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Old 01-21-2010, 07:11 PM   #11
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Steeping could be as quick and easy as putting the bag in the cold water and turning on the burner to start the boil. When the water hits 170F on the way to the boil remove the bag. That's enough to get what you need from the steeping grains. The way I steep the grain takes another 20 min but I'm not certain it's any more effective in extracting the flavors.

I toss the bags. I use the cheap muslin type bags.

Hop utilization will be effected by the gravity of the boil. I'd recommend using a program like beersmith to help figure you utilization.

I brew strictly extract and my brew day is about 3-4 hours including cleanup. Having 3 kids and several other hobbies keeps me from doing AG.
Wow. 3-4 hour brew day would be a life saver for me. I could get a lot more brewing done then.

You guys have convinced me. I'm going to try extract brewing again to see how much time I can save. I like the idea of taking the mash tun out of the equation. One less thing to clean. The time to heat strike water, drain to kettle, get to boil. That's half my brew day right there.
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Old 01-22-2010, 05:30 PM   #12
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My curiosity is piqued about this steeping the grains while bringing the boil up for the extract in a separate pot.

From my limited knowledge, there are 3 things that the steeped grains are supposed to be providing to the beer:

1 Flavor (duh)
2 Color
3 Body

It's the third that I'm a little concerned about with the method eluded to above. I tend to steep my grains in the full 5 gallons, mainly because I don't know the science behind the whole steeping thing.

Basically what I'm asking is, since I've always had body issues with my extract beers, would not steeping in the full 5 gallons have any affect from the amount of body the steeped grains provide in the finished beer?

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Old 01-22-2010, 05:37 PM   #13
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+1 on not understanding the difference between steeping and mashing. I've also heard about some specialty grains needing other grains to be present because they lack the enzymes for conversion. I need to find some info on this before I start converting recipes.

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Old 01-22-2010, 05:47 PM   #14
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My curiosity is piqued about this steeping the grains while bringing the boil up for the extract in a separate pot.

From my limited knowledge, there are 3 things that the steeped grains are supposed to be providing to the beer:

1 Flavor (duh)
2 Color
3 Body

It's the third that I'm a little concerned about with the method eluded to above. I tend to steep my grains in the full 5 gallons, mainly because I don't know the science behind the whole steeping thing.

Basically what I'm asking is, since I've always had body issues with my extract beers, would not steeping in the full 5 gallons have any affect from the amount of body the steeped grains provide in the finished beer?
Steeping with less water could be argued as a better method. Depending on how much grain your steeping you probably only really need 1-2 gallons for it to be effecting in extracting what you want from the grains. More water means more extraction. At some point you will be extracting bad things (husk) that could give the beer a astringent quality. This is particularly important with darker highly roasted grains. It's similar to an AG brewer over sparging.

With that said, many people (including myself) steep in 5 gallons and have no problems. In fact I sparge my grains with some extra water and still no problems with astringency

Problems with body have more to do with your recipe. Maybe your not steeping the right grains. Is the beer too thin or too thick?
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Old 01-22-2010, 05:47 PM   #15
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+1 on not understanding the difference between steeping and mashing. I've also heard about some specialty grains needing other grains to be present because they lack the enzymes for conversion. I need to find some info on this before I start converting recipes.
Well, there are two basic different types of grains. Specialty grains, and base grains.

The base grains have diastastic power and depend on enyzmes (made during the malting process) to convert their starches into fermentable sugars. For that to happen, conditions must be right. Temperature and pH are crucial. The reason you wouldn't mash in a full 5 gallons of liquid would be because it would screw up the pH. That's why a mash is in the 1-2 quarts of water per pound of grain area.

The other type of grains give color and flavor, but no fermentable sugars to speak of. They've already been processed. They will not convert in a steep, or a mash. These are malts like crystal (caramel) malts, for example. There are other specialty grains- some are roasted. But they all work basically the same way. In a steep (or in the mash with the other grains), they'll give tons of flavor, color, and aroma.

I recommend using at least some specialty grains in any extract brew. It provides flavor and complexity that extract alone just can't provide.
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Old 01-22-2010, 05:51 PM   #16
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+1 on not understanding the difference between steeping and mashing. I've also heard about some specialty grains needing other grains to be present because they lack the enzymes for conversion. I need to find some info on this before I start converting recipes.
Yeah steeping is not mashing so don't expect to get any fermentable sugars from it. The extract has all the fermentables you need. The steeping is only for color and flavor. You will get nothing from steeping base grains.
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Old 01-22-2010, 06:00 PM   #17
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I recommend using at least some specialty grains in any extract brew. It provides flavor and complexity that extract alone just can't provide.
I agree with everything you said

BUT

technically amber and dark extracts have some specialty grains included to provide the flavors and colors that you would get from the steeping. Amber and Dark extract is like getting the steeping without doing the steeping. BUT you have no control as to what was added. AND you have very little idea as to what was added. The mystery recipe of amber and dark malt extracts makes them a turn off for many brewers. This is why most folks like to use the light or pale or whatever they call it and make their own flavor recipe with steeping grains.

Another example of when you don't need steeping grains is a hefeweisen. You can make awesome hefe with no steeping. To a certain degree you could also make an fantastic triple or Belgian golden with no steeping. These beer derive so much flavor from the yeast that a complex malt character is not a plus.
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Old 01-28-2010, 12:54 AM   #18
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+1 on putting the kids to work!

I have 2 kiddies running around the house and the backyard and Boyscouts and gymnastics...you get the picture and they deff keep me busy. I hav'nt even tried AG yet, and dont know if I want to. Its just more equipment to buy. Plus I got into this hobby with with the idea that I could brew quality beer and save a few dollars. Maybe when I'm retired or hit the lottory ( not holding my breath! ) or something I'll have extra time on my hands.

The all Extract kits keep it simple enough for me and provide plenty of great drinking product to enjoy for a few weeks to come. Add in some steeping grains and its like the bonus round for your taste buds. I prefer more malt flavor over hops. Thats just me.

I have Northern Brewers Phat Tyre Ale in the secondary that uses .5 lb of Victory malt and .5 lb or Briess carmel 60 for steeping before the boiling of extracts. Like Yooper said It wont add fermentables but will give you flavor and color. The steeping is done on your way to a boil and Most of Northerns kits are 60 min boil time. All said this prob took about 2.5 hours from start to clean up. BTW this is a 3.0 gallon boil added to 2 gallons of clean water for a 5 gallon batch

Although I hav'nt tasted the final product, I'm sure it will be great.
I would have to say if your looking for simpicity and brew that will still impress.... Extract with some steeping grains is the way to go.

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Old 01-28-2010, 04:03 AM   #19
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I like the idea of steeping while getting the main amount of water to a boil. That would be a time saver!
yes, this seems like a good idea -- I might try it on my next batch.
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Old 09-24-2010, 12:28 PM   #20
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If you are in love with creating your own custom beers from using All-Grain, you might consider Brew in a Bag (BIAB). BIAB may not have the same efficiency of a batch-sparge, but it only uses your brew pot and it should be less than 10 bucks to make a bag big enough to fit your kettle. I would recommend this is your pot is at least 15 gallons for 5 gallon batches, because you will have all of your water and grainbill in the pot at one time. This method will save you on the end that I find to be my least favorite, cleaning up at the end (I've heard some save about an hour and a half on cleaning).

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