Partial Mash Brewer (?) seeking to upgrade to all grain

Discussion in 'Beginners Brewing Forum' started by Coffeybean, May 11, 2019.

  1. Coffeybean

    Coffeybean New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2019
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Hi,

    I understand that I have been brewing for some months now in a partial mash style, using some grains for steeping then DME or LME for the bulk of the fermentables. Is this partial mash? I was told today it is not because I am only using steeping grains but not actually extracting the fermentables from the grains in temp control fashion. I am interested in improving my beer, getting a less malt forward flavor profile and as such am told all grain will get me there which suggests the extracts lend to the "sweetness" I do not care for in my IPAs. That said, if I am not doing partial mash as I thought I was perhaps that is my first step? With regard to all grain, everything I read and watch is rather confusing to me (compounded by a conversation with the local brew shop owner who went way down a bunch of rabbit holes regarding equipment options for all grain when I just wanted a pot with a grain separator and a temp gauge)

    So, I would like to partial mash if I am not doing that already and then move to all grain brewing for improved beer.
    I need some direction in equipment and the process for all grain broken down a bit more simply than much of what I am reading online.

    I have an immersion wort chiller, a canning pot (but would like a mash pot with a temp gauge for greater accuracy than my dip method).

    Thank you for your help.
     
  2. Hogarthe

    Hogarthe Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2014
    Messages:
    512
    Likes Received:
    250
    Trophy Points:
    63
    The big difference between extract with steeping grains and partial mash brewing is what grains you use. If it's all specialty malts, like dark roasted malts or crystal malts, it is steeping. If you have some base malt, such as pilsner malt or 2 row malt with the other grains, it's partial mash. The specialty malts can not convert the starch to sugar, so if you use only specialty malt you only pull flavor and unfermentable stuff. If you have base grain like 2 row it has enzymes to break down the starch to sugar which will ferment.
     
  3. Bubba Wade

    Bubba Wade Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2017
    Messages:
    99
    Likes Received:
    102
    Trophy Points:
    33
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Controls & Instrumentation Engineer
    Location:
    Monroe, Louisiana
    Home Page:
    Pick up a BIAB bag. You can run a partial mash in a beverage cooler. They hold temperature well. Try to start at 153 F and you will likely only lose 2-3 degrees over an hour. This will make a nice mash.
     
    Blackmuse likes this.
  4. Coffeybean

    Coffeybean New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2019
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Hogarth,

    Thank you, that helps a lot. So, in essence I have been doing a partial mash in execution, just not ingredients. What I need now is to do the mash with temp management and see what improvement I can get in my beer. Would love to go straight to all grain but there are some processes I haven't quite conceptualized yet.
     
  5. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2018
    Messages:
    1,986
    Likes Received:
    2,665
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Fallon, Nevada
    #5 BOB357, May 12, 2019
    Last edited: May 12, 2019
    If you want solid information that you can go back over until you fully understand the process, I suggest you read How to Brew by John Palmer. There's an early edition free on line at www.howtobrew.com. Just select "Brewing all grain beer" from the menu on the left side of the home page. Partial mash is the same process as all grain brewing. It just uses less grain and only makes up part of the batch. The remainder of the batch is made with extract.

    This edition was authored before the BIAB (brew in a bag) method was introduced, so doesn't include it. BIAB uses the same vessel to mash as it does to boil, so less equipment is needed. For tutorials on BIAB brewing, go to www.youtube.com and type BIAB into the search box. There's lots of info out there. If you prefer visual learning over reading you can also find videos on all grain and partial mash.

    The 4th edition of How to Brew is available and includes much more up to date brewing information. I consider it a must in any home brewer's library. Good luck in your endeavor.
     
  6. Coffeybean

    Coffeybean New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2019
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Thanks a lot! The Joy of HOme Brewing is what I have but I find it rather cumbersome to get the information I seek easily.

    Also, my all grain brewing neighbor just told me he brews in a bag...I had never heard of it. Thanks for the book recommendation. I will get it ASAP.
     
  7. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2016
    Messages:
    2,915
    Likes Received:
    1,852
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    Adding to that... the use of base malts instead of or in addition to"specialty" malts requires more specific temperature control and timing. It's not drastically different but if you used the same water volume and temperature for mashing as for steeping, you might or might not achieve your goal of efficiently converting the starches to sugar.
    BIAB is a very simple way to do a mini mash in the equipment you already have. By mashing in your boil pot with a relatively thick grain/water ratio (compared to steeping), holding reasonably close to your preferred conversion temp for 45 minutes or so, doing a dunk sparge in a separate vessel and combining the two liquids, you can get it done handily in the kettle space that you already have available.
    Temp control for a small batch set up can be achieved with a super simple set-up like a hot plate and an Inkbird controller.
     
  8. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2018
    Messages:
    1,522
    Likes Received:
    1,350
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Two questions for you sir

    Do you have temperature controlled fermentation?

    Are you using tap water that has chlorine, or chloramine in it.

    The reason I ask is that the two biggest factors in improving my brews, were getting the chlorine out, and controlling fermentation temperature.

    Just thinking out loud:)
     
    wallyLOZ and J A like this.
  9. Jeff Summerlin

    Jeff Summerlin New Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2019
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Location:
    Atlanta, Georgia
    In addition to the excellent information already imparted above, I submit another way to get precise temp control for all grain is using a Sous Vide probe. It is less cleaning and fewer issues than using a mash tun, in my opinion. It can be used to make strike water, clean and delabel bottles, and more. I recently used mine to do a full volume mash for a Jim Payne memorial ESB Brew on Brewday.

    You don't even need an expensive probe. And you can cook with it too...Cheers!

    Oh, down side? It is a little slow for large batches, but since I do Brew Demon size runs - it is perfect.
     
  10. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Messages:
    7,188
    Likes Received:
    3,882
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Aurora, CO, USA
    That works, too. I have a sous vide unit I used to use to maintain temperature before setting up the RIMS system. Now I use it to maintain temperature baths for kettle sours.
     
  11. Mark Farrall

    Mark Farrall Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2017
    Messages:
    561
    Likes Received:
    473
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Melbourne Australia
    Tried it for a while until I got an element in the kettle recently. Not bad, but the temperature the unit is displaying is probably quite a few degrees lower than the temp inside the bulk of the grains. You may need to have it set a bit higher than expected to get decent extraction. That was on 15-18 litre mash sizes.
     

Share This Page

arrow_white