Steep/mash, which did i do?

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orcus332

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I brewed my first batch of beer over this past weekend. Right now I'm organizing my notes. I just realized I really don't know the definition of steep vs mash or which I did. I thought I was mashing, but correct me if I'm wrong. I brewed BM's blue balls belgian wheat. I loosely followed a partial mash variation of the recipe. I used a muslin bag, and put 2 lbs of flaked wheat and 1 lbs of flaked oats inside. I then placed that inside 3 gallons of water with the temperature of 156F for 70 minutes. After this, I "sparged" the bag with about 1 gallon of 180F water for 10-15 minutes, and combined the two waters and continued.

1. Was this a steep or a mash?

2. Could I/Should I have heated the oats/wheat w/o a bag and used a strainer to ensure water contacted all surfaces of the grain?

Thanks!
 

android

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1)

2) i suppose you could have, but this method is OK also. as long as you moved it around a good bit and had a bag big enough for some movement/expansion of the grain, i'm sure it was fine.

i think steeping really is mashing, just to a lesser extent.
 

TheJadedDog

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i think steeping really is mashing, just to a lesser extent.
Mashing is a process of extracting sugars and requires a base malt to convert the starches.

Steeping is a process of adding color and flavor, no sugars are extracted.

Think of it this way, if the grains are adding to your gravity, you are mashing, if not, you are steeping.
 

jmiracle

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I think in this case it was a steep if you just used 2lbs flaked wheat and 1 lb flaked oats, without a base malt you won't get the starches converted to sugars (missing the "diastatic enzyme" I think, don't quote me on that). All that long steep would have done is wrung every bit or starch out of the grains but probably didn't get much sugar.

If you do it again I would think you might want to add some 6-row malted barley, I don't know the science but 6-row is commonly used when mashing with high amounts of unmalted grains that need to be converted.
 

BigEd

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I brewed my first batch of beer over this past weekend. Right now I'm organizing my notes. I just realized I really don't know the definition of steep vs mash or which I did. I thought I was mashing, but correct me if I'm wrong. I brewed BM's blue balls belgian wheat. I loosely followed a partial mash variation of the recipe. I used a muslin bag, and put 2 lbs of flaked wheat and 1 lbs of flaked oats inside. I then placed that inside 3 gallons of water with the temperature of 156F for 70 minutes. After this, I "sparged" the bag with about 1 gallon of 180F water for 10-15 minutes, and combined the two waters and continued.

1. Was this a steep or a mash?

2. Could I/Should I have heated the oats/wheat w/o a bag and used a strainer to ensure water contacted all surfaces of the grain?

Thanks!
1) It was a steep. Mashing requires enzymatic base malt which creates the process of starch to sugar conversion. Unfortunately just steeping starchy, flaked grains accomplishes little for the beer. You will soak out some starches, gums and proteins but that is about it.

2) Consider doing a mini mash. It's only a little more complicated than steeping and much more rewarding for you and the beer.

:mug:
 
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O

orcus332

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Thanks for everyone who replied, that cleared things up for me.
One more question... Any idea how I would figure out how much grain/malt would be needed to convert the starches in those 3# of wheat/oats in case I brew this one again?
Thanks again!
 

TheJadedDog

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If you're thinking about developing your own recipes I would highly highly recommend downloading one of the available pieces of brewing software. I use ProMash myself but I know a lot of folks use BeerTools.
 

jmiracle

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I can't find anything on ProMash that answers his question.

I'd like to know this too, basically what is the minimum base malt you could use to convert 3 lbs of adjuncts?

Since I do 4lb max partial-mashes, it would be handy to know the maximum amount of adjuncts I could use
 

TheJadedDog

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I can't find anything on ProMash that answers his question.
The ProMash recommendation was more to do with creating your own recipes and less to do with the OP's specific question.

How much base malt you need depends on what adjuncts you are using, how much of them you are using, the size of your mash, ect...
 

BigEd

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Thanks for everyone who replied, that cleared things up for me.
One more question... Any idea how I would figure out how much grain/malt would be needed to convert the starches in those 3# of wheat/oats in case I brew this one again?
Thanks again!
Perhaps 3 lbs of domestic pale malt or 5 lbs of British pale malt. Three pounds of flaked grains in a 5 gallon recipe is a hell of a lot BTW. What is the rest of the recipe?
 
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orcus332

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Ok, here's what I used:

Amount Item Type % or IBU
3.00 lb Extra Light Dry Extract (3.0 SRM) Dry Extract 42.86 %
1.00 lb Wheat Dry Extract (8.0 SRM) Dry Extract 14.29 %
2.00 lb Wheat, Flaked (1.6 SRM) Grain 28.57 %
1.00 lb Oats, Flaked (1.0 SRM) Grain 14.29 %
1.00 oz Saaz [5.80 %] (60 min) Hops 15.0 IBU
0.75 oz Coriander Seed (Boil 10.0 min) Misc
0.75 oz Orange Peel, Bitter (Boil 10.0 min) Misc
 

BigEd

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Ok, here's what I used:

Amount Item Type % or IBU
3.00 lb Extra Light Dry Extract (3.0 SRM) Dry Extract 42.86 %
1.00 lb Wheat Dry Extract (8.0 SRM) Dry Extract 14.29 %
2.00 lb Wheat, Flaked (1.6 SRM) Grain 28.57 %
1.00 lb Oats, Flaked (1.0 SRM) Grain 14.29 %
1.00 oz Saaz [5.80 %] (60 min) Hops 15.0 IBU
0.75 oz Coriander Seed (Boil 10.0 min) Misc
0.75 oz Orange Peel, Bitter (Boil 10.0 min) Misc
Problem #1, as outlined in some of the earlier posts, is that you are not going to get any fermenatables by steeping flaked grains. The only fermentable sugar in the recipe is in the extracts which is going to produce a beer in the 1.028/1.030 OG range.

Here is a revised recipe using a mini mash with some base grain:

5 lbs Wheat DME
1.5 lbs pilsner malt (or sub domestic 2-row pale)
1 lbs flaked oats
.5 lb flaked wheat
hops & spices stay the same

By mashing the malt and flaked grains you will convert their starches to fermentable sugars adding gravity points to the wort as well as extracting a lot more flavor from them. Now you will end up with a more realistic OG, better flavor and less crud in the form of unfermentable starches and loose proteins floating around in your beer. :mug:
 

Bobby_M

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I hate to beat a dead horse here but even if you subbed a pound of malted wheat or any base grain (2-row, 6-row, Pils), it would have converted given enough time. Also, even if you had done that, 3 gallons is too dilute/thin to be a productive mash. With 3lbs of grain, you'd go with 1.5 gallons MAX and I'd prefer something like 1 gallon if your base grain was only 1/3rd of the total bill.
 
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