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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Treatment of Roasted Grain: What's Your Preference?
View Poll Results: How do you prefer to treat your roasted grains?
Mash them with everything else, nothing special 39 86.67%
Cold steep them and add the liquor to boil kettle 1 2.22%
Add them to the mash 10-20 minutes before sparge 5 11.11%
Steep them in hot wort after sparge and before boil 0 0%
Voters: 45. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 01-29-2013, 03:19 PM   #11
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It helps to know your local water profile. If your water company can't/won't provide the info you need, you can mail a sample to Ward Labs. However, many water companies use multiple water sources, so the info you get may shift seasonally, part of why many people use RO water as a blank slate. I can't offer too much info on the specifics, but Martin can:
https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/water-knowledge

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Old 01-29-2013, 04:43 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingwood-kid View Post
A little baking soda can go a long way to raise the pH. I added about 1g/gallon on my Courage 1914 Imperial clone, and despite a 2.75g batch containing a full pound of black patent, it was not remotely harsh.
Well my preference is to avoid pushing the pH down excessively with one ingredient, only to then have to push it back up with another. Since my water is fairly low in alkalinity I'd rather go with a non-alkaline (and more predictable) grain bill and then add the roastiness later. I know it can be done, and I'm just looking for the best among the various available options.
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Old 01-30-2013, 04:38 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ResumeMan

Well my preference is to avoid pushing the pH down excessively with one ingredient, only to then have to push it back up with another. Since my water is fairly low in alkalinity I'd rather go with a non-alkaline (and more predictable) grain bill and then add the roastiness later. I know it can be done, and I'm just looking for the best among the various available options.
We are in the same boat, pal. I have a friend from my club who swears by cold steeping over night, the adding the liquor to the last 15 minutes of the boil. His process is a bit of work involving a French press, coffee filters, etc. Hmph.
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Old 01-30-2013, 05:11 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brulosopher View Post
This reminds me of something else. Being relatively new to water manipulation, I'm wondering if someone could provide the impact of different stuff on the wort pH (and other areas), particularly:

Roasted grain
Phosphoric/citric/lactic acid
Acidulated malt
Gypsum
Calcium Chloride
Baking Soda
Other stuff?

Also, feel free to go into details about when you would use the aforementioned stuff, i.e. beer types, water types, etc.

Cheers!
Here's a massive simplification:

Roasted grain: -mash pH
Phosphoric/citric/lactic acid: -mash pH
Acidulated malt: -mash pH
Gypsum: -mash pH +sulfate (enhances hop bitterness)
Calcium Chloride: -mash pH +chloride (enhances malt sweetness)
Baking Soda: +mash pH +sodium

Pale beers often require additions to lower the mash pH, while very dark beers often require additions to raise the mash pH, because the roasted grains add acidity. All this depends on the makeup of your brewing water.

Feel free to correct me if I got anything wrong; I'm still figuring this out myself.
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Old 01-30-2013, 01:39 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gavagai

Here's a massive simplification:

Roasted grain: -mash pH
Phosphoric/citric/lactic acid: -mash pH
Acidulated malt: -mash pH
Gypsum: -mash pH +sulfate (enhances hop bitterness)
Calcium Chloride: -mash pH +chloride (enhances malt sweetness)
Baking Soda: +mash pH +sodium

Pale beers often require additions to lower the mash pH, while very dark beers often require additions to raise the mash pH, because the roasted grains add acidity. All this depends on the makeup of your brewing water.

Feel free to correct me if I got anything wrong; I'm still figuring this out myself.
Thanks! I've got pretty soft water, almost RO I quality, so...
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Old 01-30-2013, 01:48 PM   #16
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Quote:
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Everybody in the pool. Honestly, while this topic seems to get repeated play here and at other forums I don't get it. I've never encountered any problem that would require the removal and separate steeping of roasted grains from the grist bill.
I'm with Ed. I've read a lot about separating the dark grains from the mash, but I don't know anyone who actually does it. Of course, I don't make many stouts and the ones I do, I "know" how to get what I want out of the recipes I"m familiar with.

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Originally Posted by Brulosopher View Post
All great responses, thanks! I'm wondering what the difference would be if I didn't change my technique, but hardened my water?
In short, you may need alkalinity and not "hardening" because the issue may be pH.

My tap water makes a great stout. It's the only beer I make without diluting the water or adding anything, due to the alkalinity of my water. For most other beers, I use RO water to dilute my tap water (or sometimes, use 100% RO water).

Sparging with 100% RO water works great, and lowers the risk of astrigency in the finished beer, but sometimes some adjustments are needed to the mash and/or boil kettle when using RO water.
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Old 01-30-2013, 02:15 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooper
In short, you may need alkalinity and not "hardening" because the issue may be pH.
My water pH is 8.1, usually right at 5.2 during mash on pale beers
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Old 01-30-2013, 02:20 PM   #18
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I cold steep, the difference is night and day, a lot more chocolate notes vs roastiness.

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Old 01-30-2013, 08:09 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brulosopher View Post
My water pH is 8.1, usually right at 5.2 during mash on pale beers
What you really want to know for mash pH is alkalinity, not water pH. Then you can head on over to Brunwater or EZWater Calculator (there's lots of threads in the science forum), plug in your grain bill and it will estimate your mash pH. The authors of those spreadsheets caution that it's a model, and in the real world the results may differ some, but it should get you in the ballpark.
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Old 01-31-2013, 04:35 PM   #20
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I'm relatively new to AG, and I'll be brewing a Nut Brown Ale this next week. I'm considering doing the cold steep method for my chocolate malt, then add that to my strike water, mostly for its PH attributes in the mash. Has anyone had any experience adding a cold steep to the mash, or know of a reason why that would be a good/bad idea?

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