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Practice for a partial mash brew

Hello fellow brewing enthusiasts! I was looking for some guidance on brewing my first partial mash brew. I have 3 extract w/ specialty grains brews under my belt so far, and am looking to take the next step. All-grain is not an option at this time (space, $$$, wife posting.php?mode=post&f=1#) so I am going to do a partial mash.
I thought I would do a practice run, using an extract kit with specialty grains but instead of steeping the grains I would mimic the steps used in a partial mash (I’d rather learn the process when there is really very little chance of bleeping the brew up).
So, here’s what I’m thinking:
My next extract is going to be the Nukey Brown Ale. It comes with 0.75 lbs of grain. The process would be:
Heat 1 qt water to 162 degrees. Add muslin bag with grains. The water temperature should come down to 152-155 degrees. Hold that temperature for an hour.
Heat 2 qts water to 170 degrees (sparge water) and hold that temp until the end of the 60 minute mash (I know I’m really not mashing with the specialty grains).
Remove the muslin bag and place in a colander or strainer. Sparge the grain bag with the 170 degree water, 1 qt at a time.
Add water to the pot (approx 2.25 gals) to bring boil total to 3 gals.
Proceed as usual with the extract and hop additions.
Can anyone tell me if these steps are correct, or am I missing anything? Also, anyone have any tips on maintaining the water temp for 60 mins?
Thanks all!

Dave

I wouldn’t bother sparging - just heat the rest of your water to 160-170F, then dunk the bag of grain in the water like a teabag (open it and stir if you like), remove the bag, add the wort to the kettle, and bring to a boil.

For keeping the mash warm, a towel wrapped around the pot will do. You can also check the temp midway through and add some heat if needed.

If your oven has a ‘warm’ function that works for helping to hold temp too. My oven is adjustable down to 160 degrees so I just let it heat up while I’m get the water to temp and adding the grains, throw the pot in the oven and turn the oven off. Both times I tried it this way it held the mash temp perfectly.

Mashing is simple… no need for dumbed down test version. Just replace some of the extract with some 2-row, pale malt, pils… whatever the recipe would call for and go for it. It’s as simple as you posted. There’s not magical thing that happens. You get your water to a certain temp, add your crushed grains, wait an hour and poof! You have wort.

One tip for keeping the temp for an hour. (And I’m assuming your doing this on a stove top) turn your oven on low while getting your mash up to temp. When you add your grains to the water, turn your oven off. Once your grains are in the water, mixed well and your temp is stable (add more cold or hot water to get your mash temp where you want it, but again, hitting the proper temp is easy) then just pop your pot in the oven. I did this for about 25-30 beers or so until I got a turkey frier. Works great!

EDIT: Just beat me to it, flip! The oven trick works great. I was always within a degree up or down from my starting mash temp after an hour.

I can’t take credit for the tip, it is in the Norther Brewer instructions for partial mash. My first partial mash was the Midnight Beatdown Wheaten Porter partial mash kit. It took just that one partial mash beer and seeing how easy it was to make me jump to all grain.

Thank you for all of the responses! OK, so maybe ‘practicing’ a partial mash using specialty grains was stretching things a bit. I know, RDWHAHB. But I do tend to W about new techniques in my HB. If I could R, I wouldn’t be brewing in the first place!
Let’s forget the extract kit for a minute and focus on partial mash…is holding the mash temp for an hour really all there is to it? I think I read that this would be referred to as a ‘single infusion’ mash; holding one specific temperature. No need to raise the temp for a mash-out at 168? No other little ‘gotchas’ I don’t know about?
To dobe12, yep, I’m doing this on the stovetop. I have a 5 gallon SS brewpot and a 2.5 gallon SS pot for heating water and the like. If I spend any more money on brewing equipment, my wife is going to trade me in for another cat so hopefully I have the neccessary components for my first partial mash.
Any other suggestions? And thanks again for the replies!!

Dave

I just did my first partial mash 2 weekends ago.

It’s a little different but nothing too dramatic. I got some good points of advice for next time in this thread:

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=110836#p977136

I liked doing the partial and I think it is going to be my process for a while. I don’t have the space or storage to make the all-grain jump. Plus the whole spending on equipment thing as well.

Now I just need to learn more about putting recipes together.

That’s actually one of my motivations for starting to partial mash…the freedom to create recipes that I really like. Figuring LME or DME for the base malt, the partial mash option will allow more variety in my brews. Of course there’s a learning curve, but with all of the recipres p[osted in this and other forums it shouldn’t be too hard to come up with a partial mash recipe.
And like they say, the worst that can happen is we end up buying beer for a couple of weeks until the next batch is ready to go!
Thanks for the link…good information there.

Dave

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