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Old 06-19-2009, 12:57 PM   #1
Nickhouse80
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Default Crystal malt question

I'm gonna ask a really stupid question now. Ready? Does crystal malt need to be crushed like all other grains? I assume it does.

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Old 06-19-2009, 01:05 PM   #2
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Yes it does.

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Old 06-19-2009, 01:06 PM   #3
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I'm gonna ask a really stupid question now. Ready? Does crystal malt need to be crushed like all other grains? I assume it does.
Yes. It doesnt need to be mashed, but it should be crushed, or you will not get the goodness out of the husk. The sugars are trapped in there and you want to get them, the flavors and the color out.
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Old 06-19-2009, 02:10 PM   #4
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Thanks for the quick replies. Another stupid question. If you don't mash it then what is the point of crushing it? What do you do with it?

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Old 06-19-2009, 02:12 PM   #5
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Thanks for the quick replies. Another stupid question. If you don't mash it then what is the point of crushing it? What do you do with it?
It can be steeped. If you're doing a mash, of course it goes right into the mash with the other grains. If you're doing an extract batch, it can be steeped without using a basemalt to convert it.
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Old 06-19-2009, 02:12 PM   #6
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You can also steep Crystal malts if you are doing extract brewing. Either way, you'll want the grains crushed. Steeping the grains allows you to extract some of the sugars, color, and taste from the grains without actually doing an all-grain batch.

Edit: Yoop, you beat me to it!

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Old 06-19-2009, 02:16 PM   #7
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I'm new and having a hard time with the difference between mashing and steeping. I've actually looked them both up in a "homebrew glossary" and still don't know the difference.

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Old 06-19-2009, 02:23 PM   #8
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I'm new and having a hard time with the difference between mashing and steeping. I've actually looked them both up in a "homebrew glossary" and still don't know the difference.
It's confusing because the techniques are very similar. The differences are what's actually happening inside the liquid and grain as it sits.

In steeping, you use malts that have already had their starches converted to sugars. In grains like black patent, crystal malt, chocolate malt, you're getting color and flavor from the steep. Kind of like making tea.

In mashing, you are taking grains in a mix with some "basemalt" that has NOT already had its sugars converted for you. You use a ratio of water and grain with the correct pH and the correct temperature to cause a chemical reaction. That's what makes the starch in the grain turn into sugars that you can ferment. For some grains, this MUST be done to use them. Otherwise, all you get out of them is starch, not fermentable sugar.

Most extract brewers use steeping grains like crystal malt to give some flavor and color to their beers. This works great, and provides a better beer.
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Old 06-19-2009, 02:26 PM   #9
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1) Crushing steeping grains increases the efficiency in the extraction of the flavors and color you're try to get. Think of grinding or not grinding your coffee.

2) Steeping is just extracting the compounds that are present in the grains. Mashing is utilizing enzymes present in the malted barley to convert starches to fermentable sugars.

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Old 06-19-2009, 02:31 PM   #10
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Very helpful information, especially to a beginning brewer like myself who had the same questions.
I recently did my first brew and mashed (?) some crushed Carapils Barley at 155*F for a half hour to convert starches to sugars. However at the time I was under the assumption that mashing and steeping were the same things (haha). But what I did was a mash right? Steeping would just be allowing certain grains in the water for whatever period of time at no specific degree of temp.? Am I right on this or still way off lol?

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