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Old 03-04-2007, 07:10 PM   #1
tim1970
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Default all grain vs mini mash question

Can someone explain the difference between all grain and doing a mini mash. I have read and (think) I understand the principle and steps involved in doing a mini mash. I have a 3 gallon water cooler, that I am going to use for a mini mash my next brew. However I have read several websites (howtobrew.com is one of them) and I still have absolutely no understanding of hardware required for all grain. Can someone explain, or point me to a website that talks about hardware requirements? For example, If I can use my 3 gallon cooler (with no modifications) for a mini mash, why couldn't I just use a 5 or 10 gallon cooler (with no modificatios) for an all grain brew?

Maybe if I understand the procedure for all grain better, it would help.


Thanks in advance

Tim

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Old 03-04-2007, 07:20 PM   #2
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The difference between mini mash and all grain is that with mini mash you are using malt extract as your primary fermentables.

The procedure is the same, the equipment is the same (in function if not in size), but with mini-mash, you still use some LME or DME for the majority of your fermentables.

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Old 03-04-2007, 07:29 PM   #3
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I understand the part about with a pm that some of your fermentables come from an extract. The part I dont understand, is when you do an ag batch, why can't you use the same steps as with a pm, but with more grain? What exactly are the modifications you have to do to a cooler (false bottom etc...) and why would you have to modify your cooler for an ag, but not for a pm? To me it seems like you would just put more grain in your unmodified cooler, and follow the same steps as a pm.

Tim

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Old 03-04-2007, 10:00 PM   #4
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Tim1970, I think it has to do with quantities, and the sparging process.

When you mash, you need about 1.5 quarts of water per lb of grains. When you have a 12lb grain bill, thats about 5 gallons of water that you need to mash, then you need to have at least that much to sparge with, not as easy to do with the smaller coolers.

Otherwise the process is the same, you're still extracting sugars from your grains.

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Old 03-04-2007, 10:27 PM   #5
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You will still need to modify your cooler somewhat for a PM as you would with an all grain setup. At the very least, a stainless steel braid to assist in the filtering process.

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Old 03-04-2007, 10:45 PM   #6
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The problem of trying to do AG in an unmodified cooler is simply weight. Picking up a 3 gallon cooler with 5 pounds of grain and 2 gallons of water to pour the grain and wort into a strainer is not a big deal. Doing that with a 10 gallon cooler with 15 pounds of grain and 5 gallons of water is possible, but not by me. You also need a much bigger strainer, then you have to dump the grain back into the cooler, add sparge water, dump, repeat.

The mashing process doesn't change.

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Old 03-04-2007, 11:21 PM   #7
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what about grain bags? could you do AG batches with grainbags and an unmodified cooler?

would cooler geometry matter then?

just questions...

i'm sure it would be harder but how badly would effiecientcy suffer?

could you just add about 15% more of each grain to make up for bad effiecientcy?

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Old 03-05-2007, 04:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greenhornet
what about grain bags? could you do AG batches with grainbags and an unmodified cooler?
would cooler geometry matter then?
just questions...
i'm sure it would be harder but how badly would effiecientcy suffer?
could you just add about 15% more of each grain to make up for bad effiecientcy?
This is what I'm going to attempt if I don't get a SS braid installed first.
I have a jumbo strain bag that fits my 5 gal cooler. If you batch sparge (what most PM/mini mash descriptions use) then how the cooler drains is not a big deal. The biggest problem I see is you will have to hold the release spigot on the cooler for the entire drain. And you will want to try to avoid splashing some how which is without a tube.
A cheap and easy conversion is to replace the spigot with a drilled stopper with a copper tube inserted. You can then attach a SS braid to the inside and a hose with clamp to the outside. When I can get to the hardware store I will be getting these materials. You can easily convert the cooler back to the original spigot if you decided to not use it for brewing.

Craig
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Old 03-05-2007, 06:14 PM   #9
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I have a Very Large Grain Bag and I have done smaller beers.

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Old 03-06-2007, 08:57 PM   #10
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hmm cool bc I'm thinking I could mash in my brewpot with a grain bag... (I guess cooler geometry wouldn't matter then huh??)

I've got a sieve that fits inside a colinder that I could use to sparge with...


i'm guessing that efficiency wouldn't be great with this technique but there wouldn't be any stuck sparges right? so you could make a 100% wheat hefe...

also you couldn't recirculate but that wouldn't REALLY matter would it?

am I missing anything?

thanks

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