Accidentally got an all grain...

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goofygarrett

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So I went and bought a recipe kit from my Homebrew store today and later realized I had bought the all grain version when I thought I had gotten the partial mash. Seeing is that I don't have the equipment for an all grain brew, I was wondering if instead I could just steep half of the grains for 30 minutes, sparge and then repeat for the other half and still be okay?

Thanks!
 

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I do this from time to time when I want more grain then I can fit. Just pay attention to your water levels and be sure to allow enough time for two mashes and you should be fine.
 

LandoLincoln

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So I went and bought a recipe kit from my Homebrew store today and later realized I had bought the all grain version when I thought I had gotten the partial mash. Seeing is that I don't have the equipment for an all grain brew, I was wondering if instead I could just steep half of the grains for 30 minutes, sparge and then repeat for the other half and still be okay?

Thanks!
Nah, sorry, doesn't work that way.
 

BGBC

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Is the grain already milled? If not, you might be able to return it. Even if it is milled, you might ask if you can return it...

What is the grain bill for the kit?

I don't know what equipment you have, but you could also do a BIAB-style mini-mash, for example. I'm guessing you might not have a big enough pot to mash all of the grain at once, but maybe split the grain, do a mini mash, then make up the difference with DME. Then you could use the rest of the grain later to do a second brew.

Since you have all grain, you really need to do a mash, not just steep the grains, to get a proper conversion. It's more temperature and time sensitive than steeping.
 

fosaisu

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So I went and bought a recipe kit from my Homebrew store today and later realized I had bought the all grain version when I thought I had gotten the partial mash. Seeing is that I don't have the equipment for an all grain brew, I was wondering if instead I could just steep half of the grains for 30 minutes, sparge and then repeat for the other half and still be okay?

Thanks!
Seems like you should be able to do this so long as you're "mashing" rather than "steeping" the grains (i.e. you're using the right temp and water ratio, which matters less when steeping for extract brews). Since you were trying to buy a PM kit I'm sure you're familiar, but just in case this thread has an awesome breakdown of stovetop mashing, which you could presumably do 2-3 times as necessary depending on the size of your pot to get all the grain mashed and acheived your desired boil volume.
 

twistr25

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In that same light, it will also matter how much of which grain you use. If you don't have enough of the base malt, it won't have many fermentables in it and you'll end up with a really low ABV beer.

So I think I'm with BGBC, may be best to just see if you can return it, especially if you don't have any LME or DME on hand.
 
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goofygarrett

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Thanks for the quick replies everyone!

Well unfortunately I was already steeping the first half of the grain when I made the post so at this point I'm all in and going back to the store for extract is out of the question. I poured a gallon of water over it and started with the second half a little while ago. As long as I keep the grain in for an hour at the right temp, that should be enough time to release all the sugars, correct?

My grain bill is 1 lb of flaked oats, 4.5 lbs of belgian pale ale malt and, and 3.5 lbs of white wheat.
 

woozy

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Seeing is that I don't have the equipment for an all grain brew, I was wondering if instead I could just steep half of the grains for 30 minutes, sparge and then repeat for the other half and still be okay?
Why do you use the word "steep"? And why do you say 30 minutes? I assumed you meant simply doing two mashes and combining the resulting wort. You can do that but you don't want to cut the mashing time in half. And you don't want to steep instead of mashing.


Nah, sorry, doesn't work that way.
Why not?


In that same light, it will also matter how much of which grain you use. If you don't have enough of the base malt, it won't have many fermentables in it and you'll end up with a really low ABV beer.
Since this is an all-grain kit it has the enough base malt. Make sure you mix the grains thoroughly so that each of the two mashes has have the right proportions of grains.
 
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goofygarrett

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I used the word steep because I had half the grain in a rubber banded bag that I put into the water instead of dumping the grains directly in the water. If I understand correctly, I can't properly 'mash' because I don't have a way to properly separate the grain from the wort.

Whether I'm completely wrong or not... this is what I've done so far. I put half the grain (about 6 lbs) in a bag and let it sit in 160 degree water for 30 minutes, poured a gallon of water over that and then repeated with the other half. After reading all these comments I decided to just go to the nearest Lowes and pick up a paint straining bag and redo the process.

Right now I have all the grain in the bag, sitting in the water (reheated to 160) and I plan to let it sit for an hour to make sure I get as many of the sugars as I can. At this point I realize I've screwed up but I'm just trying to do some damage control so that I don't have to waste all this grain and start over.

Should I be good though? If I let it sit for an hour?
 

BGBC

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Is the water currently at 160? After adding the grain, I mean. If so, that's almost definitely too high. What kind of beer is this? As a general rule, you probably want to mash somewhere between 148-155. The higher the temp, the more residual sugars you will end up with and the maltier the end product will be.

How much water did you capture from the first two 'steeps'? And how much are you getting from the 3rd combined?

I back that you're just going for it though. At the very least it will be a learning experience, and now you have the paint strainer bag so you can do a proper BIAB in the future. Just be sure to take plenty of measurements and record everything for future reference. Oh, and post back here with the results!

EDIT: just realized an hour has already passed, so hopefully you're on to the boil now. Maybe take a preboil hydro reading to see how you're doing.
 

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In the future you put as much grain in the bag as you can, get the water to the mash temperature(usually 148-154) that the kit gives you and leave it there for an hour, then drain/wash the bag with as much water as you need pre boil.

If you cant fit the entire grain bill in your pot with a decent amount of water, you could always do the above split into two batches. Mash half of it for an hour, drain it/wash it a bit, put that in another pot then mash your second half and repeat and then combine them at the end....

It will make your brew day an hour longer, but its possible.
 

beertroll

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If I understand correctly, I can't properly 'mash' because I don't have a way to properly separate the grain from the wort.
Mashing simply means holding the grain/water mixture at the desired temperature (or temperatures if it's a step mash) for sufficient time for the enzymes to convert the sugars. In a bag, not in a bag, it doesn't matter. The important bits are grain, enzymes, water, and temperature. The lack of enzymes is why extract batches use the term steep instead of mash.
 

woozy

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Hmm, I've never done a partial mash, just extracts and all-grains. It sounds like the partial mash kits are letting you play fast and loose with the mash-half and letting the extract half pick up the slack. Which is probably okay. But if you have an all-grain you'll have to take a bit more care than a casual steep and hope for the best.

But that's okay because a mash isn't anything hard. And you *should* be mashing your partial mashes anyway. The key to a mash is steady temperatures in the proper range. Otherwise a mash and a steep *look* the same; you soak grains in water and strain the liquid. The difference is a steep is just getting colors and flavors so control isn't important. A mash you want to activate the enzymes (so a 148-154 temp is important; higher and the enzymes will convert to unfermentable sugar and to low the enzymes don't convert) and give them enough time to convert.
 

dgr

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woozy,
I think he's using "partial mash" to describe an extract kit with specialty grain; which it isn't. Just a guess though.
 

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Did you take a temp reading once the grains were added? 160 is too high for the temp of the mash (grains and water) to get proper conversion, but I usually heat my strike water to between 165 & 172 to achieve a mash temp of 148-152, and that is in a cooler. If you heated the water in a pot to 160 then added the grain, the stable temp was probably very close to a proper mash temp. Let us know what your final volumes and gravity readings are and we can help figure out the efficiency. Final gravity readings will also allow you to estimate the fermentability of the wort and guess at your mash temp, e.g., super attenuated dry beer = low mash temp, low attenuation with a lot of body and residual sweetness = higher mash temp.
 

Qhrumphf

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I've seen a couple folks say you can't mash at 160F, which was contrary to what I'd understood. I've mashed at 160F (at least according to my thermometer) and gotten conversion. I also believe Lagunitas mashes some of their beers at 160F, no? In any event, it's definitely going to be heavy alpha amylase and almost no beta amylase before it's denatured, and a highly unfermentable wort.

The grains you have, with the exception of the oats, all those grains have enough diastatic power to self convert, so you should be ok in that regard.

For future reference, you can relatively comfortably mash 12 lbs of grain in a 5 gallon kettle with a big enough strainer bag. That'll allow you to mash a very wide array of all-grain beers.
 

woozy

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woozy,
I think he's using "partial mash" to describe an extract kit with specialty grain; which it isn't. Just a guess though.
This is ambiguity and/or misuse of terms is quickly becoming a serious pet peeve of mine. It's not just "partial mash" meaning "extract with grains" (which uses no mashing). It's also "kits" meaning "pre-hopped extract kits".

Palmer defines "partial mash" my way and it makes sense because... it is a partial mash. And he calls the other "Extract with specialty grains".

Anyway, which term is which makes a difference in how to answer this question. Partial mash: question is "can I just mash these in two batches" to which the answer is "yes, of course". Extract with specialty grains: question is "can I steep these in two batches" to which the answer is "no, you gotta get the sugars and the wort in there somehow".

So, what is "mini-mash"? Is that just all-grain but in a small enough quantity to do it without special equipment, i.e. on a stove top.
=================
I've seen a couple folks say you can't mash at 160F, which was contrary to what I'd understood. ... In any event, it's definitely going to be heavy alpha amylase and almost no beta amylase before it's denatured, and a highly unfermentable wort.
I'm going to nitpick and say that my understanding of what the word "can't" means is that you get an unfermatable wort. An unformentable wort => a non-alcoholic sugar beverage => utter failure => you can't get successful results => you can't do it.

I've never heard anyone say you won't get conversion-- just that your conversion will be of unformentable sugars.
 

BGBC

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Mini mash, as I'm using it, is the same as partial mash (as Palmer and you define it). I agree about the pet peeve of extract w/ steeping grains being called a partial mash.
 

Qhrumphf

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I'm going to nitpick and say that my understanding of what the word "can't" means is that you get an unfermatable wort. An unformentable wort => a non-alcoholic sugar beverage => utter failure => you can't get successful results => you can't do it.

I've never heard anyone say you won't get conversion-- just that your conversion will be of unformentable sugars.
Not to hijack the thread, but this isn't true. Again, I've done it, got conversion, and got a fermentable wort, albeit low, but that was the goal. I had attenuation around 65%.

And again, there was an episode of Can You Brew It, I think, where they learned that Lagunitas mashes some of their beers (or at least one, I don't remember) at 160F.

It's not something I'd recommend regularly, but you can do it. 160F is still in the range for alpha amylase activity, and you will get a brief period of beta activity before it denatures. It's not a light switch and *poof* no more fermentable sugar.
 

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I can't say I've ever mashed that high. Orfy in his old speckled hen recipe thread mashes at 165. IIRC, he said he mashes other English ales at that but I could be seriously misquoting him. 1.050 to 1.013 seems like it attenuated just fine.
 
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goofygarrett

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Well I had a successful brew day partly thanks to you guys so thanks! I learned a lot just reading through what you all have written and also realized my initial description of the problem was what confused many of you.

Like you managed to figure out, I meant to get a 'mini-mash' kit in the beginning but got the 'all grain' kit instead. It wasn't that I didn't have enough grain for the recipe and needed to supplement it with extract (like a mini mash kit does), but once I got everything home and realized that the recipe called for me to mash in a mash tun, etc. I panicked and came here. This was my biggest problem. I've never poured the grains directly into the water and had to filter out the wort from the grains because I've always used mini-mash kits that kept the grains a bag the whole time. When I came here I basically just wanted to figure out if I could still get all the sugars out the grain while they're all pressed together in a bag. In the end I realized that the solution was just a bigger bag.

At first I thought since I was supposed to mash the grains for an hour in the tun that I could just split up the grains (since I couldn't fit them all in the grain bag that I had) and let them each mash in the brewpot for 30 minutes. I learned in this thread that some of the enzymes need to mash a full hour to release their sugars and so my 30 and 30 plan was going to have to change to a 60 and 60 plan. Also many of you asked if I was mashing at 170, but I just meant I got the water to that temp before I put the grains in, so they really mashed at a lower temperature.

After each half of the grains had their 30 minutes of mashing, I eventually just went and got a 5 gal paint strainer bag, threw ALL the grain in the bag, reheated the wort to 170 and put the bag back in for an additional hour and a half to make sure I got as much sugar as I possibly could. I realized the main difference between my setup and the proper 'mash tun' setup was that my brew pot didn't keep the temperature consistently high and it ended up dropping to about 130 by the time the hour and a half was up. Though this also puzzles me because some of you said that there are certain enzymes that need a lower temp to do their thing, so it seems that the gradual drop in temperature is somewhat desirable.

So at that point I stuck my finger in, licked the now sweet wort off of it and continued brewing. By the end of the day I ended up with an initial gravity of 1.060 when the target was 1.055, so if I understand correctly that means I got even MORE sugars than I even needed (perhaps since I mashed the grain for almost 3 hours total).

So after all that I've got another question. What are the benefits of mashing in a tun rather than doing an all grain BIAB mash like I did? I realize time is one, as it took me 3 hours to do something you could do in 1 in the tun, but is there anything else?

Again thanks for all of your help. I had a blast figuring out exactly how to solve this problem today with you guys.
 

RM-MN

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The benefit of mashing in a mash tun is that it is the traditional way. You have to have grain that is milled a bit more coarse than for BIAB so the grain hulls are mostly intact because when you drain the tun the hulls make your filter material. You mash for an hour because it takes longer for the larger grain particles to wet to the center and leach the sugars back out.

With BIAB, the whole bag is the filter so you can mill the grain quite fine. With those smaller particles, they wet through much quicker so you don't need the whole hour of mash time, 30 minutes seems to be plenty and I've heard of people who only mash for 20 with good results. It doesn't take as long to get the wort out because you have such a large filter area and if it doesn't want to come out, you squeeze it out.

To be successful in mashing you need good temperature control. Just heating the water to 170 and dumping in the grains may get you to the temperature for the results you want but it could end up with a mostly unfermentable wort than intended which will get you a sweeter beer with lots of body instead of what you intended. Use a mash temperature calculator where you input the weight of all the grains plus the temperature of the grains and the amount of water per pound of grain. That way, when you stir in the grains, the temperature will be almost exactly what your recipe calls for.
 

BGBC

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To be successful in mashing you need good temperature control. Just heating the water to 170 and dumping in the grains may get you to the temperature for the results you want but it could end up with a mostly unfermentable wort than intended which will get you a sweeter beer with lots of body instead of what you intended. Use a mash temperature calculator where you input the weight of all the grains plus the temperature of the grains and the amount of water per pound of grain. That way, when you stir in the grains, the temperature will be almost exactly what your recipe calls for.
+1 to this. That is also 1 benefit to mashing in a tun - the insulated cooler can allow you to hold a more consistent temperature.

I do BIAB and do not mash in a tun though. I mash in my brew pot in the bag, turn the oven on low (160-170), cover the pot, and stick it in the oven. I do generally mash for the full hour (though I might try a shorter mash now) and check the temp at 30 minutes in, just to make sure it's holding consistently. The low oven temp usually keeps the temp of the wort pretty steady.

Glad to hear you pushed through and looking forward to hearing how the final result turns out.
 

twistr25

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Since this is an all-grain kit it has the enough base malt. Make sure you mix the grains thoroughly so that each of the two mashes has have the right proportions of grains.
I missed the "and repeat" in the OP. I read he was only going to use half of the grains he received. :drunk:
 

FuzzeWuzze

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Well I had a successful brew day partly thanks to you guys so thanks! I learned a lot just reading through what you all have written and also realized my initial description of the problem was what confused many of you.

Like you managed to figure out, I meant to get a 'mini-mash' kit in the beginning but got the 'all grain' kit instead. It wasn't that I didn't have enough grain for the recipe and needed to supplement it with extract (like a mini mash kit does), but once I got everything home and realized that the recipe called for me to mash in a mash tun, etc. I panicked and came here. This was my biggest problem. I've never poured the grains directly into the water and had to filter out the wort from the grains because I've always used mini-mash kits that kept the grains a bag the whole time. When I came here I basically just wanted to figure out if I could still get all the sugars out the grain while they're all pressed together in a bag. In the end I realized that the solution was just a bigger bag.

At first I thought since I was supposed to mash the grains for an hour in the tun that I could just split up the grains (since I couldn't fit them all in the grain bag that I had) and let them each mash in the brewpot for 30 minutes. I learned in this thread that some of the enzymes need to mash a full hour to release their sugars and so my 30 and 30 plan was going to have to change to a 60 and 60 plan. Also many of you asked if I was mashing at 170, but I just meant I got the water to that temp before I put the grains in, so they really mashed at a lower temperature.

After each half of the grains had their 30 minutes of mashing, I eventually just went and got a 5 gal paint strainer bag, threw ALL the grain in the bag, reheated the wort to 170 and put the bag back in for an additional hour and a half to make sure I got as much sugar as I possibly could. I realized the main difference between my setup and the proper 'mash tun' setup was that my brew pot didn't keep the temperature consistently high and it ended up dropping to about 130 by the time the hour and a half was up. Though this also puzzles me because some of you said that there are certain enzymes that need a lower temp to do their thing, so it seems that the gradual drop in temperature is somewhat desirable.

So at that point I stuck my finger in, licked the now sweet wort off of it and continued brewing. By the end of the day I ended up with an initial gravity of 1.060 when the target was 1.055, so if I understand correctly that means I got even MORE sugars than I even needed (perhaps since I mashed the grain for almost 3 hours total).

So after all that I've got another question. What are the benefits of mashing in a tun rather than doing an all grain BIAB mash like I did? I realize time is one, as it took me 3 hours to do something you could do in 1 in the tun, but is there anything else?

Again thanks for all of your help. I had a blast figuring out exactly how to solve this problem today with you guys.
Welcome to All Grain brewing, not so bad right? Now you can start buying those kits now that you better understand the process a bit.

The key is keeping your mash at a steady temperature as best you can. This can easily be achieved by just wrapping your pot in something, sleeping bag, big heavy blanket, or if you want the best build a jacket for your pot out of reflectix material from Home Depot/Lowes something like this


Once you can keep your mash at your set temp to only lose a degree or two over the full hour your set for all grain!

Get it to 154 or whatever your mash temp is, wrap the bad boy up as best you can and you should be ok!
 
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