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Old 06-07-2007, 07:34 AM   #1
Bosh
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Default Chemically, what is the difference between seeping and mashing?

Now I know that mashing is getting water to the right temp and then putting the grain in and then catalysts get to work and convert starch in the grain to sugar. Then you sparge to make sure that all of the sugar gets out. Seeping on the other hand is making a kind of a tea out of a bit of grain so that you get a bit more flavor in the beer.

What I don't understand is why when having a bit of grain in a muslin seeping bag you can't get the starch to convert to sugars as well (kind of a micro mash). It you slosh the muslin bag around in a bit of water why wouldn't the starches convert into fermentable sugars that way too?

Basically my crappy stove is nowhere near being powerful enough to do AG and I don't have enough money to start importing turkey fryers into Korea so what I'd like to do is kind of micro-mashes with just a few pounds of grain while still getting all of the sugars I can out of them.

I assume that I'm confused about something, but I don't know quite what it is...

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Old 06-07-2007, 07:43 AM   #2
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The length of time and the importance of temperature control. Heating a bunch of grains until the temp hits 160 is one thing. Maintaining 154 plus/minus 5 for an hour is something else altogether.

Can you mash in a kettle? Definitely! A lot of people do. But it has to do with temp control. And rinsing process.

Oh. And also pH. The acidity of the wort is reduced due to the large amount of water. This affects conversion as well.

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Old 06-07-2007, 08:10 AM   #3
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Hmmm, so if I maintained temp decently enough (my pot is good and thick so its good at that) and rinsed by dipping the grain bag in and out of water it could work? hmmmmmmmmmmm.

Don't know what to do about pH, maybe dissolve some dme in bottled water to get a beerish pH?

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Old 06-07-2007, 08:15 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bosh
Hmmm, so if I maintained temp decently enough (my pot is good and thick so its good at that) and rinsed by dipping the grain bag in and out of water it could work? hmmmmmmmmmmm.

Don't know what to do about pH, maybe dissolve some dme in bottled water to get a beerish pH?

Easier than that. Just limit yourself to no more than 2 quarts of water per pound of grain.


Seriously, do a search on here for "Mini MLT". Somebody made a 2(?) gallon Mash Tun for doing partial mashes and posted pictures and a parts list. I think it would be perfect for your needs.
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Old 06-07-2007, 08:28 AM   #5
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Cool, thanks.

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Old 06-07-2007, 09:04 AM   #6
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When mashing the brewer converts the starches to sugars in the mash tun, this is a temperature sensative process.

Steeping uses specialty malts, the maltster has already converted the starches to sugar.

When steeping all you are doing is rinsing out the sugars, this isn't a temperature sensative process. However, steep too cold and you wont retrieve as many of the sugars as you can, steep to hot and you will extract unwanted tannins.

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Old 06-07-2007, 12:07 PM   #7
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You could very easily do a partial mash- I used to do PMs in my bottling bucket before I got a big mash tun. All you do is use some DME to make up the difference since you're only using a couple of pounds of grain. You could also do a very small AG batch that way, too. (The only problem I had with the bottling bucket was it didn't hold heat very well- I wrapped it with a sleeping bag to help it maintain the temperature).

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Old 06-07-2007, 12:24 PM   #8
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Why can't you do everything in the brew pot and just leave it on low heat to keep it at the right temperature? Nobody seems to do that so there must be a reason...

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Old 06-07-2007, 12:45 PM   #9
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Just a bit more difficult to regulate the temp.. Too easy to get it too hot. Some people DO it that way, just not as many as the ones that use coolers, buckets, bucket and colander...... Just remember there is no RIGHT or WRONG way to preform a mash. All you are doing is using temp control to extract sugar. Any method you use will work, just not always as efficiently. Have fun with it!

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Old 06-07-2007, 01:32 PM   #10
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I've never tried this but one way to control temperature for a partial mash in a kettle is to strike and then put the kettle in the oven with the temp set accordingly. It sounds like a really good way to do it.

We did our first partial mash on Memorial day using a 5 gal Rubbermaid cooler and we put the grains in two long nylon grain bags. Just tasted the hydro sample after primary last night and it was fan-freaking-tastic.

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