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Old 02-15-2010, 10:18 PM   #1
Daparish
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Default Mini-Mash, Partial Mash and Steeping Specialty Grains

I've heard all three of these phrases tossed about on forums and in books, and I'm wondering if there is a difference between these.

I understand that one can make an "All-extract" batch and add some steeped grains, but is a "mini-mash" or "partial mash" different from this?

Could someone explain?

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Old 02-15-2010, 10:44 PM   #2
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Mini-mash and partial mash are synonymous. Mashing involves converting the starch in the grains into fermentable sugar. There are some grains that must be mashed that contribute different characteristics to the beer than the base grains (which pale/light malt extract is derived from) would, hence the need to at least to a partial mash.

Steeping grains have undergone a process in which the starch has already been converted or undergone some other process where there is no longer any potential to extract fermentable sugars. These grains contribute color, flavor, body, and/or head retention.

When mashing, things like water volume, time, and temperature are more critical, whereas steeping grains can be steeped for a generic ~30 minutes at 150-170 degrees-F.

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Old 02-15-2010, 10:57 PM   #3
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Well I can tell you that a partial mash is a beer that is made with about half extract and half grain. The extract is a "back-up" if you will, in case you do not get good efficiency. I believe it is a good way to get into all grain.

Specialty Grains is an all extract brew with 1 to 2 pounds of grains that you steep at 155 F water for 30 mins or so to extract color and flavor more than fermentable sugars. The extract is the only source of fermentable sugars (of course SOMETHIGN will come out of those grains, but it is so minimal it doesn't matter).

I believe that a mini-mash is bascially an all-grain brew on a smaller scale. Not positive on that so someone else may need to chime in here.

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Old 02-16-2010, 01:25 AM   #4
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Ok, then what is the difference between steeping the grains in a grain bag at 155 for 30 minutes in all-extract and "mashing" (single infusion) the grains in a grain bag at 155 for 30-45, then "sparging" by rinsing the bag with a few liters of water in the mini-mash recipe? Anything?

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Old 02-16-2010, 02:22 AM   #5
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The major difference between steeping and mashing is converting grains with diastatic potential (i.e. 2-row, pilsner, etc..). Here is an excellent explanation from John Palmer:

Quote:
Steeping differs from mashing in that there is no enzyme activity taking place to convert grain or adjunct starches to sugars. Steeping specialty grains is entirely a leaching and dissolution process of sugars into the wort. If grain with enzyme diastatic potential is steeped, that is mashing.

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Old 02-16-2010, 02:35 AM   #6
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Big, so am I correct in stating that the difference between steeping and mashing is the type of malt/adjunct that you are soaking and not the method of the soaking per se? Is this over-simplifying?

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Old 02-16-2010, 02:50 AM   #7
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In very simple terms, you are correct. The process is very similar. The major differences is the grain being used and sometimes just the amount. Otherwise, you want to be more stable in your temps for a partial mash (mini-mash) and you will use less extract (whether it be LME or DME) than you would with a comparable extract recipe.

btw, on a side note, I noticed you used the term per se. Attorney, law student, or close relation one?

Edit: Read How to Brew, it is an excellent resource and completely free.

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It's now degenerating into nu uh and uh huhs and it no longer serves a point.

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Old 02-16-2010, 01:13 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigB View Post
In very simple terms, you are correct. The process is very similar. The major differences is the grain being used and sometimes just the amount. Otherwise, you want to be more stable in your temps for a partial mash (mini-mash) and you will use less extract (whether it be LME or DME) than you would with a comparable extract recipe.

btw, on a side note, I noticed you used the term per se. Attorney, law student, or close relation one?

Edit: Read How to Brew, it is an excellent resource and completely free.
Very perceptive Big. I'm an attorney in Knoxville, TN. Been practicing for a little under 2 years.

As for "How to Brew", I've read it cover to cover. Great book, and I find myself going back and reading the more technical chapters again and again to try and retain the info.
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Old 02-16-2010, 04:02 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daparish View Post
Very perceptive Big. I'm an attorney in Knoxville, TN. Been practicing for a little under 2 years.

As for "How to Brew", I've read it cover to cover. Great book, and I find myself going back and reading the more technical chapters again and again to try and retain the info.
Great! Good luck in your practice! I was just curious, because most people in general society don't casually mix Latin in conversations like attorneys do. Recognize my avatar? That guy wrote my all time favorite quotable in American jurisprudence. (Buck v. Bell)
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Old 04-13-2011, 02:50 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigB View Post
btw, on a side note, I noticed you used the term per se. Attorney, law student, or close relation one?
It drives me crazy when people type "per say". I'm not a lawyer or anything close, but I took 4 years of Latin in high school. :-p
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