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Steeping vs.Mini Mash

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For going all grain on the cheap, take a look at


--- Quote from: denny on February 24, 2013, 09:15:09 PM ---For going all grain on the cheap, take a look at

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It's also easy and efficient.  I used the method outlined in Palmer's book for my first 11 all-grain batches.  Last weekend I followed the procedure on and my efficiency increased from 70% to over 81% with less effort.

To get back to the OP, when I went all-grain I went from extract with specialty grains right to all-grain.  A friend picked up a 10G Igloo cooler for $1 at a flea market and I spent about $5-10 at the hardware store on a plastic ball valve and other supplies to make a mash tun.  If you already have the ability to mini-mash (an extra bucket and a paint straining bag) then go for it.  Otherwise, I'd just go all grain.

If your kettle will support full-volume boils, then you might as well give BIAB a try. The only equipment investment is the bag, and you can then produce All-Grain batches even more easily than mini-mashes.

Jimmy K:

--- Quote from: dbagnall on February 24, 2013, 08:42:22 PM ---So does steeping only add color but not fermentable sugars?

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You really should only steep certain grains that have had their starches converted to sugars in processing, which includes crystal malts and roasted malts. Mini-mash will let you use any grain so you'd have far more grains to experiment with.  As noted, you can also to a partial or full mash with minimal investement in equipment.  Money spent on expensive equipment does not buy better beer.


--- Quote from: euge on February 24, 2013, 09:09:20 PM ---You can always use some base grain in the steep, but keep to the established water ratios and you're really just doing a mini-mash.

I have a 2 gallon mash tun that is real tricky to use unless it is just a mini-mash- which I'll either no-sparge or batch. I'd rather just use a bag and a pot of water.

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I too have a 2-gal mash tun (in addition to my 5-gal for AG) and last night, doing an extract batch for the first time in several years and not wishing to fiddle with the little MLT, I went #nopants on my grain-steeping. I warmed the water to 160 in a large saucepan, poured in the steeping grains, put a lid on the pan, set it on two potholders on a kitchen work table, and covered it with an inverted Trader Joe's insulated grocery bag. The temp held fine. I strained and sparged through a large kitchen strainer lined with a 1-gallon paint strainer bag. I have a super-duper-large strainer and 5-gal paint strainer bags that I could have used if I had a couple pounds of grain.

To get back to the OP's main point, I spent a while doing mini-mashes and I agree, try going to all-grain. Remember, you don't have to make 5-gallon (or larger!) batches and you definitely don't have to spend loads of money. I see a lot of people doing 3-gal BIAB. As erockrph says, all you need is a bag. I personally would rather deal with my 5-gal cooler than a wet, heavy bag, but it's a very cheap entry point.


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