Where Do I Go From Here?

by Mike Burke on September 8, 2011

partial mash brewing

When you brew beer your taste will certainly change over time as you experiment with new styles. For me initially it was the lightest beer possible. Now if i can see through it I don’t want it.

So I found myself quickly doing every kit sitting on the shelf here at the store. This didn’t take long when it comes to the premium Brew House kits from RJ Spagnols (due to a limited selection). After I conquered all of these top quality kits I found myself saying “where do I go from here?” I look around and see the shelf full of grains and contemplate going “full in.”

Maybe you’ve been thinking of the same thing. This is where you would ask yourself the big question. Should I switch to grain or stay with kits? If this seems to be a big step for you I recommend starting out with partial mash recipes.

Partial mash is really the best of both worlds in beer making. On one hand you start your adventure into grain brewing with a feeling of security by using can malt. The first partial mash beer I tackled was a Milk Chocolate Brown Ale. To see how this beer would turn out I made a 3 gallon batch. After getting all of my ingredients ready I started my plunge into this new avenue of brewing. Using a large pot I brought my water to a boil and added my grains to it to steep for about 45 minutes. While waiting for this I drank a beer, (because you know you can’t brew beer without drinking one). When the mashing (steeping)  was done I used a stainless strainer to separate the grain from the now wort. In another pot I started the boil process. There I added the can of malt extract and some hops. After boiling another bit of water in another pot I poured this over the grains in the strainer so I could get all the flavour and sugars out of the grains (Sparging).  From there I cooled the wort in a sink of cold ice water to a temperature of 23 degrees Celsius and poured the wort into my fermenter. I then added the yeast (Wyeast is well worth the extra money you pay) and fermented it as normal.

In my humble opinion this beer has to be one of the best brews I have ever done. This beer goes down smooth.  It has a flavour reminiscent of coffee with a hint of coca. When you do a couple of these partial mash brews you will probably look harder at full grain brewing but this is great way to get your feet wet. To make the transition from canned to grain brewing even easier we are developing some partial mash kits which we plan to make available to you in the near future.

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