Partial Mash Brewing Beginners Guide

Brewing all-grain can be a little intimidating at first. An extract brewing can be a touch boring. But that’s where partial mash comes into play. A combo of the two and perfect for a beginner brewer.

What makes partial mash brewing so great is the limited equipment you need to start brewing. In most cases, you probably have everything you need. Outside of one major component, a brew bag. If you have a large stockpot, thermometer, and stovetop you’re good to start brewing beer.

And if you are interested in trying a new type of yeast check our Philly Sour Yeast Info & Souring Method.

The Basics and the Recipe

Three white sacks with different color grains in them.

The concept of the partial mash is relatively simple. One part of wort is made using extract and the other part is made using crushed grains by doing a mini-mash. Which is where you steep the grains at a certain temperature for a limited time to extract sugars. Typically the way you think about it is to use malt extract either liquid or dry to make up the base or the majority of the wort. And a mini-mash of specialty grains to add character and depth. You can use a mini-mash to add flavor but also add color depending on the grains you choose.

For this recipe, we’re making a 2.5-gallon batch. To start heat up 3.5 gallons of water to 160 F. To make up the wort we will be using 67% dry malt extract. Also, we will be adding in 33% White Wheat Malt. This adds a great bready flavor and aroma with slight fruity nuts and will greatly improve the body and the mouthfeel of the beer. All you need to do is crush it and toss it into a mash grain bag.

Once the water is heated up we drop it in. We plan to mash at 154 F for 30 minutes. The mash temperature determines how fermentable or how much sugars are available to be consumed by the yeast.

Making the wort


After 30 minutes pull the grain bag out and bring the wort to boil. When you hit a boil go ahead and turn off the heat. You want the heat off so you don’t scorch the malt extract. It’s sticky so the second it touches the steam it will start to clump. Then just stir it in and make sure it’s fully dissolved.

After that bring it to boil again. Set a timer for 30 minutes and add in our one and only hop addition 0.25 oz of Magnum. Magnum is a great clean bittering hop. Although any hop with a good stonefruit flavor would go great with apricot we will be adding in later. At 15 minutes mark, we add a wort chiller to help cool it down later.

When the wort is chilled to about 67 F you can transfer it into your sanitized fermenter. with the wort, in the fermenter, it’s time to add in the yeast. We are using Cellar science CALI Ale yeast. A clean fermenting ale yeast will work great for this wheat ale. Drop it in. Give it a good shake. Add an airlock and ferment at 67 F for 7 days.

Adding the fruit

A bowl of dried apricots on a wooden table.

You can add fruit to beer in many ways. Our typical move would be to go with frozen fruit. Put it in a muslin bag, and either add it to the fermenter for 3 to 5 days if we are bottling. Or to add it straight to the keg.

But this time we’re using dry fruit. And there are a few things to know about dry fruits. Its often preserved with sulfur dioxide to keep the color vibrant. It could impact the yeast activity and leave you with a potentially stalled fermentation. The best course is to try and find organic dried fruit.

Dried fruit is more concentrated in flavors and sugars. So you don’t have to use it a lot. We used about a half-pound.

This beer has a strong apricot flavor. It goes down smooth and it’s really refreshing. The color is nice golden orange with a haze we expect from wheat ales. The wheat malt we added gives it much more depth and flavor than just using the dry malt extract. The aroma is very strong on the apricot character.

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