Author Topic: Cold Steeping Dark Grains  (Read 4147 times)

Offline fmader

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Cold Steeping Dark Grains
« on: December 17, 2012, 08:25:40 PM »
I am reletively new to the art of brewing. I started brewing extracts in April and graduated to brewing all grain in June. For my second all grain brew, I brewed a cherry stout. A buddy of mine, who is a brewer, suggested that I cold steep my roasted barley and chocolate malts for about 24 hours before brewing to eliminate a harsh bitter taste caused by mashing these grains. I did this and the beer turned out great. My girlfriend has finally developed a taste for a craft beer....Unfortunetely it is Founders Breakfast Stout. Yeah, she has nice...but expensive taste. I love the beer too, so I am going to try to brew a clone. This will be my second all grain stout. My question is...Is there a significant difference in cold steeping the dark grains and what the result would be if I mashed them with the rest of the grains? Or am I just wasting my time with the cold steep?

Thanks,

Frank
Frank

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Cold Steeping Dark Grains
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2012, 08:37:36 PM »
I think there is a difference between cold steeping and regular mashing.  A buddy of mine makes the best porters and stouts around and has several pounds of medals hanging from his neck to prove it, and he totally swears by the cold steeping method.  So if you want something smooth and plenty drinkable for your girlfriend, then by all means I think it is worth the extra effort.  Unless you secretly hate your girlfriend.   ;)
Dave

"This is grain, which any fool can eat, but for which the Lord intended a more divine means of consumption. Let us give praise to our Maker, and glory to His bounty, by learning about... BEER!" - Friar Tuck (Robin Hood - Prince of Thieves)

Offline amh0001

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Re: Cold Steeping Dark Grains
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2012, 08:48:25 PM »
I have heard Gordon Biersch does this and I was really curious about this too. Looking forward to hearing about others experiences!

Offline hoser

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Re: Cold Steeping Dark Grains
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2012, 09:45:41 PM »
I have heard Gordon Biersch does this and I was really curious about this too. Looking forward to hearing about others experiences!

Gordon Biersch or Gordon Strong?  I think you meant Gordon Strong.  If that is the case, I suggest you read his book. ;D

Offline Alewyfe

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Re: Cold Steeping Dark Grains
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2012, 11:45:50 PM »
Our brew club is scheduled to evaluate this process for our January group project.
We will be doing a regular mash of all grains together, a mash where we cold steep the dark grains
and one where we add the dark grain to the mash prior to vorlauf.
Our VP is supposed to be formulating the recipe and procedures which will be executed
by 5 or 6 members, then brought to a meeting for evaluation once conditioning is complete.
I'll let you know how it turns out.
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Cold Steeping Dark Grains
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2012, 05:58:20 AM »
What a great idea!  Sounds like you have a good club there.  We do some of those things in my local club as well.
Dave

"This is grain, which any fool can eat, but for which the Lord intended a more divine means of consumption. Let us give praise to our Maker, and glory to His bounty, by learning about... BEER!" - Friar Tuck (Robin Hood - Prince of Thieves)

Offline fmader

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Re: Cold Steeping Dark Grains
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2012, 06:28:29 AM »
Thanks, Dave! And Diane, keep us posted on how that turns out! It's not like the process of cold steeping is too difficult or time consuming. I just like to be effecient with my work, any work. So, if it's pointless, I'd stop doing it. But if it is truly worth while, I will gladly continue to do it. One think that I like better than being effecient, is good beer!  :D
Frank

Online Joe Sr.

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Re: Cold Steeping Dark Grains
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2012, 08:02:08 AM »
If you cold steep the dark grains, do you use that water in the mash?  Or do you add it to the boil?

I've not been happy with the harsher roasted notes in my last two batches of porter and perhaps this could help eliminate them.  I've also thought of using debittered black malt, but I typically love me some roasted barley.
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Online blatz

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Re: Cold Steeping Dark Grains
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2012, 08:16:20 AM »
I'll let you know how it turns out.

Definitely post the results - very intriguing.
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Online davidgzach

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Re: Cold Steeping Dark Grains
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2012, 08:33:38 AM »
Yep, another interested party here.  I have not had problems with harshness in my stouts, but I have thought about trying the process.

Dave
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Online blatz

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Re: Cold Steeping Dark Grains
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2012, 08:36:16 AM »
could also steep in the boil kettle after runoff but before the start of the boil?
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Offline amh0001

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Re: Cold Steeping Dark Grains
« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2012, 09:08:46 AM »

Gordon Biersch or Gordon Strong?  I think you meant Gordon Strong.  If that is the case, I suggest you read his book. ;D
[/quote]

Haha! I was driving to work shortly after posting this and BAM! I thought "Oh crap its Gordon Strong not Bierch...hope no one notices"  :P

I recently bought his book, and have been thumbing through it.

Offline mmitchem

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Re: Cold Steeping Dark Grains
« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2012, 09:37:08 AM »
The main benefit of a cold steep is that you are not extracting the harsh astringency often associated with roasted grains mashed at a high temperature.

Gordon mitigates this a couple of ways. He does the cold steep (which I really like).

Another thing to try is to acidify your mash to below a pH of 6.0. The harshness comes out when the grains are exposed to a pH greater than 6.0 and a water temperature of over 170 degrees. This is the combination to avoid. He also is a big advocate of adding the roasted or even crystal malts to the vorlauf, minimizing the contact time with the mash and simply allowing for the sugars to be rinsed off.  Remember for crystal and roasted malts, the conversion is already done. You are simply rinsing the sugars off.

If you have a pH of less than 6.0, you can sparge with water at 170 for as long as you want without risk of astringency.

Hope that helps with ways to handle those dark grains. Try them both.

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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Cold Steeping Dark Grains
« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2012, 10:14:17 AM »
The main benefit of a cold steep is that you are not extracting the harsh astringency often associated with roasted grains mashed at a high temperature.

Gordon mitigates this a couple of ways. He does the cold steep (which I really like).

Another thing to try is to acidify your mash to below a pH of 6.0. The harshness comes out when the grains are exposed to a pH greater than 6.0 and a water temperature of over 170 degrees. This is the combination to avoid. He also is a big advocate of adding the roasted or even crystal malts to the vorlauf, minimizing the contact time with the mash and simply allowing for the sugars to be rinsed off.  Remember for crystal and roasted malts, the conversion is already done. You are simply rinsing the sugars off.

If you have a pH of less than 6.0, you can sparge with water at 170 for as long as you want without risk of astringency.

Hope that helps with ways to handle those dark grains. Try them both.

with crystal malts the conversion is done. with roasted it is not, but you don't care because the amount of sugar they offer is minimal, they are really only there for color and flavour.

I haven't tried the cold steep thing yet. I am hesitant because i LIKE the roasty flavour and I would hate to lose that in a stout or porter. I try to keep my pH in line so I don't get harsh astringency but I still want roasty flavour.

Does any roast come through with the cold steep? how about the late mash addition?
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Offline skyler

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Re: Cold Steeping Dark Grains
« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2012, 12:18:54 PM »
Some roasty flavor definitely still comes through in a cold steep, but it is less bitter and somewhat muted.