Partial mash vs All-grain

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GuitarBob

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I was just wondering whats the difference between doing a partial mash and doing an all grain? Is it just a matter of scale? or is all-grain more complicated?

If they're basically the same I might just skip partial mashing and go straight to all grain.
 

android

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partial mash involves using extract for a portion of the total fermentables. usually, you use a base malt extract and mash some additional grains for color, flavor, etc. i'd check out deathbrewer's threads about stovetop partial-mash and all grain brewing.

all grain tends to be more complicated with a larger grain bill and mashing all the grain. you will find tons of info with a search of 'all-grain' and 'partial-mash'
 

ifishsum

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Partial mash is a bit more forgiving because you have the extract to make up for lost efficiency...but really it's just a small scale AG, using extract to then increase the recipe size.
 

Got Trub?

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The principles are the same. You can do partial mashes with your extract equipment to try it out before expending money to go all grain.

GT
 

HotbreakHotel

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I've never done partial mash, but I've read about it, and it sounds like a partial mash is just like a full mash except it's just on a smaller scale. So it seems the principles would be the same, but the containers (kettle, mash tun) and burner have to be larger, and there's more wort to quickly cool.

I started out with all grain, with 3 gallon batches in a 5 gallon cooler MLT. If I had done them as partial mash, I could have added some extract to get 5 gallon batches, but that never occured to me at the time. I'm thinking about doing it now, with higher OG batches.
 

ericm

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on a basic level it's the same thing on a larger scale. the complications can come in because of that larger scale.
 

Grinder12000

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Partial mash can make a better beer then AG.

NOW let me explain.

It's like photography. A great photographer with a cheap camera can take a better photo then a poor photographer with an expensive camera.

same with beer. If you are very good and anal about everything you can make fantastic AG beer. If you are just a hobbiest and make AG it can come out poor.

I do all Mini Mash and have had bar owners inquire on buying my beer. Its faster because 1/2 of the process is done already. BUT - I'm anal about getting everything right. Temps are perfect, fermentatin is perfect. I do a full boil.

On the other hand I know mini mashers that are not carefull and make underwhelming beer.

It's not the system, it's the brewer that makes good/bad beer.
 

snipper_cr

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How do you steep specialty grains with a partial mash or all grain method or do you even use specialty grains? I know for extract beers, you steep the grains 30 minutes at 160 degrees (usually), bring to boil then add extract. How does this process work for partial and all grain?
 

jjp36

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for partial and all-grain batches, the specialty grains are mashed along with the base grains.
 

Grinder12000

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Yea - all mixed together. MY question is step mashing in a Mini mash that no one wants to answer. But I'll find another forum that one.
 

Indy418

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I made the jump to AG b/c I wanted more control over my brews. I do 3 gal. batches on my stove and great quite good efficiency (usually ~ 75%) using just a regular batch sparge and a modified BIAB (brew in a bag) method.

It's a great way to make the jump to AG if you're thinking about it but don't want to go buy a rocket booster to boil 85.7 gal. of water.
 

madewithchicken

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I do partials when the recipe calls for more than 13 pounds of grain. I use a 5 gallon cooler and there is not enough room to do a big beer.

My buddy does partials whenever he can not use my AG equipment (usually because I am brewing at the same time.)

And we did partials for almost 4 years before I finally moved to AG.

I like the partial grain method and I have never had bad results from it, but I have screwed up 1 (my first) batch of AG (I do not really like talking about it.)

I am planning to do a partial this week. I want to do a barleywine. Anyone have a good recipe?
 

dragon99

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Equipment is usually the deciding factor for most people when they choose partial or AG.

Things like
- do you have a dedicated mash tun
- mash tun large enough for recipe (ie 5gal tun only holds ~13lbs grain)
- boil kettle large enough for full boil. Can still do partial boil with partial mash if you control the mash volume to give you say 3-4gal in the kettle

But as others noted partial can allow you to make up for inexperience (ie add extra extract to compensate for low efficiency).

Personally I moved pretty quickly from partial to AG. The time spent is almost identical so why not give myself the satisfaction and control of AG recipes.
 

SumnerH

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Equipment is usually the deciding factor for most people when they choose partial or AG.

Things like
- do you have a dedicated mash tun
- mash tun large enough for recipe (ie 5gal tun only holds ~13lbs grain)
- boil kettle large enough for full boil. Can still do partial boil with partial mash if you control the mash volume to give you say 3-4gal in the kettle
The only of those you need for AG is the big boil kettle, as long as you get yourself a big enough bag too.

The Brewing Network - How to go from Extract to AG for < $10.00
 

ajf

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The differences between a partial mash and all grain are really pretty simple.
A partial mash uses a mash of some base grains (and usually some specialty grains) to produce some of the fermentable sugars, and uses some extract to add more fermentables.
All grain doesn't use any extract, so all the fermentables come from the mash.
Both methods can make excellent beers.
If you are going to do all grain, you need the capacity to:
1. Mash enough grains to achieve the required gravity at whatever efficiency you achieve.
2. Sparge the mashed grains to extract the sugars.
3. Do a full boil (although you could use some top-off water for lighter beers).
If you don't have the capacity for all grain, or if you choose to, you can mash a smaller amount of grain, add extract to bring up the gravity, and possibly do a partial boil, making up the final volume with top-off water.
So a partial mash gives you the ability to take advantage of all grain methods when you don't have the capacity for an all grain brew, or if you do have the capacity for all grain, allows you to reduce the time to produce a brew (because the sparge is quicker), or to adjust the gravity if your mash efficiency is lower than anticipated.

-a.
 

SumnerH

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If you are going to do all grain, you need the capacity to:
1. Mash enough grains to achieve the required gravity at whatever efficiency you achieve.
2. Sparge the mashed grains to extract the sugars.
3. Do a full boil (although you could use some top-off water for lighter beers).
#1 is the only one strictly needed, though #3 is preferred (as you note, partial boil all-grain brews are possible).

#2 is absolutely optional; many all-grain brewers routinely have efficiencies over 80% with no sparge using the brew-in-a-bag technique (one key is that they can grind a lot finer since they're not worried about stuck sparges).

The Brewing Network - How to go from Extract to AG for < $10.00
 

ericm

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I think a good substitute for #2 would be a means of lautering, not necessarily sparging.
 
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