Mini Mash question

Tips, tricks and techniques regarding brewing with extracts, steeping grains, and partial mash.

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Mini Mash question

Postby ddolan » Tue Jan 28, 2014 2:26 pm

Ive been brewing my mini mash beers using a standard 20 quart Kettle (which ends up with about 3.5 gallons of wort and about 1.5 gallons of water to bring to 5.25). standard recipe: 2 gallons for steeping, 1 quart per pd to sparge, add a gallon and bring to boil, etc...
I recently purchased an 8 gallon kettle to attempt to get all 5 gallons done w/o adding as much fresh water at the end. Ultimately my goal would be to have as close to 5 gallons of wort and add a minimal amount of freshwater at the end. Cooling is not an issue as I use a wort chiller and prechiller.
My questions are:
1. at what point would I add the rest of the water? would it be after the malt extract has been added and fully dissolved or should I add it right after sparging the grains?
2. are there any pro's / con's in what Im wanting to do?

thanks!
DD
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Re: Mini Mash question

Postby CA_Mouse » Tue Jan 28, 2014 5:12 pm

Depending on the color of your beer, I would boil the entire amount for your recipe. Since you are supplementing it with the Extract, I would only add 1/4 of it in the beginning and the rest in the last 10 minutes of the boil (it's already been boiled, so you are only ensuring that it doesn't have anything nasty in it). Extract is, also, dark enough that you chance caramelizing it further (not an issue for a Porter or Stout). The last PM I did was for a Sweet Stout (B3's in fact), I added half at the start and the rest at the end of the boil. It turned out fantastic.
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Re: Mini Mash question

Postby pclemon » Wed Jan 29, 2014 6:41 am

ddolan wrote:1. at what point would I add the rest of the water? would it be after the malt extract has been added and fully dissolved or should I add it right after sparging the grains?
2. are there any pro's / con's in what Im wanting to do?


1 - I would add the water after sparging the grains - that way after you add the extract the temperature doesn't drop so much (and a longer time for the wort to get back to a boil).
2 - Only real pro I can think of is that you'll get slightly better hop utilization with a larger boil volume. Only con I can think of is that depending on how you're boiling your wort some stovetops can have a difficult time getting that much liquid to a boil in a timely fashion.
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Re: Mini Mash question

Postby ddolan » Wed Jan 29, 2014 7:43 am

CA_Mouse wrote:Depending on the color of your beer, I would boil the entire amount for your recipe. Since you are supplementing it with the Extract, I would only add 1/4 of it in the beginning and the rest in the last 10 minutes of the boil (it's already been boiled, so you are only ensuring that it doesn't have anything nasty in it). Extract is, also, dark enough that you chance caramelizing it further (not an issue for a Porter or Stout). The last PM I did was for a Sweet Stout (B3's in fact), I added half at the start and the rest at the end of the boil. It turned out fantastic.



Thanks Mouse and Pete. I really appreciate the responses. Pete, your thoughts were exactly what I was thinking.
I use a bayou classic burner so heating it isnt an issue.
Im curious to try Mouse's method to see how the brew would turn out. My go to favorite is the Rio Blanco Pale Ale (which I will be brewing next weekend). I just finished up a Scotch Ale which has double the amount of extract and yeast, and its promising to be a pretty tasty brew.

Mouse, just for my own clarification, you were recommending the steps below (sorry, I gotta put em in steps :o )
1. heat all 5 gallons
2. steep grains (recipe calls for 45 minutes), then sparge
3. add water to bring back up to 5ish gallons
4. bring to a boil, remove from heat
5. stir in half of extract
6. bring back to a boil (recipe calls for a 1hr boil adding hops at start, 45 minutes and 55 minutes)
7. during the last 10 minutes add the remaining half of the extract

Does that sound about right?

my 8 gallon pot will be in on friday so just in time for the next brew!
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Re: Mini Mash question

Postby Bajaedition » Wed Jan 29, 2014 10:17 am

with a full wort volume you do not need to reserve any extract till the end

add it after the sparge, all of it, just turn off the burner and stir

and then add your water then turn on teh burner

one of the benefits of a full wort boil is the chance to carmalize is the same as a all grain wort

the specific gravity will be the same, the reason you are worried with a 3 gallon boil is the specific gravity is so high you have more sugars concentrated. the sugars in full wort are more spread out and less like to burn

so no need to wait till the end to add the rest of the extract.

try this. take a cup of sugar and a cup of water, stir in the sugar and put in a pot and cook it at full flame for 10 minutes after a boil starts
now take a cup of sugar and 2 quarts of water, stir in the sugar and cook at full flame after a boil starts
the first one will be a mess to clean up, the second will just be real hot
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Re: Mini Mash question

Postby ddolan » Wed Jan 29, 2014 10:32 am

Thanks everyone! Ya'll have been extremely helpful!
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Re: Mini Mash question

Postby pclemon » Wed Jan 29, 2014 10:33 am

Bajaedition wrote:so no need to wait till the end to add the rest of the extract.


You are absolutely right that there is no NEED to - some still prefer to hold back a good portion of the extract until the last 10 minutes, particularly for a lighter colored beer, so that the extract doesn't darken anymore than necessary.
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Re: Mini Mash question

Postby CA_Mouse » Wed Jan 29, 2014 2:27 pm

That was exactly how I did the last 8 or so extract batches I brewed. As mentioned it isn't absolutely necessary to reserve the extract for full boil, but as Pete said, for anything light in color I prefer not to darken it any more than needed. In either case, you will have a nice tasting beer. If you want to really see the difference, brew the same beer twice, one adding all the extract at the beginning and one using a split of 25% at the start and 75% at the end. Again, this is for light colored Pales or Blondes. anything darker such as an Amber/Red or darker, just add it all at the start as you will most likely prefer to have those extra caramel notes.
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Re: Mini Mash question

Postby ddolan » Mon Feb 03, 2014 10:17 am

Wanted to give everyone a quick report. Brewed on Saturday using my new pot. Added the water right after the sparge. I was a bit nervous when I added the extract and I was over the 5 gallon mark, however, I was even more amazed at how much really boils off in an hour. So next time Ill be adding a bit more water to compensate for the evaporation.
one other Pro I discovered is it seemed much easier to maintain a rolling boil in the larger pot than it had been in the smaller pot.
DD
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Re: Mini Mash question

Postby Bajaedition » Fri Feb 21, 2014 9:15 am

the reason you want to add extract near the end of a boil during a partial wort boil is so the sugars are not so concentrated you get caramelizing

with a full wort boil the concentration is no more than with a non extract all grain boil, so you can add the extract at the beginning of the boil

here is an experiment: take 1 cup of water and add 1/4 cup of sugar and boil the crap out of it, see how the sugars caramelize and change color
now get 1 gallon of water, add the 1/4 cup of sugar and boil it for the same time of the first batch at the same heat setting/flame amount. Notice there is no caramelizing.

same thing as with a 3 gallon boil compared to a 6.25 gallon boil. the concentration of the sugars will depend on how much get cooked.

the main advantage to moving up to a 8 gallon kettle is so you could do full wort boils with all of the sugars in there, how you get those sugars does not matter. in other words, if you were doing a all grain 5 gallon batch, and started with a 3.5 gallon boil, your chance of caramelizing the sugars are just as great as if you are using extract, and with the 6.25 boil amt, the chances are the same if it started from extract or all grain. sugars are sugars.

extract will be darker because they were concentrated, but that was done before you got them and is not an issue you can do anything about.

the main issue you need to worry about when going from partial wort to full wort boil is hops, the utilization you got with the concentrated boil is not what you are going get from the full wort, your hops will be stronger in the full wort as the sugars are not as concentrated so you need to adjust down the amount used to get the same bitterness levels. A brief study about hops ustilization would explain it all.

there are no disadvantages to what you are wanting to do and many advantages, as soon as you are sparged out, and the water is staill around 170 degrees, add the extract while stirring constantly so the sugars dissolve as soon as possible, add water for the full boil and go for it.
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