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Home brewing Part 5 – Brewing with a partial mash kit

Beer_Dec19_ALast week we looked into brewing at home using a full malt, or all malt extract. This is the easiest form of home brewing as most of the hard work is already finished, you really just have to cook and ferment the beer. For those that are a little more adventurous, you can get what are called partial mash kits. These kits come with some malt extract but also grains that you will need to “mash” or boil during the brewing process.

While not incredibly complex, you will need a few more materials and time when brewing using this method. You will also need to be more attentive during the brewing process as the chances of the batch spoiling are higher than when using a full malt extract kit.

So, let’s look into brewing beer using the partial mash method.

Before you start

Before you start, you are going to first need a partial mash brew kit. As we noted before, you probably won’t be able to find them here in Thailand, but can pick them up in other countries in Asia. Once you get a kit, you will need to also ensure that you have the materials we mentioned in our article on the materials you need to brew beer. You will also need a strainer or nylon mesh bag that can hold up to 2.5KG of wet grain and a second pot for boiling water – 8 liters should be ok.

You will also need to sanitize your equipment. This may not seem like an important step, but it is, if any germs or dirt make it into your brew, you could see the batch ruined. It would be a good idea to clean and sanitize everything that will come into contact with the brew ingredients.

Start this by first washing everything with a dish detergent that is unscented. Then, use either a sanitizer solution to sanitize all materials that will come into contact with the beer. If you don’t have a solution like this, try putting around 5 tablespoons of food-safe bleach into your fermenter bucket along with 19L of water. Then, put the material into this bucket and let it sit for around 20 minutes. Be sure to wash everything after.

Once everything is sanitized, you’re ready to start brewing.

Step 1: Get your water ready

With most partial mash kits, you are going to need around .95 liters of water for every .45 kg of grain in the package. So, if the package contains 1.36 kg of grain, you will need 2.84 liters of water. The package should list the weight of the grain, so be sure to add the equivalent amount of water.

Put this water into your mash kettle, or big pot, and heat it to the strike temperature (the temperature the water should be at when the grain strikes (is put into) the water). You will need to look at the instructions in the kit, as each recipe has a different strike temperature. As a general rule of thumb, this is around 15 C warmer.

Step 2: First Mash

When your water reaches the strike temperature, add the grain and stir to ensure that it is mixed into the pot. It should cool down to the temperature listed in the instructions on the box. If it is too cold, add hot water to bring the temperature up. Too hot, add cold water.

The mash will enter the rest stage, and will need to stay at a constant temperature (listed in the instructions) for the indicated time. This will vary on the type of beer you are making, and the recipe, so be sure to look at the instructions in the kit.

While the mash is resting, heat the same amount of water you heated up for the first mash, in another pot and keep it at 78 Celsius. This water is commonly referred to as the Sparge water.

Step 3: Second Mash and Mash Out

Look at the instructions for the second mash, or second mash rest temperature. Put the pot on the burner and heat it slowly to reach this temperature. When it reaches this temperature, let it rest for the time listed on the instructions or recipe.

After the time has elapsed, raise the temperature of the mash to 76 Celsius. This is called the Mash Out. After this step, you will have wort.

Step 4: Sparging

Once the Mash Out temperature has been achieved, it’s time to remove the grain from the wort. Either strain it through a fine strainer or remove the bag and rest it on top of the pot. Then, take the water that you heated up in step 2 (sparge water) and run it through the grain into the pot containing the wort. It is best to do this in stages, being careful to not spill any water.

You will then likely need to top up the kettle with extra water to reach the boil level as suggested in the instructions. Try to get it fairly close as this will dictate a brew closer to the intended results. Once this is done, you can begin to boil the wort.

The boiling of the wort, hopping, fermenting and bottling follow the same process as using a malt extract kit and are explained from step four onwards in the previous article. Check it out!

Wish of the week

Deschutes Black Butte Porter
When I heard that Deschutes beer was coming back to Thailand I did a little happy dance! This company brews some amazing beer that must be tried. Their most well known beer is the Black Butte Porter which is dark as any dark chocolate thanks to the use of a dark malt. The taste is something akin to dark chocolate with some hop bitterness and is quite complex. Black Butte is the beer I compare every other stout and porter to. Yes, even Guinness. The current cooler weather here in Bangkok makes it the perfect time to enjoy this excellent brew.

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