I didn't crush my specialty grains enough before steeping.

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Dude3000

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Target OG was 1.071; actual OG was 1.052. It's been in the primary for 10 days. Fermentation is just about done, and it doesn't taste bad. Is there anything I can do at this point to improve the beer? Or should I just suck it up and live with the lesson?
 

Atonk

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Just because you missed your OG doesn't mean it won't be good. Ten days is still young; give it two more weeks and see how it's doing.
 

paparker21

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Your crush on steeping grains wont affect OG. Steeping grains don't contribute any fermentables to the wort. If you missed your OG by that much, you've missed some extract somewhere... To give you some idea:

most dry extracts contribute about 40 pts per pound per gallon; so in a 5 gallon brew, 1 lb of DME contributes only 12 points. If you've come up at a 52 instead of 71, that's like you missing 1.75 lbs of DME

Other possibility: was your anticipated 71 pt OG based on a 5 gallon wort or on a smaller more concentrated wort? Did you measure a 5 gallon wort? 71->41 could be explained as the 71 being for 3 gallons but measuring after dilluted to 5 gallons.

Edit: Where did your anticipated OG value of 71 come from?
 
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Dude3000

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I don't necessarily think that there's a problem. I am sure that I didn't crush the specialty grains well enough, and I was wondering if there's anything I can do to make up for it. I'm interested to see what happens with the beer, regardless, and I plan on waiting for a while before bottling (although I'm planning to dry hop it starting this weekend), I was mainly just fielding thoughts re: making up for the lack of sugars I got from poor grain-crushing.
 

paparker21

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here's a decent read on the subject. I could have worded it better -- steeped grains won't affect og *much* certainly not 20 pts worth.

http://www.beersmith.com/blog/2009/03/22/steeping-grains-for-extract-beer-brewing/

with fermentation coming to an end i can't think of anything you could do. If you wanted, when you first brewed and realize the gravity was low, you could have tossed in some sugar to inflate the gravity and up the abv. I think your bigger concern from poorly crushed steeping grains would be that you didnt draw out enough un-fermentables and your mouthfeel may suffer as a result... ie: runny or 'thin' feeling stout.
 
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I don't necessarily think that there's a problem. I am sure that I didn't crush the specialty grains well enough, and I was wondering if there's anything I can do to make up for it. I'm interested to see what happens with the beer, regardless, and I plan on waiting for a while before bottling (although I'm planning to dry hop it starting this weekend), I was mainly just fielding thoughts re: making up for the lack of sugars I got from poor grain-crushing.
At that OG you'll get a 5.2% beer, which is higher than bud. I bet you like what you end up with. :mug:
 
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here's a decent read on the subject. I could have worded it better -- steeped grains won't affect og *much* certainly not 20 pts worth.

http://www.beersmith.com/blog/2009/03/22/steeping-grains-for-extract-beer-brewing/
Thanks for the link. I did read.

Well, there's no difference between mashing at 155 and steeping at 155.

It's impossible to say what contribution the steeping grains would have had without know 1) what types of grains, and 2) how much of them.
 

chickypad

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Did you top off with water? If so this is very likely to be a mixing issue. Search this forum for the multitude of "I missed my OG" threads. It's nearly impossible to miss your OG by that much on an extract brew if you had the correct volume of water.
 
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Dude3000

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Oops! I plugged my ingredients into BeerSmith. Upon further review, some of the numbers (i.e., preboil volume and boil time) were off, big time. Sorry to take your time, folks, but thanks for the input.
 

ChessRockwell

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Well, there's no difference between mashing at 155 and steeping at 155.
Wouldn't the major difference be the volume of water?
Most people steeping grains are steeping a relatively small amount of grain in a relatively large amount of water (2lbs or less in 3 gallons or so for most kits). Anyone mashing grains is going to be using a lot less water, something more like 1-1.5 quarts per pound of grain, so the enzymes can convert the starches to sugar.
When you're steeping grains in that much water, I'm guessing the enzymes that would do the conversion are far too diluted by the amount of water to do much converting, not to mention most only steep for 20-30min, not 60min+. Feel free to correct if I'm wrong...
 
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The major difference is diastatic power. In a mash, base grains provide enzymes to convert unfermentable starches to fermentable sugar. When steeping, the primary goal is to get flavor and color components from specialty grains.

For example, it is entirely possible to steep roasted barley by itself and get a lot of flavor and color. There will be a small amount of starch and sugar content as byproducts, but that content will not have a huge impact on specific gravity, though the roasted barley's other contributions will be quite evident and desirable.

Crystal malts behave differently than highly roasted malts when steeping. The added fermentable and unfermentable sugar content is significant, since those grains actually contain quite a bit of already converted sugar, making them perfect for steeping. Whether steeped or mashed, crystal malt will have an impact on specific gravity.

On the other hand, steeping unmalted grain (raw wheat, flaked barley, oats, etc) without a base grain present will chiefly contribute starch and protein content, most of which is likely undesirable. While it may have a significant impact on specific gravity, it will also quite likely have a negative impact overall.

"Steeping" base grains (2-row, wheat malt, etc) may actually constitute a partial mash. However, steeping is usually done with a very high water to grain ratio at imprecise temperatures in comparison to true mashing. High pH, an inefficient lauter/sparge process, and imprecise temperature management lead to extreme inefficiencies in conversion and extraction. As a result, this pseudo-mash will yield unpredictable and likely undesirable results.
 
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Dude3000

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Steeping:
1 lbs 0.6 oz Weyermann Light Munich (6.0 SRM)
8.0 oz Carafa I (Weyermann)

Boil:
4 lbs Light Dry Extract [Boil for 60 min](5.0 SRM)
1.50 ozSummit [17.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min
0.50 ozSummit [17.00 %] - Boil 30.0 min
Light Dry Extract [Boil for 15 min](5.0 SRM)
0.25 tspIrish Moss (Boil 15.0 mins)
1.00 ozAmarillo Gold [8.50 %] - Boil 15.0 min

Boil volume: ~3 gal
Boil loss: ~.15 gal
Topped off to 5 gal
 
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If your steeping grains were in water between 150 and 160, you'd add:

Munich: (1# * 37) / 5g = 7.4
Carafa: (0.5# * 32) / 5g = 3.2 gravity points

7.4 + 3.2 = 10.6
Assuming you leave 30% of the sugars behind in the spent grain, 10.6 * 0.7 = 7.4 gravity points

So, if you steeped at "mash temps", those grains would easily add 7.4 points to your wort, and you'd have ended at about 1.060. If you had crushed them.
 
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Dude3000

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I steeped the specialty grains in just under 2 gallons. I crushed them, but I doubt that I crushed them enough.
 
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