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Old 02-18-2008, 11:57 PM   #1
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Default Why partial mash?

Alright, I've only got 3 brews under my belt and I'm ready to step it up. I've read extensively about partial mash and AG applications, and I can't seem to justify doing a partial mash. The process seems to be nearly identical. Temperature control, grain bill, strike water temp, sparge techniques, all these things seem to be the same whether you're doing a partial mash or an AG. In the near future, I plan to go AG, so maybe I'm biased. Still, I just can't find any reason to do a partial mash. I've heard people say that it takes up more space, but how? Because you'd be using a 5G cooler instead of a 10G. Maybe I'm overlooking something here, but can anyone give me a reason not to jump from extract straight to AG and cut out the PM techniques?

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Old 02-19-2008, 12:07 AM   #2
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I was thinking the same way. When I was getting my AG equipment together I figured it would be not any more trouble to do AG rather than a PM.

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Old 02-19-2008, 12:13 AM   #3
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There's a big difference actually. Once you go all grain, you are forced into several equipment upgrades that are not required with extract. First, you'll need a way to boil 6.5 gallons when you're used to boiling maybe 2-3 in extract. You can still do this as a partial mash.

Then there's chilling. You might have gotten by with an icebath before, but not on 5 gallons you won't.

You can do a partial mash in your current boil kettle, on the stove, and do your separation and sparge into a bucket through a kitchen strainer. You can collect a smaller amound of wort and continue doing a partial boil with your extract added.

It's half way to AG. If you're already know you're going AG, you can skip PM though. Partial mash is a great way for an extract brewer to get a taste of the economy of all grain and at least get fermentables out of those specialty grains.

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Old 02-19-2008, 12:18 AM   #4
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If you know you will be going AG I would skip PM brewing and concentrate on getting your AG equipment. For the reasons Bobby_M stated, some folks decide that PM is better for their situation.

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Old 02-19-2008, 12:22 AM   #5
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I went straight to all grain without ever doing a partial mash, but there are a couple of reasons for doing a partial mash that I can think of.

1. You can do a partial mash with a lot less equipment than all grain. (Small kettle, no wort chiller, kitchen stove instead of turkey fryer etc.)

2. It can build your confidence, and give you a chance to experiment without having to get new equipment.

-a.

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Old 02-19-2008, 12:28 AM   #6
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Here's my reason.

I have a small kitchen, and at best can only boil 5gal, which means 4 or less after eveporation. I also don't have room for a full size 3 tier setup.

With a partial mash, I can set it up on the stove, chair and floor to get gravity working for me. It's got my extract down to a 3lb bag of DME, the rest comes from the grains.

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Old 02-19-2008, 12:57 AM   #7
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OK, well lets see. I've done all my brews doing a full boil anyway. I've heard a lot of people say that you can't boil 6.5G of wort on the stove. My stove is by no means high tech or new. Its electric and I've been boiling 6.25G to get to my 5G mark. And I am getting a "rolling boil." I tried using an icebath on my very first batch and that was all I need to know. Got an IC right away. Works great. I do plan on converting a keg. (Already got one). So I'f I'm going to be making an MLT anyway, why not jump in head first? One last thing, I've read that the depth of the grain is important, but can't pinpoint the "range." If I'm going to make an MLT then I plan on either a 10G igloo (Gatorade) cooler, or a simple regular Wal-Mart cooler. Anybody have any suggestions on an appropriate size rectangular cooler? I want to be able to do 5G and 10G batches using the same MLT. By the way Bobby, your video was a big part of the reason I've been consumed by this obsession. Keep up the good work.

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Old 02-19-2008, 01:24 AM   #8
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If you've been doing 6.5 gallon boils and you have a chiller you're right in thinking that it's basically the same amount of work for PM or AG.(slightly longer sparge time) In my opinion the only benefit to doing a PM is that you can count on your extract for some gravity points.

I've done a few AG batches with only a 5 gallon cooler and using ice baths, so you're already set up better than I am. When I started doing AG it improved my beer more significantly than any other changes I had made. I would say definately go for it.

Sorry, I have no advice on which cooler to get. Good luck!

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Old 02-19-2008, 01:56 AM   #9
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I have the same reason for doing PM as a few other people do. I live in a condo and have to brew in my kitchen. I can't use a propane burner and don't have the space to store a full AG setup. I can get to about a 4 gallon boil on my stove top.

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Old 02-19-2008, 02:48 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M
There's a big difference actually. Once you go all grain, you are forced into several equipment upgrades that are not required with extract. First, you'll need a way to boil 6.5 gallons when you're used to boiling maybe 2-3 in extract. You can still do this as a partial mash.

Then there's chilling. You might have gotten by with an icebath before, but not on 5 gallons you won't.

You can do a partial mash in your current boil kettle, on the stove, and do your separation and sparge into a bucket through a kitchen strainer. You can collect a smaller amound of wort and continue doing a partial boil with your extract added.

It's half way to AG. If you're already know you're going AG, you can skip PM though. Partial mash is a great way for an extract brewer to get a taste of the economy of all grain and at least get fermentables out of those specialty grains.
Yup, what he said. I do PM and would like to do AG but those are the obstacles. Would need to invest in larger brew equipment, propane burner, wort chiller, etc. If you have the money and the space then go for it.
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