What volume of water, temp, time, timing, to steep grains.

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chione

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So I just started doing full 5 gallon boils and I am getting mixed info on how much water I should steep my specialty grains in. Some instructions state that grains should steep at 150*F for 30min in 2.5 gal then you should add more water and bring to boil. Others instructions don’t say any thing. I even had one recipe that said steep the grains at 170*F. Also the CJOHB recommends adding the grains to cold water then heating the water until 150 or so. So I would like to take poll and see what others are doing

What temp do you steep?
How long do you steep?
What volume do you steep?
When do add the grains?
 

cheezydemon

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The more water the better, but it is harder to control the temp of more water. The more diluted the goodness from the grains, the more they will give up.
 

Funkenjaeger

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150F for 30 minutes sounds like a perfectly good rule of thumb. When steeping, there's not much science to it (unlike mashing) so it's not exactly critical. If the temperature is over about 170F, you can extract tannins from the husks - avoid this. Other than that, the higher the temperature, the better the solubility of sugars/etc, so as long as you can keep it somewhere in the range of 150-165F or so you should be fine. The other method of adding grains to cold water while it heats sounds fine too - just seems like an easy way to cut down on the time required, because you can count the time the water takes to heat as part/all of your steep time.

One point I'm not 100% sure on is the quantity of water. I seem to recall that you don't want to use too much water (for much the same reason you don't want to over-sparge when mashing) - if the solution is too dilute, the pH will be higher and you can be more likely to extract tannins. Someone more familiar with this can hopefully chime in, but personally, I would recommend steeping in 1-2 gallons (depending on how much grain you're steeping) and then topping off after you have removed the grains.
 

TexLaw

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I have steeped 3.25# of grains in five gallons of 150-160F distilled water with good results (i.e., no detectable tannins). I don't know if that would work for everyone though, and tap water probably will be much more alkaline that distilled. Now, I also can't say if what I've done is a good practice. If you want to be safe, stick with the lower volumes.

I do not recommend steeping at temperatures higher than 160, though. As dilute as the steep is, you may very well be pushing the line for tannin extraction, and there's no good reason to risk it.

Thirty minutes also is a fine amount of time. That's what I do, and it's worked well.


TL
 

TexLaw

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cheezydemon said:
The more water the better, but it is harder to control the temp of more water.
I've had just the opposite experience. Larger volumes heat and cool more slowly, so it's been quite easy to hit and keep the temperature I've wanted.


TL
 

bluedragoon85

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Looks like I'm pushing it when I steep my grains. What I do is place them in the water while it is heating up and then wait till the temp. reaches 170 degrees. Then I leave it their for 10 minutes at that same temp. I will try not to go any higher then 160 next time since that seems to be the better norm.

BTW. What is tannin extraction? (help a n00b out)
 

Beerthoven

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I add my steeping grains to 1.5 - 2 gallons of 155º water and let them soak for 30-45 minutes or so. I don't sparge or rinse, I just swish the bag around several times during the soak and let it drip-drain into the pot when I'm done. I'm happy with my results.
 

bluedragoon85

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Well, I hope I didn't ruin my brew. I brewed a London Porter yesterday and I steeped the specialty grains in 2.5 Gallons of water at the mentioned temp. and timing as mentioned previously.
 

debaniel

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I've also read that when removing the grain bag, just let it drip into the pot... don't squeeze the bag to get that extra water out quickly - you could be squeezing tannins into the wort...

course, that being said, i've steeped grains without any sort of thermometer, and then squeezed the bag at the end, and had a great brew.

I have also read that it's easier to get astringent tasting tannins from darker grains... so what might be allowable for lighter grains might get you in trouble when you make a stout.
 

Bills Brew

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Not trying to hijack this thread, but what kind of flavors do tannins impart to the beer and how do you know you've got them?

Can you over sparge specialty grains? I have had a tendency to sparge the grains until the water coming out of the bottom of the bag is clear. With darker beers that never happens, so I was wondering if you can "over sparge".
 

Joker

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I have always use 150F for 30 min usually in roughly 2 gallons of water then rinse with 168F water. Not sure if this makes it better or worse but its the way I have always done it.
 

DeathBrewer

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Bills Brew said:
Not trying to hijack this thread, but what kind of flavors do tannins impart to the beer and how do you know you've got them?

Can you over sparge specialty grains? I have had a tendency to sparge the grains until the water coming out of the bottom of the bag is clear. With darker beers that never happens, so I was wondering if you can "over sparge".
tannin flavor is usually described as "astringent"

you can't really over sparge, the temp of your sparge water is the most important (<170F)
 

Hogshead

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General rule of thumb is 25 minutes at 155 degrees... Watch the video I posted if you have any questions but seriously:

once I boiled the grains for about 20 minutes, and my beer was great.

another time I squeezed the grain bag like it were a tea bag and I wanted all the liquid possible in my brew, it still turned out great.

and then I even forgot to add the grain till it was already boiling, added it, and let the wort cool to about 195 degrees, the beer still turned out great.

don't worry- just keep making mistakes until your recipe is considered "unique" and you win a prize for it!

You never know till the end, and then if you can drink your "mistakes" it probably wasn't now was it...
 

BrooZer

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Palmer also says to use 1 gallon of water per 1lb of grain. HOw come it seems as though nobody uses that guideline?
 

TexLaw

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Because, long before the good Mr. Palmer published his book, I was doing something else that worked just fine. It wasn't broke, so I didn't fix it.

(and, just as an aside, the "good Mr. Palmer" really is a good guy - one of the nicest guys I've ever met. He really knows his stuff and enjoys teaching others)


TL
 

Aberes

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We have used 60/40 grain to extract using 2.75 gallons in the steep at 180. Using higher amounts of grain works great with a warmer temperature. Steeping in the nylon allows for the grain to move around and create the wort. Wort is the backbone and our philosophy has always shown using the water to steep instead of 'add to volume' towards the end yields the best taste from our grain.
 

Gavagai

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150F for 30 minutes sounds like a perfectly good rule of thumb. When steeping, there's not much science to it (unlike mashing) so it's not exactly critical. If the temperature is over about 170F, you can extract tannins from the husks - avoid this. Other than that, the higher the temperature, the better the solubility of sugars/etc, so as long as you can keep it somewhere in the range of 150-165F or so you should be fine. The other method of adding grains to cold water while it heats sounds fine too - just seems like an easy way to cut down on the time required, because you can count the time the water takes to heat as part/all of your steep time.

One point I'm not 100% sure on is the quantity of water. I seem to recall that you don't want to use too much water (for much the same reason you don't want to over-sparge when mashing) - if the solution is too dilute, the pH will be higher and you can be more likely to extract tannins. Someone more familiar with this can hopefully chime in, but personally, I would recommend steeping in 1-2 gallons (depending on how much grain you're steeping) and then topping off after you have removed the grains.
If one were to add a small amount of extract (say, a pound) to the steeping water, wouldn't this control the pH enough that using a larger volume wouldn't be a problem?
 

ItsagoodIPA

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I just finished my first batch i got a box from brewers best it was a recipe calling its self an IPA. well, there was no dry hopping required and it turnd out very dark more looks and tastes of a brown. i used Victory and caramel 40l i also may have pulld the bag out 3 or 4 times letting the water drip into the pot i think this may have been the problem with the color i got. i steeped the grains for 20 minutes no higher then 160 anyone know any reason why it would have created a burnt taste and a dark amber color?

also im starting my second brew and i took the sculpin ipa recipe from ballast point but changed a few things whent with .8 of victory .8 of caramel pilsner and 8. of the caramel 4ol i used much more of a variety of hops and also dry hopd this round
 

vicratlhead51

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I usually use the amount of water the recipe calls for for the partial boil. I put the grains in as im heating the water and let it get up to 158* shut off the flame and let it drop over time to 152* then kick the burner back on, just keeping it in that range for a half hour. I pull the bag out and let it drip out for a few mins. I don't squeeze the bag but not for fear of tannins but just because I don't like the hot water. I've been really successful doing this.

An easy way for someone who doesn't understand "astringent" to find out what tannins taste like would be to make some tea, make sure the water is really boiling, and let the teabag steep like 20mins instead of the normal 5. That tea is going to be full of tannins and you'll see why you don't want that flavor in beer.:(
 

Gavagai

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I just finished my first batch i got a box from brewers best it was a recipe calling its self an IPA. well, there was no dry hopping required and it turnd out very dark more looks and tastes of a brown. i used Victory and caramel 40l i also may have pulld the bag out 3 or 4 times letting the water drip into the pot i think this may have been the problem with the color i got. i steeped the grains for 20 minutes no higher then 160 anyone know any reason why it would have created a burnt taste and a dark amber color?

also im starting my second brew and i took the sculpin ipa recipe from ballast point but changed a few things whent with .8 of victory .8 of caramel pilsner and 8. of the caramel 4ol i used much more of a variety of hops and also dry hopd this round
I doubt your steeping technique was the problem. Perhaps you had some scorching in the kettle?
 

ItsagoodIPA

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I doubt your steeping technique was the problem. Perhaps you had some scorching in the kettle?
yeah thats also what i was thinking because i have been using an electric stove and im beginning to think thats our main problem also my water lvl is always Half a gallon under when i move to my secondary fermenter

:mug:
 

JasontheBeaver

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Not trying to hijack this thread, but what kind of flavors do tannins impart to the beer and how do you know you've got them?
Grab a bottle of dry cabernet wine and compare the taste to a mild merlot. The biggest difference is tannins. You can also feel it when you rub your tongue against the roof of your mouth in the amount of friction that will be noticeably increased after drinking something with higher tannin content. Good for (some) wines, bad for beer.
 
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My Brother and I always start with 6 gallons of purified drinking water, I add the grains in the bag as soon as the temp reaches 100 and leave it in till' 160 which is usually at least 30 min., pick it up and let it drain, then He puts the grains on His flower beds, the plants love it, This has worked for Us every time.
 

NWHopHead

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My big question that I have about steeping grains is temperature control of the water. I have a gas burner for the boil but use the electric range for getting the water up to temp for steeping. My problem with that is that it is difficult to keep the water in the steeping not boiling range so for the sake of consistency I've been warming 2 pots of water to 170. Putting the steeping grain bag into on the pots and putting both pots in the oven at 170 (lowest temp it will go), and then sparging using the 2nd pot of water that was held at 170. Any of you guys got tips on keeping your steeping temp between 155 and 170?
 

clavalla

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As someone mentioned earlier larger volumes are a larger thermal mass, so it takes longer to lose and gain heat. I do 5 gallon batches but I have a large enough kettle to do full boils. I start with about 6.2 gallons and end up around 5.25-5.5 at the end which is just about 5 when it comes to bottling. So I add all the water, turn up the burner with the lid on, I add grain bag around 120, start my timer, and get it to between 155-160 and then kill the burner and let it set for however long I have left. The size of the water with the lid on keeps the temps pretty stable. I brew outside and for example yesterday my water only dropped about 3 degrees for my steep to finish.


Sent from my iPhone using Home Brew
 

bigwheell

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My big question that I have about steeping grains is temperature control of the water. I have a gas burner for the boil but use the electric range for getting the water up to temp for steeping. My problem with that is that it is difficult to keep the water in the steeping not boiling range so for the sake of consistency I've been warming 2 pots of water to 170. Putting the steeping grain bag into on the pots and putting both pots in the oven at 170 (lowest temp it will go), and then sparging using the 2nd pot of water that was held at 170. Any of you guys got tips on keeping your steeping temp between 155 and 170?


Crack the door on the stove when you have the temp set to 170 and the water temp will stay pretty constant at 150-155. At least is has in my experience.
 
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