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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Extract Brewing > Is there any substitute for rye malt?
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Old 03-20-2009, 02:09 AM   #1
GuitarBob
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Default Is there any substitute for rye malt?

I've been trying to convert a few all-grain recipes to extract, and according to BeerSmith you can't steep rye malt. So is there some sort of substitute for rye malt that I could use instead?

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Old 03-20-2009, 03:29 AM   #2
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No there isn't. Consider doing a mini-mash. It isn't that much more difficult than just steeping and it will allow you to use not only rye malt but a number of other ingredients that are out of the reach of basic extract brewing.

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Old 03-20-2009, 03:57 AM   #3
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Yah, I mini-mash on the stove-top with a kitchen size pot heated then wrapped in towels and boil outside on a turkey fryer. The "sparge" is through a big a$$ strainer that I got at the GFS Marketplace. I've been successful with three lbs. of grain but I think that four would be possible on eggshells.

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Old 03-20-2009, 05:16 AM   #4
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Ok I read the how to do a partial mash thread and I think I got the idea. Basically I steep the grains in a pot of water for 30-60 minutes while maintaining a temperture of 150-160F. After this I remove the bag with the grains, add them to a different pot of water and then steep them has normal.

I'm assuming the first steeping is to remove some nasty taste out the grains, and to make them easier for steeping.

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Old 03-20-2009, 07:08 AM   #5
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Well a mash converts the starches to sugars, after grain has been mashed and sparged there is no benefit of steeping them after that, unless you like the flavor of tanins. Usually a partial mash you would mash your specialty grains(rye malt, caramel malt, roasted barley...etc etc etc) together, maybe use 3 pounds of grain and 3-4.5 litres of water for your mash, after it is mashed you can sparge with X amount of water untill all the sugars you can get have been extracted. You now have a couple gallons of wort from your grains.

So say you were doing a 5 gal. batch and you got 2 gallons of wort from your partial mash, you would then add that to 3 gallons of water and add malt extract to get you to your desired gravity. Then you would boil as normal.

If you don't have room for all the specialty grains you need you could mash only the crucial ones such as rye malt and steep your others sepratley.

I have never done a PM only extract and all grain and im an expert at neither so I might be blowing smoke, but someone else will explain further I am sure.

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Old 03-20-2009, 06:07 PM   #6
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Ok I read the how to do a partial mash thread and I think I got the idea. Basically I steep the grains in a pot of water for 30-60 minutes while maintaining a temperture of 150-160F. After this I remove the bag with the grains, add them to a different pot of water and then steep them has normal.

I'm assuming the first steeping is to remove some nasty taste out the grains, and to make them easier for steeping.
Not quite. Mashing is fundamentally pretty simple:
  • Mix grains with a carefully measured amount of warm water
  • Let them sit at a carefully controlled temperature for a specific amount of time
  • Drain off the water
  • Rinse the grains with more water to get all the goodness out of them (this part is called 'sparging')

There are many variations of exactly how you manage this process, different ways to rinse the grains, etc, but there should only be one lengthy period where the grains are sitting in water being mashed, followed by a rinse at the end.

Much complexity comes from varying how long the grains are mashed, and at what temperature. To start off with, aim for somewhere around 152 degrees, and let them sit for an hour. You will see people varying the temperature and time to get different characteristics in the resulting wort, and sometimes doing more complex things like changing the temperature several times over the course of the mash.
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Old 03-20-2009, 06:12 PM   #7
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I've used a 2 gallon for small partial mashes before, you can mash up to 4 pounds of grain in a 2 gallon un modified cooler.

I put a folding steamer in the bottom to lift the grain above the drain spigot. The I rubberband a large grain bad inside to set the grain in.



One of these.



(unscrew or break off the center post)

Using the strainer lifts the grainbag above the level of the spigot and prevent stuck sparges.

A piece of hose with a small slit can be wedged to drain the cooler.



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Old 03-20-2009, 06:34 PM   #8
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Ok so I let the grains sit in water at 152F for about 60 minutes then I dump this water, and rinse the bag full of grains into a new pot and the run-off becomes the start of my wort?

Or instead of dumping the old water do I rinse the grains with that water into a different pot?

I'm sure this seems more difficult then it really is. If I still don't have it just explain the key differences between a mini-mash and steeping I'm sure it will click then.

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Old 03-20-2009, 06:58 PM   #9
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Don't dump the water! You want all the water you run off from the grains - that's your wort!

The goal (after you are done steeping the grains) is to get as much of the goodness out of them as possible. A lot of the sugars are in the water that you mashed them in, so you start by taking that water. But other sugars will still be clinging to the grains, so to get as much as possible, you rinse the grains with more water to extract every last bit.

The main difference between a mini-mash versus steeping is in the chemistry of what you are actually doing to the grain.

When you steep, you are using grains like crystal that already contain sugars, so you are just trying to dissolve those sugars into water.

When you mash, you are using base malt grains that contain starch and enzymes. You must wait for the enzmes to convert the starch into sugar, then (just like a steep) get these sugars dissolved into water.

In both cases you mix grains + warm water, wait a while, then use the resulting wort to make beer. But when you mash, a far more complicated process is going on during the waiting part. Because this process is more complex, it is also more fragile. If you get it too hot, or too cold, or have too much water, the enzyme reaction will not work properly.

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Old 03-20-2009, 07:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GuitarBob View Post
Ok so I let the grains sit in water at 152F for about 60 minutes then I dump this water, and rinse the bag full of grains into a new pot and the run-off becomes the start of my wort?

Or instead of dumping the old water do I rinse the grains with that water into a different pot?

I'm sure this seems more difficult then it really is. If I still don't have it just explain the key differences between a mini-mash and steeping I'm sure it will click then.
The first water goes into the brew pot.

Rinse with fresh warm water and that goes into the brew pot.

Top up with more water to get your desired boil volume and add your extract per your normal procedure.

Edit: Shawn beat me to it, and with a much better explanation.
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