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Old 01-05-2009, 10:12 PM   #1
calabus
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Default questions about steeping, yeas, etc...help!

first off, sorry if anything here has been repetative. i found myself searching the forums and faqs but didn't find my answers. perhaps some one can help...
the place i get my recipes from, here in birmingham, al., only includes generic instructions that are very, very vague and seem to contradict everything i've read so far. so here it goes....

1...instead of using dme to make a starter culture, can i get away with using liquid extract?

2... when steeping my grains, what's the rule of thumb, if any, when it comes to letting them heat in the water? (which i keep a constant 165 f) light grain= 30 to 45? dark grains= 45 to 1 hr.?

3... the last thing that confuses me is the "conversion" thing. about everything i've read says something about letting the grains heat until "conversion". what do i look for when that happens or how do i know when it does?

any help would be great guys... local brewery kinda on my nerves about the instruction thing and now i'm paranoid that i didn't do my first batch correctly.
once again.... sorry if i've reposted anything! thanks!
new obsessed brewer.

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Old 01-05-2009, 10:19 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by calabus View Post
first off, sorry if anything here has been repetative. i found myself searching the forums and faqs but didn't find my answers. perhaps some one can help...
the place i get my recipes from, here in birmingham, al., only includes generic instructions that are very, very vague and seem to contradict everything i've read so far. so here it goes....

1...instead of using dme to make a starter culture, can i get away with using liquid extract?

Yes, absolutely. Just use a little more liquid extract, to give you an OG of 1.040 or so. I'd guesstimate 3/4 cup in 2 cups water

2... when steeping my grains, what's the rule of thumb, if any, when it comes to letting them heat in the water? (which i keep a constant 165 f) light grain= 30 to 45? dark grains= 45 to 1 hr.?

20 minutes or so is fine for all specialy grains, but I'd suggest keeping them in the 155 range, not 165, just in case you have some base malts to convert. If you have base malts in there, 45 minutes is good. Color (light vs. dark) doesn't matter a bit.

3... the last thing that confuses me is the "conversion" thing. about everything i've read says something about letting the grains heat until "conversion". what do i look for when that happens or how do i know when it does?
Ah, that's a hard question! I just typed up a long answer on that the other day- I'll dig that up. If you're using steeping grains (chocolate, crystal, black patent, etc), they only give color and flavor. Those can just be steeped for 20 minutes in 150-160 degree water. If you're using "base grains" (2-row, munich malt, vienna malt), you'll need to be more precise. You'll use 1.25-1.5 quarts of water per pound of grain, and hold it at 153 for 45 minutes. That makes the starches (via enzymatic activity) turn into fermentable sugars. That's actually conversion that we're talking about.

My answers are in bold. I'll look for a few links, too!
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Old 01-05-2009, 10:26 PM   #3
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thank you so much! i meant 155... sorry! that's pretty much what i did when it came to the grains. got them mixed from the supplier ( about 2.5lbs total) and steeped them all for around 45 min. at 155... sparged for 10 min w/ 155 water, then added that to my wort as well. then i continued w/ the extract and boiling, etc. thank you once again!

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