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Old 02-15-2011, 03:06 PM   #1
Jul 2010
Posts: 47

I often brew extract beer but started adding specialty grains to the mix. I have since decresed the amount of LME and DME to my brews and added more specialty grains. The beers have come out great.

My question is can you use regular grains (the type used in all grain) as an added ingredient to extract brews?

I know what you are thinking....."Just Go All Grain Man Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!"

I get it, and I will start going all grain soon but for now, can I add regular grain to an extract beer?



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Old 02-15-2011, 03:33 PM   #2
Jan 2010
Posts: 245

The easy answer is no. Specialty grains (crystal malts and the like) don't need to be mashed to get benefits from. "regular" grains need some sort of mash/sparge process to get the fermentable sugars out. I'm not 100% sure what the science behind it is, but I'm sure someone else here will.

If you wanna use "regular" grains in your extract brews, you've gotta do a partial mash

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Old 02-15-2011, 03:38 PM   #3
Aug 2007
Southern Maine
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If you are steeping grains: you might pull a small amount of fermentables out of specialty grains, but for the most part you are just getting color and flavor from them, with the bulk of the fermentables coming from the extract.

Same goes if you chose to steep base grains...basically flavor and color out of them, and not much at that, since they do not contribute much to flavor/color in an AG recipe.

Also, if you are taking extract out of your recipes and replacing with specialty grains, you are increasing the color/flavor, but you are decreasing your OG (i.e. amount of fermentables). Just so you know...

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Old 02-15-2011, 03:44 PM   #4
Nov 2010
Waltham, MA
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It kind of sounds like you want to do your first partial batch. By replacing extract with "regular grains" like US 2-Row you are essentially performing a partial mash, which is converting starches from the base malts into sugars. What you would do is add 4 to 5 pounds of base malts to your steeping grains and perform a partial mash between 150 to 159 degrees F, kind of like you would with just steeping specialty grains during an extract batch.
As mentioned before, specialty grains give the beer characteristics such as flavor and color. I would not replace extract with specialty grains.
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Old 02-15-2011, 04:01 PM   #5
Mar 2010
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Are you replacing the gravity point contributions from malt extract for specialty grains like crystal? If so, it doesn't totally work the same because the sugars in crystal malts are mostly unfermentable. Would you care to post a recipe?

And to answer your question, yes. You can add 2 row or other base grains to the mix but you have to mash those, which is a similar process to steeping anyway.

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Old 02-15-2011, 05:38 PM   #6
Feb 2009
Alexandria, VA, USA
Posts: 2,057
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Originally Posted by mikebowman View Post
The easy answer is no. Specialty grains (crystal malts and the like) don't need to be mashed to get benefits from. "regular" grains need some sort of mash/sparge process to get the fermentable sugars out.
That's right, but here's a secret: a partial mash is just the same as steeping, except:

1) You try to keep as close as possible to a target temperature (153F is common); and
2) Half your grain is 50% 2-row or pilsener malt (or another base malt)
3) You let it sit an hour

Mashing can get more complicated than that, but a basic mash really isn't much other than a longer steep where you pay more attention to the temperature.
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