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Old 07-08-2006, 09:08 PM   #1
mbreen01
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Default Steeping Grains vs. Required Mash

First off, I'm a extract with steeped grains brewer at this point. But I've seen that several grains "must" be mashed. (i.e. Munich malt, wheat, etc.) Does this mean that I can't use these grains with my brews? Typically the recipes that I have used have a 20-60 minute steep at 150* and then DME/LME is added at the start of the boil. My thought is the mash is required to allow enzymatic cleavage of complex sugars into fermentable sugars; however I thought that steeping grains really doesn't contribute much fermentables to the wort in the first place. So my thought is that all grains would be game for extract/steeped grain recipes...is this correct? So what does it mean for a grain to "require mashing"? And how would I transfer this over to my brewing if these grains really require a mash (keeping in mind that extract w/grains recipes typically have no more than 1-2 lbs of grains total)? Thanks for the help.

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Old 07-08-2006, 10:49 PM   #2
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Take a look at these threads.
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=8805
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=10214
You are correct that malts like 2-row and Munich must be mashed to break down the starches into sugars. Malts like Crystal and Chocolate do not require mashing because they have been converted in their malting/kilning process into unfermentable sugars, and roasted flavors. Color is also extracted from these grains. They can be steeped before the boil to extract the desirable components.

If you would like to use malts that must be mashed, take a look at the threads above. You can do partial mashes with these grains plus you can add some 2 row malt that can take the place of malt extract saving you some money. I've tried one batch using this method and it was very easy to do. The equipment needed cost me less than $25.00.
I think the step up to partial mashing improves the quality of the beer, allows you to use more grains, and will save money in the long run.

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Old 07-08-2006, 11:01 PM   #3
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Grains that require mashing will contribute flavors AND starches to the wort if you just steep them. Therein lies the problem.

If you are doing 60 minutes steeps, you can do mini-mashes. All you need is a bigger grain bag. Add a pound of 2-row for every pound of specialty grain. Then reduce the extract, pound for pound if you use LME, .75 pounds for DME. Or use something like promash to make the adjustments.

You don't have to sparge. You'll do better if you do, but it isn't necessary.

Remember, big bag and keep the grain loose.

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Old 09-21-2006, 10:34 PM   #4
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Is there any benefit to steeping Munich malt? I see recipe kits (for a Kolsch, for example) that have a pound of Munich for steeping. Will you just get the Munich malt flavor without the fermentable sugars? Or what?

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Old 09-21-2006, 10:41 PM   #5
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Munich Malt is one of the few specialty grains that has enough enzymes to convert itself. If you steep it at 150F for 60 minutes, it will provide both flavors and converted starches to the mash. It cannot convert other grains, though.

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Old 09-22-2006, 01:49 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by david_42
If you are doing 60 minutes steeps, you can do mini-mashes. All you need is a bigger grain bag. Add a pound of 2-row for every pound of specialty grain. Then reduce the extract, pound for pound if you use LME, .75 pounds for DME. Or use something like promash to make the adjustments.

You don't have to sparge. You'll do better if you do, but it isn't necessary.
Just an observation on that "pound for pound" point....

If you are not sparging, you'll extract much less sugar than a proper sparge would. I've seen it said that a simple steep will extract 40% of the available sugar. So, maybe a better substitution would be to drop 1/2 lb of extract for every 1 pound of malt.

agree? disagree?

just thinking outloud...

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Old 09-22-2006, 04:10 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by david_42
Munich Malt is one of the few specialty grains that has enough enzymes to convert itself. If you steep it at 150F for 60 minutes, it will provide both flavors and converted starches to the mash. It cannot convert other grains, though.
what happens if you just do the normal steep, for 30 mins? will it be enough to give the munich malt flavor, and color, like a "normal" specialty malt such as Crystal would?
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Old 09-22-2006, 04:21 AM   #8
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Old 09-22-2006, 01:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rcd
what happens if you just do the normal steep, for 30 mins? will it be enough to give the munich malt flavor, and color, like a "normal" specialty malt such as Crystal would?
If you only steep for 30 minutes it is very likely that you will not convert the starch in the grain into sugar. You will still get color and flavor and *some* sugar, but you will also get starch in the beer.

The starch will add to your gravity (both starting and finishing since it will just stay there) and the beer will be cloudy. It should still taste good, though.

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Old 09-22-2006, 02:36 PM   #10
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Um . . . if you are not doing partial mash, you should not be using those grains. If you want to use Munich Malt, why don't you find some Cara-Munich. You will get some of the characteristics of Munich Malt and all you need to do is steep it.

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