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Old 01-25-2009, 02:31 AM   #1
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Default Convert extract brew to partial mash?

My first kit was an extract Irish Stout from my LHBS. I was blown away by it and it totally consumed me. It basically infected me, all my waking moments have been thinking about it and trying soooo hard not to open that last bottle that I'm trying to save for months to see how it conditions.

That being said, I have a question that some more experienced may be able to lend their opinion on.

If a full extract beer is great do you take the risk of converting it to partial mash or do you just leave it as extract in order to enjoy it as it was?

I'm definitely interested in converting it to partial mash in order to learn more about the grains that would provide a similar profile but it was so good that I really (really!) don't want to make it less than it was.

Thoughts?

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Old 01-25-2009, 03:07 AM   #2
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Well, the worst that happens is you are out some money for ingredients and you learned it's better as an extract kit. Really, i'm sure converting it to a PM wouldn't hurt, but i suspect it wont be that much different than your extract kit was. Did the extract have steeping grains?

I don't know if you get BYO, but they had an article several months ago about doing dark beers with partial mash and how the pH is changed because of the dark malts. It suggested steeping the dark malts separately from the mash. In other words, doing what you probably did with the dark malts and just mashing some 2 rows to make up for some extract. I did my stout this way and it was a lot of work. I am very happy with it, but it was a lot of work.

The other thing you'll have to watch with this method is your water volume. If you are doing partial boils, you'll want to balance the amount of grain you mash with the amount of water you can handle in your kettle. I almost ended up with too much water because i tried mashing as much grain as i could and still needed water for steeping.

That said, if you have the ability to mash it all together then why not, go ahead, see what happens.

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Old 01-25-2009, 03:14 AM   #3
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Extract w/steeping grains is easy to convert, as is an all-grain recipe - but an all-extract or canned kit recipe will be difficult to replicate because you don't really know what they put into the recipe or the different extracts used. Extracts also vary by manufacturer - one manufacturer's Amber extract will have a different composition (and taste) than another brand.

In short, an all-extract recipe could probably be approximated by someone who really knows what they're doing - but I think it would be very difficult to make it taste exactly like the kit.

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Old 01-25-2009, 03:19 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donner View Post
Did the extract have steeping grains?
Quote:
Originally Posted by ifishsum View Post
Extract w/steeping grains is easy to convert, as is an all-grain recipe - but an all-extract or canned kit recipe will be difficult to replicate because you don't really know what they put into the recipe or the different extracts used.
Might help if I give the kit recipe and what I would probably do as a PM replacement.

Kit:

UK Roasted Barley 1.50 lb
US Caramel 60L Malt 1.00 lb
US Chocolate Malt 0.50 lb
Extract - Light Liquid Malt Extract (Breiss) 7.00 lb
German Perle 8.0 % 1.00 oz
Yeast SafAle-05

What I guess I would try:
Pale Malt (2-Row) 4.0 lb
UK Roasted Barley 1.50 lb
US Caramel 60L Malt 1.00 lb
US Chocolate Malt 0.50 lb
Extract - Light Liquid Malt Extract 3.00 lb
German Perle 8.0 % 1.00 oz
Yeast SafAle-05
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Old 01-25-2009, 03:34 AM   #5
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That is a pretty straight forward conversion, and should be doable since your really only subbing 2 rows for extract. I do think you're shorting yourself on either grain or extract.

I am terrible at math, but wouldn't subtracting 4 lbs of extract require more than 4 lbs of grain? It's not a 1:1 ratio. I think you'd need 4 lbs of extract and 4 lbs of 2 rows for this recipe.

I'll try the math. If you remove 3 lbs of LME you divide by .75 and get 4 lbs of grain (3/.75=4), that leaves 4 lbs of extract and 4 lbs of grain. If i am wrong someone will come along and correct me.

The final thing to consider is that you have to be able to mash 7 lbs of grain (my 2 gallon MLT can only handle just under 5 lbs) unless you are going to do what i mentioned earlier and mash the roasted barley and 2-row and steep the darker malts.

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Old 01-25-2009, 03:41 AM   #6
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Well I've a 3 gallon kettle and a 5.5 gallon kettle. I used DeathBrewers stove-top method so no MLT here.

If I have 4 lb grains a 1.25 qt / lb, that's 1 gal 1 qt needed for the mash.
I think it's 2.25 qt / lb for the sparge, that's 2 gal 1 qt for the sparge.

That makes 3.5 gals already in the 5 gal kettle for boil.

If I were to steep the grains 20 mins before I did the sparge for 10 mins (steeping for 30 mins total) how much water would be required to steep the specialty grains I've listed? And could that then combine with the 3.5 gals in the 5.5 gallon kettle for the final boil?

Thanks for you help

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Old 01-25-2009, 03:51 AM   #7
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Actually, looking at Green Bay Rackers--Mash Calculators it says for 7lb of gain it would take 2.75 gallons of room. Maybe I could actually fit all that in the 3 gallon kettle, then sparge it in 2.25 gallons of sparge in the 5.5 gallon kettle.

That leaves me 5 gallons (not taking into account absorbion/evaporation/etc) in the 5.5 gallon kettle.... too much?

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Old 01-25-2009, 04:01 AM   #8
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Yeah, if you are going with death brewer's method, you might be able to pull it off. I mean it works by the numbers. I don't know your system, but depending on your boil, that might be pushing it a bit. It certainly seems doable, but would probably be pushing it.

The only reason i suggested splitting the grains up between steeping and mashing was because of a BYO article that suggested it. The gist of the article dealt pH and how splitting the dark malts up meant you could add baking soda to the water to balance the acrid nature of the dark malts. THis in theory gave a better mouth feel and made the beer less water IIRC.

If you can mash them together then certainly go for it. It's probably what i'd do (and did try to do). My stout recipe had me mashing 4.75 lbs of grain (2 rows and flaked barley) and steeping 1.6 lbs of grain (roasted barley, crystal and choc.) My partial boil got pretty full.

Again, only one way to find out if you can do it. You could always back off the 2 rows another lb, add more LME and call it good.

Let me sleep on it and see if i have a moment of clarity, that or i actually find the BYO article.

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Old 01-25-2009, 04:03 AM   #9
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Sounds good. I like the separate steps too. Think on it more and let me know

Thanks again

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