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Old 09-25-2012, 01:29 PM   #1
kooklife
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Default Next partial mash beer?

I am a beginner homebrewer and have brewed a couple of beers. My latest was my first partial mash beer, it was a kolsch. I was wondering if I should keep brewing partial mash beers for a while or maybe go all grain? And what exactly is the difference ?
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Old 09-25-2012, 01:42 PM   #2
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The only real difference is in partial mashes your generally using small amounts of steeping grains that already have their starches converted to sugar and DME/LME in your wort. Whereas all grain your using base malts that need their starches converted to sugar(mashing) with steeping grains without adding extract. All grain also gives you more flexibility with the fermentability of your wort depending on what temp you mash as.

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Old 09-25-2012, 02:05 PM   #3
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IMO if you are already doing partial mash, there's no reason not to jump into AG brewing. As long as you have the equipment to do so, I would say go for it. The main difference, as Gil said above is all your wort will be created from grain instead of partially from extract.

Good luck!

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Old 09-25-2012, 02:34 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by GilSwillBasementBrews View Post
The only real difference is in partial mashes your generally using small amounts of steeping grains that already have their starches converted to sugar and DME/LME in your wort.
This isn't quite right. You seem to be describing extract with steeping grains. Partial mash uses some base grain to convert the starches, just like all grain. The difference is you are not doing the whole grain bill so you need to make up the difference with some extract. You can do any percentage as partial mash - usually as much as you can fit.
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Old 09-25-2012, 03:26 PM   #5
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Extract brewing is the easiest of the three. It does not involve "mashing" (converting starches to sugars) any grain. Though "steeping" grains are usually included for added character (these however have already been converted to release their sugars). The downside is that the ingredients cost more and you have the lowest amount of complexity due to being forced to work with 95-100% liquid or dry malt extract. The upside is that you don't have to worry about mashing and you don't need the additional (expensive) equipment that most all-grain brewers use.

Partial-mash brewing combines the benefits of extract and all grain brewing. The ingredients end up costing a bit less than extract, but still more so than all grain. The equipment however does not need to be upgraded to the all-grain level. You just need the basics. With this method, you have more control over the complexity and dryness of your beer because you're using a portion of characterful mashing grains. You can use 50-60% extra light extract as a blank canvas, whereas the other 40-50% can be composed of characterful mashing grains, steeping grains, adjuncts, and sugars.

All-grain brewing is the most affordable as far as ingredients go and can save you money in the long run. However, the upfront cost for equipment is higher than the other two options. It gives you the most freedom to infuse character into your beer by allowing you to mash many different grains that would not otherwise be included in extract. Complexity and lower dryness (FG) will be at its highest with this option.

All three methods can yield very tasty, quality beers. The only real differences are realized in the total vs. upfront cost, reduced brewing time (for extract), and the overall complexity and dryness of the beer. You should also look into BIAB (Brew-In-A-Bag) if you're going to use the PM and AG brewing methods.

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Old 09-25-2012, 05:50 PM   #6
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In all honestly, partial mash is probably the most difficult way to brew. You're already doing a mash, and it doesn't really matter if you are mashing five pounds or fifteen pounds of grain. That being said, you still have to worry about burning your extract or getting it properly stirred, etc.

However, all grain requires more gear than partial mash does (most notably, a big honking pot and a way to heat that much water). I'm currenlty doing partial mashes until I get the gear I need for all grain.

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Old 09-25-2012, 05:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chickypad View Post
This isn't quite right. You seem to be describing extract with steeping grains. Partial mash uses some base grain to convert the starches, just like all grain. The difference is you are not doing the whole grain bill so you need to make up the difference with some extract. You can do any percentage as partial mash - usually as much as you can fit.
There are some grains that you might want to steep instead of mash. But for the most part, we call anything that isn't a base malt specialty grains. Grains you might want to steep are dark roasted grains. Mashing them can bring out an acrid bite.
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Old 09-25-2012, 05:57 PM   #8
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In all honestly, partial mash is probably the most difficult way to brew. You're already doing a mash, and it doesn't really matter if you are mashing five pounds or fifteen pounds of grain.
I wouldn't necessarily agree with that. While it takes the same amount of time, it does not require the same amount of effort. Mashing 3 lbs. of grain is a lot easier than mashing 15 lbs.
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Old 09-25-2012, 06:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ludomonster

There are some grains that you might want to steep instead of mash. But for the most part, we call anything that isn't a base malt specialty grains. Grains you might want to steep are dark roasted grains. Mashing them can bring out an acrid bite.
Not sure I agree with this. When you steep the grains, you generally steep them in something like 160 F liquid right? For about 30 minutes? When you mash them, they're in 145-160 F liquid for about an hour. I don't know that you'll extract any more acridity by mashing them unless you're not paying attention to the pH.

To the OP - I partial mashed for a while before going all grain. The only difference is the size of the mash run and kettle. I actually figured out a way to go all gain without the need to purchase anything extra - I do smaller batches (3.5-4 gallons) and run a split boil on my electric stove.
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Old 09-25-2012, 06:38 PM   #10
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Ok so basically the main difference is that I gain control of the total percentage of what is steeped in all grain and in partial mash I only have a small percentage of control because of the dme or lme right?

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