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Converting extract to partial mash?

Is there a way to covert an extract recipe to partial mash ? Can you substitute , say half the DME for grain ? I assume you could use a site like beersmith to get the details on that but what about specialty grains ? Instead of steeping as in extract recipes, would you want to hold the temp at 152F for 30-60 minutes along with the grain ?

Just looking for some general info as I know these will vary greatly depending on ingredients.

That’s pretty much what I’ve been doing and I’ve been happy with how the beers have turned out. I use Brew Toad, but I’m sure Beersmith would work fine (if not better) for figuring it out. Due to space and money limitations, I haven’t taken the leap to all grain yet but will when we get our next house. Here’s my method:

Figure the OG you’re looking for first. I usually use 3-4 lbs of base malt (2-Row, MO, etc) and add the specialty grains in with the mash (2-2.5 gallons, in ~148-156F water held for 60 mins). After the mash, I suspend the grain bag over the BK in a strainer and “rinse” with 170F water to get to 3.5 or so gallons with the burner on underneath the kettle while I sparge. For me, this results in about 80% efficiency and I’m most of the way to boiling.

Then add the amount of extract to get you to the intended OG. I tend to use light or extra light DME when I use 2-row which is most of the time, but I recently used some MO LME because I mashed with MO. This way, I’m getting some malt backbone and most of the color and flavor I’m looking for with the specialty grains. I usually end up with ~3.75 gallons for the boil (after adding in DME/LME) in a 5 gallon kettle but I have to keep a close eye on it initially to avoid a boil over. I have a propane gas stove with a special, larger “water-boiling” burner and turn it down to four or five once the boil gets rolling.

This is my experience but others may have more insight. After doing 4-5 extract or extract-with-steeping grains, I’ve been doing partial mashes ever since. While it’s only been about a dozen or so partial mashes, I’ve learned and tweaked my system to get to this. I’m sure as I do more, I’ll learn even more! This forum has also taught me a lot. :cheers:

Excellent repsonse Mabus. Thank-you. Based on your answer and my ingredients I plan on the following recipe:

3 lb Amer 6 row

3 lb light DME

1 lb Crystal 60 L

1 ounce Cascade whole hops (from my garden)

Calif ale yeast

  • heat 2 gallons water to 152 F. Add grains and 60L and hold at 152 F for 1 hour

  • Sparge with 1.5 gallons of 170 F water

  • Bring volume to 3.5 gallons, add DME and bring to boil.

  • Add hops and boil 60 minutes

    Look OK ?


This looks a lot like something I’d do. In fact I was playing with something similar this summer and changing an ingredient or two with succeeding batches to get a feel for ingredients and improving my process. Some notes below.

[quote=“john57”]Excellent repsonse Mabus. Thank-you. My pleasure. I’m FAR from an expert so my response is mostly based on my experience and a little on things I’ve read.Based on your answer and my ingredients I plan on the following recipe:

3 lb Amer 6 row

3 lb light DME

1 lb Crystal 60 L I did pretty much the same grain/extract combo as this but found 1 lb of C60 was a bit too much for my taste with such a low OG. I scaled it back to .5 lb and that worked well for me. Try 1 lb and decide for yourself. You could also consider a combo of .5 lb each of two different crystals, such as C40 & C60 or C20 & C80, C20 & C60, etc. whatever flavor profile you think you’d like. I look at the descriptions provided by our host as well as recipe’s of kits for guidance.

1 ounce Cascade whole hops (from my garden) This doesn’t seem like nearly enough bittering hops. If it was pellets, probably fine but 1 oz of whole hops probably won’t add enough bitterness. I’d bitter with maybe .25-.5 oz magnum hops (because I have them on hand) or some other higher alpha hop and save the cascade for a flavor addition, maybe at around 15 minutes. Even then, it’s not a lot.

Calif ale yeast Should be fine, but you can do a search here for others’ opinions of this yeast. I used it in one of the recipes I made this summer and found it worked pretty well. I kept the ferment temp in the mid to upper 60’s. Another yeast to consider is US05. It’s pretty clean IME.

  • heat 2 gallons water to 152 F. Add grains and 60L and hold at 152 F for 1 hour You’ll want to heat the water to about 160F because the grain addition will lower the overall temp of the mash. If it’s hotter than you want you can add some cool water or stir it around until the temp lowers to what you want.

  • Sparge with 1.5 gallons of 170 F water Remember, the grain will absorb some of the water. You can either start with a little more than two gallons for the mash, or sparge with a littler more than 1.5 gallons. I haven’t found that it makes much difference either way. I don’t have markings on my pot so I kind of eyeball the final volume and it seems a little less than four gallons. The pot I usually heat the sparge water in holds 6 quarts but I also have another 5 gallon pot that I sometimes use. I use a 2 qt pitcher when adding water so I know what I started with and the mash is usually ~2.25 gallons.

  • Bring volume to 3.5 gallons, add DME and bring to boil.

  • Add hops and boil 60 minutes See above about the hops. I’d consider adding some flavor/aroma hops. Perhaps add the 1 oz whole hops with around 15 minutes left. You may want to try to pick up some more hops. Cascade/Centennial combination is pretty tasty to me. You can also do a search for hop combos for beers you already know you like and get those. Whatever hop(s) you choose try .5-1 oz each at 15 minutes left and another .5-1 oz each at 5 minutes or flameout. For a higher gravity or more hop flavor, you could even up the hop amounts and maybe add a dry hop.

    Look OK ? I’d drink it! :cheers: Probably will be tastier if you add some more flavor/aroma hops. Make sure you keep the ferment temps (wort, not ambient) in the 60’s also.


Thanks again Mabus. I think I’ll just up the fresh hops to 2ounces for 60 minutes. If it’s hoppy, I’m OK with that.

Good advice on the water temp too. I also have 10 ounces of malted wheat that I’m going to add. I saw a very similar recipe on Ken Leonard’s home page, so I’m hoping this will be good.

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