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Old 12-06-2012, 12:16 AM   #1
JLivermore
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Default 1st accidental mini-mash raises questions

Ordered the Budget IPA from Austin Home Brew.

I expected these grains to come as I've seen in every other kit, basically looking ground; however these looked like whole grains, so I freaked out a bit.

Figured out (with the help of a very friendly phone call) this is no big deal and I just steep them as they came a bit longer in a nylon bag.

Anyway this got me thinking -- is this method better, in that it is considered likely to result in better beer, or just slightly cheaper?

It also got me paying more attention to the ordering options.

In some kits I can choose LME as opposed to DME.

Price difference of $2 spread over 5 gallons of beer = not a financial concern, and my sneaking suspicion is I could not taste the difference if my life depended on it.

But I'm curious. It seems like liquid would be better/fresher, so it seems weird that DME is a little more expensive. Any reason to pay more for DME?

Basically price aside what is likely to get better beer, extract vs mini mash, lme vs dme?



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Old 12-06-2012, 12:24 AM   #2
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DME is more concentrated so you need to use less it also is less susceptible to oxidation and darkening over time. I personally prefer DME.



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Old 12-06-2012, 12:50 AM   #3
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It's all personal preference. The DME / LME has already been mashed for you, that's why it's more expensive. It will also have the same sugar profile, fermentability and gravity contribution every time. If I had to pick between DME or LME, I'd go with DME. Grain, on the other hand, needs to be mashed. It will yield a variable sugar profile and fermentability based on your mash schedule. The gravity contirbution will be dependent on your efficiency and can vary. It gives you more control over the finished product and is less expensive, but requires more time and effort.

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Old 12-06-2012, 01:40 AM   #4
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Mini mash will get you more variety with malt flavors to work with.Although LME is getting more types like Marris Otter and Rye malt. It depends on how you do it to make it good- you could make it worse maybe if you do some things wrong mashing. Its just something that needs more attention to detail,but its really not that complicated and generally not easy to screw up. Some people have better extract than their all grain batches.It just depends you cant automatically blame it on one or the other when there are plenty of other things that could have made it worse or better.Like stale grains or too hard of water or too soft of water or poor yeast viabiltiy.
Dme cost more because it is stronger than lme per pound. I like the stability of DME better and its just easier for me to work with-its just a matter of preference. Ive had some ancient DME I believe and pretty fresh LME also and also fresh DME. I think I preferr the taste of Dme over Lme but Im not really that certain and I brewed quite a bit with both but I also brewed entirely different beers each time so its not like I compared the same exact beer. Like just one brewed with LME and the same one with DME, although that would be a fun experiment,think I may try that someday. Lot of people seem to think LME darkens more than DME,although maybe that particular type of dme or lme(different brands) is a little orgionally darker in the first place.

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Old 12-06-2012, 02:44 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JLivermore View Post
I expected these grains to come as I've seen in every other kit, basically looking ground; however these looked like whole grains, so I freaked out a bit.

Figured out (with the help of a very friendly phone call) this is no big deal and I just steep them as they came a bit longer in a nylon bag.
I'm confused, your steeping grains were not crushed? If that's the case then steeping them longer is not the answer, they need to be crushed to extract the sugars.

The difference between steeping and mini mash is that a mash would include some base grain for the enzymes, and would involve holding at a more defined temp for a little longer. Both involve crushed grains.
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Old 12-06-2012, 02:49 AM   #6
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I dont believe you can just steep whole grains. You have get them cracked open to get their lovely goodness out. You can do this yourself with a rolling pin.

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Old 12-06-2012, 11:57 AM   #7
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Grains were milled and ready to go, I just didn't know it at first glance since I did not intend to order them that way. Good info here as always, thanks. OG was indeed off, closer to 1.046 than the recipe suggested 1.056.

As per directions I

- boiled 2 gallons
- steeped 45 mins @ near 165
- poured 2.5 quarts over grains
- added shy of 1 more gallon

Not really sure what I'd do different next time to get closer to OG....

I did relax and have plenty of homebrew though...

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Old 12-06-2012, 02:55 PM   #8
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I'm still confused about whether this was supposed to be a mini mash recipe or extract with steeping grains. What you describe is a steep - it's too hot and would deactivate enzymes. If there were grains in there that needed to be mashed then that could explain the low gravity. Do they list your ingredients?

Also, if you didn't intend to order the grains milled, were you going to crush them yourself? Unless you have a grain mill I'd just order pre-crushed. As was mentioned you can try the rolling pin but it's a PITA and doesn't crush that well.

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Old 12-06-2012, 02:58 PM   #9
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I think what he's describing is a rather course looking crush. I got that from midwest this last time as well. Upon closer inspection (I wear try-focals),I noticed the grains were crushed in two or three small pieces with many hulls halved or so,but empty. This gives the appearance of not being crushed or not very well. Not a lot of floury stuff in each of the four bags of grains either. I hope this crush works for biab as well as the finer crush I did with the mini food processor last time with my 1st pm.
Gotta paly around with crush & mash temps myself yet.
But steeping isn't mashing. Even though the processes are similar,they are quite different. Steeping uses crystal/color malts for steeping,as they're already converted. You just steep for 30 minutes to extract them.
Mashing uses less water at more precise temps with base grains to convert starches to a certain amount of fermentable sugars vs unfermentable ones for body,flavor,& color depending on the mash temp. And it's mashed for an hour. Then sparged with hotter water (<170F) to extract more sugars.
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Old 12-06-2012, 03:11 PM   #10
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Ah, okay. Well a poor crush would lower the OG. Also looks like this was a partial boil - if you topped off that can give a false OG reading (see all threads on here about inadequate mixing).

edit: OP I just looked up your kit. That does look like only a mini mash option. So you'll just have a lower gravity beer this time. For the next one you can read up on mini matching techniques.

double edit: mashing. Damn phone.



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