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General Category => Extract/Partial Mash Brewing => Topic started by: gmac on December 22, 2010, 10:08:33 PM

Title: Steeping Crystal Malt
Post by: gmac on December 22, 2010, 10:08:33 PM
I'm going to do an extract brew and I intend to use 1 lb of 40 L crystal malt to improve mouthfeel and colour.  I will probably also add about 2 tbsp of black patent malt to darken it a bit more. 
When I steep the grain, should I do it in a grain bag in the whole 6 gallons I intend to boil or is more/less effective to do it in a smaller volume so I can control the temperature better.  I'm thinking maybe a gallon of water at 150-155 degrees F?  How long would you steep it for?  Or, just throw the grain bag in and let it sit in as it heats up and pull it out before it boils? 

Is 1 lb of crystal malt enough to really make an impression in 5 gals of beer?  If not, how much for next time?

Thanks
Title: Re: Steeping Crystal Malt
Post by: hamiltont on December 22, 2010, 10:34:35 PM
You want to steep the pound of crystal & BP in a grain bag in about a gallon of water for about 30 minutes. 155F is fine. Then top off to get your pre-boil volume. You'll definitely taste a pound of C40.  Cheers!!!
Title: Re: Steeping Crystal Malt
Post by: MDixon on December 23, 2010, 02:07:58 AM
You can steep in the entire volume, especially if there are no base malts. Be sure the malt is crushed before steeping and remove the bag well before the boil starts.
Title: Re: Steeping Crystal Malt
Post by: ipaguy on December 23, 2010, 02:11:49 PM
You can steep in the entire volume, especially if there are no base malts. Be sure the malt is crushed before steeping and remove the bag well before the boil starts.
+1.  You'll get best extraction steeping in the full volume before adding base malts or extracts.  I'd throw the bag in there as the water is heating up and check w/ thermometer from time to time.  Remove when temp hits around 170F.
Title: Re: Steeping Crystal Malt
Post by: gordonstrong on December 23, 2010, 02:16:23 PM
You can steep in the entire volume, especially if there are no base malts. Be sure the malt is crushed before steeping and remove the bag well before the boil starts.
+1.  You'll get best extraction steeping in the full volume before adding base malts or extracts.  I'd throw the bag in there as the water is heating up and check w/ thermometer from time to time.  Remove when temp hits around 170F.

+1. This way is easiest. Why measure water twice?  Steeping time doesn't matter much. This way let's you get the most out of it while not adding any extra complexity. Good on you for doing full boils. Most people don't do those until going all grain. Better for hop utilization.
Title: Re: Steeping Crystal Malt
Post by: hamiltont on December 23, 2010, 02:51:32 PM
By steeping C40 & BP in the full volume won't create an acidic environment where tannins might be extracted?  Cheers!!!
Title: Re: Steeping Crystal Malt
Post by: ipaguy on December 23, 2010, 03:34:45 PM
By steeping C40 & BP in the full volume won't create an acidic environment where tannins might be extracted?  Cheers!!!
I'll admit that I hadn't thought of that.  I usually mini-mash & throw my specialty grains into the tun.  Haven't steeped in quite a while.
Title: Re: Steeping Crystal Malt
Post by: hamiltont on December 23, 2010, 03:59:27 PM
2) Keep your water temperature below about 168 degrees F when steeping. Higher temps can extract tannins (astringent - like sucking a tea bag) from the grain husks.

More important than temp is pH.  Many people steep the grains in as much water as they can, resulting in a high pH.  The grains have a natural tendency to pull the pH down, but if you steep in too much water the grain doesn't have enough buffering power to do that.  For best results, use about the same amount of water as you would if you were mashing.  1.5-2 qt. of water per lb. of grain works great.
Here's an quote from a prior post... When I brewed extract I always steeped with a gallon or two for this reason, PH. I was mistaken by saying acidic in an earlier post. Should be alkaline, or high PH.  But all of this depends on the brewer's water.  Cheers!!!
Title: Re: Steeping Crystal Malt
Post by: MDixon on December 23, 2010, 04:39:59 PM
I never ever had any issues in the extract days steeping in the full wort volume, but I was NOT partial mashing or using any base malt.
Title: Re: Steeping Crystal Malt
Post by: Hokerer on December 23, 2010, 04:48:10 PM
I never ever had any issues in the extract days steeping in the full wort volume, but I was NOT partial mashing or using any base malt.

Doesn't matter if your mashing or not.  The issue is that, above 170F and with higher pH, tannins can be extracted from the husks of the grain.  If you limit the amount of water, then the grain has enough power to lower the pH below the danger level - with full boil water volume, it might not.  In any case, as long as you get the grains out of the water well before it reaches 170F, you shouldn't see any tannin problems.
Title: Re: Steeping Crystal Malt
Post by: Kaiser on December 23, 2010, 05:20:15 PM
I suggest steeping the grain in a limited volume of water. Especially if your water is high in alkalinity.

Here is an example:

C40 provides about 25 mEq of acid per kg when titrated to a pH of 5.7. I got this from experiments I did a while back. A pound will give you about 12 mEq acidity.

If you have 20 l of water with a residual alkalinity 100 ppm as CaCO3 you have about 40 mEq of acid neutralizing power in that water. Since these 40 are higher than the 12 mEq that you are getting from the malt you are likely to end up with a pH higher than 5.7. Possibly even in the 6s

On the other hand, if you steep the C40 in just 2 l of water, the acid neutralizing power you are getting from the water is only 4 mEq which is less than the 12 from the malt and your pH should be less than 5.7.

Kai
Title: Re: Steeping Crystal Malt
Post by: gmac on December 23, 2010, 05:31:15 PM
Man, this is getting complicated.
Thanks everyone.  My water is already 7.6 pH (I keep cichlids and pH is important for these fish so I've checked it out).  We live in an area with limestone bedrock and we go through coffee makers like crazy thanks to all the calcium build up. 

Based on what's been discussed here, I am going to steep in 2L of water while the larger volume heats up outside.  I boil outside on a turkey fryer so that I don't have so much humidity indoors and it can take an hour to get 25L of water up to the boil anyway.  I'll leave out a few liters from the pot to add the steeping liquid in when it gets close to a boil. 

The rest of my recipe, if you're interested looks like this.
6 lbs golden light DME
1 oz Northern Brewer @ 60 min
1 oz Northern Brewer @ 30 min
1/2 oz Fuggles and 1/2 oz East Kent Goldings at 15 mins
1/2 oz Fuggles and 1/2 oz East Kent Goldings at 5 mins ( I have both so I figured a bit of each.  I could easily be talked into 1 oz of one and one oz of the other.  Which is better as aroma and which as flavour?
Wyeast London ESB Yeast in a starter right now.

Plan to brew tomorrow.
Should I take the plunge and start to look at going all grain?  That seems to be where most people end up.   I've always wanted to but I've been out of homebrewing for a while now and just getting back into it.  But I'm willing to take the plunge.
Title: Re: Steeping Crystal Malt
Post by: MDixon on December 23, 2010, 05:37:22 PM
ho - good point about the temp, I always put the grains in the cold water and then ramped up to 170F and removed. If the OP will do that he should be golden.
Title: Re: Steeping Crystal Malt
Post by: Kaiser on December 23, 2010, 05:38:45 PM
Thanks everyone.  My water is already 7.6 pH (I keep cichlids and pH is important for these fish so I've checked it out).  We live in an area with limestone bedrock and we go through coffee makers like crazy thanks to all the calcium build up.

pH is not a measure of the water’s alkalinity. Our well water has a pH of 6.5 and an alkalinity close to Munich water. I’d assume that your water is fairly alkaline if you live in a lime stone area. If you have fish you may also have a test kit (http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php/At_home_water_testing) for general hardness and alkalinity.

Quote
… and it can take an hour to get 25L of water up to the boil anyway.


This is also an additional practical benefit to steeping in a limited volume.


Quote
Should I take the plunge and start to look at going all grain?  That seems to be where most people end up.   

Don’t do it b/c a lot of brewers end up there. But with a well established process AG adds takes only little additional time compared to extract brewing.

Kai
Title: Re: Steeping Crystal Malt
Post by: Kaiser on December 23, 2010, 05:40:44 PM
ho - good point about the temp, I always put the grains in the cold water and then ramped up to 170F and removed. If the OP will do that he should be golden.

I believe pH is more important for tannin extraction than temperature. I remember brewing Alton Brown’s Pale Ale which calls for boiling the grains and I don’t remember it being astringent.

Kai
Title: Re: Steeping Crystal Malt
Post by: MDixon on December 23, 2010, 05:46:40 PM
I often wondered if people boiled the grains after that episode and what the results were... ;D

Title: Re: Steeping Crystal Malt
Post by: gmac on December 23, 2010, 05:54:21 PM
I boiled a pound of rye malt in the last two batches I brewed due to a mis-understanding regarding instructions and I can tell you my result was cloudy beer. 
I brewed an ale first that is now sitting in my cold room and the haze is very slowly settling out.  It wasn't intended to be aged but I figured what the heck.  It was really cloudy so what is there to lose by letting it sit.
The second was a Cal. Lager beer with 1 lb of rye boiled again.  It was also cloudy but I bottled it anyway and the haze has settled out as it sat to carbonate.  It's actually pretty decent.  It has a high hops level to start with so I don't notice any tannic astringency but I'm no expert.  Probably in lighter hopped and lighter flavoured beers you would be more likely to detect tannins.

Boiling grain = cloudy in my opinion.

Title: Re: Steeping Crystal Malt
Post by: hamiltont on December 23, 2010, 05:56:33 PM
Man, this is getting complicated.
Thanks everyone.  My water is already 7.6 pH (I keep cichlids and pH is important for these fish so I've checked it out).  We live in an area with limestone bedrock and we go through coffee makers like crazy thanks to all the calcium build up.  

Based on what's been discussed here, I am going to steep in 2L of water while the larger volume heats up outside.  I boil outside on a turkey fryer so that I don't have so much humidity indoors and it can take an hour to get 25L of water up to the boil anyway.  I'll leave out a few liters from the pot to add the steeping liquid in when it gets close to a boil.  

The rest of my recipe, if you're interested looks like this.
6 lbs golden light DME
1 oz Northern Brewer @ 60 min
1 oz Northern Brewer @ 30 min
1/2 oz Fuggles and 1/2 oz East Kent Goldings at 15 mins
1/2 oz Fuggles and 1/2 oz East Kent Goldings at 5 mins ( I have both so I figured a bit of each.  I could easily be talked into 1 oz of one and one oz of the other.  Which is better as aroma and which as flavour?
Wyeast London ESB Yeast in a starter right now.

Plan to brew tomorrow.
Should I take the plunge and start to look at going all grain?  That seems to be where most people end up.   I've always wanted to but I've been out of homebrewing for a while now and just getting back into it.  But I'm willing to take the plunge.

Curious as to what style you're shooting for. What you have right now is going to be pretty bitter. I'm calculating an OG around 1.057, SRM ~15, IBU's ~72 and ABV ~6%.  

EDIT:  If you drop the 30 minute addition of NB Hops you'll get your IBU's down to ~46 & you'll have a pretty decent ESB.

As Kai said, go to All-Grain when your process is solid & you're ready. Cheers!!!
Title: Re: Steeping Crystal Malt
Post by: Kaiser on December 23, 2010, 05:56:44 PM
I often wondered if people boiled the grains after that episode and what the results were... ;D

This episode got me started with home brewing and while I now know that some of the lingo is incorrect and that one should avoid boiling the grain I think AB does a good job in introducing the masses to home brewing. Especially since he advocates going to a HBS for supplies.

Pjj2ba, who posted a little on this board has made a AG beer where he boiled all the grain. He reported that the resulting beer was not astringent but had starch haze. Based on literature sources I have read I think that the ~170F sparge temp limit is not to limit tannin extraction as much as it is to prevent complete denaturation of a-amylase. This enzyme is needed to convert any starch that may be released by the rising temp and/or lautering action.  While tannin extraction is facilitated by the higher temp it is not as severe as brewers.

Kai
Title: Re: Steeping Crystal Malt
Post by: Kaiser on December 23, 2010, 05:59:28 PM
I boiled a pound of rye malt in the last two batches I brewed due to a mis-understanding regarding instructions and I can tell you my result was cloudy beer.

If you have iodine (iodophor for example) you may add a drop or two to a small sample of that beer. I'd expect it to change color due to the starch haze in the beer. After that discard the sample.

Kai
Title: Re: Steeping Crystal Malt
Post by: gmac on December 23, 2010, 06:09:58 PM

Curious as to what style you're shooting for. What you have right now is going to be pretty bitter. I'm calculating an OG around 1.057, SRM ~15, IBU's ~72 and ABV ~6%.  

As Kai said, go to All-Grain when your process is solid & you're ready. Cheers!!!

Not really shooting for any particular style.  English IPA would be pretty close (yes, too dark and too hoppy).  I wasn't sure about the 2nd NB hops addition.  I had another post asking about 30 min vs 60 and I figured this would be an interesting compromise.  I really like bitter beer though.  My old favourite which no one on here has probably ever had was the original version of Stonehammer from F&M in Guelph ON.  Really bitter which is why I think they had to re-vamp the recipe but I loved it.  Maybe I'll just go for 2 oz at 30 mins which was suggested in the other thread.  Not sure what to do.  I really prefer to experiment but if you think this is going to be way too bitter, I'm more than open to suggestion.  That's why I put the ingredients on so please let me know what you think.  
Title: Re: Steeping Crystal Malt
Post by: hamiltont on December 23, 2010, 07:04:32 PM

Curious as to what style you're shooting for. What you have right now is going to be pretty bitter. I'm calculating an OG around 1.057, SRM ~15, IBU's ~72 and ABV ~6%.  

As Kai said, go to All-Grain when your process is solid & you're ready. Cheers!!!

Not really shooting for any particular style.  English IPA would be pretty close (yes, too dark and too hoppy).  I wasn't sure about the 2nd NB hops addition.  I had another post asking about 30 min vs 60 and I figured this would be an interesting compromise.  I really like bitter beer though.  My old favourite which no one on here has probably ever had was the original version of Stonehammer from F&M in Guelph ON.  Really bitter which is why I think they had to re-vamp the recipe but I loved it.  Maybe I'll just go for 2 oz at 30 mins which was suggested in the other thread.  Not sure what to do.  I really prefer to experiment but if you think this is going to be way too bitter, I'm more than open to suggestion.  That's why I put the ingredients on so please let me know what you think.  

Personally, I'd go with the 60 minute addition rather that 30. 30 minute additions just seem to be a waste of AA's IMO. Plus I don't really like the flavor of NB Hops & you'll get some in 30 minutes. This is just a suggestion but here's what I'd do.  Cheers!!!

6 lbs golden light DME
1 lb. Crystal 40
1 oz. Black Patent
1.5 oz Northern Brewer @ 60 min
1/2 oz Fuggles and 1/2 oz East Kent Goldings at 15 mins
1/2 oz Fuggles and 1/2 oz East Kent Goldings at 5 mins
Wyeast London ESB Yeast in a starter right now.

Should give you about:
OG 1.057
Estimated FG 1.012
ABV 5.8%
SRM 13
IBU's 63


Title: Re: Steeping Crystal Malt
Post by: gmac on December 23, 2010, 08:41:15 PM
Sounds good.  That's what I'll do.
I'll let you know how it turns out.
Thanks.
Title: Re: Steeping Crystal Malt
Post by: gmac on December 24, 2010, 07:16:46 PM
Ooops.
Should have gone back and read the post again.  Working from memory I added 2 oz of black patent.  Not the end of the world, just a bit darker.

I did have trouble keeping the steeping water at or near 155.  Probably ended up spending more time at 145 to 150 because I was scared of going too hot.  Also, my thermometer sucks.  Too late to put new digital thermometer on my Christmas list for Santa though. 

Wort is boiling with hops as I type this.  Here's hoping...
Title: Re: Steeping Crystal Malt
Post by: MDixon on December 24, 2010, 07:52:45 PM
For steeping, temp really doesn't matter so much. If partial mashing it would matter more.
Title: Re: Steeping Crystal Malt
Post by: gmac on December 24, 2010, 09:18:54 PM
I ended up with a bit too much wort, closer to 6 gal finished instead of 5.  I took a hydrometer reading and it was only about 1.042 or 1.044.  Not quite as high as predicted.  I also put the last gallon into another container rather than dump it so I may have 6 gals of light beer.  Actually, I am fine with that.  I'd prefer a 4 to 4.5% alcohol beer.  Will I be close or do you think even less? 

Also, does a hydrometer read "light" or "heavy" if it is too warm.  Like I said, my thermometer is terrible but I expect the wort was slightly on the warm side when I took my reading.
Title: Re: Steeping Crystal Malt
Post by: hamiltont on December 24, 2010, 10:27:41 PM
The warmer the beer/wort the lower the hydrometer reading.  What was the temp when you took your reading? Cheers!!!