Mini Mash (and I mean MINI!)

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The last few brews I've made have been sort of experimental in nature. Basically off-the-cuff recipes I threw together in beersmith. They turned out just fine, but the whole process of recipe writing left me thinking about how little I really know about how different ingredients and processes affect flavor. It's also a little expensive to "try something new" with a 5 or 6 gallon batch, SO, I'm starting to invest in a small batch all grain setup. I don't really need any new equipment aside from a hand full of 1 gallon jugs for fermenting, but i do want to build a mini mash tun from a 2 gallon cooler. The reason I want to do this is to begin to test different mash/sparge procedures to get better efficiency, and to learn the taste of different malts. For instance, i could do four 1 gallon mashes each with 1.5 lbs of pale malt, and .5 lbs of four different malts; maybe amber, biscuit, munich, and vienna.

Anyway, my question: Any of you experienced AG'ers see any problems with doing very small, but proportionate mashes? I'm most concerned about being able to scale up the results i get from my efficiency testing and have those numbers be applicable to full size batches. Before you ask, i decided to make a new 2g tun for a couple reasons: 1, because I already have most of the fittings laying around, and 2, I think the dead space in my 5g tun is just too much if you're mashing for a 1g batch.

Thanks for Humoring me in my ramblings!
 

WBC

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I did the same thing with coffee cups. I just wanted to see the taste and did not need a gallon to find out. I kept them in a water bath in the oven for 20 minutes. It does give you a good idea about the differences. Just treat the grain like tea and steep for 20 to 25 minutes.
 

malkore

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BYO magazine had a whole article on doing 1 gallon batches a few months ago. no problems with a super-mini-mash.
 

Bobby_M

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I was planning on doing tiny mashes for starters since DME is such a rip off. I'd just mash in a small bev cooler then dump it through a stainer to separate. Then pour sparge water over it.
 

mediumsk

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this is some what off topic but i would highly reccomend getting "designing Great Beers" by Ray Daniels. it gives formula's and outlines basic grist compositions for various styles. i found it indespensible for designing recipes. i think you would really like it if your at that point where you start making recipes and trying to figure out how it all fits together.
 
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