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Old 07-05-2007, 05:45 PM   #1
TheH2
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Default Is it time for me to try partial mash brewing?

So, I've brewed four total batches. Two Fat Tire clones, Leffe Clone, and a Heffeweizen. The 3 clones were steeps and extract and the heff was pure extract. 3 of the four turned out great. After reading this forum I now realized what probably happened to the first (siphon busted so I poured beer before adding sugars to bottle). The beer was drinkable but not what I'd call good.

I'm brewing this weekend and want to do a partial mash but, I know nothing about it other than what I've read on Wiki. My beginner homebrew book only discusses extract brewing. Wiki gave me an idea of the process but I wouldn't know what to do after adding hot water to the grains.

So, what book should I pick up to learn? Could I get it at a bookstore so I could figure this out before the weekend? Is there a website that goes into more detail than wiki? Should I just do another extract brew this weekend, get the proper book, and try partial mash in about a month?

Thanks for your help.



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Old 07-05-2007, 05:48 PM   #2
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http://www.howtobrew.com/section3/index.html

Partial Mashing is basically all the all grain part, but on a smaller scale.


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Old 07-05-2007, 05:53 PM   #3
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Here you go: http://www.howtobrew.com/section3/chapter18-3.html

Read the whole 'book' if you have time...buy the book if you want it in your hands.

My ideas about mini mashes:
--Don't buy any equipment that you won't use for all grain, you will want to go all grain very soon
--Choose a recipe that benefits from a mini mash, something that uses grains that need to be mashed or mashed with base grains
--Don't try to do anything that isn't necessary (don't try to step mash, etc.)
--Plan to do a full boil...get a wort chiller

On the equipment front I recommend using your bottling bucket lined with a course nylon bag. This technique will lend itself to batch sparging.

Oh, and to answer your question...if you have access to the grains like the day before, read Plamer's book, ask more questions, if you think you can do it then go for...it is not hard and have extra extract on hand if you screw up you have that to fall back on.

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Old 07-05-2007, 06:04 PM   #4
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I would highly recommend going PM as soon as possible. Partial Mashing is actually damned easy...provided you have the correct equipment. Here's my method (taken from Papazian, modified slightly). When I first started, I was using household items that I had laying around, but you could make yourself a mash tun if you want.

  1. First, figure out how much water you need. Typically you'll want to mash with 1.25 qts for every pound of grain you have.
  2. Next, you'll want to start with the "intermediate rest", which, for me, is 133f for 30 minutes. So, using ProMash, etc., figure out what temperature your water needs to be so that, after you add it to the grain, it results in a 133f grain bed temp. It will always be higher than your target, because (obviously) the grains cool it down and it equalizes. For instance, a couple days ago I did a mash where I had 10.5 lbs of grain and 3.28quarts of water in the mash. So, to get the mash to start at 133f, my "strike" water needed to be 141f. Get it? Good.
  3. So, you heat up your strike water (strike water is what you call the water that you put into the grain to mash with) to whatever temp your calcs say.
  4. The next step can vary depending on your equipment, but I'm assuming you don't have a mash tun yet, so, what you'll do is put all your grains into a kettle/pot. Then, once the water is at the desired "dough-in" temp, you pour the water into the kettle with the grains, and stir until completely mixed. Check the temperature. It should read 133f or so. If it's too low, put it on the stove/burner and apply a little heat. If it's too high, add a few ice cubes.
  5. Once you get to your target of 133f, put a lid on the kettle to minimize heat loss, and keep the mash between 130f and 135f for 30 minutes.
  6. Next, add some heat to the kettle (slowly, carefully!), and keep stirring. Once your mash has reached 152f or so, take it off the heat, put the lid on, and keep the temp between 148f and 154f for 45 minutes.
  7. After 45 minutes, add more heat and stir to bring the mash up to 158f.
  8. In another kettle, bring some sparge water (amounts vary - consult ProMash, etc) to 170f.
  9. After 5 minutes, perform an iodine test of the wort: take a very small sample of the mash liquid and put it into a white bowl or plate. Add a few drops of iodine tincture. If the iodine drops turn purple or black, then it's not done converting the starches to sugars. Keep it at 158 for another 10 minutes and do another test. Once the test comes up negative (meaning the iodine doesn't change or react to the wort), then you can proceed.
  10. When I first started partial mashing, my method was rudimentary and was just done using what I had laying around the house. I have a pasta strainer insert that came without cookware set, so I'd sit that into a plastic bucket so that the handles rested on the rim of the bucket. Then, I'd pour my mash into the strainer. The wort (liquid) would fall through into the bucket leaving the grains behind. Then, I'd dump the grains back into the mash kettle, pour in the sparge water, stir it for 5-10 minutes, then repeat the straining process.
  11. Voila, you have wort!
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Old 07-05-2007, 06:18 PM   #5
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To supplement the excellent information already provided above, here is a really good article on partial mashing that is well worth a thorough read:
http://www.byo.com/feature/1536.html

Also, before you drop any money on equipment, you can probably do your first trial PM or two using stuff you already have in the house:

- for a mash tun, just use a pot (you can maintain temps reasonably well by warming your oven to 180F, shut it off, then put the pot inside while the mash occurs)

- to lauter, just use a strainer to remove the grains. If you have a really big strainer, you can dump all the grains inside, and then rinse (sparge) them with hot water from a second pot (a big grainbag works well for this too)

Best of luck!

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Old 07-05-2007, 06:25 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyGuy
Also, before you drop any money on equipment, you can probably do your first trial PM or two using stuff you already have in the house:

- for a mash tun, just use a pot (you can maintain temps reasonably well by warming your oven to 180F, shut it off, then put the pot inside while the mash occurs)

- to lauter, just use a strainer to remove the grains. If you have a really big strainer, you can dump all the grains inside, and then rinse (sparge) them with hot water from a second pot (a big grainbag works well for this too)

Best of luck!

That is how I used to do my PMs and it worked fine....a little more work than some other methods but the end results were great.
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Old 07-05-2007, 06:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan!
Next, you'll want to start with the "intermediate rest", which, for me, is 133f for 30 minutes.
Why 133? Just curious, but I've never heard anyone use that temp before.

Quote:
For instance, a couple days ago I did a mash where I had 10.5 lbs of grain and 3.28quarts of water in the mash. So, to get the mash to start at 133f, my "strike" water needed to be 141f.
You mean 3.28 gallons, right?
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Old 07-05-2007, 10:52 PM   #8
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I've actually wondered if it's time for me to go partial mash also. Now I'm doing full boils with extracts and seeping grains. Will I see a big enough benefit to go partial mash? I'm almost thinking go all the way to all grain and skip the partial mash step. Of course with my many other home improvements going on I'm not going to buy the equipment to go all grain until this winter....so I'm wondering if it's worth it now?

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Old 07-05-2007, 11:02 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bike N Brew
Why 133? Just curious, but I've never heard anyone use that temp before.
It's technically a protein rest---helps add nutrients for yeast and head retention. I picked it up when I was PM'ing, got it straight from CJOH.

Quote:
You mean 3.28 gallons, right?
Yeah, my bad.
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Old 07-06-2007, 02:50 AM   #10
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this is all great info...I'd like to go all grain, but I just can't do full boils right now (so I do two 12qt pots, ending up with 4gal of wort and just 1gal of top off water).
I'd completely spaced off PM as an option!

Is it possible to partial mash on a large enough scale that I'd only need a couple pounds of light DME for 40~50 range gravity beers?

I just don't like how dark extract beers tend to come out.



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