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Old 08-26-2012, 07:14 PM   #1
beerpoop
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Aug 2012
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I've brewed four beers, all extract kits from austinhomebrew with specialty grains in a muslin bag. For my next beer I want to design my own recipe/attempt at an extract heady topper clone based on advice from this thread:http://beeradvocate.com/community/th...er-clone.7489/

Are special grains a necessity? Should I get some Pearl malt to steep in hot water before I add extract? Sorry if this is a stupid question..

 
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Old 08-26-2012, 07:18 PM   #2
evrose
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Jun 2012
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Are specialty grains necessary? Well... that depends on what you're trying to make. It's like asking if spices for your chicken are necessary... it depends on what you're doing with the chicken.

For some beers, you simply can't make them with only base malt and no specialty grains. Try making a porter without specialty grains... you can't.

On the other hand, there are several simple pale ale styles that use only a base grain.

 
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Old 08-26-2012, 07:22 PM   #3
ruralbrew
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Jun 2011
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It would be helpful if you would post your recipe, Kind of hard to tell what ingredients are in the beer you are planning. As far as the pearl, it needs to be mashed. Any base malt needs to be mashed, you could steep them, but it would be a waste of time for the most part.

There are no stupid questions, only questions. We all started somewhere and probably had the same or similar questions.
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Old 08-26-2012, 07:24 PM   #4

Heady Topper is an IIPA and I think an extract recipe for any beer in that style would use some specialty malts.

 
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Old 08-26-2012, 07:36 PM   #5
BigEd
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Nov 2004
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beerpoop View Post
I've brewed four beers, all extract kits from austinhomebrew with specialty grains in a muslin bag. For my next beer I want to design my own recipe/attempt at an extract heady topper clone based on advice from this thread:http://beeradvocate.com/community/th...er-clone.7489/

Are special grains a necessity? Should I get some Pearl malt to steep in hot water before I add extract? Sorry if this is a stupid question..
First, Pearl is not a specialty malt. It is actually a barley variety that is used to produce much British pale malt. So when they are talking about Pearl, they are referring to general purpose British pale malt. Secondly, adding malted grains to extract brewing recipes is usually done to improve and/or add to the flavors as well as for color adjustments. Adding a base malt like British pale would normally be done by means of a mini-mash. Unlike specialty malts that can be steeped (crystal malts & roasted malts), base malts contain a lot of starch that needs to be converted to sugars by the action of the mash.

Now to answer your original question, specialty grains are not a necessity. However, even though the original all-grain recipe for the beer may not utilize them, a small addition of specialty grain, or even better a mini-mash, can go a long way toward improving the flavor of an extract-only brew. I would consider using British light DME as your base and adding perhaps a small amount of light crystal (~ 1/2 lb) as a steeping grain. This will not change the color very much but will add a touch of extra maltiness to the beer. If you feel up to trying a mini-mash replace a pound of the DME with two pounds of crushed British pale malt and follow the procedures for a mini-mash found here on many old threads or in a book such as Palmer's "How to Brew".

 
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Old 08-26-2012, 08:18 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pappers_ View Post
Heady Topper is an IIPA and I think an extract recipe for any beer in that style would use some specialty malts.
I agree entirely.

Really, I prefer more malt complexity in any beer than extract alone can provide.
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Old 08-26-2012, 09:59 PM   #7
strambo
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Oct 2011
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I only use pale or pilsner LME and use steeped grains or a partial mash to get all my flavor and color for the beer. Steeping grains is easy and makes it so much better! I can't really tell any quality difference between my partial mash batches and my AG batches.

 
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