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 Post subject: extract to partial mash
PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 5:14 pm 
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I have done all extract batches. Curious on those out there that have stepped it up from pure extract brewing to partial mash if you notice a tremendous difference in your beer? Is it worth the extra 1-2 hours?

Thanks in advance!

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 Post subject: Re: extract to partial mash
PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 5:32 pm 
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I've never done partial-mash. I did 14 extract batches in 6 months, and when I realized that I had to do something different, I evaluated the cost of upgrading my brewery. The price difference between AG and PM equipment was seriously like 35 bucks, so I skipped the PM step.

That being said, it took a couple batches of beer that WAS NOT AS GOOD as my extract/steeping grain batches had been. Perseverance is the key - even experienced brewers (one of which I am not) need to learn new brew systems before they can brew with absolute confidence.

Temp control, sanitation, and yeast starters are going to be the most important part of your process, whether extract, partial-mash, or all-grain...

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 Post subject: Re: extract to partial mash
PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 6:46 pm 
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Most folks' first AG batch leaves a lot to be desired.

However, you can PRACTICE for your first partial mash batch by running your steep just as if it's a mash going through enzymatic conversion. Even if it doesn't go perfectly, it won't matter as you won't be relying on those grains for fermentables.

1) Measure grain, water volumes carefully and accurately.
2) 'dough in' and keep the temperature at 152F for 60 mins.
3) Ensure pH is in the desired range (~5.2)
4) If the temperature deviates, adjust it back to 152F just like you would in a real mash.
5) "sparge" with 168F water to collect the wort.
6) Top up to your normal full volume and proceed as if it's an extract batch.

Then, when you actually do a real partial mash batch, you'll already have gone through all the steps. It'll be a lot easier for you running through it when the pressure is off.

HTH-

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 Post subject: Re: extract to partial mash
PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 4:30 am 
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Location: Ohio
Thanks for the great advice. I already have the equipment I need to bump up to a partial mash. And I think I have my process down along with fermentation temps, yeast starters and sanitation (at least I think I do). I can't say that I always love the beers that I make so I'm just looking towards the next step. I'll probably start with a recipe I make all the time and see how it compares.

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 Post subject: Re: extract to partial mash
PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 6:39 am 
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Hoont wrote:
Is it worth the extra 1-2 hours?


It depends on the beer. It opens up the use of grains like Munich, Vienna, Victory, Flaked Oats, etc. that have to be mashed, not steeped. If your recipe is just base+crystal+roasted malts, then you're not gonna see a whole lot of difference.


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 Post subject: Re: extract to partial mash
PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 6:41 am 
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It absolutely makes a difference, and it's been worth it for me. I made the jump after 3 or 4 extract batches just because I was ready for a new challenge. That said, there are degrees of partial mash. I would recommend starting out with ~25% of your fermentables coming from your mash, then ramping up from there until you are into AG territory. It's a nice way to gradually make your mistakes, because you will make them. Doing a partial mash will minimize their impact while still being able to learn from them.

BDawg is much more experienced than I am, so I hesitate to disagree, but I don't worry about pH. At all. Like most things with brewing, I think you are more apt to screw something up by messing with it, unless you have a very thorough understanding of the science AND the equipment. And remember, if you are direct firing, never stop stirring.

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Last edited by Cody on Fri Feb 03, 2012 10:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: extract to partial mash
PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 8:17 am 
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Cody wrote:
BDawg is much more experienced than I am, so I hesitate to disagree, but I don't worry about pH. At all.

+1. Worry about the process first. Get a couple of brews under your belt, first. Then start fine tuning.

Eventually you will want to keep an eye on your pH, but that will come later.

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 Post subject: Re: extract to partial mash
PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2012 8:02 pm 
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Good point about screwing with pH.

Depending on where you live, your pH may or may not reach conversion range without adjustment.
Here where I live in the foothills of the Cascade mountains just east of Seattle, the snow melt and rain runoff coming out of the mountains runs through the aquifer so fast that the water barely picks up any minerals. I've had AG batches that wouldn't convert until I adjusted the pH. We can brew true pilseners here, with the single digit and low teen mineral counts in our water.

My point is, your mileage may vary. If you don't have to fuck with your water, then don't. But you may need to, so be ready for it, and don't let it be a surprise to you, that's all.


HTH-

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-B'Dawg
"Lunch Meat. It's an acquired taste....." -- Mylo


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