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Old 02-20-2007, 09:01 PM   #1
CBBaron
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Default Partial Mash vs All Grain

I'm new to home brewing with my second batch in the secondary. However I am curious about doing some mashing mostly to improve the beers.
Besides the cost savings of using grains instead of malt extract is there much of a difference in flavor between doing a partial mash and an all-grain brew?
Currently I am working in a kitchen so my boils are limited to 3-4 gallons. That means I can do a small batch of all grain or a partial mash 5gal in one boil.
What are your thoughts?
Craig

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Old 02-20-2007, 09:21 PM   #2
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The taste difference thing is very subjective. I would not disagree with someone who said that they see no difference, but in my experience I did think the beers got 'better' when I went to partial mashing, and then to all-grain. I didn't make the partial mash jump, however, just for taste purposes. It was more the feeling that I wanted to continue to try new, more advanced techniques and learn the process in much more detail. At first, the taste difference is hard to quantify. partial mash or not though, I think most people would agree that as you learm more and understand detail better you wil make better beer, extract, PM or AG. Jumping into mashing definitely made me understand the process better, and made me more attentive to detail (you have to be is you are mashing or you won't get your sugars!!!) - these things made me a better brewer, and I was able to make better beer.

I do think that the difference in taste from extract to all-grain is dramatic, though. a well-made AG batch looks different than an extract batch, and I believe there is a significant difference in taste also. That being said, you can make great beers with any method.

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Old 02-20-2007, 09:24 PM   #3
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Craig,

I'm no expert and there will be more qualified people to help on this but I'll give my experience. I started out with extract then partial then all grain. Now this is my opinion the all grain beers have been the best, not to say you can't make great beers with extract. I say give the partial mash a try and see, there is a posting on all the things you would need for a partial mash it helped me a lot.
This is a good website to learn the process. Good Luck
http://cruisenews.net/brewing/infusion/

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Old 02-20-2007, 09:27 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JasonCajda
This is a good website to learn the process. Good Luck
[img]http://cruisenews.net/brewing/infusion/index.php[img]
Hogwash!!!!! He already found the best brewing website on the net!!!

"......Oh second thought, let's not go to Camelot. Tis a silly place."
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Old 02-20-2007, 09:28 PM   #5
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It's hard for me to say whether mashing improved the quality of my beers, since I started mashing fairly early on (my last extract batch was Walker's IPA, which was excellent, so it's not a requirement that you mash to make good beer).

With that said, I find mashing to be a much more enjoyable process, not necessarily the mechanics of it, but the much greater degree of control I get to exercise in the beer's creation. I can use great, flavorful grains like Vienna and Munich. My last pale ale, I can really pick up the sweet Vienna malt in the aroma, it adds a complexity that would not be there if I simply used DME. I can easily do a smoked beer. I can start exploring grains like Special B and Aromatic.

It gives me a lot more flexibility in the whole process, which to me makes everything a lot more enjoyable.

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Old 02-20-2007, 09:38 PM   #6
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Thanks for all your help. I am getting alot of ideas from this forum on a small mashtun for my PM experiment.
My main reason for an interest in PM is I really like oatmeal stout and from what I have read to take best advantage of oatmeal in a beer you need to mash.
I also like some malty beers and it sounds like those really see advantages from mashing.
However with really hoppy brews would the hoppiness hide most of the differences? That way I can save the time and effort. With a SWMBO who doesn't care for my brewing and a young child I don't often have large windows of time for brewing. So I would like to put my efforts where they are best rewarded.
Craig

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Old 02-20-2007, 09:42 PM   #7
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If you are comfortable with all-extract brewing, then definitely try some partial mashes. You might even want to start by experimenting with specialty grains that don't require a mash (e.g., crystal, chocolate malts). You can make a very wide variety of beers by just steeping grains and using extracts. But if you want to try some partial mashes, that really isn't much harder. With a partial mash and extracts, you can brew almost any beer imaginable.

Of course, as was previously mentioned, learning how to do partial mashes will also teach you the mechanics of all-grain brewing. It is a low-cost way to see if that is the direction you would like to take (most do, I gather, but the added time, equipment, or attention to detail may not appeal to everyone). So yes, I would highly recommend that you give partial mashing a shot, particularly if you can do it without having to buy much equipment (you probably won't if you get creative).

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Old 02-20-2007, 09:42 PM   #8
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I think it's probably fair to say that the advantages of mashing are most pronounced on the malt side, not hopping. With that said, I have an IPA that calls for a lot of Munich malt - it gives it a lot of balance, a real strong backbone to support those hops. To maximize your hopping, the improvement to make is to work towards full boils (which gets you real close to going AG).

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Old 02-20-2007, 09:55 PM   #9
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the complaint I had most with extract was the final color of my beer. With AG I feel that I have much more control over the final SRM. Extracts tend to turn out a bit darker than expected

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Old 02-20-2007, 10:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chimone
the complaint I had most with extract was the final color of my beer. With AG I feel that I have much more control over the final SRM. Extracts tend to turn out a bit darker than expected
Not a problem for me as I tend to prefer brews you can't see thru.
Craig
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