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Old 10-22-2009, 02:16 AM   #1
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Default Austin Homebrew recipe kits -- Extract vs. Mini-mash

Hey there,

I love how Austin Homebrew has their recipe kits set up -- you can order the same kit for Extract, Mini-mash, or All Grain (Milled or Unmilled). That's awesome for a newbie, because I could potentially order the same kit two or three ways and make them in parallel, offering a great way to see what the differences are.

As a simple example, here is their Bell's Oberon Clone:

Extract: 8 lbs. Liquid Malt Extract, 1 lb. Base Grains.
Mini Mash: 6 lbs. Liquid Malt Extract, 3.5 lbs. Base Grains.


As a second example, here is what they have for their "Pliny The Elder" clone:

Extract: 9 lb Liquid Malt Extract, 1 lb Corn Sugar, 0.5 lb Base Grains, 1.13 lb Specialty Grains.
Mini Mash: 7 lb Liquid Malt Extract, 1 lb Corn Sugar, 1.75 lb Base Grains, 1.13 lb Specialty Grains.

So, if I understand correctly, the only difference in brewing is that when I do the mini-mash I'd have to steep the additional grains in the mini-mash recipe.

1) is that correct?
2) what should I expect in terms of differences in taste and texture of the resulting beer?

Here's the link to the actual pages:
http://www.austinhomebrew.com/produc...oducts_id=2071

http://www.austinhomebrew.com/produc...ducts_id=11675

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Old 10-22-2009, 02:24 AM   #2
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You're pretty much right on. I've done both all extract and partial mash kits from AHS and it is basically how you described it. With a partial mash kit you're going to get more grain than you would with an extract only kit. So, the instructions will tell you to put the grains in about 155 degree water for a specified amount of time, then put the grain bag on a strainer and pour some hot (170 degree) water over it to help pull all of the sugars out of the mash.

Once you complete that step it's basically on to the rest of an extract recipe where you add the extract, boil, and add the hops according to their schedule. Even with a regular extract kit you're generally going to get specialty grains to steep, but just not the same amount you'll get with a mini-mash kit and you'll probably want to use sparge water with the mini mash to get as much out of the grains as you can.

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Old 10-22-2009, 02:27 AM   #3
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1) Correct; but also you get more into the real brew making process and its a great stepping stone to all grain. Basically you have the feel of a real brewmaster....

2) Check out this thread for answers: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f13/extr...cussion-76807/ Readers Digest version: Better ability to create some unique variety by changing grain around and a fuller flavor for your beer.

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Old 10-22-2009, 02:38 AM   #4
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Great answers? [EDIT: that was not supposed to be a question! I meant -- Great Answers!]

slightly tangential: Is there any difference between Base Grains and Specialty Grains when it comes to how you steep/sparge them?

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Old 10-22-2009, 02:45 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peripatetic View Post
Great answers?

slightly tangential: Is there any difference between Base Grains and Specialty Grains when it comes to how you steep/sparge them?
I believe base grains have only been dried, thus they need to be mashed in order to activate the enzymes. Specialty grains are often already dried and/or roasted while moist so that the starch conversion has already taken place and you're just extracting the sugar and flavors and not relying on the starch conversion from mashing so they only need to be steeped.
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Old 10-22-2009, 11:01 AM   #6
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BASICALLY the same process but temperature is much more critical when using base grains. Don't be afraid to use base grains (you REALLY should use them) because your beer will be MUCH better. You just have to be more careful with temp control and in my view once you start to use base grains you are REALLY brewing beer.

It;s like instant coffee and actually brewing coffee. Both are coffee but . . . .

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Old 10-22-2009, 01:41 PM   #7
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The key difference between base grains and specialty grains is amylase enzymes, not starches. The enzymes convert the starches. Most specialty grains have been roasted/toasted enough that the enzymes have been destroyed.

As far as the quality of the beer, that's process NOT grain vs extract. I've seen way too many extract beers win awards to believe the the hype.

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Old 10-22-2009, 04:18 PM   #8
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Quote:
I've seen way too many extract beers win awards to believe the the hype.
Depends how you define Extract! - when I see Extract I see ONLY a can of Extract with zero grains.

Extract
Extract with steeping grains
Mini-mash
All Grain
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