Originally Posted by MrSmug
Do bring the full 5 gallons up to mash temp or should I do this in a smaller pot (ie ~1 gallon)
Should this be done in two separate pots? IE mash in one and then while bringing the other up to sparging temp?
It really doesn't matter, to be honest. You can steep at 150-160 for 20 minutes, either in the full volume or in a smaller volume. You don't have to sparge, but it won't hurt.
But one thing I like to tell new brewers is that steeping grains and grains that must be mashed look just alike and sometimes it's just easier to always do the grains as if they are a mash, to avoid confusion later if you have some questions. What I mean is, say you have some Munich malt and carapils next time. Since that would be a mash, it would be a different technique than steeping crystal 40L and chocolate malt in maybe this batch.
To avoid trying to figure that out, I think it's just easier to always use 2 quarts of water per pound of grain and always hold that at 150-160 for 30 minutes. Then lift up the grain bag (it's easiest to lift up the bag and stick it in a strainer over the pot) and pour 170 degree water over it up to your boil volume. This technique works for all grains, and I found that when I was starting out to do it this way all the time and avoid any confusion.
You can do a smaller volume steep/mash and add that to your larger volume, if that makes it quicker to get your wort to a boil.