Mini Mash Additions - Are they worth it? or should I steep specialty g

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Sunny Coast
Hi Guys,

I'm an Extract brewer not quite ready/equipped to move up to partials yet, but am experimenting with minimash additions to my brews.

My question for the more experienced guys is - is the work worth it for what I will get out of mashing a 1/2kg - 750g of grain?
should I stick to steeping specialty grains as additions until I can get my partial equipment together?
Is it worth the effort.

I'm mashing in a little 4L water cooler and just for learning and experience, I'm enjoying it, but I just wonder if it's worth it?

For example, my last brew was:

3kg Morgans Caramalt.
Minimash of 500g Cracked Wheat & 250g Copper Tun Chocolate Malt.
250g Honey
Amarillo 40g @ 60, 10g @ 15, 20g @ 10, & 30g @ 0.
Used US 05 yeast.
OG 1041
FG 1009
Approx 4.9% bottled.

Next brew will be the same but using First Gold Hops, S04 Yeast. Go for English style.

Bottling in next day or so, and from a guess it tastes like this'll be a nice brew. A little on the thin side, but the 26L came from a stupid mistake, was aiming more for 23-24L.

Any opinions would be greatly appreciated.

{There's a similar discussion happening over in partials, but they talking much higher ratios of mash:extract.}
IMHO a mini mash isn't worth the effort. Stick to spec grains until you have the equipment to move to a full mash. A partial mash isn't really any less effort than a full mash, and the small amounts you will actually end up mashing won't contribute a huge amount to your beer.

If you're going to head towards partial mashing, why not just go the whole hog and aim for full AG? You can easily do full mash beers with limited equipment.
Mini-mash is a partial.

The more grain you use the more benefit you'll see but if you can be bothered doing it then there will be improvements seen over a straight extract batch. At 500gm it will be subtle. Not sure why you think you can't go much over 750g though. You must have some larger container than that in your kitchen.

I can't recall the exact temps/steps because I never followed the method but I recall that mashing in a casserole dish/similar in the oven was widely recommended when I started brewing. Have a search and see what you can find if the idea appeals.

[EDIT: typo, added stuff]
I dunno JD, mini mashes were great for me, it kind of got me used to the process without having to change or get any extra equipment (Mill / MT Keggle / HLT.. could taste the results and have a play without having to do full grain bills.

So my vote is for yes mate, well worth the effort and a great way to get used to the process, gives you the chance to see if it's for you or not.


ed: spling
I think yes, although I reckon push for 1kg base malt if you can.

Certainly as a learning process without the psychological stress of AG (it becomes much less so once you have a few cracks and realise no-one is going to die if you don't get everything right), I found partials were really helpful, albeit a pain in the arse sometimes.
When i first found this site I started doing the exact same thing, using a 4L water cooler with an absolute dodgy manifold then having 2 or 3 sucepans on the stove boiling it up, putting hop editions in etc. Wasn't long before I upgraded to a 15L esky, not long after that to a 50L mash tun. The effeciency would have been crap with the original set up but was well worth the effort at the time, huge improvement.


edit- If i remember correctly I was able to get 1 to 1.5kg grain in the 4L mash tun but I also rinsed it a couple of times.
Thanks for the input fellas.

It makes me think more and more about going straight to All Grain. Might have to save a few bucks.

At this stage, I guess it's the fun that makes me want to keep doing it, and even if it improves the taste only slightly, I'm guessing it's worth it. It might help me learn a bit about what grains give what flavour (albeit subtle) too for when I do get my AG shit together.

@ bum - thanks for the reminder. I read about that oven method a lot before I went the 4L cooler way. Might revisit.

Thanks again.
Yes, as stated above a minimash is a partial and you will get a benefit but not much from a small amount of base malt. But it takes just as long as AG. If you can get to 2 or 2.5kg of base malt then you will make a real difference.

What size pot do you boil in? If 10L or more then you can do a decent size mash using BIAB method. Plenty on here about BIAB partials.
I've onyl got a 6L cooking pot for hopping ATM, but looking at upgrading for BIAB. Storage in my apartment is a problem, BIG problem. Or should I say SMALL problem...
For most if not all of my partials all I used was a 19lt Big W pot, served well.

I ended up buying an almost complete setup from a fellow member that had mill, mash tun / manifold and keggle for $250 from memory... And still it took me 6 months to do an AG batch.. Ha. Ha... But at least I had the mill and could put a hammer through the fecking coffee grinder.

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