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Old 10-13-2012, 01:49 PM   #1
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Default steeping grain, silly question

i feel silly asking but i've got to at this point..
my beers are turning out very good technically, meaning no off flavors, very clear and no extract tang. i do all extract plus grains batches. but it seems they lack flavor and character on the malt side. no backbone. both a brown ale and cream ale turned out this way. i've reviewed my process and the only thing i can think of is that i steep the grains and remove. i don't stir or squeeze out the grain bags before removing. could this be it? i feel goofy b/c i assume (after the fact now of course) that the grain bag is where 90% of flavor comes from when you do extract plus grains, right? any tips on maximizing flavor when doing extract plus grains? thanks! i feel this is the only thing between me and making awesome beer!!!!

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Old 10-13-2012, 01:54 PM   #2
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Most of the flavor in this case comes from the extracts. The grains just add color & some freshness of flavor. Did you crush the grains? I messed up once & didn't crush the steeping grains. What temp for steep & how long? Many say they don't sparge steeping grains,but I do.
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Old 10-13-2012, 01:55 PM   #3
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I am no expert, but I believe squeezing is a bad thing. Maybe because you can actually force out some tannins? Not sure.

You can rinse the grains, though. If you have a strainer or colander, put it on top of your pot and rinse some hot water through it to get the last of the flavor out. Make sure to adjust your steeping volume down to account for extra rinse water.

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Old 10-13-2012, 01:56 PM   #4
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There are no silly questions, only silly people. And silly hats.

Squeezing the bag will certainly get you more utilization, though you can achieve the same effect by simply using more steeping grain if squeezing is a problem for some reason. I wouldn't think of specialty grains as the place where you're going to get your malt backbone so much as some nuance and complexity in your malt character. If you are feeling that your malt character is thin, it's probably just a recipe problem. What are you making?

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Old 10-14-2012, 12:43 AM   #5
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American Brown Ale from Zymurgy:

American Brown Ale – Extract
Recipe for 5.25 gallons (19.8 L)

7.25 lb pale malt extract syrup (3.29 kg)
8 oz 90˚ L crystal malt (227 g)
8 oz 60˚ L crystal malt (227 g)
6.5 oz chocolate malt (184 g)
1 oz black patent malt (28 g)
1 oz Willamette pellets (80 min)
0.5 oz Willamette pellets (30 min)
1 oz Mt Hood pellets (15 min)
0.5 oz Willamette pellets (5 min)
2 pkgs Safeale US-05

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Old 10-14-2012, 01:13 AM   #6
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Damn that is a heavy recipe! How's it taste???

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Old 10-14-2012, 01:44 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MalFet View Post
There are no silly questions, only silly people. And silly hats.

Squeezing the bag will certainly get you more utilization, though you can achieve the same effect by simply using more steeping grain if squeezing is a problem for some reason. I wouldn't think of specialty grains as the place where you're going to get your malt backbone so much as some nuance and complexity in your malt character. If you are feeling that your malt character is thin, it's probably just a recipe problem. What are you making?
And don't forget the Ministry of Silly Walks!

I never tried squeezing grain. Can you actually do it?

To maximize flavor extraction, I'd steep in a small amount of water first, then steep a second and possibly a third time in additional small amounts of water at 170 F. Then leave to drain and add all the collected liquid to the pot. When steeping, stir the grain to get the sugars mixed with the water.
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Old 10-14-2012, 02:26 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calder View Post
And don't forget the Ministry of Silly Walks!

I never tried squeezing grain. Can you actually do it?

To maximize flavor extraction, I'd steep in a small amount of water first, then steep a second and possibly a third time in additional small amounts of water at 170 F. Then leave to drain and add all the collected liquid to the pot. When steeping, stir the grain to get the sugars mixed with the water.
Yes, you can squeeze it. A little more liquid comes out.

If I were worried about not having enough extraction, I gotta say my inclination would be to increase the amount of grains and stick to a simple process. If nothing else, the simpler the process, the easier to repeat it.
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Old 10-14-2012, 02:43 AM   #9
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Yes there is a thread here somewhere that decided it is perfectly fine to gently squeeze your sack until all fluids stop dripping out.

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Old 10-14-2012, 02:51 AM   #10
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^ I don't even bother, I have a microwave/stove combo. I just tie the muslin bag over the microwave handle and let it drip, less work for me..........

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