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doc280

My First Partial Mash.

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Monday I brewed my very first partial mash, a Nut Brown Ale, 5 gal.

 

I had to deviate from the directions a little, because I thought I had a lager kettle than what I actually had. The directions called for a 3 1/2 gal kettle and what I had on hand was a 3 gal. So when the directions called for 2 1/2 gals of water, I started with 2 gal.

 

When I brought the wort to a boil and added the 1oz of hop pellets, I failed to realize the pellets would break up a disperse as tiny flakes within the wort. After cooling the wort and dividing it between my two LBK's, using a cup, I realized I had stirred up the hops and sludge and some of it ended up in the LBK's. Guess I should have got a bag, for the hops, or very fine strainer for the transfer.  Hoping most of this will come out in the cold crash.

 

Anyway the brew closet smells great and this is the first time I can see the yeast at work, in the LBK, a violent storm going on in there.

IMG_20171121_190745-1024x768.jpg

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6 hours ago, BMFLIPPER said:

 Been wanting to try a partial mash for awhile. Was it that much harder than say a recipe with a couple ingredients extra?

It's a little more involved, but its not hard. I love it, I feel like I'm doing more than the "just add water" technique. And the end result.....really good beer.

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25 minutes ago, Bassman said:

One thing that I always liked from I brewed before, extract with specialty grains, is how good it smelled and I could just taste that smell when I had a few beers afterwards.

Dude I LOVE that smell! My wife looks at me crazy when I'm standing over the pot inhaling it.

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8 hours ago, BMFLIPPER said:

 Been wanting to try a partial mash for awhile. Was it that much harder than say a recipe with a couple ingredients extra?

As mentioned above it is not hard, but it is more time consuming. I think I can streamline things when I do it again to cut some of the time down. One thing to take note, if using two LBK's, the two gallon mark on the LBK is more then two gallons. So measure out the 2 1/2 gallons and mark the keg. If you just add a half a gallon, of water, from where the 2 gallon mark is, you will have less head space for when the yeast starts doing their thing. 

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39 minutes ago, BMFLIPPER said:

I'll remember that Doc. Didn't mean to steal your thunder on your post, lol. Guess I gotta get me a partial mash recipe to brew now.

Oh no you are good. The directions actually stated the fermentation only takes two weeks and ready to drink once it has been in the bottle for two weeks. I let let you know how it turns out. If you purchase a kit let me know how it goes.

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1 hour ago, doc280 said:

Oh no you are good. The directions actually stated the fermentation only takes two weeks and ready to drink once it has been in the bottle for two weeks. I let let you know how it turns out. If you purchase a kit let me know how it goes.

 

i would still follow the 3-4 rule. in my opinion and experience anything less and the brew doesnt live up to its full potential.

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I generally go about 12 days past high Krausen for lighter crisp beers (ipa, pales, creams, etc) and usually shoot for about 18-20 days past high krausen for heavier and cloudier brews (i.e. stouts, porters, iipas, hefe/wheats, etc).

Just a personal general guideline I've been following. 

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Don't waste your time.  The 3-4 system was developed after dozens of brewers on this forum tried other things.  In short, 3 weeks (at wort temps not to exceed 68) is perfect to ensure that fermentation is done, and 4 weeks of combined carbonation and conditioning (70 degrees or higher) is perfect for many brews, followed by 3 days of refrigeration only for those you're ready to drink.  Some brews need more than 4 weeks conditioning, some 6 months or more.  I recommend only refrigerating one bottle to test it.  Or, put a few in, test one, and if it's not ready REMOVE the others and let them condition longer.  

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12 hours ago, doc280 said:

See now you guys have planted the idea of 2 & 2 for one LBK, as per directions and 3 & 4 for the other LBK, to taste the differences.

Even when my beer spends only 2 weeks in primary, I still condition in bottles for 4 weeks. I just realized that some of my simpler beers only need 14-16 days in primary. The 4 weeks in the bottles conditions them up nicely. 

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13 hours ago, NwMaltHead said:

If you learn something from it, it isn't necessarily a waste of time.

 

I would agree.  Except, when dozens have done the exact same thing, and they've posted those results on the forum, and that led to hundreds of posts discussing the same, seems sort of pointless.  Like saying "Oh, if I drive 50 in that 30 zone I'll get a ticket."  "Yup, you will.".  Then you do it and get a ticket.  Or when a parent tells a young child, "don't do that, you'll get hurt."  And they do it.

 

The initial Mr. Beer guidelines were developed to sell kits.  "Make beer in minutes" (I'm exaggerating).  If they pushed 3-4, they'd sell less.  "Make beer in 7 weeks".

 

If one has a hydrometer, and checks gravity to ensure it has finished, and understands that the yeast need time to clean up, and then bottles early - you're right, no harm, no foul.  Most new brewers wouldn't do that and don't even know what that means.  3-4 was created to ensure better quality beer.

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2 hours ago, RickBeer said:

I would agree.  Except, when dozens have done the exact same thing, and they've posted those results on the forum, and that led to hundreds of posts discussing the same, seems sort of pointless

I would normally agree, but 1st hand experience IMO is way better than reading what others have done.  I would suggest using what others have done and posted about as a guide, but beat your head against the wall if you need to so you can learn your own way.  Most people have to start smaller, which is why MRB is great, not everyone can just read and learn from that because if they could, why not just start with a more complicated process?  If you are learning, it’s never pointless.

 

Learning by mistakes is a great way to learn.  One might try something and learn something they might not have read about or better yet, make a beer they like better than what they read others have. 

 

I am am way more of a hands on learner.  Reading and fully trusting someone else’s words doesn’t stick things in my head nearly as much as doing.  By doing and making mistakes, it’s easier for me to understand and make correction... plus, it’s fun learning by doing. 

 

Just thoughts from my personal experiences...  but then again, what do I know about brewing or anything for that matter. :) 

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re learning by mistakes.. first hand is the BEST way to learn.

 

so I went from mr beer to 5 gallon kits with steeping grains. that went well enough so I figured lets go all grain! how hard can that be? lol.

did my research...  got my chemicals..  now what to make for my first all grain? I know! a Russian imperial stout! so what if it has a gravity of 1.095 and a ton of grain. i'll just scale it down to fit my 5 gallon mash ton. so I thought.

 

well.. all my research kept showing that new to ag you really shouldn't do big beers until you get the technique and the math down etc. . . but I knew better. it also showed that on really big beers a partial mash with extracts works better. the efficiency is better.  but nope... I knew better. so long story short I a) didn't mash long enough,  b- didn't sparge well enough,  and c) ended up with a fair but definitely NOT imperial stout of about 1.05 starting gravity.

 

so I gained new insight on brewing. I still ended up with drinkable if not good beer. I still was able to turn the spent grain into bread later to eat with my beer... and thus the experiment was not a failure. I just wasn't as successful as I had hoped for.

 

brewing is like that. you make mistakes. you learn from them.. and.. you can still drink your mistakes (usually).

 

my first foray into partial mash prior to this I ended up with about 1/4 of the fermenter full of unusable thick pudding like sludge from all the grain dust and break material that made it into the beer. (palmers elevenses I think)...  I still made good beer, just not as much as planned.  I learned from that too. I run my pm through a mesh bag to strain out a lot of the grain dust.  any break material that ends in the fermenter is less, and serves as yeast food.

 

 

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7 hours ago, zorak1066 said:

 so long story short I a) didn't mash long enough,  b- didn't sparge well enough,  and c) ended up with a fair but definitely NOT imperial stout of about 1.05 starting gravity.

Higher gravity beers are tough for AG to nail. #TrustMe!  You can’t just scale up exact, all systems lose some when the OG goes up, especially with volume of grain. 

 

Today I am doing a 25 gallon batch of President’s Club, the 8.5% 2xIPA that put Manfish on the local beer map.  However, that was a 5 gallon batch I did almost 2.5 years ago. Scaling up has been a PITA! The last time I tried brewing it I only hit 7%, so I called it “Not Quite President’s Club” and it still sold nicely.    I’ve done a lot of research lately and pretty much everything I see says: Use a little more water in your mash (be sure to adjust for sparge so you don’t dilute), use a longer mash time, longer batch sparge time and run to the BK a lot slower than I usually do.  

 

So, today I will do a 90 minute mash, and follow the rest as well and see if that helps at all. 

 

I also adjusted my recipe to hit close to the Eff I’ve hit with other big beers I’ve done.  

 

We we shall see... but again, learning by doing! :) 

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