Steeping Grains

Post #1 made 9 years ago
How do you handle steeping grains? I'm thinking of grains like Crystal/Caramels, Chocolate, Roasted Barley, etc. Do you grind them up with the rest of the grain bill and stir into the MT.. or do you steep them separately? Do you even grind them?
Hop Song Brewing-Santa Rosa, California

Post #2 made 9 years ago
Definitely crush them.

Here is a link about steeping during the mash-out; ... hout#p1299

I did it once or twice with some light crystal, no side-by-side though, couldn't tell you it was better or worse. There are differences in opinions. I did it based on hearing Gordon Strong.

Probably is also based on the style of brew too, I reckon, I hear Guinness is cold steeped.
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Post #3 made 9 years ago
Thanks.. In this case it would be for a stout.. I've read a little about it.. cold vs hot vs adding to wort at/toward end of boil, etc. Can be confusing. y min concern is the real dark grains like chocolate and Roasted Barley. I'd guess, as long as I keep my pH in order.. I'm good to go.. That is part of what concerned me.. as the dark grains are really known for lowering the pH. Don't want to go too low.. but, certainly I want to get down during the mash to that 5.4 range. :)
Hop Song Brewing-Santa Rosa, California

Post #4 made 9 years ago
Don't worry about this Bill for a few reasons...

1. Dark grains lower the pH less than crystal grains (latest knowledge).

2. In BIAB, you are full volume brewing (mashing and sparging simultaneously) so the grain bill has far less effect on the PH.

3. There is a difference between whether you just steep or mash and steep your grains but this is a new phenomenon and we don't have much info on it. You should assume however, unless told otherwise, that, in an all-grain recipe, all of the grains are mashed.

[NOTE: You'll see in BIABAcus PR1.3T, maybe before, that it allows the user to type in if they choose to steep a specialty grain rather than mashing it as well.]

Last edited by PistolPatch on 03 Sep 2014, 19:04, edited 1 time in total.
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Post #5 made 9 years ago
Thanks PP.. I just finished watching the video on Beersmith by Gordon Strong. He makes total sense to me about adjusting all the water with perchloric acid at the start and steeping the steeping grains. The main sense comparing coffee that has been sitting in the hot pot for hours vs a fresh pot.. which tastes better? That, I thought, was a good pattern of thought. Nothing can be converted with these grains. The other example he made was when we go from extract brewing (w/specialty grains) to all-grain). We steeped the specialty grains in the pot while we were heating the water, holding them at 155*F for 20 minutes or so, and then stirring in the extract.

It seems a great argument.. The other gem he mentioned.. and I have since read a bit more on it yesterday.. is WHEN you add the steeped tea to the wort.. He seemed to like to do it toward the end of the boil.. enough time to sterilize the tea but not so long as to 'over cook' the tea. He also had some great info in that, or another, video about FWH that I'll have to think on. Probably in his new book.

Thanks also for the comment about the place in PR1.3T to add the grains as specialty. I think I picked that up in the thread that Mad Scientist recommended above.

Any more comments?
Hop Song Brewing-Santa Rosa, California

Post #6 made 9 years ago
Just something else to consider;

nilo over on HBT did (what seems to me) a very good experiment with steeping grains & fermentability. See the thread here.

For those that don't want to trawl through, this is the conclusion from (pg11) I didnt continue so it may have been edited further?

OK, I think I can make my final conclusions from what I learned with this test. I wish I had better equipment and time to do many more batches and get more data points, but hey, I gotta brew my beers guys

I'll comment first than show all images.

1)Table with all that was tested and results
2)Fermentation/Gravity chart of all that was tested. I excluded this last test I just did (test 16/17/18) to make it easier to understand the graph.
3)PPG or sugar extraction chart
4)Attenuation chart

This experiment bring simple conclusions, may not indicate accurate values due to the reduced data points and accuracy of tools used, but I hope it give us some light to what crystal malts do to our recipes:

A)Crystal malt have sugars but still hold starches that can be converted
B)The amount of sugars that one can extract from crystal malts would increase if mashed with a base malt since the starches will be converted. PPG showed to increase by about 20%, regardless of the kilning level of the crystal malt.
B)The sugars from crystal malts are VERY fermentable, contrary to what we knew. Fermentability will depend on multiple factors like:
-Steeping crystal malt alone will yield sugars that can be attenuated by 50% for crystal 10 and 40% for darker malts.
-Mashing crystal malts with base malts will yield sugars that are almost as fermentable as base malt itself. For the 50-50% rate used, sugars from crystal-10 malts were attenuated by 70% while crystal 40 and 120 by 52% minimums. For a 10% crystal to grist rate, I guess it could be treated just as a base malt, which means very fermentable.

The basic recipe guidelines would be:
1)If steeping crystal malts, expect lower PPG than when mashing. About 50% of the poits you get from the malt will be left to FG for light malts and 60% for darker malts
2)If mashing with a base malt, treat crystal just like a base malt, specially if using lowe amounts like 10 to 20%. So don't blame the crystal malt for a higher FG since most of its sugars will be fermented.
3)Regardless, crystal malts doesn't seem to be the best thing to use to add residual sugars to the final beer. Perhaps mashing at higher temp is the way to go, along with Lactose or Dextrin (that we believe is not fermentable. I may have to test that also)

Note.: All tests were done with mashing/steeping temp at 155F and fermentation with S04 at constant (really constant) 70F.

It may just explain a little more as to why we perceive differences when steeped or mashed. :think:
Last edited by mally on 04 Sep 2014, 01:14, edited 1 time in total.
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Post #7 made 9 years ago
Thanks Mally.. It does look like a good experiment. I may modify my thoughts and only steep the real black grains. In this case, the Black Roasted Barley and the Chocolate Malt. I don't like the ashtray taste I've had when I've let them spend too much time in the mash.. I haven't decided whether to put those grains in at the end of the mash or simply steep them.

The other thing.. I thought I read something here that the new spreadsheet had a place to put "Steeping" grains. My thought was it might look like the choices one has in hops for Pellet, Flower, FO, etc. I did a search but couldn't find anything.

Did I imagine this? Maybe so.. My tired old brain has a lot of holes in it. :)
Hop Song Brewing-Santa Rosa, California

Re: Steeping Grains

Post #9 made 6 years ago
Does anyone have further thoughts on steeping darker grains (roasted barley, carafa 3, choc, etc) or using as a separate late addition to the mash? I've only ever milled them and added along with my base malt, one in all in from the start. I'm just looking at this for Stouts and wanted to see if there's enough difference for my own tastes to make it worth switching to.

Looking at the bigger picture, I'd like to experiment with some of these different methods just involving dark specialties in Stouts, but ATM I'm trying to build up stock of some standard proven recipes I already enjoy and would appreciate anyone's experiences with it.
If I could get a head start with some forward planning I'd eventually like to look at multiple small batches not specifically for consumption as a general batch, but aimed purely at getting a better understanding of the benefits and limitations. Once I free up one of my two F.V fridges I'll dedicate it to this.
Any ideas on what you would like to see in this?
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