I just found out I have been doing it all wrong

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G-pa

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Just found out that I should not be steeping grains in the full 5 gallons of water. should be using like 3 quarts of water instead and then adding water too the pot to 5 gallons but how do I steep with so little water in the pot , three quarts is only going to be maybe three or three and a half inches of water in the pot?
 

MaynardX

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I might be wrong, but I don't think the volume of water matters for steeping as long as it is enough water.
 

llazy_llama

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The volume of water you steep in doesn't make a huge difference, unless we're talking about very large or very small volumes. Boil volume makes a much bigger difference when it comes to hops, but for grains, you were doing it right boiling a full 5 gallons.

Seriously though, who told you to steep in only 3 quarts of water? :eek:
 
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I have been reading this on other message boards.
I did find that to be a bit strange because the instruction that come with the kits don't say anything about using less water
 

Nurmey

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I learned several years ago to steep small, boil big. It produced lots of tasty extract brews and I can tell you it is good advice.
 

McGarnigle

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Per John Palmer in How to Brew: "For best results, the ratio of steeping water to grain should be less than one gallon per pound."

Now, I'm not saying Palmer's word is gospel, but there you go.
 

SumnerH

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The volume of water you steep in doesn't make a huge difference, unless we're talking about very large or very small volumes.
+1 on this, plus pulling the grain sock out and pouring some of the additional water through it (sort of a sparge for your steep) makes a much bigger difference than any variation in the amount of water in the steep unless the latter is insanely big or small, IME.
 
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G-pa

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I have found this in john palmers book how to brew( page 136 ) and a few other forums
 

Nurmey

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It was also stated in a couple articles in BYO about how to improve extract batches. I believe it is one of the tips that make extract brews not taste like extract brews.
 

SteveM

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Be skeptical of anyone who says that something is flat out wrong, or that they is only one way to do things in home brewing. If your process results in good beer, you are doing it right. If not, you need to adjust your aim somewhere.
 

JLem

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Sounds like a confusion between a partial mash and a steep. 3 quarts of water sounds reasonable for a partial mash.
 

Revvy

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The reason many if not all the instructions say to steep small is that the recipes are NOT for full volume boils, they are for extract with grain recipes that call for topping off after.

Not many people starting out can do full volume boils, since very few stoves can boil 6-7 gallons down to 5 gallons. Most can only do 2-3 gallons on the stove and round up aftr in the fermenter.

And most people don't jump to using a turkey fryer until they get a wort chiller and make the transition to all grain brewing.

If you are able to do full volume boils go for it....you are lucky. The one thing you need to look at re-figuring, and is more important than how much water you steep with is the hops utilization for full volume as opposed to partial volume boils. It's gonna be somewhat different...

You're not doing anything "wrong" you are jsut able to do something that most beginners starting out can't do, and that is boil larger volumes.
 

Saccharomyces

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With dark extract beers I know pH can be a problem steeping the grains, as the pH can become too acidic (low) because there isn't any mashing grain to buffer. In such a case steeping with more water seems like it would be beneficial. For a ligher beer, the opposite may be true if you have alkaline water, and if the pH is too high you can extract off flavors from grain husks.

Methinks we needz an experiment... :rolleyes:
 

mahilly

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I thought that what he was describing looked familar so here it is.
The Brew Hut Discussion Forum
From the link above: "Generally speaking, more boil liquid volume (i.e.lower boil gravity) will increase the hop utilization when compared with a stronger wort."

Can you achieve the same result as a full boil by doing a partial boil with a late extract addition?

And, for any given beer, what is the actual end result difference in a full boil vs. a partial boil and top off?

(I'm sure these are already answered somewhere on HBT but since we are on the subject thought I'd just ask).
 

dontman

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Could also be they were talking about a poor mans minimash.

GT
This is indeed where the confusion lies. People might think that a mash process would work best but the only key is in the grains, IF the grains require no mash that means that all starches have already been converted in the grain and all that needs to occur is to liquify that crystallized sugar that resides in the grain. For this process the more water the better, because it more effectively gets that sugar into your solution. /so if your mash contains preconverted grains such as crystal, munich , vienna , carapils etc then steep in a bunch of water. If your grains require mashing such as 2 row, then the balance of water is very important becayse you do not to diminish the efficacy of the starch to sugar conversion enzymes. In this case a ratio of 1.5 liters to 1 lb of grain is a reasonable rule of thumb. Keep in mind that in this case you will want to rinse these grains very thoroughly to get all of the good stuff into the wort.
 

RCCOLA

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From the link above: "Generally speaking, more boil liquid volume (i.e.lower boil gravity) will increase the hop utilization when compared with a stronger wort."

Can you achieve the same result as a full boil by doing a partial boil with a late extract addition?

And, for any given beer, what is the actual end result difference in a full boil vs. a partial boil and top off?

QUOTE]
Strictly speaking from what my brewing calculator shows
Beer Calculus . homebrew recipe calculator and not arguing theory w/ anyone,then yes-by adding 1/2 of your extract late(last 10-15mins) you can reach roughly the same IBUs with a 3gal boil as you can if you add all at 60mins w/ a full boil.As for your other question,most people concur that a full boil will usually make better beer.I can't say from experience b/c I switched to full boils early in my obsession and still had other issues to correct in order to make better beer.
 

Grinder12000

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Steeping is different then mini mashing - I think what you are talking about is mini mashing where it does make a difference as you are tryign to ge sugar out of the grain and not just flavor.
 

SumnerH

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From the link above: "Generally speaking, more boil liquid volume (i.e.lower boil gravity) will increase the hop utilization when compared with a stronger wort."
This is a myth, and it's something that most of the common IBU formulas (e.g. Tinseth, Rager, Garetz, Mosher, Daniels) used by brewing software get wrong. It's only in the past 2 years that it's slowly getting out there that gravity doesn't affect hops utilization. See:
https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f128/estimating-bitterness-algorithms-state-art-109681/
Especially the second post summarizing Palmer's report. Relevant part:
1. The rate at which alpha acids isomerize is pretty constant in worts of various densities. That is, the gravity of your wort has almost zero impact on how much hop utilization you get. But:
2. Isoalphas cling to everything, including hot break. So there's an indirect effect where higher-gravity boils are likely to lose more isoalphas in their (correspondingly greater) hot break material.
The full interview with Palmer is the March 20 one "What is an IBU, really?" from Basic Brewing Radio in 2008:
Basic Brewing™ : Home Brewing Beer Podcast and DVD - Basic Brewing Radio™ 2008

I highly recommend listening to it.

That thread also has a link to the abstract from the American Society of Brewing Chemists all the way back in 1989 stating, in part, "In the range 10.5-13.5° P, no relationship between hop utilization and original gravity was found."--and from what Palmer says, that range has been expanded greatly since then.

FWIW the ASBC are the ones who defined what an IBU is in the first place, so they're pretty familiar with the science.

Can you achieve the same result as a full boil by doing a partial boil with a late extract addition?
As Palmer says, there are a lot of good reasons for late addition but increasing hops utilization isn't a major one. There may be a minor effect due to less break material being in the pot for a prolonged period of time, but nothing like the 60% difference the formulas would predict.

And, for any given beer, what is the actual end result difference in a full boil vs. a partial boil and top off?
With late addition, you get less maillard reactions, which means less of a caramelized or even burnt flavor and a lighter colored beer. It's a generally good idea as long as you add 25% of the extract at the front.
 

JLem

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1. The rate at which alpha acids isomerize is pretty constant in worts of various densities. That is, the gravity of your wort has almost zero impact on how much hop utilization you get. But:
2. Isoalphas cling to everything, including hot break. So there's an indirect effect where higher-gravity boils are likely to lose more isoalphas in their (correspondingly greater) hot break material.
So, when using the various software to craft recipes, how should we calculate IBUs? Just look at the IBUs without the late extract addition? Or is the late extract addition calculation the one that is correct?
 

conpewter

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This is indeed where the confusion lies. People might think that a mash process would work best but the only key is in the grains, IF the grains require no mash that means that all starches have already been converted in the grain and all that needs to occur is to liquify that crystallized sugar that resides in the grain. For this process the more water the better, because it more effectively gets that sugar into your solution. /so if your mash contains preconverted grains such as crystal, munich , vienna , carapils etc then steep in a bunch of water. If your grains require mashing such as 2 row, then the balance of water is very important becayse you do not to diminish the efficacy of the starch to sugar conversion enzymes. In this case a ratio of 1.5 liters to 1 lb of grain is a reasonable rule of thumb. Keep in mind that in this case you will want to rinse these grains very thoroughly to get all of the good stuff into the wort.
True, I think you have a couple of your grain varieties wrong though. The munich and vienna need to be mashed.

How to Brew - By John Palmer - Malt Types and Usages
 

SumnerH

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So, when using the various software to craft recipes, how should we calculate IBUs? Just look at the IBUs without the late extract addition? Or is the late extract addition calculation the one that is correct?
Uh, depends on the brew. My recommendations would be:

Use the full-boil, early-addition numbers as the closest to correct even if you're doing a partial boil. There may be some slight increased utilization from doing late-addition because the break material isn't all in there, but it's going to be a lot less difference than the formulas would say.

e.g. If you calculate Tinseth for addition 1 oz of hops at 60 minutes in a 1.050 full boil, and then try to get the same IBUs in a 2.5 gallon partial boil (1.100 OG) the formula would say that you need 1.6 oz of the same hops to reach the same IBU number. That's 60% more hops needed in the partial boil according to the formula. Home brewers have intuitively known for years that that's wrong, and have recommended rules of thumb like "10% more hops in the partial boil"--much more conservative corrections.

I'd ignore late additions and partial boils until you get a feel for things--certainly don't go with the massive changes the formulas indicate, maybe 10% more in a partial, 10% less in a late-addition, and treat a late-addition partial the same as a regular full boil. That's not exact, but we don't have enough data points yet to be very precise.

AND if you're formulating an original recipe:
Lie about the gravity slightly--calculate the recipe with no simple sugars (corn sugar/cane sugar/candi syrup/etc) and with double the "high-break" grains (wheat/rye/etc), calculate the IBUs, and then correct the recipe. e.g. if you have a hefe that gets 25 gravity points from wheat and 25 from barley for a 1.050 OG, lie and say that it's a 1.075 for calculating IBUS (double the wheat). If you have a belgian that gets 60 points from barley and 20 points from sugar, lie and say that it's a 1.060 for calculating IBUs.

BUT, be aware that if you're using someone else's recipe they've probably formulated it by taste rather than the numbers, so trust a well-formed recipe over any formula and don't futz with them until you feel like you have a handle on things. And if you're new to recipe formulation, look at similar recipes to get a handle on the amounts of hops that people have used successfully.

Also, don't expect to be exactly on-the-nose with IBU calculations. If you look at the numbers from that thread (where it tests the predictions of all the formulas vs. actual measured IBUs), they're all off significantly in some cases.

Probably the most important thing to do is pick one method and stick with it, so that you become aware how a certain number is going to taste. And be aware of the wheat/rye and simple sugar issues Palmer raises.
 

JLem

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Also, don't expect to be exactly on-the-nose with IBU calculations. If you look at the numbers from that thread (where it tests the predictions of all the formulas vs. actual measured IBUs), they're all off significantly in some cases.
SumnerH - this is some good stuff (here and in your original IBU post). I've been frustrated with trying to capture "true" IBU calculation as I have started to use BeerSmith to formulate my own recipes. My original "problem" (epiphany?) is detailed in an earlier post - https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/beer-smith-overhopping-103930/

I have only brewed 3 batches so far - one kit and then two from my own formulation. I do not intend to brew from kits again (not that I think they aren't great, I like the thrill of crafting my own), so I have been trying to learn as much as I can about the science behind the process (it helps, I think, that I am a trained scientist). It is frustrating to me though that the whole IBU issue is so murky - even murkier now than I thought - especially given the BJCP "standards". It's at a point now that I no longer know how to approach crafting a beer with a particular bitterness (or what that even means!). What's the point of calculating or at least, sharing, an IBU level? What does it mean that a particular beer style standard is "15-20" IBUs (e.g. a cream ale)?
 

EcuPirate07

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Ok on this subject I used a partial from homebrew outpost Blonde Ale Partial Mash Beer Kit
Under ingrediants you can read the instructions it says to steep in 5 quarts of water well I read 5 gallons somehow but during the time I was filling up my 5 gallon pot I was like man I cant fill this thing up full so I just did 4 gallons so I steeped in 4 gallons and then did a sparg with about 1.5 gallons then boiled with that and added my extract and hops.


So from this thread did I do it wrong or will it work out. I still had a starting gravity at 1.054. Should I do this all the time or start doing it with the 5 quarts of water????? I guess im a little confused on this, sorry for the long post.
 
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