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Old 02-04-2010, 08:27 PM   #1
IPA4ME
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Default Steeping Specialty Grains Separate from the Mash? (AG)

I was wondering if anyone steeps there specialty grains (i.e. Crystal Malts) separate from their mash? I am making a 5.5 gallon AG IPA that uses 14.25 pounds of grain. Of the 14.25 pounds of grain, only a ½ pound (8oz) is Crystal 15L.

Since there is no enzyme activity taking place to convert these grain starches to sugars, would I get better utilization/extraction of these sugars if I steeped them separate from the mash?

Right now I batch sparge with 70qt. Coleman Cooler and stainless steel braid and only get about 65% efficiency. For some reason I am thinking that my 8oz of specialty grains are getting lost or better yet, not getting used to their full potential when mashed with 13+ pounds of grain.

Any thoughts on this subject? Any pros or cons of steeping specialty grains separate from mash? Maybe I am just over thinking this subject…

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Old 02-04-2010, 09:31 PM   #2
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I don't, and wouldn't.
Hell, try it...
The grist IMO is meant to mash as one. If your following a recipe and you get + or - utilization from 1 component, you've thrown off the recipe.

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Old 02-04-2010, 09:45 PM   #3
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I don't, and wouldn't.
Hell, try it...
The grist IMO is meant to mash as one. If your following a recipe and you get + or - utilization from 1 component, you've thrown off the recipe.
True, I never really thought about it like that.

The only thing that got me thinking about this is, when I look at the left over wort in the tun, I know there is still some sugar left behind and since the crystal malt is only 4% of the total mash bill, I wonder how much of the crystal is left behind.

I don’t really have time to do two batches side by side for comparison so that’s out of the question.

I am just going to continue to mash all my grains together for now.
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Old 02-04-2010, 09:51 PM   #4
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If you want to get more utilization out of your grain, you might want to try mashing longer or grinding at a tighter setting.

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Old 02-04-2010, 10:05 PM   #5
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If you want to get more utilization out of your grain, you might want to try mashing longer or grinding at a tighter setting.
It wasn't about getting better utilization as a whole, it was more about making sure I was actually picking up all of the sugars from the 8oz of specialty grains.

Thanks for the tips though. I recently bought a mill so I will be crushing my own grains starting this weekend. I also plan on buliding a manifold for my tun.
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Old 02-04-2010, 10:19 PM   #6
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If you want to get any sugar from the Crystal, it has to go into the mash. It has no diastatic power left, due to the way it is made. Mashing will get all the colour and flavor out of them too. Of course, in half a pound of grain, the fermentables are only going to be 5 % or so of your total. How badly do you want those 12 or so points?

If you steep, all you will get is the color and flavor: no fermentables.

Note also that the liquor left in the mash tun is going to be a small percentage of the overall wort you collected. If you sparged well, then there will not be very much sugar or color left in it. [If you oversparge, you can start extracting bitter flavours anyway.] So don't worry about "losing" your color that way. If you steep, some color will still be with the grains, and so then you'll still have to sparge them anyway.

On balance, just throwing them in one big mash seems simplest. If you are worried that your beer is going to be too pale, then just add more crystal!



ETA - your recipe is based on the overall % efficiency you get. So if you have 70% brewhouse efficiency, that is going to be for the crystal and the base malt. Mashing them together means you are going to get the same % of each in the final wort. Steeping separately means you might unbalance your carefully constructed recipe...

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Old 02-04-2010, 10:30 PM   #7
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If you want to get any sugar from the Crystal, it has to go into the mash. It has no diastatic power left, due to the way it is made. Mashing will get all the colour and flavor out of them too. Of course, in half a pound of grain, the fermentables are only going to be 5 % or so of your total. How badly do you want those 12 or so points?

If you steep, all you will get is the color and flavor: no fermentables.

Note also that the liquor left in the mash tun is going to be a small percentage of the overall wort you collected. If you sparged well, then there will not be very much sugar or color left in it. [If you oversparge, you can start extracting bitter flavours anyway.] So don't worry about "losing" your color that way. If you steep, some color will still be with the grains, and so then you'll still have to sparge them anyway.

On balance, just throwing them in one big mash seems simplest. If you are worried that your beer is going to be too pale, then just add more crystal!



ETA - your recipe is based on the overall % efficiency you get. So if you have 70% brewhouse efficiency, that is going to be for the crystal and the base malt. Mashing them together means you are going to get the same % of each in the final wort. Steeping separately means you might unbalance your carefully constructed recipe...

That makes sense. I think I was just over thinking this whole process.

Thanks!
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Old 02-05-2010, 01:54 PM   #8
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my opinion is it doesn't matter crystal doesn't have to be mashed but its more convenient to throw it in the mash. You'll be fine either way

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Old 10-18-2012, 03:24 AM   #9
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What if in designing a recipe you're at the upper limit of your acceptable OG and FG, but still short a significant number of SRM?

Doesn't it make sense to, say, decide to steep some of the higher-L malt so as _not_ to get fermentable sugar -- and maybe even to steep a few more ounces of some Midnight or something in there, just to bump up the color a few more points without affecting fermentables and mouthfeel?

Or: I could see doing the processes separately to really fine-tune attributes of a brew.

Does this stand to reason?

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Old 10-18-2012, 03:50 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by IPA4ME View Post
I was wondering if anyone steeps there specialty grains (i.e. Crystal Malts) separate from their mash? I am making a 5.5 gallon AG IPA that uses 14.25 pounds of grain. Of the 14.25 pounds of grain, only a ½ pound (8oz) is Crystal 15L.

Since there is no enzyme activity taking place to convert these grain starches to sugars, would I get better utilization/extraction of these sugars if I steeped them separate from the mash?

Right now I batch sparge with 70qt. Coleman Cooler and stainless steel braid and only get about 65% efficiency. For some reason I am thinking that my 8oz of specialty grains are getting lost or better yet, not getting used to their full potential when mashed with 13+ pounds of grain.

Any thoughts on this subject? Any pros or cons of steeping specialty grains separate from mash? Maybe I am just over thinking this subject…
I steep seperately. I listened to a presentation by Gordon Strong that supports keeping them seperate. It was a great presentation and since we don't have the constraints of the big guys we can do it. You're after color and flavor...he equates it to making tea and compares it to over steeping your tea...harsher flavors basically.
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