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Old 12-22-2012, 03:54 PM   #1
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Default Unlikely Steeping "Issue"

Hey All,

I did an extract Lite American Lager (recipe below) last night and came across an interesting non-issue. I use BeerSmith and it set the OG at 1.032, but when I measured OG after cooling the wort it showed 1.044. I measured it both with a refractometer and hydrometer and both showed the same 1.044 OG.

I steeped the grains in 3qts of water @ 152F for 30 minutes. The only grain in the bill with any diastatic power is the Vienna Malt (130 Lintner) and, using a weighted average, gives a total of 37 degrees Lintner, just enough for conversion to happen. The other variable I've already taken into account is the Agave Nectar which I've set at a 1.034 potential per a few separate sources I found doing research such as this blog post.

My issue then is that with a 12 point OG difference, this would mean that my steeping grains reached 75% efficiency (I used an online efficiency calculator that corresponded with my hand written calculations) versus the 15% efficiency that BeerSmith uses, which I find unlikely. Has anyone ever had this "problem" while steeping grains in an extract recipe or is there something else I'm missing? Your thoughts would be much appreciated. Happy Holidays!

Lite American Lager (numbers per BeerSmith)

Size: 3 gallons; 30 minute boil
OG: 1.032
FG: 1.008
IBU: 12
SRM: 2.9
ABV: 3.0%

Steeping Grains (3 quarts water @ 152F for 30 minutes)
4 oz Barley, Flaked
4 oz Vienna Malt
4 oz Wheat, Flaked, Soft Red
2 oz Rye, Flaked

Extract
2.5 lbs Briess Pilsen Light LME (30 minutes)
8 oz Agave Nectar (@ Flame Out)

Hops
0.25 oz Magnum (14% AA) @ 15 minutes

Yeast
1 pkg (11.5g) SafLager S-23

Other
1/2 tsp Irish Moss @ 30 minutes
3/4 tsp Yeast Nutrient

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Old 12-22-2012, 04:12 PM   #2
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75% efficiency is not really a "problem",this is about the norm for most brewers.Next time just set the efficiency on your calculator to 75% so you can adjust the recipe accordingly.

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Old 12-22-2012, 05:37 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by alane1 View Post
75% efficiency is not really a "problem",this is about the norm for most brewers.Next time just set the efficiency on your calculator to 75% so you can adjust the recipe accordingly.
I routinely get around 75% with All-Grain mashing, but I was surprised that while steeping for extract the efficiency was so high. I've read 15-30% for steeping is the norm and was curious if anyone else has found a 75% efficiency for steeping on occasion, more specifically when using malted grains that have some amount of diastatic power (as in the Vienna).
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Old 12-22-2012, 06:28 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by zzARzz View Post
I routinely get around 75% with All-Grain mashing, but I was surprised that while steeping for extract the efficiency was so high. I've read 15-30% for steeping is the norm and was curious if anyone else has found a 75% efficiency for steeping on occasion, more specifically when using malted grains that have some amount of diastatic power (as in the Vienna).
It actually was a partial mash, as the Vienna converted and apparently converted the other grains. (Vienna malt is a base malt, and does have a higher diastastic power than you used). Change it to partial mash in Beersmith, and you should be right in there.
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Old 12-22-2012, 09:09 PM   #5
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Ah, that is exactly what I was looking for. Thank you for teaching me something new . I was always curious what BeerSmith considered the difference between an Extract type and Partial Mash. So, just to be sure, it's best to use a partial mash type in an extract brew when including a malt with the ability to convert other specialty grains?

Thank you guys for the responses and I wish you and yours a great holiday.

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Old 12-22-2012, 10:12 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zzARzz View Post
Ah, that is exactly what I was looking for. Thank you for teaching me something new . I was always curious what BeerSmith considered the difference between an Extract type and Partial Mash. So, just to be sure, it's best to use a partial mash type in an extract brew when including a malt with the ability to convert other specialty grains?

Thank you guys for the responses and I wish you and yours a great holiday.
It does when you 'steep' at 152. A normal steep is done above amylase's ideal activity range, such as 165-170 degrees.
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Old 12-22-2012, 10:54 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by zzARzz View Post
Ah, that is exactly what I was looking for. Thank you for teaching me something new . I was always curious what BeerSmith considered the difference between an Extract type and Partial Mash. So, just to be sure, it's best to use a partial mash type in an extract brew when including a malt with the ability to convert other specialty grains?

Thank you guys for the responses and I wish you and yours a great holiday.
Yep, you got it! Some specialty malts are also base malts- like Munich malt, Vienna malt, amber malt, etc. If you use a prescribed amount of water at a prescribed temperature, and hold it for 45 minutes to an hour, it's a partial mash.
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Old 12-26-2012, 07:28 PM   #8
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It does when you 'steep' at 152. A normal steep is done above amylase's ideal activity range, such as 165-170 degrees.
Are you sure about that? Every time I steep it is in the 150-155° range. I thought normal steep temp was about where you would mash. Not that it matters as much as a mash temp.
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Old 12-26-2012, 07:39 PM   #9
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You can do cold steeps in cool water overnight, or you can do high temperature steeps. There are many ways to do it. If you steep grains in mash temperature ranges, then you will get some enzyme activity (if you have grains with diastatic power). After this happens, it isn't called an 'extract with steeping grains' recipe anymore--it becomes a partial or mini-mash.

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