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Old 03-27-2006, 04:20 PM   #1
uwmgdman
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Default Which grains to steep?

From what I've read, or from my understanding of what I've read (Palmer, as well as my LHBS catalog:
http://www.wineandhop.com/CatalogBeer/GrainSteep.shtml) the only grains that should be used for steeping are crystal and roasted malts, all others need to be mashed. I'm an extract/steeping grain brewer and I've been looking at receipies on the Recipator, and many have grains in the steeping list (Munich, Pale, etc. etc) that from my readings should only be mashed.

So what does steeping grains that are to be mashed do to a beer? Is something I should refrain from? Or is it no big deal? Any comments are appreciated.

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Old 03-27-2006, 04:26 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uwmgdman
From what I've read, or from my understanding of what I've read (Palmer, as well as my LHBS catalog:
http://www.wineandhop.com/CatalogBeer/GrainSteep.shtml) the only grains that should be used for steeping are crystal and roasted malts, all others need to be mashed. I'm an extract/steeping grain brewer and I've been looking at receipies on the Recipator, and many have grains in the steeping list (Munich, Pale, etc. etc) that from my readings should only be mashed.

So what does steeping grains that are to be mashed do to a beer? Is something I should refrain from? Or is it no big deal? Any comments are appreciated.
The key thing that is missing from Palmer's text is the important message that grains that need to be mashed only need to be mashed to get fermentables out of them. You can steep any grain you want, and it will add flavor/color to your beer no problem.

If you steep a grain that is supposed to be mashed (to get sugar), you will still get the flavor and color out of it, but you won't get an appreciable amount of fermentable sugar. So, if you are using a bunch of extract, you are getting fermentables from THAT, and the grain is negligible with respects to sugar contribution anyway.

You might get some starch in your beer that could make it cloudy (particularly when the beer is chilled), but you won't ruin the beer at all.

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Old 03-27-2006, 04:49 PM   #3
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Oh no . . . is this going to start that contentious debate aobut whether or not steeping base malts is actually a 'mash'???

You only need to steep specialty malts - not base malts as they are used for mashing (i.e. getting fermentables).

When I was an extract/specialty grain brewer, I used to do a simulated "mash" with my specialty grains. I realize that I obtained no fermentables out of the process, but I found it fun and a great practice for all-grain brewing. I took a tiny little cooler and built a very tiny little manifold. Instead of steeping those specialty grains, I "mashed" them and batch sparged to obtain my grain "tea" before adding extract.

It was fun . . . if not a bit nerdy, as the effect was no different than steeping those grains.

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Old 03-27-2006, 05:20 PM   #4
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If you are just doing an extract beer with some grani steep what ever you want. You arent really looking for the fermentables because you are getting them fromthe extracts. When you steep them you are basicly just after the color and flavors they give you.

If you are after the fermentables you could do a mini mash or if you're lazy like me just add a bit more extract or honey or something.

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Old 03-27-2006, 05:25 PM   #5
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You can always go the way of mini-mashing. Steep those "mash" grains at 150 degrees for twenty minutes or so before you go to the boil, removing the same prior to boil. Then steep the others after the boil.

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Old 03-27-2006, 05:53 PM   #6
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Steeping grains that are normally mashed can result in high finish gravities, cloudy ales due to dissolved starches. In small quantities, this isn't a problem.

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Old 03-27-2006, 06:23 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Imperial Walker
You might get some starch in your beer that could make it cloudy (particularly when the beer is chilled), but you won't ruin the beer at all.

-walker
I see, thanks for the replies guys. I take it this is why, when I see those 'mashing' grains in the steep list, I also see Irish Moss to be added so that cloudyness won't happen?
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Old 03-27-2006, 06:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uwmgdman
I see, thanks for the replies guys. I take it this is why, when I see those 'mashing' grains in the steep list, I also see Irish Moss to be added so that cloudyness won't happen?
Irish moss is added to any beer you want clear, but it coagulates with proteins, not with starch. If you get a starchy haze in your beer I'm not sure you can get rid of it, but I'm 95% sure Irish moss won't help.
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Old 03-27-2006, 06:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uwmgdman
I see, thanks for the replies guys. I take it this is why, when I see those 'mashing' grains in the steep list, I also see Irish Moss to be added so that cloudyness won't happen?
Yes, the irish moss helps with the haze, but it's not perfect.

The haze is purely cosmetic (no affect on the flavor), so I don't get bent out of shape about the cloudiness at all.

edit: BeeGee is correct. the moss won't help with starch haze... wasn't thinking at full capacity there...


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Old 03-27-2006, 06:35 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Imperial Walker
Yes, the irish moss helps with the haze, but it's not perfect.

The haze is purely cosmetic (no affect on the flavor), so I don't get bent out of shape about the cloudiness at all.

edit: BeeGee is correct. the moss won't help with starch haze... wasn't thinking at full capacity there...
I have steeped oven-toasted 2-row for color/flavor in an IPA with crystal. It gave a beautiful copper color and a nice subtle biscuit flavor that I really like, but that is the cloudiest beer I've ever made. I never made the connection until now, but that's probably why.
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