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Old 07-03-2009, 05:17 PM   #1
bakins
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Default Adding dark grains to sparge

I read somewhere and I can't remember where, that some folks add there darker grains to the sparge rather than to the mash. In effect, just steeping them. (I used search here, but didn't find anything terribly useful.) Anyone do this? I have extremely soft water, but like darker beers - and getting the water just right using salts can be a PITA.

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Old 07-11-2009, 02:43 PM   #2
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I too have very soft water and was wondering the same. The few darks I've brewed were too harsh IMO. Anyone care to share their experience/knowledge on this subject?

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Old 07-12-2009, 09:59 AM   #3
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I have never done that, and to correct any harshness I have found an additional week to month in primary/secondary cures all.

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Old 07-12-2009, 12:27 PM   #4
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I don't do, it, but Palmer mentions it in How to Brew:

How to Brew - By John Palmer - Things You Can Do Differently Next Time

Quote:
18.7 Things You Can Do Differently Next Time

The procedure is nearly the same for other styles of beer. If you are making a Stout or perhaps a mellow dark ale or lager, one thing you can do to take some of the bite out of the dark grains is to add them later in the mash. Add the Black Patent or Roasted Barley during the last 10 minutes before you sparge. This is one means of coping with soft water (low in carbonates) when making dark beers. Saving the acidic malts until the end will reduce their acidifying effect on the mash.
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Old 07-12-2009, 01:22 PM   #5
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JZ's mentioned it a couple times in articles as a general technique. IIRC, the last time was in one of his BYO Style articles on a stout sub category.

Personally, I've never had soft enough water to need to bother but I'd prb start treating my water first before trying to move grains into different parts of the mash/lauter process.

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Old 07-12-2009, 08:37 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies. I think I'm going to try the late-mash approach. This seems less likely to be detrimental vs. taking a stab at adding salts. My MO is to keep things simple and brew with the water I have. If this doesn't work, then I'll try gypsum on the next batch.

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Old 07-13-2009, 10:28 PM   #7
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I've done it, but not for soft water reasons. Rather I did it because you can extract color, but not much flavor. It can be good for getting 'red' SRM colors, while a full mash can push you too dark and into the 'brown' color range.

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Old 07-14-2009, 11:46 AM   #8
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One thing i've done to combat harshness (aside from substituting grains) is a cold steep the night before. Let the dark grains steep in room temp water overnight, then after the mash add the dark liquid to the boil. Very very smooth every time i've done it.

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Old 07-14-2009, 07:02 PM   #9
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cactusgarrett-

Were you still able to capture the roasty/chocolatey goodness using the cold steep?

I'm planning a porter using something like 1/4lb black patent and 1/2 chocolate or carafa.

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Old 07-31-2009, 01:39 PM   #10
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Resurrecting this:

My water is almost like distilled, so I always have to adjust it for darker beers. However, I've had mixed results. Should I just mash with some 5.2 without the really dark grains, then throw the dark grains into the sparge. Or possibly cold steep them? Just wondering do I need to do any water adjustments for them or just throw them in since I'm basically steeping them.

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