Have you ever wondered about taking your brewing to the next level, but been put off by the all grain brewing process?
The good news is that part grain beer kits are the solution to that age-old problem of getting a more complex beer from an easy-to-use kit.
Part grain kits (or mini mash kits) include commercial-grade malt extract (which eliminates the need for lengthy mashing processes) matched with a blend of adjunct malt grains. These adjunct malts are steeped in water at 66oC to release precise malt flavours and colours. The liquid (known as wort) is then boiled for a short while and hops are added at various stages, to provide the correct bitterness and delicious aromas in the final beer. The wort is then cooled and fermented in the same way as a standard beer kit.
Part Grain Kits should be considered as a “super beer kit”. A step up from standard premium kits, and not a step down from all grain brewing. They offer a delightful middle ground which allows you to showcase your creativity while still maintaining convenience. The only extra equipment that you will need above standard brewing equipment is a 12-15 litre stockpot pan and a thermometer. You then can turn your kitchen into a micro-brewery and after use, all the equipment is easy to clean and convenient to store away.
Take a look at the G-Town Brewers review of our West Coast American Pale Ale to see the process in action (and a comparison to our Session Series kit).
Understanding Part Grain Brewing:
Its the combination of commercial quality malt extract with freshly mashed grains that adds complexity and depth to your beer, while keeping the brewing process simple.
You’ll still use malt extract to provide the fermentable sugars, but the addition of fresh grains contributes to a more authentic brewing experience and a distinct flavour profile beyond that than a standard kit can provide.
Hop additions are carefully selected, using the freshest vacuum-packed hops to ensure delicious hoppy flavours and aromas are achieved. This is the area where Part Grain kits deliver the killer blow over standard beer kits. Subtle hop flavours and aromas can only be achieved by infusing the freshest hop pellets into the wort. The correct balance of hop styles can be selected to achieve beers which taste exactly like commercial favourites, for less than a pound per pint.
What equipment is needed?
The essential equipment for a part grain mini-mash kit is:
- 12-15 litre brew pan
- large stirring spoon/paddle
- syphon kit
- 22-litre fermenting bucket fitted with an airlock.
- beer bottles and brew fizz carbonation drops, or alternatively a keg to store the final beer in.
The brewing process:
Full instructions and everything needed to brew your specific beer will be included in the kit.
You will only need to add tap water.
The best kits (such as Dark Rock Part Grain kits 😉 ) will be supplied with performance yeast, matched to the specific beer style and will include Britewort auxiliary finings, beer finings, and even Pure Brew, which eliminates chlorine and chloramine in water, to ensure a pure commercial taste is achieved.
The heart of part-grain brewing lies in the mini-mash process. Here’s how it works:
- Heat your recipe’s volume of water on the stove in your brew pan to reach a strike temperature of 65-71oC.
- Put the grains into the muslin bag, loosely knot and infuse the bag into the water. Steep the grains for 30 minutes, maintaining a temperature of 66oC. This releases the flavours and allows the enzymes in the grains to convert starches into fermentable sugars.
- After 30 minutes lift the grain bag out of the pan and place it in a sieve/colander above the pan. Rinse the grains with 2 litres of boiling water from a kettle and allow to drain into the wort.
- Turn up the stove temperature to boil the wort. Once boiling stir in the first pack of hops and continue to boil for 45 minutes. Depending on the kit another pack of hops may be added at the end of the boil with the stove turned off for 10 minutes. The brewing term for this process is flameout.
- Pour the malt extract into the fermenter and carefully add the wort. Stir well to dissolve the malt extract then top up to 40 pints (22 litres) with cold tap water. Allow the temperature to fall to 25oC then add the yeast and Pure Brew. Stir vigorously for 2 minutes with a long-handled spoon/paddle to oxygenate the wort, then secure the lid and fit an airlock.
- You will then ferment the beer in the same way as a normal beer kit. Fermentation will take between 7-14 days and the kit may be supplied with a dry hop pack to add towards the end of fermentation (depending on the style). Finings will also be supplied to ensure a clear beer (unless you’ve chosen a NEIPA/cloudy style).
As you can see, the process is very straightforward, but the results outweigh the effort.
Are Part Grain Kits worth it?
Yes! Sure, they cost a little more than premium beer kits, but the results are well worth the extra cost.
Feedback from brewers on the quality and taste of part grain kits is overwhelmingly positive, and once they make the step up from standard kits, most brewers are hooked and never go back.
The real beauty of part grain brewing lies in its ability to provide the best of both extract and all-grain brewing methods, allowing you to experiment, create unique flavours, and refine your brewing skills.
You will consistently brew exceptional beers that will impress friends, family, and yourself, at a fraction of commercial craft beer prices.
Cheers to your brewing adventure!See the Part Grain Range