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Old 01-27-2009, 10:26 PM   #1
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Default Buying ingredients for the first time. Questions.

I've got my first batch in bottles and the second batch in the fermenter, both of which were ingredient kits purchased from the LHBS. For my next batch I'm thinking of trying a clone recipe (extract not FG) that has a list of ingredients and the amounts necessary but I have some questions on buying the ingredients and how to use them:

1. The recipes I'm looking at have a certain amount of dry malt extract but then 3-4 different types of grains. The second kit I did had one kind of steeping grains which was pretty straightforward, I put them in a grain bag and steeped them for the requisite amount of time. But if the recipe calls for more than one kind of grain do I just throw them all together in the grain bag and steep them at the same time? Do they need to be in different grain bags and steeped at different times?

2. If I order the ingredients online or buy them from my LHBS, should I buy the exact amounts of each that are called for in the recipe or should I buy more than that and measure it out myself?

3. One more question on steeping grains: I've read about having to crush the grains with a rolling pin before adding them to the grain bag and steeping them. I didn't do this when I made my second kit because I didn't know about it. Is this step necessary with ingredient kits? If not, is it necessary if I buy the grains from the LHBS?

Thanks,
-Brian

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Old 01-27-2009, 10:40 PM   #2
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1) You can put them all in one bag and steep them all at once. Essentially a mini-mash.
2) Just buy what you need. Your LHBS probably has a better scale than you and there's no need to get more than the recipe calls for.
3) While you're at it, have them mill the grains for you. That way you won't have to use the rolling pin. Better results that way.

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Old 01-27-2009, 10:43 PM   #3
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Chances are any grains you buy as part of a kit from you LHBS will have grains that are pre crushed. Most online vendors will offer the grains as crushed unless you specify otherwise, but some will try to charge you extra for the service.

There are certain types of grain that have to be mashed, which is a more temperature-sensitive version of steeping. Steeping grains generally add flavor and some color, but not any sugars really. Again, of the grains are part of an extract kit then chances are all of the grains they give you will only require steeping and can be thrown in and steeped together.

You can order as much grain as you can afford, but unless you are going to make the same recipe over and over, you probably wont know how much of each grain you want to have on hand. Generally, the most common grains people buy in bulk for brewing are what are known as base grains, which are required for all grain and partial mash brewing. Base grains are needed for every recipe and will get used in large quantities. The chances that each recipe you do requires, say, roasted barley, is slim, unless you only do stouts and darker beers. Places like Brewmasters warehouse (link at top of the page) allow you to buy in lbs and ounces very easily online. If you plan well and know you'll need lots of a certain type of grain then you can buy it all, but unless you are buying in big amounts, like 55 lbs bags, you wont save money really.

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Old 01-27-2009, 10:46 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mogref View Post
I've got my first batch in bottles and the second batch in the fermenter, both of which were ingredient kits purchased from the LHBS. For my next batch I'm thinking of trying a clone recipe (extract not FG) that has a list of ingredients and the amounts necessary but I have some questions on buying the ingredients and how to use them:

1. The recipes I'm looking at have a certain amount of dry malt extract but then 3-4 different types of grains. The second kit I did had one kind of steeping grains which was pretty straightforward, I put them in a grain bag and steeped them for the requisite amount of time. But if the recipe calls for more than one kind of grain do I just throw them all together in the grain bag and steep them at the same time? Do they need to be in different grain bags and steeped at different times?

2. If I order the ingredients online or buy them from my LHBS, should I buy the exact amounts of each that are called for in the recipe or should I buy more than that and measure it out myself?

3. One more question on steeping grains: I've read about having to crush the grains with a rolling pin before adding them to the grain bag and steeping them. I didn't do this when I made my second kit because I didn't know about it. Is this step necessary with ingredient kits? If not, is it necessary if I buy the grains from the LHBS?

Thanks,
-Brian
1. Yep, all the grains are crushed and put in the grain bag together.

2. Either/or. Some online LHBS (like austinhomebrew.com) will sell you the amount you want. Some, like Northernbrewer.com, only sell in one pound increments. It doesn't matter, really, but I like AHS because I can buy 6 ounces of something without having "leftovers" that I might never use.

3. You should just buy the grains already crushed. That's always an option at every LHBS I've ever seen. A rolling pin is a pain to use and crush the grain- so get them already crushed. Austinhomebrew does it for free- some LHBS charge $.10 or so a pound.

If you find a recipe that looks good to you, feel free to post it up and have us look at it and help you with specific instructions with your boil size, the amount of water, hops, etc. We love to help people and we really love to see recipes!
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Old 01-28-2009, 02:18 AM   #5
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Thanks for all the great responses, that's exactly what I wanted to know.

FWIW, My wife is loves Murphy's Irish Stout and I was thinking about trying a clone recipe I found in a homebrew magazine. Other than Light DME and LME, it calls for the following grains:

2-row pale ale malt
crystal (90 L)
chocolate malt
roasted barley

and also 0.25oz of "East Kent Goldings" (i'm not sure what these are).

The recipe instructions say to take the steeped grain bag and put it in a colander over the big brewpot and pour the (slightly diluted) grain tea over top of it. Is this what's known as 'sparging'?

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Old 01-28-2009, 02:23 AM   #6
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This is an extract kit? You usually only find 2-rows pale malt in all grain or partial mash kits because it's a base grain and requires mashing (holding the grain at a temp usually between 149 and ~159 for 45 minutes to an hour, roughly). The other grains can be easily steeped, but i don't think you can steep pale malt, but i'm no expert.

By the way, East Kent Goldings is a variety of hops.

If you are interested in doing a partial mash, do a search for easy partial mash from a user named Deathbrewer, it will get you started in the right direction.

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Old 01-28-2009, 02:37 AM   #7
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The recipe says to steep the crushed grains in 8qts of water at 150 degrees for 45min, then dilute the grain tea with 2qts of 180 degree water. Then take the grain bag and put it in a colander over the brewpot, then pour the grain tea over the grain bag.

That kind of sounds like a partial mash to me (from what I've read). I've never done any kind of mashing.

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Old 01-28-2009, 02:49 AM   #8
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yeah, it does sound like an inexact partial mash. If it's what it calls for then you could certainly give it a try.

How much extract does the recipe call for?

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