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Old 06-06-2012, 03:35 AM   #1
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Default Partial mash v. extract w Specialty Grains?

Ok totally stupid question: what is the difference? And let me say I have been brewing kits from 2 different LHBS and the process is a little different, does the process by each represent the differences? LHBS1 has me put the specialty grains in a cooler with water at 150-160 for 45 minutes or so, then pour through a strainer into my wort kettle and then rinse the grains with water (I forget temp but heated) Is that "sparging"? LHBS2 has me steeping the grains in a muslin bag in the wort kettle with water 150-160 then letting the bag dripout into the wort, kinda tea bag method.

Is one method partial mash and the other just stepping? What's the practical difference on the beer?

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Old 06-06-2012, 03:40 AM   #2
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I'd say LHBS1 is most likely a partial mash since you do it for an extended period of time and then sparge. Not sure about LHBS2. How long do you do it for? What kind of grains are in the LHBS2 kit?

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Old 06-06-2012, 03:44 AM   #3
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depends if you have base grains.If you have specialty grains only without base malt you are just steeping not Partial mash.Base grains need their starches converted to sugar which makes what is similar to what extract is and which extract malt has already been done for you with using that. So if you did not have any base grains it was only extract with steeping grains. Altough some specialty grains you need to do a mash(with base malts) also. Know what im sayin? There are some specialty grains than need to be mashed but others can just be steeped and used in extract batches.Hope this makes sense.
Maybe to put it in simpler terms partial mash uses grain wich contributes to OG giving fermentable sugars which = more abv. Steeping grains just gives color flavor (or body sometimes) and not much of any fermentable sugars that create alcohol. With extract the steeping grains will give it more character.Although there is a good variety of extract to choose from.

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Old 06-06-2012, 04:23 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MDB View Post
Ok totally stupid question: what is the difference? And let me say I have been brewing kits from 2 different LHBS and the process is a little different, does the process by each represent the differences? LHBS1 has me put the specialty grains in a cooler with water at 150-160 for 45 minutes or so, then pour through a strainer into my wort kettle and then rinse the grains with water (I forget temp but heated) Is that "sparging"? LHBS2 has me steeping the grains in a muslin bag in the wort kettle with water 150-160 then letting the bag dripout into the wort, kinda tea bag method.

Is one method partial mash and the other just stepping? What's the practical difference on the beer?
I suspect both kits are steeping specialty grains. That is you are soaking crystal malts and/or roasted malts to extract colors, flavors and already created sugars contained in the crystal malts. Mashing would have similar mechanics but would utilize base grains, that is malts with mostly starch that is converted to sugars by the malt's enzymes during the hot water soak. Mashing temperatures and times while similar are usually stricter and more specific than steeping. Grains like pale malt, pilsner malt, Munich malt, etc are base malts and require mashing as do unmalted, starchy grains like the flaked products of maize, wheat, barley and oats. Rinsing of the grains after the soaking or mashing process is sparging, a word of German origin meaning rinse.

This and many other novice questions are more thoroughly answered and explained in a good homebrewing book like Palmer's "How to Brew". While answers to such questions can be done quick & dirty on forums like this one, owning and reading such a book will greatly enhance your understanding of the brewing process.
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Old 06-06-2012, 04:53 AM   #5
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Very helpful. I get it. I actually stopped to pick up Palmer's book last night at BArnes and Noble and the schleps didn't have it. it will be purchased

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