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Old 09-10-2009, 12:10 AM   #1
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Default Specialty grains, steeped in full boil?!

Well, I really f$!@ed up the other day, and just realized what I did...

I had a Brewer's Best Bold Series Nut Brown Ale kit sitting for a month, begging me to brew it. I got the itch, and broke out the supplies, cleaned up, and fired up the turkey fryer.

In my haste to set up, I made a stupid mistake: I steeped the grains at 154 in A FULL SIX GALLON BOIL in my 40qt kettle! ARGH!!!

So, how bad is it? I know I got color out of it, and I smelled it (4oz 60L, 4oz chocolate malt, and 2oz black patent malt). OG was a bit higher than the kit suggested (kit: 1.063, me: 1.070).

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Old 09-10-2009, 12:46 AM   #2
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Did you take them out before the boil? If so, I think you should be OK. How did it taste?

-Steve

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Old 09-10-2009, 01:12 AM   #3
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Yep, pulled them out before cranking the heat up. Tasted OK, forgot about that! 48 hours now with no increase in heat or bubbling, but I'm going to be patient. I did strain this batch completely, too.

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Old 09-10-2009, 02:37 AM   #4
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OK, I don't get it.

You steeped the grains at 154, then pulled them out and then boiled?

Isn't that what you're SUPPOSED to do?

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Old 09-10-2009, 02:52 AM   #5
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There can be problems with too much water for steeping if the pH of the water is high. You can get tannins. Most places, though, you don't have to worry. With that little amount of grain, not likely to be a problem, either. If you've got tannins, it would be obvious.

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Old 09-10-2009, 02:57 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by david_42 View Post
There can be problems with too much water for steeping if the pH of the water is high. You can get tannins. Most places, though, you don't have to worry. With that little amount of grain, not likely to be a problem, either. If you've got tannins, it would be obvious.
Shoot, really? I've always steeped in 6 gallons of water....what's the pH limit?
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Old 09-10-2009, 11:45 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by david_42 View Post
There can be problems with too much water for steeping if the pH of the water is high. You can get tannins. Most places, though, you don't have to worry. With that little amount of grain, not likely to be a problem, either. If you've got tannins, it would be obvious.
I have not taken the time to send in samples of my two types of water yet (hard from a well 140' down through granite, clay and sand near a river, and the same water softened with pellets). I did, however, use my aquarium testing kit to approximate the pH at about 7.2... Should I be correcting for that level?

EDIT: Forgot to mention, my batches have only been using straight well water (hard).
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Last edited by torque2k; 09-10-2009 at 11:47 AM. Reason: Which water was used.
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Old 09-10-2009, 12:31 PM   #8
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Can you use the aquarium pH testing kit to test the pH of your mash? That's the important thing. I have very high pH here- 8.2! But my mash pH is usually only a little high and comes down with darker grains very easily.

If your water is already neutral, it's probably fine during the mash.

Ideally, the mash should be in the 5.2-5.6 pH area. There are ways to calculate it, if you can't check the pH, like with Palmer's nomograph. How to Brew - By John Palmer - Residual Alkalinity and Mash pH

Using a smaller amount of water is really only important for partial mashing, not steeping, but as David_42 said, you could get some tannins in some cases but probably not. If you're using 6 gallons for your steep with good results, then no need to change it.

In my case, with my alkaline water, I'd start with 1.5 quarts of water per pound of grain, and use that for my mash/steep water. Then, I'd add water after I removed the grains to get me to my boil voilume.

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Old 09-11-2009, 03:11 AM   #9
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Quote:
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In my case, with my alkaline water, I'd start with 1.5 quarts of water per pound of grain, and use that for my mash/steep water. Then, I'd add water after I removed the grains to get me to my boil voilume.
Yep, that's about what I'd normally do, but I just completely flaked on this batch.

I'm going to do a pre-boil-to-pitching checklist on a whiteboard so I can just check stuff off. I think I've got a good list so far: cleaning, sanitizing, drinking, setting up, measuring initial water, heating, steeping, drinking, measuring water addition, boiling, drinking, adding ingredients, immersion cooler in boil, nutrient addition, drinking, cooling, straining, aerating, sampling, OG measuring, pitching, capping, venting, drinking. Did I forget anything?
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Old 09-11-2009, 05:15 AM   #10
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I'm thinking that as mistakes go, this one is pretty trivial. Maybe brewers with more experience have a different take. But I wouldn't be too worried.

Mashing and steeping are two different critters, right?

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