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Old 10-13-2005, 05:13 PM   #11
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I would say first that you are mashing. If you are using well modified malts
you are probably getting good conversion. the short sparge probably limits your efficiency. Remember that in an all Grain batch, the volume of the wort starts out much higher than final volume, in extract brewing it is opposite. for me sparging a 5 gallon batch sometimes uses 7-8 gallons and that strips alot more fermentables from the grain.


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Old 10-13-2005, 05:18 PM   #12
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Understood. But since I use only 1 or 2 pounds of grain in my recipes (the rest is extract) I can get away with a much smaller scale operation when dealing with my grains.

As long as my method results in less than 4 gallons of wort from the grain processing, I can add my extract and boil in my stove-top kettle.

IS there anyway to check the efficiency of my conversion with a decent degree of accuracy?

Can I simply take a gravity reading of the wort that I get off my grains and figure it out that way?

-walker


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Old 10-13-2005, 05:19 PM   #13
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yes. do a mini recipe and it should work.
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Old 10-13-2005, 05:27 PM   #14
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When you steep grains in an extract/steeped grains recipe, you aren't trying to get any sugar out of the grains, you're trying to extract the color and flavor from them. Maybe you are getting some sugar out, but the amount is insignificant compared to the sugars coming from the extract.

When you do a mini-mash, you combine the steeped grains with a small amount of base grains. In this case you are hoping to extract some sugars from your base grain, and you decrease the amount of extract used accordingly.

In your case, you're using the grains for their color, flavor, and mouthfeel. You shouldn't count on any sugar extraction from the grains. You're steeping them. You may have gotten a little mashing going on in the process, but you shouldn't count on much of the sugar actually getting into your wort.
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Old 10-13-2005, 05:34 PM   #15
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Like I said earlier, I never made any mention of what grains I am using here. If I've got enough enzymes in the mix I should get some sugars out of my grains.

I'm not going to worry about it. My beers are generally fine and dandy. This was an attempt to understand what makes steeping enzymatic grains different than full-on mashing.

I'm not sure if I came out with any clarity on the subject, but I think I'll just go back to brewing my beer and forget I ever asked.

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Old 10-13-2005, 05:35 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walker
Can I simply take a gravity reading of the wort that I get off my grains and figure it out that way?
Of course. You would have to figure out the potential contribution of your 'grain bill' per pound of grain per gallon of wort. Normalize that to the volume of water you're using and compare it to your actual SG reading.

Ultimately, I think it's purely academic in that I agree with El P that the sugar contribution to the wort from this method is minimal compared to the volume of extract.
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Old 10-13-2005, 05:37 PM   #17
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argh.......

I guess I have been thinking to much about this.

if the only difference is whether or not I am getting SUGAR out of my grian, I could care less. True, El P, I am after flavors from my grains... my fermentables are coming from my extract.

As long as I get the flavor, I have acheived what I wanted. If I want more sugar, I'll add more extract.

For some reason, I had the impression that I wasn't getting all the FLAVOR out of my grains and needed to move up in to mashing to get it. This is because I see "this grain must be mashed" and I assume that means that if I want to use it AT ALL, I need to mash it. The implied end to that sentence is "... if you want to get sugar out of it."

Boy... i feel really REALLY stupid right now.

Can the admins delete this thread please?

-walker
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Old 10-13-2005, 05:53 PM   #18
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my lord... i need to lie down. my world has just changed dramatically.

Don't make fun, but i feel that i have many new colors to paint with now.

I only recently stopped using kits. I never paid much attention to the grains in those kits, and (due to my gross misunderstanding of what was going on) I just assumed I was being sent "safe steeping grains".

Now, I have started making my own recipes, and I have been sticking to roasted and caramelized malts... ie; steeping grains. I just walk right past grains that "must be mashed (to get sugar from them)".

I have actually been sitting on the ingredients for my Fat Tire out of fear here, thinking I was going to make a crappy brew since I lack mashing equipment for the non roasted, not crystal grains.

wow....

holy sh*t....

-walker
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Old 10-13-2005, 06:11 PM   #19
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excerpt from Palmer's online book

"Specialty malts like caramel and roasted malts do not need to be mashed. These malts have undergone a special kilning process in which the starches are converted to sugars by heat right inside the hull. As a result, these malts contain more complex sugars, some of which do not ferment, leaving a pleasant caramel-like sweetness"

Depending on which grains you use, you should get some fermentables.

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Old 10-13-2005, 06:22 PM   #20
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Keep in mind that if you don't mash "must be mashed" grains, you'll end up with more then just flavor, you'll end up with a decent amount of unconverted starches floating in there. It's the enzymes that convert that starch to sugars.

But yeah, this is the same mental "wtf is the difference!?" dilemma I went through a few weeks ago. If you already control your temps, and follow the water ratios, etc, as far as procedure goes, there is no bleeping difference.

On the "specialty grains are for flavor / color" only: Specialty grains do impart sugars to the wort, even with steeped. Please note that said sugars are mostly unfermentable, thus resulting in better mouthfeel. Here's Palmer's chart showing potential points extracted from grains when steeped. Of course, if you're only using a pound of grain, the amounts of sugars you get are going to be relatively small, but they're there.


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