during the mash. I hit the OG from iBrewmaster, but the FG was about .002 lower than expected, so the dryness could be due to the increased .3% alcohol. Regardless, I know I hosed the mash temp.

In any case, I decided the stress of partial wasn't for me, grabbed a 10gal igloo team cooler and stainless ball valve with the mesh attachment, and did NB's all-grain American Wheat. I used iBrewmaster to calc the temperatures, which were dead on, and it was infinitely easier than doing the partial mash. Very excited to try it in a couple weeks - planning on kegging it tomorrow.

Between the 2 brews, I found that it takes just as long to do partial vs AG, and you don't get the benefits of the cooler maintaining a steady temperature, which is a huge stress reliever.

I've seen a few random posts where people say they almost exclusively partial. So I'm curious...besides initial cost and the space required to store equipment (they are certainly understandable reasons), why would anyone do partial mash rather than all-grain?

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Old 02-24-2012, 04:17 PM   #2
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I occasionally do a partial mash in a small 4 gal cooler with stainless braid, and full boil on the stove if it's cold outside and I'm feeling lazy. It works well for half batch AG as well, and you don't have to mess with maintaining the mash temp in a pot. I think partials let you figure out the AG process, and with the little bit of extract you use, I bet most people are getting great beers without the need for a big HLT or pulley system for BIAB, so they never see the need to move up. Just my cents.

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Old 02-26-2012, 02:12 PM   #3
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I live in an apartment and am doing exclusively partial mash now because:

1) I can't do a full boil in the apartment due to a weak electric stove
2) total cost going to partial mash (DeathBrewer's method) was purchasing a nylon bag
3) it's a good way to learn what AG brewing is like and what method you will use when going to AG.

I really enjoy partial mashes, the beer quality seems better and it's fun. I'd be doing AG if I could though.

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Old 02-26-2012, 02:21 PM   #4
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I'm sure there are those who have space or equipment issues or whatnot that have a reason to do partials. Those are going to vary from person to person.

I only did one based on advice from this and a couple of other online resources. And that advice was the usual "you need to dial your processes in" that gets reposted every time this topic comes up. This IMHO is not a good reason to do partials.

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