What's happened to Sierra Madre since 1985 that's made it strange?
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Here's some info on cold steeping...
From George Fix on Cold Steeping
Question to Dr. Fix:
On the Brews & Views discussion board a couple months ago, someone mentioned a talk you gave regarding cold steeping of malts like Munich. I would very much appreciate it if you would elaborate on this technique. How do you do it, what does it do for the brew, what malts are good candidates for this technique.
The talk was in the NCHF at Napa in October. Those folks on the left coast really know how to do a beer festival! The cold steeping procedure was designed to maximize the extraction of desirable melanoidins, and at the same time minimize the extraction of undesirable ones. The former are simple compounds which yield a fine malt taste. The undesirable ones come from more complicated structures. Polymers with sulfur compounds tend to have malt/vegetable tones. Others yield cloying tones, which to my palate have an under fermented character. The highest level melanoidins can even have burnt characteristics. The cold steeping procedure was developed by Mary Ann Gruber of Briess. My version goes as follows.
* (i) One gallon of water per 3-4 lbs. of grains to be steeped is brought to a boil and held there for 5 mins.
* (ii) The water is cooled down to ambient, and the cracked grains are added.
* (iii) This mixture is left for 12-16 hrs. at ambient temperatures, and then added to the brew kettle for the last 15-20 mins. of the boil.
Mary Ann has had good results by adding the steeped grains directly to the fermenter without boiling, however I have not tried that variation of the procedure.
The upside of cold steeping is that it works. The downside is that it is very inefficient both with respect to extract and color. In my setup I am using 2-3 times the malt that would normally be used. As a consequence I have been using it for "adjunct malts" such as black and crystal. I also am very happy with the use of Munich malts with this process when they are used as secondary malts.
It kinda depends on whose brown malt you're talking about. A friend did some research and sent me this....
A while back I was asking about Baird brown malt, and whether it was really brown and not amber since the sack indicated both "brown" and "amber" (55-70L). Weird. The folks at Baird told me that it could be either brown or amber depending on what the customer wanted it to be, that the two malts are interchangeable. B.S! Anyway, I purchased some Crisp amber malt (35L) from Greg Beron at Culver City Homebrew in So. Cal., and it is visibly identical to Baird. Furthermore, I just received some Thomas Fawcett brown malt from North Country Malt and it is easily, visibly darker then the Baird. I mention this to you because if you're getting your brown malt through the LHBS, and he gets it from Steinbart's, it is Baird amber malt that is mislabeled. If you saw this Thomas Fawcett brown malt, it would be obvious. Makes me mad since I just kegged a porter brewed with the Baird amber, thinking/hoping it was brown malt.
In my bourbon vanilla impy porter recipe, I use 1.5 lb. of the Baird, which is labeled as 70L. That's 8.5 % of the total grist. Whether is really is 70l, I don't know.