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Old 07-30-2010, 03:29 AM   #1
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Default Mashing vs. Steeping

I know that the difference in mashing vs. steeping is that grains that needs enzymes to convert starches to surgars get mashed, the rest get steeped. Is there an actual difference in how you do one vs. the other?

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Old 07-30-2010, 03:43 AM   #2
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the difference is a lot smaller than a lot of folks make it seem. If you have an enzymatic grain (2-row, munich, vienna, maris otter, etc) in your 'steep,' and you keep it at 150-160F for 20-30 minutes, and there's between 1 and 3 quarts of water per pound of grain in your pot, then you're actually mashing.

Given that it's really that simple, it always strikes me as a little odd that extract w/steeping grains recipes are so popular, when a partial mash is every bit as easy. Especially when you're 'steeping' starchy adjuncts that require mashing (like flaked oats, for example) - how difficult is it to also add in a pound or two of 2-row and make it a proper mash?

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Old 07-30-2010, 04:21 AM   #3
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As prosper states, mashing requires a base grain of some type and a little more attention to temps and water volumes. When I steep I shoot for 160 degree water, no more than a gallon per pound and let it sit for 30 minutes. When I mash I start with 1.25 quarts per pound of grain and adjust from there to hit the mash temperature which will give me the proper fermentability for my wort. I mash for 60 minutes and then sparge. If I'm doing a stove top partial my sparge consists of dunking the grains in a few gallons, depends on grain volume, of 170 degree water for 10 minutes and then combining with the mash liquor in the original pot. If it's an all grain recipe I fly sparge.

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Old 07-30-2010, 04:22 AM   #4
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thats also my understanding. Often people dont really worry too much about temperatures when steeping and use hotish water to make a tea with the steeping grains. In fact some people either cold steep or add the grains in cold and remove the grains once the temp reaches a level that will start to extract tannins from the grains. If you steep with a temp of 65C-70C for an hour or more then this is the same process as mashing grain and having some two row in there will make it a PM.

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Old 07-30-2010, 06:42 AM   #5
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The real world difference is:
1. You need enough enzymes to convert a mash; one easy way to ensure this is to use 50% base grains (2-row, 6-row, pilsner malt, Marris Otter, etc). As you learn more, you can expand this rule. And
2) Temperature and time control in a mash is important. If you keep it at 153F for 60 minutes, you'll have an okay first mash. As time goes on, you'll learn how mash time and temp affects things.

But, basically, steeping a bunch of grains with 50% pale malt/2-row/etc at 153F for 60 minutes is a mini-mash.

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Old 07-30-2010, 11:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SumnerH View Post
The real world difference is:
1. You need enough enzymes to convert a mash; one easy way to ensure this is to use 50% base grains (2-row, 6-row, pilsner malt, Marris Otter, etc). As you learn more, you can expand this rule. And
2) Temperature and time control in a mash is important. If you keep it at 153F for 60 minutes, you'll have an okay first mash. As time goes on, you'll learn how mash time and temp affects things.

But, basically, steeping a bunch of grains with 50% pale malt/2-row/etc at 153F for 60 minutes is a mini-mash.
I couldn't have put it better
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Old 08-01-2010, 02:34 AM   #7
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So what I'm getting, is that mashing is specific (time, temp), steeping is just soaking in warm/hot water for 20-30 minutes to get color and flavor, is that right? Also, what grains need to be mashed vs. steeped. I know unmalted grains would be steeped, but there are a lot of grains that I would assume should be mashed, but people say just steeping is fine (crystal malt for ex.).

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Old 08-01-2010, 02:39 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frenchy View Post
So what I'm getting, is that mashing is specific (time, temp), steeping is just soaking in warm/hot water for 20-30 minutes to get color and flavor, is that right? Also, what grains need to be mashed vs. steeped. I know unmalted grains would be steeped, but there are a lot of grains that I would assume should be mashed, but people say just steeping is fine (crystal malt for ex.).
Yes, mashing is temp/time specific and steeping is not. Steeping is like making tea.

Malts that need to be mashed are "base malts"- malts like pilsner malt, pale malt, maris otter, Munich malt, etc.

Malts that can be steeped are crystal malts and roasted malts. They are already processed so that they don't need to be converted. Here's a little article from our wiki: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/wiki/ind...teeping_grains
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