Why partial mash?

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BWRIGHT

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Alright, I've only got 3 brews under my belt and I'm ready to step it up. I've read extensively about partial mash and AG applications, and I can't seem to justify doing a partial mash. The process seems to be nearly identical. Temperature control, grain bill, strike water temp, sparge techniques, all these things seem to be the same whether you're doing a partial mash or an AG. In the near future, I plan to go AG, so maybe I'm biased. Still, I just can't find any reason to do a partial mash. I've heard people say that it takes up more space, but how? Because you'd be using a 5G cooler instead of a 10G. Maybe I'm overlooking something here, but can anyone give me a reason not to jump from extract straight to AG and cut out the PM techniques?
 

GeauxBrew

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I was thinking the same way. When I was getting my AG equipment together I figured it would be not any more trouble to do AG rather than a PM.
 

Bobby_M

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There's a big difference actually. Once you go all grain, you are forced into several equipment upgrades that are not required with extract. First, you'll need a way to boil 6.5 gallons when you're used to boiling maybe 2-3 in extract. You can still do this as a partial mash.

Then there's chilling. You might have gotten by with an icebath before, but not on 5 gallons you won't.

You can do a partial mash in your current boil kettle, on the stove, and do your separation and sparge into a bucket through a kitchen strainer. You can collect a smaller amound of wort and continue doing a partial boil with your extract added.

It's half way to AG. If you're already know you're going AG, you can skip PM though. Partial mash is a great way for an extract brewer to get a taste of the economy of all grain and at least get fermentables out of those specialty grains.
 

RichBrewer

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If you know you will be going AG I would skip PM brewing and concentrate on getting your AG equipment. For the reasons Bobby_M stated, some folks decide that PM is better for their situation.
 

ajf

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I went straight to all grain without ever doing a partial mash, but there are a couple of reasons for doing a partial mash that I can think of.

1. You can do a partial mash with a lot less equipment than all grain. (Small kettle, no wort chiller, kitchen stove instead of turkey fryer etc.)

2. It can build your confidence, and give you a chance to experiment without having to get new equipment.

-a.
 

Hagen

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Here's my reason.

I have a small kitchen, and at best can only boil 5gal, which means 4 or less after eveporation. I also don't have room for a full size 3 tier setup.

With a partial mash, I can set it up on the stove, chair and floor to get gravity working for me. It's got my extract down to a 3lb bag of DME, the rest comes from the grains.
 
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BWRIGHT

BWRIGHT

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OK, well lets see. I've done all my brews doing a full boil anyway. I've heard a lot of people say that you can't boil 6.5G of wort on the stove. My stove is by no means high tech or new. Its electric and I've been boiling 6.25G to get to my 5G mark. And I am getting a "rolling boil." I tried using an icebath on my very first batch and that was all I need to know. Got an IC right away. Works great. I do plan on converting a keg. (Already got one). So I'f I'm going to be making an MLT anyway, why not jump in head first? One last thing, I've read that the depth of the grain is important, but can't pinpoint the "range." If I'm going to make an MLT then I plan on either a 10G igloo (Gatorade) cooler, or a simple regular Wal-Mart cooler. Anybody have any suggestions on an appropriate size rectangular cooler? I want to be able to do 5G and 10G batches using the same MLT. By the way Bobby, your video was a big part of the reason I've been consumed by this obsession. Keep up the good work.
 

brucepepper

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If you've been doing 6.5 gallon boils and you have a chiller you're right in thinking that it's basically the same amount of work for PM or AG.(slightly longer sparge time) In my opinion the only benefit to doing a PM is that you can count on your extract for some gravity points.

I've done a few AG batches with only a 5 gallon cooler and using ice baths, so you're already set up better than I am. When I started doing AG it improved my beer more significantly than any other changes I had made. I would say definately go for it.

Sorry, I have no advice on which cooler to get. Good luck!
 

adx

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I have the same reason for doing PM as a few other people do. I live in a condo and have to brew in my kitchen. I can't use a propane burner and don't have the space to store a full AG setup. I can get to about a 4 gallon boil on my stove top.
 

paranode

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Bobby_M said:
There's a big difference actually. Once you go all grain, you are forced into several equipment upgrades that are not required with extract. First, you'll need a way to boil 6.5 gallons when you're used to boiling maybe 2-3 in extract. You can still do this as a partial mash.

Then there's chilling. You might have gotten by with an icebath before, but not on 5 gallons you won't.

You can do a partial mash in your current boil kettle, on the stove, and do your separation and sparge into a bucket through a kitchen strainer. You can collect a smaller amound of wort and continue doing a partial boil with your extract added.

It's half way to AG. If you're already know you're going AG, you can skip PM though. Partial mash is a great way for an extract brewer to get a taste of the economy of all grain and at least get fermentables out of those specialty grains.
Yup, what he said. I do PM and would like to do AG but those are the obstacles. Would need to invest in larger brew equipment, propane burner, wort chiller, etc. If you have the money and the space then go for it.
 

missing link

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I started brewing last summer. I did 4 or 5 extract kits and found this site. I then built a 5 gallon mash tun and did 4 PM brews while I saved some cash for bigger equipment. The Partial mash helped me understand the work flow for all grain but the extract additions kept my OG in range. Once I got my keggle and another cooler along with the fittings, valves etc, I felt pretty comfortable trying All Grain.

I would say to go ahead and start buying the equipment for all grain and do a few partial mashes along the way. It doesn't make bad beer, teaches you a thing or 2 and any of the equipment for partial mash can be used for All Grain.

Linc
 

Revvy

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adx said:
I have the same reason for doing PM as a few other people do. I live in a condo and have to brew in my kitchen. I can't use a propane burner and don't have the space to store a full AG setup. I can get to about a 4 gallon boil on my stove top.
Same as me...Plus I have no greenspace, deck or anything where I could do outdoor propane burning, I live in a downtown loft.
 

Warrior

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BWRIGHT said:
Alright, I've only got 3 brews under my belt and I'm ready to step it up. I've read extensively about partial mash and AG applications, and I can't seem to justify doing a partial mash. The process seems to be nearly identical. Temperature control, grain bill, strike water temp, sparge techniques, all these things seem to be the same whether you're doing a partial mash or an AG. In the near future, I plan to go AG, so maybe I'm biased. Still, I just can't find any reason to do a partial mash. I've heard people say that it takes up more space, but how? Because you'd be using a 5G cooler instead of a 10G. Maybe I'm overlooking something here, but can anyone give me a reason not to jump from extract straight to AG and cut out the PM techniques?
Size of brewpots, propane burners, equipment required and clean up. I have a two keg system with 2 propane burners, pump, wort chiller and cooler for sparge water. I brewed 13 batches in the house this year using my partial mash equipment which consists of 3 gal mash pot, 5 gal pot for boil, two bottling buckets, 1 with grain bag for mash tun, 1 for sparging and a cooler to put the 3 gal mash in. This set up works good in the house. My all grain set up needs to be done on the deck or in the garage. I'm masing about 7 to 7 1/2lbs of grain and only use from 2 1/2 to 4 lbs of DME depending on the recipe. I think the advantage to the AG system is when I brew a double 11 gal batch.
Both will produce great beers it all depends on what you want to invest for equipment.
 

Bobby_M

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Ok, so a lot of the reasons why PMs make sense for some people as a midway point or even an indefinite period of time don't apply to you since you're already half way there on equipment. I would agree that all grain is the next stop for you.

If you're going to batch sparge, there's really no ideal MLT design that I can come up with. I like rectangular coolers for the easy stirring. If you think you'll ever want to try fly sparging, you might as well go for a round cooler with a false bottom now and that will work for either sparge method.
 

HP_Lovecraft

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Stouts, Porters, Red Ales, etc.

I actually like extract brewing, I unfortunetly have very little time. But if I want to make an ACCURATE Dry Stout, Red Ale, Oatmeal Porter, etc, I'll need to do a partial mash in order to handle the Rolled Barley, Rolled Oats, Rolled rye, etc.

Just steeped them makes porridge. The starches need to be converted.

So for ME, Partial Mashes fill that gap when I'm using any specialty grain that needs to be mashed, while still using extra light DME as the base.

nick
 

david_42

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One good use of PM is extended mashing with certain adjuncts. With AG that would produce very fermentable worts and dry finishes. With PM, the extract will give you more unfermentables.
 

Finn

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I would submit that "partial mash" is a bogus name -- if you're partial mashing, what you have is a reduced-capacity all-grain setup. If your equipment will make 4 1/2 gallons of all-grain Scottish 70/- (to ferment in a 5-gallon carboy) but you need a pound of extract to get an 80, how are you different from the all-grain guy who can make 6 gallons of 80 but needs a pound or two of extract to get a 1.120 barleywine?

That's how it works for me. I can fit up to 10 pounds of grain in my double-bucket lautering tun; my mash tun holds 5 gallons (stovetop type, with recessed bottom to prevent hot spots, so I can do step mashes and hot mashouts with ease); and I can do 4 1/2 gallon boils. The last three batches I've made -- pale mild, ordinary bitter and dry stout -- were all-grainers, because the grainbills came in under 10 pounds. (No, my efficiency is not the best. But it's far from the worst, either. I think it's around 75 percent.)

For me, it's not worth spending the extra bucks and allocating the extra space to go up to a setup that can make extract-free wee-heavies. But I can make any all-grain beer under 5 percent ABV and you can't taste the extract I use to get bigger ones.

Having said that -- if you've got the space for a three-tier setup, bigger is better!:ban:
 
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