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General Category => Ingredients => Topic started by: jlap on June 01, 2011, 11:47:27 PM

Title: Cold Steeping Roasted Grain
Post by: jlap on June 01, 2011, 11:47:27 PM
I've finally had enough encounters with folks advocating cold steeping of roasted grains that I'm going to give it a try.  I read the portion of Gordon Strong's book related to this topic but was left with a couple of questions:

1. Should I expect to get a similar intensity flavor profile from a given quantity of grain from cold steeping  vs. mashing? Will it be less and thus require a larger quantity of grain?

2. Gordon mentions using this technique for styles where you do not want a strong acrid roast character.  What about styles where you do want a little of that?  I was thinking of doing a robust porter...

3. What are people's general opinions about this technique for "roast forward" styles?
Title: Re: Cold Steeping Roasted Grain
Post by: EHall on June 02, 2011, 12:12:32 AM
really good article on it: http://hbd.org/clubs/cascade/public_html/brewing/index.html
Title: Re: Cold Steeping Roasted Grain
Post by: Hokerer on June 02, 2011, 12:17:15 AM
really good article on it: http://hbd.org/clubs/cascade/public_html/brewing/index.html

That article has you adding the steeped liquid to that last part of the boil which makes sense to me.  In Gordon's book, I think he refers to that as something like "cold steep with boil".  He also talks about something he refers to as "cold steep with no boil" where he says to add the steeped liquid directly to the fermenter.  That's been bugging me as I'd be worried about contamination/infection from the grain since it never gets boiled to kill off the nasties.
Title: Re: Cold Steeping Roasted Grain
Post by: tom on June 02, 2011, 04:42:51 AM
Cold steeping will give you more of the color with less of the roasted character.
Title: Re: Cold Steeping Roasted Grain
Post by: hopfenundmalz on June 02, 2011, 12:34:17 PM
My replies are in bold.

I've finally had enough encounters with folks advocating cold steeping of roasted grains that I'm going to give it a try.  I read the portion of Gordon Strong's book related to this topic but was left with a couple of questions:

1. Should I expect to get a similar intensity flavor profile from a given quantity of grain from cold steeping  vs. mashing? Will it be less and thus require a larger quantity of grain? I use 1.5 to 2 times what the recipe calls for.

2. Gordon mentions using this technique for styles where you do not want a strong acrid roast character.  What about styles where you do want a little of that?  I was thinking of doing a robust porter...  I would mash the roast grains with the base grains.

3. What are people's general opinions about this technique for "roast forward" styles? For roast flavor it works well.  It eliminates the acrid, burnt, harsh flavors.
Title: Re: Cold Steeping Roasted Grain
Post by: mabrungard on June 02, 2011, 02:17:26 PM
The other effect (benefit?) of separate steeping of roasted grain is that the mash water would not need to have much alkalinity to keep the mash pH from dropping too much.  I understand that Gordon uses RO water for much of his brewing and RO water does not have much alkalinity.  Cold steeping of those roast grains separate from the mash would help him achieve a desirable mash pH. 

Conversely if a brewer uses water with elevated alkalinity, you would probably be better off in using the acidity of the roast grains in your mash to help drop the mash pH into a desirable range. 

The effect of doing the mashing in either way can be evaluated pretty well using Bru'n Water.  Just add or remove the roasted or crystal grains from your mash bill and see what changes to the brewing water will be needed to produce an acceptable mash pH.
Title: Re: Cold Steeping Roasted Grain
Post by: denny on June 02, 2011, 02:50:57 PM
Cold steeping will give you more of the color with less of the roasted character.

Which you can also do with Sinamar if you're lazy like me!
Title: Re: Cold Steeping Roasted Grain
Post by: hopfenundmalz on June 02, 2011, 02:53:49 PM
The other effect (benefit?) of separate steeping of roasted grain is that the mash water would not need to have much alkalinity to keep the mash pH from dropping too much.  I understand that Gordon uses RO water for much of his brewing and RO water does not have much alkalinity.  Cold steeping of those roast grains separate from the mash would help him achieve a desirable mash pH. 


Very true, Martin.  I use RO water and have adjusted for just the mashed grains, and the cold steeped grains and liquid are added at the begining of the sparge.

Will use Brunwater to see the difference for the next dark beer.
Title: Re: Cold Steeping Roasted Grain
Post by: jlap on June 02, 2011, 09:04:41 PM
My main motivation is to be able to get more flavor from roasted grains in a few recipes without adding additional harshness or astringency.  I have pretty flexible water and have had success getting the right pH without crazy salt additions. 

 I have a RIS right now that tastes pretty good but it keeps scoring in the 35 range because of a bit of astringency in the finish.  I'm not sure it's any harsher than some well-known commercial examples but many judges seem to think so.  I'm a little leary of adding dark grain extract after fermentation so I was thinking about mashing the chocolate malt and adding the roast barley and black patent as a cold extract at the end of the boil. 

I'm hoping that someone here has converted a recipe to a cold extract process and could say something about the difference...
Title: Re: Cold Steeping Roasted Grain
Post by: tschmidlin on June 03, 2011, 07:10:05 AM
Post your recipe and procedures.  I think if you are getting too much astringency in a RIS it is more likely a problem with one of those than something that cold steeping is needed to fix.
Title: Re: Cold Steeping Roasted Grain
Post by: johnf on June 03, 2011, 02:33:29 PM
Cold steeping will give you more of the color with less of the roasted character.

Which you can also do with Sinamar if you're lazy like me!

Well you can cold steep stuff other than carafa.

I do find that if you use a crap ton of Sinamar, you get a fairly pleasant flavor. 1/2 TBSP per 12 oz bottle of IIPA won a couple of category 23s this spring.
Title: Re: Cold Steeping Roasted Grain
Post by: jlap on June 03, 2011, 03:55:35 PM
Post your recipe and procedures.  I think if you are getting too much astringency in a RIS it is more likely a problem with one of those than something that cold steeping is needed to fix.

The grain bill for the RIS was:
15 lb pale
5 lb Vienna
1 lb chocolate
.5 lb black
.5 lb black roasted barley
1.5 lb fawcett crystal 85/90
.5 lb brown malt

Mashed at 154, ph 5.36 at room temp, added 3 g each chalk and baking soda to the mash to get correct ph. No Sparge.
OG 1.104, FG 1.027 fermented at 65 with 1056 1gal stirred starter.

It's not all that astringent but I wouldn't want more and I do want to get a little more flavor from the roasted grain. I guess on some level I accept some astringency in this style but many judges seem to be looking for a smoother roast profile.

Does this recipe/process look out of whack to anyone?
Title: Re: Cold Steeping Roasted Grain
Post by: beersk on June 03, 2011, 03:57:04 PM
So what would you do then?  Steep your roasted grain in a pot with half a gallon of cool water while mashing and add it to the kettle while taking the first run off?
Title: Re: Cold Steeping Roasted Grain
Post by: denny on June 03, 2011, 04:22:21 PM
So what would you do then?  Steep your roasted grain in a pot with half a gallon of cool water while mashing and add it to the kettle while taking the first run off?

You steep it overnight.  Take a look at this...

http://hbd.org/clubs/cascade/public_html/brewing/index.html
Title: Re: Cold Steeping Roasted Grain
Post by: tschmidlin on June 03, 2011, 04:27:56 PM
Post your recipe and procedures.  I think if you are getting too much astringency in a RIS it is more likely a problem with one of those than something that cold steeping is needed to fix.
Mashed at 154, ph 5.36 at room temp, added 3 g each chalk and baking soda to the mash to get correct ph. No Sparge.
OG 1.104, FG 1.027 fermented at 65 with 1056 1gal stirred starter.

It's not all that astringent but I wouldn't want more and I do want to get a little more flavor from the roasted grain. I guess on some level I accept some astringency in this style but many judges seem to be looking for a smoother roast profile.

Does this recipe/process look out of whack to anyone?
I use a pound of black barley in a 1.043 beer and never get any astringency.  Since it's no sparge, I'm guessing maybe it's the mineral additions to your water.  Have you had it tested?  If you need to adjust the pH upward, you could try using pickling lime in place of some or all of the baking soda.

Or, you know, cold steep some grains.  That could work too. :)  But usually people cold steep when they want color from the grains, not roast.
Title: Re: Cold Steeping Roasted Grain
Post by: SpanishCastleAle on June 03, 2011, 04:40:42 PM
Mashed at 154, ph 5.36 at room temp, added 3 g each chalk and baking soda to the mash to get correct ph.
Do you mean your pH was 5.36 and then you added the chalk/soda or that you added the chalk/soda in order to achieve that 5.36?  At 5.36 you were spot on so if it was the former you shouldn't have added the chalk/soda but if it's the latter...nice 'shot'!
Title: Re: Cold Steeping Roasted Grain
Post by: jlap on June 03, 2011, 05:22:05 PM
The mash ph was 5.05 without the salts so I added them about 10 minutes into the mash to bring it up.  I have had my water tested and these salt additions don't seem too overboard to me, they basically get me to Dublin water.  My water is moderately hard to begin with but a bit short of calcium...

Title: Re: Cold Steeping Roasted Grain
Post by: tschmidlin on June 03, 2011, 06:18:13 PM
Dublin isn't really known for producing RIS. ;)

In my experience with salt additions, trying to match any of the heavily mineralized waters always ends up tasting bad.  For some reason, "making" Dublin water doesn't taste the same as using Dublin water (insert Liffey joke here :) ), maybe because the reports are wrong, the breweries treat their water, I don't know, there could be several reasons and I'm not a water chemistry expert.  But "short of calcium" and needing to up the pH is all the more reason to use pickling lime and leave the baking soda in the cabinet.  That's me though, you can do what you like. ;)
Title: Re: Cold Steeping Roasted Grain
Post by: jlap on June 03, 2011, 06:28:05 PM
OK well call it London water then... I really just look for the right pH adding as few salts as possible while getting up to 50-75 ppm Ca++.  I've been thinking about getting some Ca(OH)2 anyway so I'll give that a try next time.  It's certainly true that I don't need any more carbonates in the beer for flavor purposes...
Title: Re: Cold Steeping Roasted Grain
Post by: hopfenundmalz on June 03, 2011, 06:35:34 PM
Get the pickling lime.  It has minimal flavor impact, and you add Ca.  The beer I was making last year suffered from additions of baking soda or too much chalk (those and the spreadsheet I was using then have been put away in the museum of homebrewing in my house).