So I made the Northern Brewer Black IPA extract kit this weekend.
I planned to follow their directions on steeping the speciality grains, which suggest putting the grains in before you apply heat and leaving them in until you hit 170 degrees. I do a full boil, so was using 6.25 gallons of water rather than the 2.5 gallons called for in the recipe. (I realize people often suggest bringing the temp to ~ 155, killing the heat, and letting the grains steep for ~ 30 mins before removing, but I didn't have time to do that this go-round).
Anyway, I got distracted and did not pull the specialty grains out until 179 degrees (which I would estimate means they were in for 20 mins as the temp got up to 170, and then another 4-5 mins as the temp rose from 170 to 179). I have read the primary concern with steeping at high temps is extracting tanins and resultant bitterness, but also saw somewhere that tanin extraction happens primarially above 180 degrees.
Any thoughts on how much damage I've done to my beer? I'm sort of hoping any extra bitterness will slip by undetected under the 6 ozs of hops, but would love to hear any experiences or informed speculation while I wait for fermentation to wrap up. No need for concern that I'm thinking of dumping it or anything -- I've got RDWHAHB covered and I'll drink it unless I somehow made varnish, just interested to hear any thoughts on how this might impact my final product.