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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Mini Mash with a very small amount of grain OK...
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Old 10-17-2012, 10:54 PM   #1
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Default Mini Mash with a very small amount of grain OK...

When doing a mini-mash for an extract recipe that requires only a small amount of grain, is it ok to continue with a water to grain of 1.5Q/Lb? Basically, even if that means you ended up mashing in 1.5q because you've only got one lb of grain?

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Old 10-17-2012, 11:01 PM   #2
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depends on the size of what your mashing in. You want all the grains to be covered, and if it were me i would just go ahead and add more water.

can you post the recipe? i don't see how you could have a mini-mash recipe with only 1 lb of grain. if they are all specialty grains then you are really just steeping, not mashing, and if you have 1 or less pounds of base grain, then you might as well just add a bit more extract because it isn't going to change the flavor since it makes up a very small amount of your fermentables.

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Old 10-18-2012, 01:20 PM   #3
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Just started partial-mashing myself. From my understanding, you don't want too much water because it could affect your efficiency. Ive also heard 1.25 gal / 1 pound grain, and thats what I used.
Some would argue that if your only doing 1 pound, then you might as well just steep them than bother with mashing, but its certainly do-able. I don't necessarily think it can be 'too little' of an amount, but like Wakadaka says, make sure you compensate with enough malt extract to get the style you're shooting for. I've heard the sugars in 1 lb mashed grain are roughly equivalent to .75 lbs LME and .6 lbs DME.
Also agree with Wakadaka that the other important thing here is that your grain has diastatic power (that is, contains the enzymes needed to self-convert the starch). Many specialty grain don't, and would thus require the presence of other grains (like 2-row) in order to convert. Some grains, like crystal malts have already been pre-converted and thus wouldn't need to be mashed, only steeped.

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Old 10-18-2012, 01:23 PM   #4
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You can easily go up to 2 quarts of water per pound of grain without having to worry about conversion issues, but I've never heard of doing a one-pound partial-mash. That's a "why bother?" amount.

You can use the specialty grains together with the base grains, and still use 2 quarts per pound, if you have more than a pound of grain total.

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Old 10-18-2012, 01:34 PM   #5
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If you want to do a mini-mash, please post the recipe and someone will gladly help you translate it into a more conventional ratio. Controlling the temp on such a low volume is going to be challenging.

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Old 10-18-2012, 01:40 PM   #6
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It was more of a hypothetical question... thinking about the water to grain ratio, I became curious as to whether there was a low limit with such a thing - I guess it never occurred to me that it would be so rare to have a recipe that included say, 1lb of munich and very little other specialty grains - maybe 1/4lb of crystal or something... So what would the minimum be to have an effective mini mash? What about one gallon of water in the mash, so 2lbs of grain, and then 2 gallons of sparge water @ 175 poured over the mash in a colander to give you an effective 3 gallon boil?

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Old 10-18-2012, 01:51 PM   #7
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It isn't rare to have minimal specialty grains. When you do, the recipe usually just calls for mashing some base grain with them. That gets you up to a reasonable volume. eg 1lb munich +1/4 crystal + 2lb 2-row.

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Old 10-18-2012, 02:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billl View Post
It isn't rare to have minimal specialty grains. When you do, the recipe usually just calls for mashing some base grain with them. That gets you up to a reasonable volume. eg 1lb munich +1/4 crystal + 2lb 2-row.
I see... so typically if the situation was that the only grains you had in the recipe that required mashing to convert, say 1lb of vienna or munich, then you would actually substitute some of the extract for grain, like 2 row, even if the grain you were using WAS self convertible, just to get a reasonable mash volume?
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Old 10-18-2012, 03:09 PM   #9
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You don't want to use too much water in the mash,something about PH staying in an exceptable range. I used 1.5 gallons of water to mash 5lbs of grain. Sparged with 1.5G of water at 155F. Don't sparge with water over 170F,or you can start extracting tannins from the grain hulls.
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Old 10-18-2012, 03:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J187 View Post
It was more of a hypothetical question... thinking about the water to grain ratio, I became curious as to whether there was a low limit with such a thing - I guess it never occurred to me that it would be so rare to have a recipe that included say, 1lb of munich and very little other specialty grains - maybe 1/4lb of crystal or something... So what would the minimum be to have an effective mini mash? What about one gallon of water in the mash, so 2lbs of grain, and then 2 gallons of sparge water @ 175 poured over the mash in a colander to give you an effective 3 gallon boil?
What's your primary concern here? Boil size or grain bill? Not quite sure what you're going for, so not sure which way to point you...

I mean, if you're trying to mash with one gallon of water, you could easily mash 2 or 3lbs of grain in that volume, then sparge with few quarts or what have you (the full 2 gallons may be overkill), then top off your volume to 3 gallons and bring it up to a boil from there.

If you were dead set on mashing just 1lb (you're really not going to get a whole lot of fermentables or enzymes from just 1lb, but we'll go with it for purposes of the example), you could still do so with 1/2 gallon of water, sparge with another couple quarts, and still then top that off with enough water to reach your 3 gallon boil.

But it'd really help to know what you're trying to get out of this thought experiment.
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