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I'm not sure which thread this is most appropriate for, so I've put it here.

Does anyone have a great mini-mash technique? I've read a few different ways (sitting at a stove for 2 hrs trying to keep the brew at 65 degrees seems the most annoying way).
I've read the thermos method mentioned in Michael Rodgers-Wilsons' book Home Brewing and that seems to be the best for me so far.
Does anyone have a better technique for a small scale mash (just for adjuncts such as crystal malt).

Also, when mashing crystal malts, do I need to add 20% pale malt ? Or can I just mash the crystal grain on its own ?
OK, first off crystal malt is a malt not an adjunct. It can be steeped, i.e. just soaked in warm water, because it has basically been mashed within the grain, then kilned which causes the malt sugars to crystallise, hence the name.

Crystal, cara-pils-munich-vienne are caramael malts that can be steeped, as can chocolate and black patent malt and roast barley.

Part mashes are fun! simplest way is to do a fairly big partial mash, 2-3K of grain as this helps keep the mash temp stable. I used a good 20L esky, the metal walled type. Pour in 5L boiling water, put lid on, slosh the boiling water around a bit, pour out. Into the now preheated mash tun place your 2-3K grain (generally mostly pale plus specialty) and add 4-6L water at about 77C. Mix in REALLY well, no dry pockets must be left. Fit lid, cover esky with blankets and stuff and leave it alone! for an hour. (OK, you might want to check the mash temp is right, but then cover and leave)

Transfer the mash to a colander sitting in a bucket or something, pour 4-6L hot (85C) water through the grains, recirculate the wort through the grains once or twice to filter out the tiny grain pieces that make your wort look muddy (turbid) then boil, add extract etc.

Since you are mashing you can now use adjuncts like oatmeal (oatmeal stouts are to die for!) flaked/popped (torrefied) barley or wheat or rye. . .which add taste and a grainyness/breadiness to the beer that is much desired.

To use oats or polenta or raw wheat, a cereal mash is recommended, a subject for another topic

after the boil, stir the wort really well, fit lid and leave for 30 mins. you can then carry the pan of still-hot wort to a cooling sink to chill to 30C and then bail the wort into the fermenter. This way you won't end up filling sieve after sieve of hop trub.


Thanks for the help Tom :)

I'll look into doing that sometime soon. Have to get hold of a good esky first.

I plan on trying my first extract brew next weekend, and was under the impression crystal grain needed to be mashed. I'll just steep it and strain it.
Laurie Strachan, in his "The Complete guide to home brewing in Australia" (should be available at most local libraries) describes a method using a 5 litre polystyrene drink container.

There's also a "quick and dirty" part mash description on the st pats brewstore website - quick and dirty it is, and doesn't even require an insulated container (probably wrap something around the pot to keep the heat in)

Part mash is well worth trying - you'll notice some grain freshness in the resulting brew.

I'm wedded to the convenience of brewing from malt extract, but I always supplement the extracts with whole grain malt. I used to throw the grain malt into a mesh bag as the water came to boil, thereby making a tea of sorts, but I've come to faking the mash process.

I take about 2-3 kg grain malt and water to cover plus an inch. This I bring to about 180 deg F, and let sit for as long as it takes for the 10-12 L water to boil (seperate pot) to dissolve the extract, about 45-60 min. Then I sieve the one into the other, sparge, and get on with brewing from extract.

This seems to get more malt character (taste and head resulting from the unfermentable sugars) into the wort than making a tea, and is less time-consuming than all-grain brewing.

I use a knee high stocking, stretched over the top of the fermenter, and secured in place with the lid o-ring to filter the wort straight into the fermenter
i did a mini for the first time a couple of weeks ago i based my mash on what grumpys brewhaus site told me , i stuffed it up a bit due to that age old equation read the f#$@ing instructions but it seems to have turned out will let you know how it tastes

i recommend that every one tries it just for the experiance


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