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Old 09-11-2008, 05:36 AM   #1
beerman77
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Default Steep or mash??

Confused as usual. I want to try my hand at making an Octoberfest so I got some Munich and Vienna malt (among others) planning to steep the grain. Using 0.5 lb and 0.25 lb respectively. I am new to all this and remember reading somewhere that munich and vienna malts have to be mashed and cannot be steeped. I asked the woman at the brew shop about it and she seems to think I can steep this stuff. So I am officially lost. I don't want to waste this grain and I dont have the equipment or know how to mash as of yet. Input?

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Old 09-11-2008, 06:04 AM   #2
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Vienna and Munich both do need to be mashed. However I have steeped both before with ok results. THe flavor addition is minimal and you get very very little body addition from the munich. I would suggest a really long steep in a muslin bag. Have the grain crushed, put it in a bag in 160 degree water. Check the temp every few minutes, you might have to kick the heat on for a minute or to. But you will get better results then just steeping with the grain uncrushed.

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Old 09-11-2008, 06:14 AM   #3
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Yep, if you steep for about an hour at around 150 - 152 degrees, you will have done a mash. The big difference between steeping and mashing is that in the latter case, you are being very careful about the temperature and length of time that you soak your grains in hot water. If you keep a fairly consistent temperature (say start at 154 F and don't let it drop to less than 148 F), you will facilitate the release of enzymes in the grain and the natural process of starch conversion to sugar. Fortunately for you, both Munich and Vienna are a good source of the diastatic enzymes needed in a mash (although not all specialty grains are).

An easy way to mash a small amount of grain is in your oven or on the stovetop. I prefer the former. Just heat your oven to about 200 F (or as low as it can go) while you are heating your water on the stove. Use about 1.3 quarts of water per pound of grain, and heat it to about 160 - 165 F. When you add the grain, it should drop to the mid 150's. At this point, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid to keep the heat in, turn OFF the oven, and stick the pot inside for an hour. The warmth of the oven will keep the mashing grains from cooling off too much, making the job simple.

At the end of the mash, you can rinse (sparge) the grains in a collander or grain bag (if you use one). Use water that is about 170 F (not more).

That's it. Most of this is similar to steeping, but you just have to pay more attention to temperature and the volume of water used, and you have to let the grains soak a bit longer. Hope that helps.

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Old 09-11-2008, 06:36 AM   #4
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for that small amount, keep the water amount low, and heat more water in a bigger pot to get your boil going. 2 quarts should be fine.

temperature is most important. you want it 150-155°F IMO. i wouldn't bother reheating it once you've got it in the low to mid 50s. mash (let it sit, covered) for 30 minutes or more, and then dispense your grains and add that sweet wort to your boil water

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Old 09-11-2008, 04:50 PM   #5
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Cool... this is all helpful. Only problem is I have specialty grains mixed in already with the munich and vienna... namely Caramuhich, honey gambrinus, and Crystal Malt 40L. All have been crushed. Would mashing these grains all together have any negative impact? If not, I'll mash away then! About the mash... I have a grain bag(s). Should I dump all the grain in the bag and then heat to 150ish, cover in pot, pop in stove on low for an hour, then sparge with hot water? Sorry if I sound clueless... this is all first time for me.

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Old 09-11-2008, 05:03 PM   #6
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All specialty grains can be mashed, without a problem.

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Old 09-11-2008, 05:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beerman77 View Post
Cool... this is all helpful. Only problem is I have specialty grains mixed in already with the munich and vienna... namely Caramuhich, honey gambrinus, and Crystal Malt 40L. All have been crushed. Would mashing these grains all together have any negative impact? If not, I'll mash away then! About the mash... I have a grain bag(s). Should I dump all the grain in the bag and then heat to 150ish, cover in pot, pop in stove on low for an hour, then sparge with hot water? Sorry if I sound clueless... this is all first time for me.
read the link in my sig on partial mash brewing. it may clear some things up.

basically, you have it right. heat your water to 160°F or so, dump all the grains in, and that should get your temp down to the low 150s.

then you could put it in the stove if you want or just leave on the stovetop for an hour or less, then rinse ("sparge") the grain bag with 175°F water using a colander or something.

add more water and start your boil.
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Old 09-11-2008, 05:43 PM   #8
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In addition to DeathBrewer's excellent tutorial, you'll also want to read BYO's Countertop Partial Mashing article. It covers a lot of the same territory but with a slightly different process.

Chad

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Old 09-11-2008, 10:10 PM   #9
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word. that was one of my references when starting that method out.

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Old 09-11-2008, 10:28 PM   #10
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Awesome... thanks DeathBrewer. Good stuff. I lack the large grain bag (I have two standard size bags) or a floating thermometer. I do have a clip on thermometer and the one that came with my turkey fryer that I use for brewing/boiling outdoors. I guess I can try splitting the approx. 2 lbs. of grain into the two bags and then just follow what you did. Hope it works!

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