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Toxicdonkey

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I'm very new to whole grain brewing, I've only done 2, both had elements of drama.. My question is.. I was thinking can I use a kit and just add my own mash instead of sugar/malt.. I plan to do a stout kit,, but make a mash with pale malt, brown malt and oats.. when the mash is done adding it to the kit (throw some spray malt in for good measure) .. will this work.. has anyone tried it? is it a daft idea..
 

The Cat

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Mashing & boiling produces the wort that they give you in the kit so I can't see where this one is going. That's the main bit in a kit apart from yeast and sometimes hops which you can buy separately for much cheaper. I thought the main point of a kit was not to have to make your own wort so if you are making your own I can't see the point myself.
 

Toxicdonkey

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Mashing & boiling produces the wort that they give you in the kit so I can't see where this one is going. That's the main bit in a kit apart from yeast and sometimes hops which you can buy separately for much cheaper. I thought the main point of a kit was not to have to make your own wort so if you are making your own I can't see the point myself.
But surely I get the sugar out the grain?
 

Drunkula

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can I use a kit and just add my own mash instead of sugar/malt.
Yes, absolutely. My very first all-grain was a kit that I bulked up with a mash. About 2.6kg of pale malt will add what a kilo of sugar would have got you. I really recommend it because it's cheaper than spraymalt by loads and even cheaper than brewing sugar.

Definitely do a boil on the wort you make, though you don't have to do a full 60 minutes because you're not just doing it to pasteurise it and coagulate those proteins.
 

darrellm

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I've done this before, and the beer it makes will be much better than adding sugar, it's a good way to get used to doing a mash.

I don't know how long you should boil it for, think I only did 10mins when I tried it. You could bung a few hops in too, in the style of the kit, just to add a bit of flavour.

Yes, one of the advantages of kits is speed of brewing and this will slow it down considerably, but if you're learning with a view to going AG later then pimping kits is a good way to go.
 

terrym

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@Toxicdonkey
What you have suggested is this
 

AdeDunn

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I can understand why people might be a little puzzled though, as if you are going to do a mash and boil anyway, then surely you may as well just go AG and save even more money? Worried about not having big enough pans etc? Stop worrying about brewing 23 litres and brew half that at a time, you'll still have plenty of beer to drink at the end, and have saved a ton over buying kits. 60 minute mash using small batch BIAB methods, 60 minute boil, then cool the pan of wort in the kitchen sink (possibly with some ice in the water), et voila, wort that should produce better beer than you'll ever get from a kit.

Surely the idea behind a kit is stir and go? So if you're not doing that, a kit loses it's point no? Kinda like mixing instant coffee with coffee from an Espresso machine.....
 

terrym

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Worried about not having big enough pans etc? Stop worrying about brewing 23 litres and brew half that at a time, you'll still have plenty of beer to drink at the end, and have saved a ton over buying kits. 60 minute mash using small batch BIAB methods, 60 minute boil, then cool the pan of wort in the kitchen sink (possibly with some ice in the water), et voila, wort that should produce better beer than you'll ever get from a kit.
Surely the idea behind a kit is stir and go?
One of the problems with low volume AG brews is that it takes up almost as much time as 23litre batches. The only time you really save is in cooling the wort. So if your brewing time is at a premium lower volume brewing might be not be the answer. But if you are constrained for pot volume but still want brew 20 litre plus volumes consider partial mash brewing which is what I sometimes do.
And as I understand it the idea of using a minimash with a kit is to improve the kit (usually a one can) rather than using a bag of sugar, but is not intended to be a substitute for AG brewing. So its really aimed at kit brewers wanting to improve their beer, not AG brewers wanting to cut a few corners.
 

Slid

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I did a number of these with 2.5 - 2.75kg of grain and a kit.
You only need a 15L Wilko pot and a BIAB bag as additional equipment.
The kit will give you all required bittering so the boil can be shortened and just late additions of hops added..
The 15L pot can be mashed in a domestic oven and the wort cooled in a sink - as you will add cold water, it does not need much cooling.
Makes very much better beer than a kit on its own. Basically you are making an ~11L AG brew and adding a kit brewed short to the FV.

Highly recommended as an approach and your initial outlay is pretty minimal in £ terms.
 

darrellm

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I did a number of these with 2.5 - 2.75kg of grain and a kit.
You only need a 15L Wilko pot and a BIAB bag as additional equipment.
The kit will give you all required bittering so the boil can be shortened and just late additions of hops added..
The 15L pot can be mashed in a domestic oven and the wort cooled in a sink - as you will add cold water, it does not need much cooling.
Makes very much better beer than a kit on its own. Basically you are making an ~11L AG brew and adding a kit brewed short to the FV.

Highly recommended as an approach and your initial outlay is pretty minimal in £ terms.
And then next time you can ditch the kit and do a full AG brew. In fact, the above is my AG setup, just a 15L stockpot and a bag. I can mash about 2.5kg of grain max, I do a 12L boil, and then add 1kg of DME/spraymalt to increase the ABV and allow me to top up to 16-18L in the FV to give me 1040-1050 beers.
 

terrym

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Thanks guys. Just picked up some black malt, dark crystal malt and porridge outs to throw in..
Unless I have misunderstood what you intend to do you need to mash oats with base malt to convert the starch to fermentable sugars. However black and crystal malts do not require this, steeping alone is sufficient.
 

Toxicdonkey

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Unless I have misunderstood what you intend to do you need to mash oats with base malt to convert the starch to fermentable sugars. However black and crystal malts do not require this, steeping alone is sufficient.
I have plenty of marris otter oats I am using for the sugars.. the black and crystal are just for colour and flavour.. I guess.. Have a homebrew store locally where the guys pretty useful for.. "Im going to try and make this" what do I need
 

Richard_H

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I did a number of these with 2.5 - 2.75kg of grain and a kit.
You only need a 15L Wilko pot and a BIAB bag as additional equipment.
The kit will give you all required bittering so the boil can be shortened and just late additions of hops added..
The 15L pot can be mashed in a domestic oven and the wort cooled in a sink - as you will add cold water, it does not need much cooling.
Makes very much better beer than a kit on its own. Basically you are making an ~11L AG brew and adding a kit brewed short to the FV.

Highly recommended as an approach and your initial outlay is pretty minimal in £ terms.
I completely agree with this and I did this with 2 kits before moving onto extract for a few brews and then on to all grain.
One big plus point for me was that if I make a mistake with mash temperature (which I did, being a few degrees to hot) then you still have all that liquid malt from the kit to fall back onto and stop you ending up with a 3% table beer.

Took me about 1.5 hours each time but only because I wanted to have a go at mashing rather than just steeping grains, and the hops meant for dry hopping I used in a short boil. Good luck, my first one was a stout kit & grains and it ended VERY malty and full bodied but has now aged into a very rich coffee & chocolate winter warmer:beer1:
 

Toxicdonkey

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I did a number of these with 2.5 - 2.75kg of grain and a kit.
You only need a 15L Wilko pot and a BIAB bag as additional equipment.
The kit will give you all required bittering so the boil can be shortened and just late additions of hops added..
The 15L pot can be mashed in a domestic oven and the wort cooled in a sink - as you will add cold water, it does not need much cooling.
Makes very much better beer than a kit on its own. Basically you are making an ~11L AG brew and adding a kit brewed short to the FV.

Highly recommended as an approach and your initial outlay is pretty minimal in £ terms.

I'm not short of gear.. I have an ACE microbrewery thing.. Bought it of a guy in here.. I'm just wanting to take it steady, I've made 2 full grain brews, both have had issues.. and I know where I am am with kits,, so If I can use the kits and mash, get used to everything and improve some kits I already posses (3 in total) I can build up stocks of grain, learn a bit more and move to full grain brewing with confidence
 

Slid

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I'm not short of gear.. I have an ACE microbrewery thing.. Bought it of a guy in here.. I'm just wanting to take it steady, I've made 2 full grain brews, both have had issues.. and I know where I am am with kits,, so If I can use the kits and mash, get used to everything and improve some kits I already posses (3 in total) I can build up stocks of grain, learn a bit more and move to full grain brewing with confidence
That's interesting. I agree that a more "hands-on" approach early is useful in that you understand how simple and robust making beer really is.
Even when you move to full grain brewing there are few easier ways to make a high gravity beer than bunging a kit in the FV!
 

Lesinge

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I have done this once with a Kit I inherited. Didn't want to just chuck in sugar or shell out for dried Malt so made a full AG and used some of the hopped wort with the KIT and added a few steeped grains - won me a prize at a local summer faire beer comp!
 

Toxicdonkey

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I have done this once with a Kit I inherited. Didn't want to just chuck in sugar or shell out for dried Malt so made a full AG and used some of the hopped wort with the KIT and added a few steeped grains - won me a prize at a local summer faire beer comp!

Nice.. That's kind of my plan.. not winning any prizes, but I got 3, 10 litre kits with some gear I bought.. going to make them upto 20 litres with full grain and see how it goes.
 
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