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Old 03-30-2013, 10:20 PM   #1
ajeismont
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Default How do I properly steep grains?

So my last two batches have used grains for steeping, and I've found myself asking these questions each time. Figured it was about time I take it to you guys.

Is it ok to let the grain bag sink to the bottom of the kettle, or should I tie it up to the handle to keep it off the bottom? I've done a little of both during both of my batches.


During the steeping and/or at the end, should I press the grain bag at all or just leave it be? I feel like pressing it will get more of the liquid out, but it also allows more of the grains to escape the bag.

Thanks!
-Andrew

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Old 03-30-2013, 10:33 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajeismont
So my last two batches have used grains for steeping, and I've found myself asking these questions each time. Figured it was about time I take it to you guys.

Is it ok to let the grain bag sink to the bottom of the kettle, or should I tie it up to the handle to keep it off the bottom? I've done a little of both during both of my batches.

During the steeping and/or at the end, should I press the grain bag at all or just leave it be? I feel like pressing it will get more of the liquid out, but it also allows more of the grains to escape the bag.

Thanks!
-Andrew
I'd like to hear others opinion on this as well.
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Old 03-30-2013, 11:01 PM   #3
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It's okay if it sits as the temp is not high enough to scorch

Yes you can squeeze without any ill effect

You can also rinse the grain bag with 168 F water to simulate a sparge and rinse the additional sugars like in a mash, just use enough water so as not to completely dilute the purpose of the steep

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Old 03-30-2013, 11:08 PM   #4
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I guess I have this same question about hops in a hop bag as well. Before I was just putting the hop pellets into the wort, but this time, I put the hops into the hop bags because the recipe called for it. Is it ok to squeeze those guys while they're in the wort? I'm not too worried about it sinking because it seems to be floating at the time.

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Old 03-30-2013, 11:08 PM   #5
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I used to tie to the spoon which sits on top of the kettle so I could easily get it out.

As long as the grain sits at the right temperature it doesnt really matter because it will extract the flavour and sugar.

I found that I used to get annoyed with the grain that came out of the bag, so I used to leave it drain over the top of the wort for 5 minutes before rinsing with hot water.

Either way will work tho.

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Old 03-31-2013, 12:14 AM   #6
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In my last two batches I had specialty grains to steep. I let them sit on the bottom for a while and then every couple minutes I would pull them up and kinda dunk the bag up and down, like you do a tea bag. When the grain was sitting on the bottom it would "spread out" in the bag and I would then stir it gently with a plastic spoon, just to ensure that all the grain was steeping equally. I did this routine for the entire time the grains were steeping. When the steep was over I simply pulled the grain bag out and let all of the liquid drain out until it stopped. I did not squeeze the grain at all. I like the idea that was mentioned about flushing the grain with 168* water to simulate a sparge. I vaguely remember the instructions that came with the kit saying not to squeeze the grain as it can possibly release bitter tannins, but I do not have enough experience or knowledge to confirm or deny that. My first batch with steeped grains turned out great and I will be cracking open my the second batch tomorrow, but all indicators say it should be good too! Just my $.02.

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Old 03-31-2013, 12:23 AM   #7
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I tied a knot on the handle and let it hang there. I was always worried it would burn the bag if it got too hot on the bottom.

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Old 03-31-2013, 12:28 AM   #8
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For steeping grains it is alright to let it sink to the bottom. I fish the end out every 15 minutes or so, and raise and lower the grain bag several times to force wort through.

As for a hop bag, just don't pack them too tight so wort can flow through freely.

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Old 03-31-2013, 12:30 AM   #9
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I've done two extract kits with specialty grains and both explicitly stated not to squeeze the grain bag after they are steeping them. Maybe some of the vets can weigh in as to why?

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Old 03-31-2013, 12:34 AM   #10
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You are unlikely to get the bag hot enough to melt or burn during steeping since you will not go above 170 degrees. I have read that tannin extraction requires a high temperatures AND high PH which you will not get by steeping, so squeeze away. I have just drained and have also squeezed out the liquid and have not seen any ill effects.

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