Steeping speciality grains

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Well-Known Member
Apr 29, 2005
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I am an old 'extract snob' having brewed basically 'alcohol'
which didn't taste bad, for 14 years.
Now alcohol which tastes terrible is better than no alcohol at all,
but this year my goal was quality.

I steep speciality grains in my water then add the DME.
I am amazed at the flavors.
My homebrew was made from LME and then DME
which I just found out are 'base grains',
and base grains impart no flavor,
and are just for alcohol production.

The guy at the homebrew supply preps bags of 'combinations of speciality grains'. Octoberfest, Brown, Venniz, Red, I don't know what I am doing but just steep the speciality grains in 160 degree water for 30', stir them around a few times,
Sparge, real good, till the water comes out clear,
and then just continue brewing with the 8 Lbs of DME.

I am amazed at the profoundly good tastes I get from my brew now.

Excuse me I have been up since 3:00 am
I find it easier to brew when I am not so drunk.
My pizza dough is ready however, so,

Later 'Yawl'

LME and DME aren't just 'base grains'. the majority is base malt...but you can't get an Amber DME or LME without adding some specialty grains...which they do prior to removing the liquid to turn it into extract.

also, base grains add flavor. Pure corn sugar is what only produces alcohol with no flavor except that of alcohol.
You can brew beer, from all grain, with nothing but 2-row base malt. It won't be a very complex flavor profile, but it'll be fine drinking nonetheless.
I'm glad that you're happy with making "new" beers for you. That's great! I think that specialty grains add so much to extract beers in the way of color and flavor, too.

I'm glad to hear that it's worked out for you! :mug:
sounds like you're on the right track, but yeah...extract imparts much more flavour than, say, corn sugar. and, for instance, wheat DME is made from wheat and barley and is used to make hefeweizens.

you can make certain beers with JUST extract, such as hefes and kolsch (but steeping grains usually help)

your steeping method is actually very good compared to most beginners. hope you're inspired to continue exploring!

TexLaw said:
Man, by steeping specialty grains and picking the right extracts, you can brew just about anything. Have fun!


Definately. I couldn't even think about making an extract brew without specialty grains.
Ooompa Loompa said:
Definately. I couldn't even think about making an extract brew without specialty grains.

I know what you mean, steeping grains adds so much extra.
WOW!! 14 years of brewing and you never once tried steeping some specialty grains??? still tryin to wrap my brain around that one, WOW!.....:confused:
I went a step further recently and did a "mock" decoction by taking some of the grains and simmering them in a seperater pan until they were darkened, and then adding them back to the other grains and sparging.

From the resulting smell I am certain that this step will kick my PM Marzen up a few notches.
Last Sunday I brewed my first beer that wasnt with a MrBeer. The German Octoberfest kit that I used had steeping grains. As soon as I dropped the sack in the water:D it immediatley filled the house with a smell that I wish would never go away. I hope it taste just as good.