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Old 06-07-2008, 04:27 AM   #1
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Default Partial Mash Brewing and Base Grains

First of all I'm new to brewing and don't claim to have a very thorough understanding of all the intricasies of the process so if I'm completely off base here please forgive me. Now on to the question. I'll be attempting a partial mash tomorrow on Orfy's Hobgoblin clone and got to thinking about the partial mash side of things. This recipe, along with pretty much all partial mash recipes, calls for the mashing of only specialty grains (crystal, carapils and chocolate). Now it's my understanding that these specialty grains lack the enzymes necessary for converting the starches in the grains to sugars. What happens in partial mashes? Are there enough residual enzymes left after the kilning process to complete the reaction or are we pretty much just adding starch water to our boil pot? I'm actually a chemist so I'm probably overthinking this but I'd be interested in hearing what's actually happening. Thanks!

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Old 06-07-2008, 05:11 AM   #2
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Are you sure you're not talking about steeping grains? Steeping grains basically extracts *some flavor* and *some color*. That's it. You can only steep certain specialty grains (like crystal) because they are the only grains that can be converted without mashing. Many grains can only be converted by mashing.

In partial mashing, you are actually converting the starch to sugar for both base and specialty grains, and making up the difference with extract.

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Old 06-07-2008, 12:24 PM   #3
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That's correct- a partial mash has more than specialty grains, it has "base grains", like two-row malt or maris otter malt, so that starch conversion is taking place. In malts like crystal, no conversion is taking place, you are basically making a "tea" from those specialty malts which gives color and flavor.

An extract with steeping grains recipe is considered an extract recipe.
A partial mash recipe would include some pale malt, or munich malt, etc, and have you steep (mash) at a set temperature for a set time for a saccrification rest. Similar in process, but different things are going on.

Edit- here's some interesting reading from our wiki: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/wiki/ind...ory_of_Mashing

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Old 06-07-2008, 01:36 PM   #4
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Ok, I see now. Thanks for clearing that up. Is there any basic rule for how much base grain is needed as a ratio of the adjuncts to get good conversion? Also, do you know if Crystal 60L, CaraPils or Chocolate malt contain any enzymatic activity? From what I've read, it seems like Crystal has already had most of the starch converted during the kilning process and Chocolate has been kilned too hot/too long for enzymes to remain active, but what about CaraPils? Also, are the body-enhancing properties of CaraPils imparted in the brew through simple steeping, or is mashing required? Sorry for the twenty questions!

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Old 06-07-2008, 02:17 PM   #5
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You don't need to mash Crystal (of any color), CaraPils, or Chocolate. Steeping is fine for all of them.

Seems to me that you have a good grasp of the fundamentals of mashing and starch conversion.

-a.

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Old 06-07-2008, 03:30 PM   #6
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If you go with equal amounts of 2-row and specialty grains, you'll be fine.

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