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Old 08-13-2009, 12:10 PM   #1
BrewFrisco
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Hello All! I have recently decided to get back into home-brewing after a few years off. I have only done extract brewing in the past and would like to progress into an AG setup. The problem is that I want to gradually progress and not do it all at once. I have heard about doing mini-mash's and would like more information and some pro's and con's to this brewing method.

TIA!



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Old 08-13-2009, 12:31 PM   #2
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Welcome back to the greatest hobby in the world.

My recommendation is if you have to go out any buy equipment in order to be able to do mini-mashes it would make much more sense and save you a lot of money in the long run to just buy the all grain equipment up front. Since AG is your end goal you will need this equipment anyways it saves you from buying stuff twice. The bare basics are a cooler of at least 5 gallons (min. 10 is better) The 10 gallon orange round cooler can be bought from Home Depot for $40. An additional $15 in parts can make that into a functional mash tun. The at least a 7.5 gallon pot and a burner capable of bringing that amount of wort to a boil.

I know it may sound like mini-mash is a good in between step for extract and AG but the reality is mini-mash and AG take the same amount of effort and time. The only pro for mini-mash I can see if it will save space and you have the ability to do partial boils if need be. In reality if AG is your goal you know that you mush have space for the equipment and have the ability to boil large amounts of wort or the ability to buy a propane burner.

If AG seems like a daunting task for someone just getting into it, don't let that worry you. We are here to help in any way and can hold your hand through the whole process. Once you do your first batch and see how it isn't as hard as it seems you will thank yourself for going all grain right away.



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Old 08-13-2009, 01:00 PM   #3
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I like AG or mini mashing (just about same) because I then have time to mess around with other stuff while waiting for mash.

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Old 08-13-2009, 02:28 PM   #4
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I agree with the cellardoor.

**Checks around for people in white coats for agreeing with a door.

I did a Partial Mash (PM) batch before I made the jump to All Grain (AG) this past weekend. There honestly was not much of a difference. If you have the space, definitely think about making the jump to AG.

Welcome back!!

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Old 08-13-2009, 03:19 PM   #5
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Thanks for the responses. I guess I thought that I could (PM) while using a smaller setup such as only using aluminum boil kettles and a smaller / cheaper mash tun - being cheaper than keggle and propane setup but still some of the same AG principles to learn with.

For now, I am going to go extract some ale's and maybe slowly collect parts and pieces for an AG system. I don't like to go half way so I will hold out for an AG setup.

Thanks again!

Oh...one more thing - on my extract setup, I need a way to better control my primary fermentation temps. Wife insists that we turn A/C to 80 during the day while at work. I need to maintain a steady 75(ish) for the primary at a min. I hear that using a tub of water with ice works well - what if you are not able to replace the ice often enough such as while at work (8-10 hrs)?

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Old 08-13-2009, 04:04 PM   #6
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Hey guys, interesting thread.

I was wondering if there is a difference between the "Easy partial Mash method" that i read at the top of this forum (where you steep the grains for 60mins and then add the extract) and the PM you are talking about here.

I was looking to brew using the Easy Partial Mash method which i think only requires an extra boiling kettle and a grain nylon bag plus some extra time.

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Old 08-13-2009, 05:41 PM   #7
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BrewFrisco: The water bath with ice works well to keep a more stable temp for your brew. Do a search for "Swamp Cooler" here and you can learn all about it. It's very simple to do. I did my first swamp cooler this past weekend and it works great. Like you, I work, and don't have the opportunity to swap out the frozen bottles every few hours. I swap out in the morning, after work, then again at bedtime (3x daily). It's not the best, but it is still better than leaving it without any protection from higher temps and the fluctuating temps.

MasterShake: The only PM way that I tried was the one you are referring to. I didn't have a big enough extra boiling kettle, so I had to try a hybrid method.

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Old 08-13-2009, 06:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterShake View Post
Hey guys, interesting thread.

I was wondering if there is a difference between the "Easy partial Mash method" that i read at the top of this forum (where you steep the grains for 60mins and then add the extract) and the PM you are talking about here.

I was looking to brew using the Easy Partial Mash method which i think only requires an extra boiling kettle and a grain nylon bag plus some extra time.
Not sure about the easy PM method but it sounds like you are really just steeping the grains. This will provide flavour, colour etc. but you'll miss out on the sugars extracted by the sparge. Not the end of the world, as most of your fermentables are coming from extract.

To OP: I think you have a sensible approach figured out, start with extracts and buy components/equipment that will get you to the AG setup you want long term. I wouldn't buy anything specifically for PM - such as a small 2G cooler for example. The big move you will need to make is to go outside and use a turkey frier or similar. When you get to full boils I think you really need a chiller of some sort, 5G of boiling liquid takes a good long while to cool down.
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Old 08-13-2009, 10:27 PM   #9
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Thanks cd2448 - previous days, I had a nice chest freezer with a digital temp-controller in which I was primarily lagering. I was boiling 5 + gallons on my turkey fryer with extracts - had my go at some Oktoberfest's and failed pretty hard....simply because I did not have the basics down. I had most of the equipment such as an immersion chiller and some high tech computer temperature monitoring stuff.

I am pretty confident that Ale's (especially extract) brewing is more forgiving - (hoping!)

Thanks again for the words folks.....I will post some pics of my first brew and log it for you all to critique.

Anyhow, they say that you let your love go - if it is meant to be....it will come back!



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