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Old 03-09-2007, 02:45 AM   #1
Ridge Runner
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Default How hard is it to mini-mash...possibly my third brew

My first brew is an extract brew(Octoberfest) and my second will be the same(APA). Both have steeping grains. What is the difference and difficulty of a mini-mash recipe? I love homebrewing and would like to increase my ability. Thanks RR

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Old 03-09-2007, 02:56 AM   #2
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It's not nearly as difficult as it seems at first.

The simplest all-grain / mini-mash instructions I've ever seen are here..

This page was what convinced me that I didn't need this to go all grain ( No offense to MonsterMash intended, I'm just jealous ).


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Old 03-09-2007, 03:04 AM   #3
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I actually just did my first partial mash, a couple of weeks ago with a doppelbock. It is very easy. The only additional equipment you need is a cooler, and you probably could work around that. I will also take this oppurtunity to get on my extract soapbox, as a new brewer don't worry about diving into all grain, you can make many excellent beers using extracts and steeped grains.
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Old 03-09-2007, 03:48 AM   #4
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Give it a shot -- it isn't hard at all -- just a few more details to keep track of. Plus, if you enjoy it, then you are a big step closer to all-grain brewing. The mechanics of partial-mashes/mini-mashes are very similar to all-grain brewing techniques.

Here are a couple of articles that I found really helpful (in addition to the one previously posted):

Let us know how you made out!
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Old 03-09-2007, 04:08 AM   #5
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I did a mini mash on my 3rd brew, (transferring to 2ndary on sunday) and its not really all that hard, it only takes about an hour longer than a normal extract brew with steeping.
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Old 03-09-2007, 04:11 AM   #6
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Default Mini-Mash vs. Steeping

Keep in mind that mini-mashing is different from steeping. I didn't realize this myself until recently. If you by a kit with grains that you put in 170 degree water for 30 minutes, all you are doing is steeping those grains to get flavor out. A true mini-mash involves actually mashing a portion of the grains (as opposed to using all extract) to gain flavors. it gives extract brewers a bit more control over the grains without going all-grain. I'm sure some others can give you much better advice. I am by no means an expert at this, but keep in mind that steeping is not the same as mini-mashing.
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Old 03-09-2007, 06:16 AM   #7
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Default Homer Simpson Minimash

You can actually do minimashes without having to make a mash tun and lauter tun (although those things make it a lot easier) and just use a bunch of large pots and an oven. Here is how Homer does it:

Take the largest pot you have (your brewing pot), preferably 5 gallons or larger (mine is 6). Add up to 5 pounds of cracked base malts (pale 2-row, etc.) and your specialty malts inside a big nylon mesh bag. Add 165 degree strike water at a ratio of 1 or 2 quarts of water per pound of grain which should hit about 152 (or thereabouts). Put a thermometer in your oven and have it prewarmed to about 160 degrees. Pop the pot in and keep the oven temp as stable as you can at about 155 (or what ever). Wait one hour. Stir occasionally to distribute heat evenly. Pull the bag of grains out of your brew pot leaving behind the wort. Transfer the bag of grains to another waiting pot of water containing a couple of gallons at about 170 degrees. Steep (sparge?) it in there about 10 minutes and then add sparge to your main boil. Give grain to the deer and birds. Add dried malt extract to bring up the gravity to your recipe and go Homer go!

Not nearly as easy as using a cooler with manifolds etc. and sparge buckets, but a hell of lot simpler, cheaper and it works too. As good a method? Probably not but it really can approximate AG brews using extract. A little maltdextrin powder won't hurt either.
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Old 03-09-2007, 02:57 PM   #8
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As treehouse says, the key is the Very Large Grain Bag. I have a cool/mash tun, but for mini-mashes, I'll use the VLGB in the cooler. I'll open the bag and stir the grain while it is in the sparge water.

I have a weird old electric oven that is wide, but not too tall and a large enough pot won't fit.
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Old 03-09-2007, 03:37 PM   #9
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Do the minimash! It can be done with no extra equipment than you'd use to steep grains, all the above links will gove you all th info you need. In my opinion, if you are even thinking you *might* want to some day go to All Grain, minimash is a great intermediate step.
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Old 03-09-2007, 04:29 PM   #10
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just go all grain if you have the space. And maybe keep some DME around just in case you don't reach your OG the first time. But AG is just as easy as a PM.

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