Steeping Grains, Beer Kits and Fermentables

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bigrbuk

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I'm a bit lost.

I've made 4 kits now, 2 requiring sugars or other fermentables to be added, 2 where they were already in the extract. So far, so good.

I'm now ready to move to the experimentation stage and start adding hop teas and perhaps steeped grains but I'm a bit confused by steeping grains.

From what I've read, it's a good idea and will add freshness to the beer kit, but what I don't understand is 1) how much grain I should be steeping and 2) if this replaces some of the fermentables I add? If it does, what does that mean for the kits with fermentables in the extract already? Extra ABV or shouldn't be done with these?

Not decided what to brew next, I fancy a Helles (I have a temp controlled fridge) and an Irish Red (assuming this one a better candidate for grain addition).
 
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jt8d

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Steeping grains can add a few points of gravity but it's not enough to worry about. How much steeping grains you use can vary from a few ounces to a few pounds, just depending on the type of grain and the style of beer.
 

jalc6927

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You can request the grains when you order the kits and they’ll do the conversion for you

It can improve your overall beer quality, and it’s not difficult at all
 
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bigrbuk

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I've only brewed the really basic stuff to start with, a Cooper's one that came with my equipment, a festival new Zealand "pilsner", and just done the brewbarrel Oktoberfest. No mashing or boiling done to date. 23 litre batches.

I'm looking for next step and building up equipment bit by bit, so no long mashes, wort coolers etc. I heard and ding a few steeped grains "lifts" the basic kits?

Other advice more than welcome
 

jalc6927

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You can use the same equipment that you currently have. The only difference is you may have two types of extracts now. The new kit will have extract and the grains.

Steep the grains for 20 minutes at 153 or so, then gently rinse with warm water, bring to boil and add extracts and/ lme or dme , hops and so forth as you’re already doing

You may have to buy a strainer
 
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bigrbuk

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Sorry, I'm probably confusing with my lack of knowledge!

I buy a kit, pour the extract in the fermenter add some hot water and stir, add sugars if needed and top up to 23l with cool water. No boiling.

That's where I'm currently at (total boob)
 

jalc6927

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If you have a local brew shop pay them a visit and they can show you
 
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bigrbuk

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Show me what? I don't have a kettle, I don't want to boil extract as yet, I don't have the equipment. I was under the impression I could just steep grains to boost the most basic kits, which I could do in a conventional saucepan?

I don't boil anything at present
 
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bigrbuk

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Sorry, I know I'm prob not explaining myself very well.

I'll just buy some grains and do the steep bit and add to a kit and see what happens eh? Best way to learn :)
 

jalc6927

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I was confused as well

If your not boiling the wort then steeping probably won’t help you any
 

RM-MN

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There are two kinds of extract, those with hops already in them and those without. Yours are the kind with the hops in the extract which is why you don't have to boil as boiling is necessary to extract the bittering from the hops.

In the making of the extract the manufacturer uses a mix of grains to get the flavor. You can add some more or different flavors by steeping some specialty grains in the hot water and then using that water for part of the top off water.

As an experiment, buy a pound (half kilo) of caramel 60 grains. Get them crushed or ground up to make them ready to give up their flavor, then steep them in a muslin or nylon bag in 2 liters of water that is heated between 60 and 80C. for half an hour. That should turn the water a darker color. Remove the bag of grains and let it drain. You can squeeze the bag to get more of the liquid out. Dump this liquid into your fermenter with the extract for your red ale and top off with water. That should add a bit of caramel flavor.
 
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bigrbuk

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Awesome! Thanks for understanding me and explaining in simpleton terms for me what I could try/achieve.

As with all my hobbies, I'm now reading about the next stage. The Late Extract method looks interesting for a low cost option with greater experimentation capabilities. I can get a 15l pot for example I could use on the stove...

hmm...
 
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