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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > To mash or not to mash
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Old 01-30-2013, 05:37 PM   #1
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Default To mash or not to mash

I'm sure there are half a dozen threads on this subject already, so if the only reply I get to this is a link to one I'd be grateful. I've been doing extract+specialty grains for a while with no real interest in doing all grain (too much time and money for me to commit right now). I do like the idea of controlling my beer more, though. Partial mash is pretty much an enigma to me beyond the basic knowledge of what's going on. I have just the basic questions right now:
What additional equipment would I need?
Will the cost-per-batch decrease?
How does one do it (in layman's terms)
Should I bother right now?
Who wrote the book of love?

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Old 01-30-2013, 05:56 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by half_whit View Post
I'm sure there are half a dozen threads on this subject already, so if the only reply I get to this is a link to one I'd be grateful. I've been doing extract+specialty grains for a while with no real interest in doing all grain (too much time and money for me to commit right now). I do like the idea of controlling my beer more, though. Partial mash is pretty much an enigma to me beyond the basic knowledge of what's going on. I have just the basic questions right now:
What additional equipment would I need?
Will the cost-per-batch decrease?
How does one do it (in layman's terms)
Should I bother right now?
Who wrote the book of love?
Are you interested in All-Grain, or Partial Mashing?

If you are interested in Partial Mashing, you can accomplish some of your goals using some equipment that you already have. I assume that you are doing extract on your stove top. You can continue to do this with Partial Mashing. It could be something like doing Brew in a Bag (BIAB). I would check out Basic Brewing Radio and Basic Brewing Video. Particularly in the Video section, they have some excellent examples of partial mashing and the videos are only about 10 minutes long. It would give you and idea of what you could do for partial mashing using some of the equipment you already have.

As far as will your cost per batch decrease -- probably not when doing partial mashes. The reason is that you are still gettting many of your fermentables from extract (LME or DME). This is the spendy item. However, you will be able to enhance the flavor profile from the partial mashing.

How does one do it in laymen's terms -- you should be able to get some idea on this from the Basic Brewing Videos. Also, check our Mashing on YouTube. There are some excellent home videos that show partial mashing and full all-grain mashing there. I was amazed with the first video I saw regarding mashing. My reaction was "Is that all there is to it?"

If you want to go all grain, check out the thread on BIAB brewing. Again, it will give you some ideas on what you might be able to do with the equipment that you have.

I hope that you are able to find this helpful. Mark
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Old 01-30-2013, 06:04 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by half_whit View Post
I'm sure there are half a dozen threads on this subject already, so if the only reply I get to this is a link to one I'd be grateful. I've been doing extract+specialty grains for a while with no real interest in doing all grain (too much time and money for me to commit right now). I do like the idea of controlling my beer more, though. Partial mash is pretty much an enigma to me beyond the basic knowledge of what's going on. I have just the basic questions right now:
What additional equipment would I need?
Will the cost-per-batch decrease?
How does one do it (in layman's terms)
Should I bother right now?
Who wrote the book of love?
For additional equipment, possibly none. I used a huge mesh bag, and just did partial mashing in my bottling bucket, until I got an MLT.

Yes, the cost should decrease, as grain is cheaper than extract. How much is really up to you. If you use, say, 5 pounds of grain at $6, and replace 3 pounds of extract at $12, that's $6 for one batch right there.

How you do it is simple. You take the crushed grain, and add it to water. The amount of water is 1.5-2 quarts of water per pound of grain, and you want to hold the mash at 150-155 so you would use water of about 165-168 degrees to do that. Hold that for an hour (wrapped it in a sleeping bag, or put it in a warmed and turned off oven), and then lift out the grainbag and pour 170 degree water over that, up to your boil volume. That's about it.

You should do it! Right away!

It's easy, and it makes great beer. Plus, you can use malts that are "mash only" malts or adjuncts- like flaked corn or oats, or Munich malt or Vienna malt.
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Old 01-30-2013, 07:05 PM   #4
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I freakin love this forum. Thanks guys! I'm definitely going to start considering it. Yooper, is that a picture of Tom Waits?

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Old 01-30-2013, 08:33 PM   #5
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I do partial mash/partial boil biab in the same 5 gallon stock pot I've been using for extracts. I mash 5lbs of grain @ 155F or so for an hour in 1-1.5QTS of water per pound of grain. Sparge with 1.5G of 165-168F water for a total of 3 gallons boil volume. Might raise that to 4G with the boil off I've been getting. anyway,since the grain wort is some 50% of the fermentables,I do the hop additions in that. I add the 3-3.3lbs of extract at flame out. This gets me in the 1.04X range OG-wise.
The only thing I'd change is that a paint strainer bag to fit the pot would give better efficiency from the mash. It'd allow for stirring the mash to get out dough balls,etc. Muslin grain bags can't do that. In other words higher efficiency = higher OG. I have to say,the hardest part of PM is maintaining a specific,steady mash temp. Otherwise,it's fun & fairly easy.
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Old 01-30-2013, 08:35 PM   #6
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I freakin love this forum. Thanks guys! I'm definitely going to start considering it. Yooper, is that a picture of Tom Waits?
Yep! I LOVE Tom Waits, and sat and listened to some of my favorites just last night. It's perfect wallowing music, and it makes me feel better just knowing someone else has been so much worse off to write those songs.
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Old 01-30-2013, 08:44 PM   #7
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You know what really bugs me?! I lived so much of what the old blues guys wrote & sang about. but can't seem to play one note! Hard rock,heavy metal sure. Even richie blackmore. Jimi hendrix,judas preist. But the blues evades me still. All the funked up things that happened to me,can't play it...
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Old 01-30-2013, 09:05 PM   #8
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Oh man. I play in a punk band but sometimes when I'm in those particularly bad places, playing some blues is THE best medicine. Keep at it! Once you get the idea there's nothing to it and you can't beat it.

I'm using a 3gal stock pot. So far the worst part seems to be the fact I will almost definitely have to upgrade that part. And clear out the oven...

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Old 01-30-2013, 09:06 PM   #9
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"anywhere I lay my head" wrecks me every time

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Old 01-30-2013, 09:17 PM   #10
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With me it's stevie ray vaughn,like "pride & joy". That's my lil baby girl...
But yeah,get at least a 5 gallon stock pot & use the 3 gallon to heat sparge water. That's what I do with two of the four ss stock pots we bought.
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