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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Grain stepping
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Old 01-18-2012, 11:57 PM   #1
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Default Grain stepping

If my recipe says to steep grains for twenty minutes in 2.5 gallons of water, but I boil 5 gallons, should I steep for forty minutes.

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Old 01-19-2012, 12:01 AM   #2
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Are you steeping for an extract brew? In that case you'd be steeping your grains in 2.5 gallons at around 150F for 20 minutes. Then when you're done your wort boil I suspect they want you to top up your water to 5 gallons before fermentation.

I usually go 45 minutes to an hour in my full water volume for extract. Meaning I'd bring 5 gallons up to 150F and steep my grains in that for about an hour, then add extract, hops, finings, spices, etc etc etc.

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Old 01-19-2012, 12:06 AM   #3
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If my recipe says to steep grains for twenty minutes in 2.5 gallons of water, but I boil 5 gallons, should I steep for forty minutes.
if your recipe says steep for 20 min in 2.5 gallons of water...that means that for that particular recipe, all you need is to leach the sugars out from the grains in 2.5 gallons of water for 20min. Longer and you might get unwanted flavor for that recipe.

now, if the recipe says steep grains for 20 min in 2.5 gallons of water then top off with fresh water to 5gallons, then steeping in 5gallons for 20 min is exactly the same. just because the volume of water doubled does not mean the time doubles. in fact, its an inverse relationship because of the properties of diffusion. 5gallons of fresh water is at a lower sugar concentration than the grains so technically the sugars will leach out faster in more water.

BUT...if your recipe is for 2.5gals of wort, you need to double your grain bill if you are making 5gal.

what does your recipe say about sparging?
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Old 01-19-2012, 12:29 AM   #4
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Agreed, but if we're talking about extract brewing I like to get everything I can out of my grains. You're basically doing a little tiny mash when you're steeping your grains, so I like to get as much flavor and fermentables out of them that I can before boiling and adding the extract. Idk the science, but I've definitely noticed more complexity from my brews using a long steep vs a short steep.

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Old 01-19-2012, 12:41 AM   #5
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Quote:
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Agreed, but if we're talking about extract brewing I like to get everything I can out of my grains. You're basically doing a little tiny mash when you're steeping your grains, so I like to get as much flavor and fermentables out of them that I can before boiling and adding the extract. Idk the science, but I've definitely noticed more complexity from my brews using a long steep vs a short steep.
it depends on the recipe. the more you steep, the more you will leech...its simple...but is it wanted? if you are trying to make a clone beer, maybe not. if you are looking for a particular flavor profile, timing is everything.

you are not technically wrong...but if you are the type that wants to reproduce a recipe exactly...then follow it.

it really doesn't matter if he is going all grain or partial mash here...the idea of steeping grains is the same because you want to extract certain flavors. the fermentable sugar is one of the things that is most water soluble in grains therefore it leeches out quickly. it is all the other components that need to time to come out.
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Old 01-19-2012, 12:49 AM   #6
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I hadn't taken into account the whole "exact recipe" thing. That's what I get for drinking Wee Heavy.
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Old 01-19-2012, 01:13 AM   #7
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I'm doing a Imperial blonde ale kit, but I have a big enough pot to do five gallons. The recipe is for five gallons, 2.5 gallon boil with 2.5 gallons added before yeast.

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Old 01-19-2012, 01:21 AM   #8
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then it doesn't matter at all if following the kit.

steep in 2.5 gallons for 20 min or 5 gall for 20 min...the result will be the same.

that said...the issue you might have is temperature. kits assume you have a tiny boil pot because not everyone has a 5 gal pot. so it is saying to steep/boil 2.5 gal...then likely the other 2.5 gal is used to cool the wort while getting to the 5 gal total volume. if you have a wort chiller or a way to get the wort cooled fast (waterbath for example) then go ahead and boil 5 gallons. if not...i'd recommend following the instructions because the clarity of your brew is partially dependent on the post-boil temperature reduction.

that said...since it is a kit...and kits usually try to dumb everything down....i think you should steep for 40 min just because. kits always try to make things easy so you get a drinkable product fast. but as you get into this hobby, you will realize that patience is a virtue rewarded with flavor and complexity. EEVERWINE wasn't wrong, like i said above...but if you said you were making a clone and wanted a specific flavor, then follow directions. if you want to get all you can out of the kit...then steep a bit longer, ensuring that you don't get the temp too hot.

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Old 01-19-2012, 01:21 AM   #9
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Steep in the smaller volume of water. Once you're done steeping, you can pour 170 degree water over the grains, up to your boil volume.

The reason for this has to do with pH. Steeping with more water raising the pH, usually above the desired pH for steeping or mashing grains. Also, more time isn't better. As an example, think of a tea bag. Steep for 3-5 minutes, and you get great tea. Steep for half an hour, and you've got a harsh astringent flavored liquid.

The same is true of grains. You're after the color and flavor (like making tea). That's it. Once you extract the color and flavor, all you've got left to extract is tannins and a grainy taste.

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Old 01-19-2012, 01:45 AM   #10
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Thanks for the advice. Brew day is friday, so hopefully I'll have all the kinx's figured out by then. Heres to my first brew.

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