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-   -   What volume of water, temp, time, timing, to steep grains. (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f37/what-volume-water-temp-time-timing-steep-grains-51609/)

chione 01-17-2008 07:59 PM

What volume of water, temp, time, timing, to steep grains.
So I just started doing full 5 gallon boils and I am getting mixed info on how much water I should steep my specialty grains in. Some instructions state that grains should steep at 150*F for 30min in 2.5 gal then you should add more water and bring to boil. Others instructions donít say any thing. I even had one recipe that said steep the grains at 170*F. Also the CJOHB recommends adding the grains to cold water then heating the water until 150 or so. So I would like to take poll and see what others are doing

What temp do you steep?
How long do you steep?
What volume do you steep?
When do add the grains?

cheezydemon 01-17-2008 08:01 PM

The more water the better, but it is harder to control the temp of more water. The more diluted the goodness from the grains, the more they will give up.

Funkenjaeger 01-17-2008 08:15 PM

150F for 30 minutes sounds like a perfectly good rule of thumb. When steeping, there's not much science to it (unlike mashing) so it's not exactly critical. If the temperature is over about 170F, you can extract tannins from the husks - avoid this. Other than that, the higher the temperature, the better the solubility of sugars/etc, so as long as you can keep it somewhere in the range of 150-165F or so you should be fine. The other method of adding grains to cold water while it heats sounds fine too - just seems like an easy way to cut down on the time required, because you can count the time the water takes to heat as part/all of your steep time.

One point I'm not 100% sure on is the quantity of water. I seem to recall that you don't want to use too much water (for much the same reason you don't want to over-sparge when mashing) - if the solution is too dilute, the pH will be higher and you can be more likely to extract tannins. Someone more familiar with this can hopefully chime in, but personally, I would recommend steeping in 1-2 gallons (depending on how much grain you're steeping) and then topping off after you have removed the grains.

TexLaw 01-17-2008 08:24 PM

I have steeped 3.25# of grains in five gallons of 150-160F distilled water with good results (i.e., no detectable tannins). I don't know if that would work for everyone though, and tap water probably will be much more alkaline that distilled. Now, I also can't say if what I've done is a good practice. If you want to be safe, stick with the lower volumes.

I do not recommend steeping at temperatures higher than 160, though. As dilute as the steep is, you may very well be pushing the line for tannin extraction, and there's no good reason to risk it.

Thirty minutes also is a fine amount of time. That's what I do, and it's worked well.


TexLaw 01-17-2008 08:26 PM


Originally Posted by cheezydemon
The more water the better, but it is harder to control the temp of more water.

I've had just the opposite experience. Larger volumes heat and cool more slowly, so it's been quite easy to hit and keep the temperature I've wanted.


DeathBrewer 01-17-2008 08:35 PM

1.25-1.50 quarts per pound of grain. try to keep the temp at ~150F-160F for steeping.

TexLaw 01-17-2008 08:39 PM

You don't need to stick with mashing ratios for steeping. Enzyme activity is not an issue.


bluedragoon85 01-17-2008 08:41 PM

Looks like I'm pushing it when I steep my grains. What I do is place them in the water while it is heating up and then wait till the temp. reaches 170 degrees. Then I leave it their for 10 minutes at that same temp. I will try not to go any higher then 160 next time since that seems to be the better norm.

BTW. What is tannin extraction? (help a n00b out)

Beerthoven 01-17-2008 08:47 PM

I add my steeping grains to 1.5 - 2 gallons of 155ļ water and let them soak for 30-45 minutes or so. I don't sparge or rinse, I just swish the bag around several times during the soak and let it drip-drain into the pot when I'm done. I'm happy with my results.

bluedragoon85 01-17-2008 08:50 PM

Well, I hope I didn't ruin my brew. I brewed a London Porter yesterday and I steeped the specialty grains in 2.5 Gallons of water at the mentioned temp. and timing as mentioned previously.

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