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Old 07-08-2011, 09:05 PM   #1
LongDogBrew
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Default Steeping Grains Without Using Muslin Grain Bag?

When I brewed my last batch of beer (Oatmeal Stout), I felt like I left behind a lot of the goodness from the grains, even though I sparged them.
On my next batch of beer with specialty grains, I was thinking of steeping them in a separate pot without using a grain bag; then pouring them through a strainer into my boil pot.
Is there any benefits or disadvantages to doing it this way?
Thanks

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Old 07-08-2011, 09:16 PM   #2
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There's not really an advantage to not using a grain bag. When you steep you aren't really getting a lot out of the grains to begin with outside of a little color and added flavor. As long as you are making sure to wet all of the grains in the bag, you aren't losing out on anything.

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Old 07-08-2011, 09:33 PM   #3
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Rather than the muslin "gym sock" bag, which holds the grain very tightly, try using a 5 gallon nylon paint straining bag (from Lowes). They're reusable and don't hold the grain tightly.

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Old 07-08-2011, 09:34 PM   #4
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+1 on the 5 gallon paint strainer. I got mine from the local hardware place for 2 for $5
I use them for all-grain BIAB, so they will work perfectly fine for steeping

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Old 07-08-2011, 10:02 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Damage View Post
Rather than the muslin "gym sock" bag, which holds the grain very tightly, try using a 5 gallon nylon paint straining bag (from Lowes). They're reusable and don't hold the grain tightly.
Ah, excellent suggestion. Thanks!
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Old 07-10-2011, 12:19 PM   #6
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I started using my spoon to loosen up the grain bag by putting the spoon under the bag and letting the grains droop over the spoon. Then I'll dunk it a couple times and repeat then let it stew for awhile and repeat again. It seems to get more stuff out when I dunk it again I see lots more grain dust or whatever it is come out.

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Old 07-10-2011, 12:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
I started using my spoon to loosen up the grain bag by putting the spoon under the bag and letting the grains droop over the spoon. Then I'll dunk it a couple times and repeat then let it stew for awhile and repeat again. It seems to get more stuff out when I dunk it again I see lots more grain dust or whatever it is come out.
Careful, around here talk like that tends to get people crying "DON'T DO THAT!! You might get a tannin!"
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Old 07-10-2011, 03:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JJL View Post
There's not really an advantage to not using a grain bag. When you steep you aren't really getting a lot out of the grains to begin with outside of a little color and added flavor. As long as you are making sure to wet all of the grains in the bag, you aren't losing out on anything.
Depending on the grain, you can get a lot out of the grain from steeping. Crystal contributes about 20 points per lb from steeping. It is mostly unfermentable sugars that help with flavor and body.

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Careful, around here talk like that tends to get people crying "DON'T DO THAT!! You might get a tannin!"
If the grain is crushed correctly, most of the dust is from the inside of the grain that does not contribute to tannin. A small amount of the husk in the boil does no real harm. Provided the bulk of the grain is removed by 170 F, it will not contribute to tannins.

It wasn't too long ago that recommended procedures for extract brews was to keep the grain in the boil (Reference: Dave Line, Brewing Beers Like Those You Buy, 1970s). We wouldn't do that now, but I'm sure it produced some decent beers.
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Old 07-10-2011, 05:24 PM   #9
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I was referring to the long and recurring Don't-Squeeze-The-Steeping-Bag debate. It was too early in the morning for me to remember to put the requisite "/sarcasm" tag.

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Old 07-12-2011, 10:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Damage View Post
Rather than the muslin "gym sock" bag, which holds the grain very tightly, try using a 5 gallon nylon paint straining bag (from Lowes). They're reusable and don't hold the grain tightly.
Using this method instead of a grain bag, is there the possibility of it adding more tannic flavoring due to the steeping grains not being confined in the grain bag?
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