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Old 03-13-2009, 02:45 AM   #1
ABushman
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Default Beginning grain steeping methods

Hello everybody.
I have a question about steeping my grains prior to the main boil. Keep in mind that I am a newb, and have only made about a half-dozen 5 gallon batches of beer so far, all using a variety of dry extracts and different specialty grains. But, I’ve been reading recipes and thinking about making a bunch of different varieties of beer, but I keep returning to the same realization – “that’s not how I’ve been doing it!” I know there are a hundred ways to do many things, and often times many of them are right. But I was just wondering if there was a reason for the way most people seem to steep their grain for the boil. Most of the recipes that I see state to steep X-lbs of grain in X-gallons of water at X-temperature for X-minutes. (Sorry for the quadruple-X post; one worse than triple-X!).
Anyway, in all of my recipes, I’ve added my grains to the full boil volume of cold water (6 gallons) and steeped while heating until the water reached 165 degrees f, then removed the grain and waited for a full boil before adding my malt. Is there a reason not to do it this way – am I just not achieving a particular level of control that I could be using the other method?
Any comments and/or suggestions appreciated!
Allen

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Old 03-13-2009, 02:58 AM   #2
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You're doing it right. The only thing you might want to do is let those specialty grains steep at like 155 degrees for 20 or 30 minutes before taking them out and proceeding to boil.

It sounds like the posts you are referring to are describing all-grain or partial-mash procedures. When you are mashing base malts (non-specialty grains) you need proper weight to water ratios and specific temps. Your malt extract takes the place of the base malt in extract brews.

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Old 03-13-2009, 03:00 AM   #3
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If you are just steeping flavour grains (like crystal malt, roasted barley) then what you are doing is fine. I'm guessing the more particular instructions with specified volumes are an attempt at a "mini mash" where you have actual starch conversion taking place. This requires that some of the grain have enzymes in it, these would include 2 row, munich, vienna etc.

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Old 03-14-2009, 03:32 AM   #4
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Ah, ok, that makes sense. Thank you for the replies. Hopefully before long I with graduate to all-grain and actually understand what you all are talking about!

Allen

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Old 03-14-2009, 05:57 AM   #5
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I steep at 155 for at least 30 minutes, bring to a boil, and add extract late (partial boil of course) but since you are doing full boil just add your extract at boil, and rock on!

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Old 03-14-2009, 01:33 PM   #6
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You are correct in your comment that there are many ways to do each step and pretty much all of them are correct. Your steeping method is exactly the same as mine.

The main thing we all want to do is make it possible for the yeast to do their thing. They've been about this business for centuries and if you give them half a chance, they will produce wonders for you.

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Old 03-14-2009, 07:23 PM   #7
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I'm steeping with roughly 1/3 rd of my total boil volume, I pre-heat the rest and put in Cooler with spigot.
I bring the 1st 1/3 up to 155 with grains, try and hold it at temp for 20 min, then pour into boil kettle. With the grains in a bag I then add the 2nd 1/3 of the already hot water 165-170 deg and hold at 155 for another 20 min.
Then using the last 1/3rd I wash the grain bag.
Before boil, I add in my Malt (dry and liquid) stirring in so that it's in solution so that it doesn't burn when I boil in the kettle.

Realize I transfer to boil kettle in 1/3rds so that I don't have to lift all 6.5 gal in the kettle.

The only thing I have found is that I still seem to be low on my OG by .004-.006. And that is still confusing to me as I figure I would have gotten as much from the steeping grains as possible.

I'm still trying to figure it all out before going AG just like you.

So how are your OG's? Does your process give you the OG you want with consistency?

Cheers

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