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Old 09-15-2006, 10:52 AM   #1
Aug 2006
Posts: 8

Ok, so far i've only brewed using extract but i'm considering steeping grains for my next (or the one after) brew.

I've been reading a few things about it and there seems to be a few adifferent opinions on the matter. Some sources say to put the grains in the water as it heats up to boiling, while others say to steep at constant temp. (155F-ish) for approx. half an hour.

I understand that higher temps. will produce tannin flavours.

What's the opinion around these parts?

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Old 09-15-2006, 11:28 AM   #2
2nd Street Brewery
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May 2005
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I bring the water to about 160 and put the grain bag in then and let steep for 30 min. The temp holds pretty constant over that time. I then rinse with 150 deg water and go from there. Been working for me.
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Old 09-15-2006, 11:45 AM   #3
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Sep 2005
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we've talked about this a few times on here, and various people use various methods.

The tannin thing is a real risk if you get above 180°F or somrthing like that, but IIRC you also need to have your water in a certain Ph range to extract tannins.... it's not just the temp that does it.

As for heat then soak vs soak while heating, it doesn't really matter.
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Old 09-15-2006, 01:11 PM   #4
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Aug 2006
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My lhbs suggests steeping while heating, but removing once the temp gets to 155-160 deg.; seemed to work fine.
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Old 09-15-2006, 01:33 PM   #5
Mykel Obvious
Feb 2006
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Remember, if you put a pound or two of grain in 3 or more gallons of water you will NOT get the same pH drop that you would from an all grain mash... this is one of the most misleading parts of the typically over-simplified "extract plus specialty grain" instructions IMO...
The grains should be steeped in much less water... a good ratio is 1.25 quarts per pound of grain... this will allow the pH to drop into the 5.3 range and help prevent tannin extraction...

My suggestion is to take a smaller pot and bring the required amount of water to around 152 F (range of 150 F - 158 F is acceptable), steep your specialty grains for 15-30 minutes (note, if you are using any malts that require conversion, then this time should be 60-90 minutes), strain out the grains (a grain bag is good for this small amount), add the grains to an equal amount of water at the same temp for a few minutes and strain again to remove more sugars (note, squeezing the grain bag WILL extract tannins!!), add this water to your boil kettle and then fill to your required amount for your normal extract boil and proceed as you regularly would...

let me know if you have any questions, or if I didn't make something clear enough


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Old 09-15-2006, 02:10 PM   #6
Aug 2006
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I didn't weigh the specialty grains that came with my first extract kit, but I suspect it was not more than a pound of grain, if that.

If you heat only 1.25 quarts of water (40 ounces), as you suggested to steep that small amount of grain in a grain bag (as generally provided with the kit), you will need a very small pot that has a narrow diameter, else the grains will not be completely covered by the water. An asparagus steamer might do.

Are you sure about the 1.25 quarts? That seems a bit low. A gallon would work handily. On the other hand, my kit didn't specify, so I steeped the grains in the full 5 gallons of water before bringing to a full boil and adding LME, hops, etc.

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Old 09-15-2006, 06:45 PM   #7
May 2006
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Originally Posted by Mykel Obvious
(note, squeezing the grain bag WILL extract tannins!!),

In John Palmers book he says you should squeeze the bag.

"The procedure is identical to that for extract brewing. However, the specialty grains will be steeped in the pot before the extract is added. The 3 gallons of water in the boiling pot is heated until it reaches 160F +/- 10. Then the grain bag is immersed in the pot for 30 minutes. The grain bag may be dunked and swirled like a tea bag during this time to make sure that all of the grain is wetted. Agitation will help to improve the yield. Remove the grain bag from the pot, giving it a squeeze to drain the excess wort and avoid dripping on the stove."


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Old 09-15-2006, 07:57 PM   #8
May 2006
Colorado Springs, CO
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Ive steeped specialties using both methods, and I can't notice any decernable difference. I like the method of bring the specialty grains up to 160F (at the same time bringing 2.75 gals to 160F in a seperate pot). Then I place the bag of specialties in a collander and rinse them with the 2.75 gals of heated water to bring my total boil volume to 3 gals. Your water volumes may be different given your pot sizes but you get the idea.

Either way will work fine IMHO.
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Old 09-15-2006, 08:00 PM   #9
Aug 2006
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I think the idea of not squeezing is just a fairly new thing. It happened in the last 10 years. Someone came up with the Tannin arguement and it became common practice.

I really doubt that you are going to extract any Tannins if you keep it under 160 degrees, so it will not matter if you squeeze the grain bag or not. I think that most people just assume that it is not worth the risk.

I rinse the grain bag with 170 degree water slowly to flush out sugars.

The 180 degree mark is the commonly accepted line for tannin extraction. Stay under it and the tannin should stay in the grain no matter if you squeeze the bag or not.

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Old 09-15-2006, 08:07 PM   #10
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Oct 2005
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I do a free soak @155*F for an hour, then "sparge" with some more water through a strainer. I don't squeeze. My friend uses a bag, dips it tea style, and squeezes after a 1 hr soak. Both of our beers come out great (according to the most important people-us!). The reason I do mine the way I do is that I do partials, using a fair amount of 2 row to get sugar extraction, whereas my friend does it merely to add more complexity.
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