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-   -   Steeping specialty grains (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f37/steeping-specialty-grains-86167/)

Bach7210 10-28-2008 05:01 PM

Steeping specialty grains
In my pursuit of improving my brews, I ran across this table and discovered something that I have not read before.

Troubleshooting Chart - Brew Your Own (BYO), the How-To Homebrew Beer Magazine

Looking at the 3rd problem listed (puckering, tea-like quality; astringency) in the left hand column, it states the following when extract brewing "steeped grains in too much water (over 3 quarts water per pound of grain)". Is this a major concern? Is there a chart or reference table that lists how much water you should use in relation to how many pounds used when steeping grains? I know you shouldn't steep above 170 deg F, but I've never seen this no more than 3 qts per pound directive.

Grinder12000 10-28-2008 05:14 PM


I know you shouldn't steep above 150 deg F
????? what????? is this a typo? Must be! 170 you mean?

Bach7210 10-28-2008 05:30 PM

It was a typo, thanks; I'll go back and change it. Any thoughts on the 1lb/3qt question?

pfgonzo 10-28-2008 05:54 PM

Quoted from John Palmer in his chapter on steeping specialty grains:


"Water chemistry also plays a role in tanin extraction. Steeping the heavily roasted malts in low alkalinity water (i.e., low bicarbonate levels) will produce conditions that are too acidic, and harsh flavors will result. Likewise, steeping the lightest crystal malts in highly alkaline water could produce conditions that are too alkaline, and tanin extraction would be a problem again. For best results, the ratio of steeping water to grain should be less than one gallon per pound."
One gallon is four quarts, so using only three quarts of water per pound of specialty grain seems a safe way to prevent tanin extraction. I have no idea what happens if you use 5 quarts or 10 quarts. In other words, I don't know when tanin extraction occurs, when it becomes noticeable, nor at what rate.

joe6pack 10-28-2008 06:54 PM

Dang. First I've heard of this problem. My last batch I steeped .375 pound in 3 gallons of water. Doh!

WheeledGoat 10-28-2008 07:04 PM

+1 on the Dang.

I've been doing some PM's, moving toward AG - but this weekend I wanted to chill with my Dad who's in from out of town, and just went for a simple extract brew so we could hang out and talk instead of fretting over procedures I'm not familiar with... I steeped 2lb of grain in my full 5 gallons of water.

Thanks for posting! (I guess...) :mad:

Grinder12000 10-28-2008 07:08 PM

YUP just read that for best results the ratio should be LESS then one gallon of water per pound of grain.

The problem is with PH and tannen extraction .

You Extract guys should look into mini mashing - it's pretty easy - NOT that there is anything wrong with Extract. Just a guy that was an extract and now Mini masher.

DuckAssassin 10-28-2008 08:14 PM

Check this out.


I was concerned about the same thing, but I was reassured that things would be ok. I just put this beer in the bottle last night, but a taste of the hydrometer sample proved to be ok. Tasted a lot like flat beer, but not bad at all.

Tripod 10-28-2008 08:29 PM

Thanks for posting this.

I was unaware that I need to be watching the grain-to-water ratio during steeping. I steeped my grains for the last batch (a red ale...) in about 4 gallons of water and was uber-careful not to exceed 170*F. My samples have been ok but just the tiniest micro-hint of tannens. I thought that maybe I steeped at 171*F or something equally slight but too much water would also explain it.

I'll try to steep in the correct ratio next time and see if that improves things...


Bach7210 10-28-2008 08:35 PM

Thanks for the info, guys. I typically steep in around 2-3 gallons of water for 30 minutes and use that time to prep and sanitize other items; only coming around to the brew pot to play with the grain bag every few minutes. (I do tie the bag to a handle and do not allow it to rest on the bottom of the kettle).

I think on mynext brew day I may try just 3qt of water and see how that method turns out.

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