Partial Mash Design

Hey all, been lurking on these forums absorbing knowledge for awhile and figured I would finally take part in a discussion. I’ve got five batches under my belt now, and just finished up NB’s Oatmeal Stout partial mash kit. Surprisingly (and happily), I was able to hit their recommended OG dead-on at 1.049, and it finished out at 1.016. This got me thinking that I could start taking advantage of some mashing techniques to utilize new (to me) grains and lower the cost of my brews. I’ve got a nice 8-gallon kettle and XL grain bag, so I guess I’m wondering what’s reasonable to try.

Burning Questions:

  1. It seemed like the 4 pounds of grain took up less than 1/3 of my kettle and bag, would going up to 8 pounds be unrealistic?

  2. I’ve read that many malts need to be mashed with base-malts because they lack enzymatic potential. Would 6 pounds of 2-row be enough to help out a 1/2 pound each of Caramel 20, Gambrinus Honey, Carapils, and Victory?

I’d like to just move into all-grain, but space and budget restraints are keeping me from making the leap. Thanks in advance for any sage advice!

I can’t speak to the grain bag capacity, maybe try 6# first and see how that fits.

The C-20, honey malt and carapils have already had their starch converted to sugar during processing, that’s why you can just steep them. I’m not certain but I think Victory will convert itself, if not a pound of base would be plenty, 6# would really cut down on your extract. Have a look at this malt chart to see what grains need mashed:

[quote=“Joester”]I’d like to just move into all-grain, but space and budget restraints are keeping me from making the leap[/quote]You could do all grain with your gear, it would just have to be smaller batches, do a search for brew in a bag.

Thanks for the info, that list of malts will prove handy…

As far as doing smaller AG batches, I’ve grown quite fond of getting 50 or so beers out of my brewing efforts. My thoughts are that I can just do a fairly substantial mash and supplement with DME to reach the gravity I want for most beers. I understand that it’s not optimal, but twill have to do until I can move out of this cramped apartment.

Also, your signature made me flick at my screen. Well played.