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Old 01-28-2008, 04:49 PM   #1
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Default Quick ? Re: Partial Mash vs. All Grain and the technique used

From what I have been reading the difference between partial mash and all grain is simply the amount of grain and subsequently mash/sparge water used (which in turn increases the boil volume). Is this true?

I like the idea and have had good luck doing 3-4 gallon boils on my gas stove
(17000 btu), but I want to upgrade from just steeping grains so I can do some more complex recipes. So, I am leaning towards doing a partial mash brew, or partial mashing my next couple kits that have grains being steeped which should arguably be mashed.

Am I missing something in my research? If so please point me in the right path to furthering my beer.



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Old 01-28-2008, 04:52 PM   #2
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The only difference between "steeping" and mashing is the temp control. Grains must be mashed between150-155 to extract fermentables. A PM doesn't require a full boil.



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Old 01-28-2008, 04:53 PM   #3
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You're right, it's not a huge difference, but there are a couple important difs:

Chilling 5.5 gal of boiling wort really takes a chiller of some sort,

when you do full boils, you will need an oxygenation method, as boiling eliminates most of the O2.

I would say, build/get a MLT large enough to do all grain, and then do a few PM batches to practice, while you get the rest of your gear for AG.

Good luck!

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Old 01-28-2008, 04:54 PM   #4
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PM uses the grain for fermentables, flavour and colour. You are using enzymes to convert starch to sugar.

Steeping just extracts colour and flavour from speciality grains.
Some of these may of been premashed so there may be sugar in them.

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Old 01-28-2008, 05:02 PM   #5
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My friends and I did two partial mashes prior to our recent total upgrade to AG, and I can say unequivocally that they were very valuable both in terms of the increase in quality of our the beer we made and what we leared and later applied to AG.

We had been using my old 5 gal pot for concentrated boils of ~4 gal with extract + steeping grain recipes and we used it successfully for our two partial mashes as well. We were just forced to formulate the recipe a bit to result in a concentrated boil. If you can get a bigger pot to do full boils then go for it, but it's not strictly required.

We mashed in a 5 gal cooler using two grain bags, which we already had. No modification to the cooler was necessary. I've also heard of people mashing in their kettle and then putting that in the oven to maintain temps.

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Old 01-28-2008, 06:08 PM   #6
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I have been doing AG brewing for quite a while now. I use a 33qt enameled canner, that I picked up at the local hardware store. I mash in that all the time. I also keep it in a warm oven, during the mash period. The problem now is, I am getting into bigger brews, that have larger grain bills. I can get ~8 gal for a boil, but with that much wort, I usually end up with a 90 to 120 minute boil.

I also use the double 6 gal bucket, lauter tun, with a Phil's sparger. Never had a stuck sparge, but it always seemed to take a long time to brew a batch of beer. My efficiency has been pretty good, around 70%, but from what I have been reading, I can get a higher percentage by batch sparging.

I am going to be converting over to a 60qt cooler. Sam's has one for under $30. I also have a 10' section of copper tubing at home. All I need there is a few elbows and I'm good. Just have to get the valve assm. and stuff. This way I just have to heat up water for mashing and sparging, without having to be moving the mash from cooktop to oven, and back. I haven't had any accidents, but all it takes is one time. I also got a line on an empty keg to make into a keggle, and I already have a turkey fryer.

So, back to the main question, I see PM as using limited grains, for color and flavor, then using all your extracts to bring up the sweetness of the wort, cool it, top it up to your 5 gal fermentation volume, pitch the yeast, and let 'r buck.

AG, is just that. You use all malted grains, and heat them up and mash them, to bring out the sugars, (saccharification) manage the runnings, sparge and boil. Sometimes you will end up with a much greater volume of wort which will require a longer boiling time.

Bottom line, the answer to your question is "YES"

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Old 01-29-2008, 02:26 AM   #7
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Thanks for the responses guys. I am glad at least I wasn't missing anything technique (although I did leave out all the residuals that the extra wort add in)

One more thing I was wondering while reading the responses. Is there any advantage to doing a PM on specialty grains from a steep/extract type kit?

My new plan moving forward is to do a pm with all my specialty grains and then however much I can on base grains in order to get the water level to 3.5-4 gal. I will then boil that, do my hops, and then late add however much additional DME I need to get the SG where it needs to be for the recipe.

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Old 01-29-2008, 04:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonnio
One more thing I was wondering while reading the responses. Is there any advantage to doing a PM on specialty grains from a steep/extract type kit?
No, they are mostly pre-mashed (in a sense), like Crystal, or intended more for flavor than for providing fermentables, like Patent, in which case the starches have been destroyed through heat.

Check out the Malts Chart on the Wiki for more information, especially which grains require a mash or not.

When doing an extract + steeping grains brew, I've always used the "Hot Steeping" method detailed on the Steeping Grains page.


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