Friday, April 17, 2015

Advantages of Partial Mash Brewing

So I've put some thought to this topic, here is what I have come up with. This list is by no means all encompassing. It is meant to share the reasons I generally brew the partial mash way.

Advantages of PM
  • More fun than extract - you still get to mash grains and sparge and the fun stuff.
    • It feels like brewing. Sometimes when I do an extract batch, it doesn't feel like brewing. I'm just heating up some stuff on the stove and throwing hops into a boil, for me mashing is the difference that feels like real brewing.
  • Better Taste than extract  - Real all grain flavor -
    • I defy anyone to tell the difference between a high percentage grain partial mash and an all grain brew. I think only industry people and BJCP judges might be able to pick out the differences.
  • More recipe options than extract, you can brew anything.
  • Less cost than extract - extract is expensive.
  • More reliable than all grain or BIAB -
    • The extract (DME) is an insurance policy that protects your needed gravity.
  • You don't have to stress over pH levels water chemistry etc…
  • Affordable equipment - electric turkey fryer is about $100.00  All in equipment is about $250.00
  • Don’t have to do a full volume boil to ensure your ferment-ability.   
    • You can, but you don't have to.  I always do full volume boils now, even on my extract batches, it makes a huge difference and is a key to great beer. But you don't have to do it.
  • Decotion and step mashing are available to you.
  • It’s reliability is repeatable you can brew the same beer with the same results more easily.
  • You control the amount and % of grain that you are using.  I have recipes that are 75% grain.   The DME is there as a buffer, an insurance policy if you will.
  • Takes way less time than all grain. It’s about the same as BIAB
Disadvantages of PM
  • Costs more than all grain
  • Decoction mashing is more difficult, possible but more difficult. (Brewing an octoberfest soon, where we will be doing decotion... I may revise this position)
  • Takes more time than Extract
So post a comment or a question, tell me what you think of my analysis. Did I miss anything?

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