Author Topic: Cold steep and short boil for roasted grains  (Read 893 times)

Offline danmages

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Cold steep and short boil for roasted grains
« on: October 01, 2014, 05:53:34 PM »
Gordon's Strong's Brewing Better Beer has been an interesting read so far. One of the more unusual techniques I have read so far is steeping roasted grains in cold water overnight and then add the tincture during the last 10 minutes of the boil. Has anyone tried this? A robust porter has been on my list for a while, so this might be a chance to try the technique.

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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Cold steep and short boil for roasted grains
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2014, 06:12:43 PM »
yeah, there was another thread recently active about this.

It works great. takes about 2-3 times as much dark grain to get the same color and flavor intensity but you avoid the ashy burnt roast character to a large extent.

I steep mine starting at the begining of the brew day and add to the boil in the last 10-15 minutes.
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Offline kramerog

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Re: Cold steep and short boil for roasted grains
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2014, 06:14:10 PM »
I have not done it.  One question I've had about the technique is what to do about the resulting acidity since the acidic roasted grains are not mashed if anything. 

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Cold steep and short boil for roasted grains
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2014, 06:26:32 PM »
I have not done it.  One question I've had about the technique is what to do about the resulting acidity since the acidic roasted grains are not mashed if anything.

how do you mean 'resulting acidity?' I find you get less acidity from the cold steep, similar to coffee. But I don't think mashing does anything to reduce the acidity anyway.

do you mean what to do about mash pH without the buffering from the dark grains? that's usually a plus for me but I use RO water so I'm not looking for a ton of acidity to remove alkalinity.
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Offline slarkin712

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Re: Cold steep and short boil for roasted grains
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2014, 06:32:58 PM »

takes about 2-3 times as much dark grain to get the same color and flavor intensity but you avoid the ashy burnt roast character to a large extent.

This is definitely true.  I did this once with the same amount of dark grains as normal and was like wtf, where's the color and flavor?  Done it since then with ~3 times more roasted grain and it was pretty good.

I don't think the acidity matters that much.  It didn't seem to effect my beer.  You could add some baking soda in the boil to counteract it if you'd like.  Should be able to figure it out with Brunwater. Set up your mash profile with the dark grains to get the pH you want.  And then setup the mash profile without the dark grains with the same pH.  The difference in salt additions between the two should be what you add to the boil to counteract the dark grains.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Cold steep and short boil for roasted grains
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2014, 06:44:50 PM »
I cold steeped for awhile and made some good beers. But aside from having to double or more the roasted malts ( not a big consideration) and extra effort, I felt that the roasted character was underwhelming on styles where I wanted a roasty beer, ie., porter, stout, etc. I mash all malts together now for the full mash, but targeting 5.5 as my pH and like the results much better. IMO 5.5 pH is the sweet spot. Lots of good ways to get there.
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Offline asanaryan

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Re: Cold steep and short boil for roasted grains
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2014, 07:00:26 PM »
I did this with a India Dark Ale. Used .5lb of Carafa III and .5lb of Midnight wheat and cold steeped it for 24 hours. I added the entire mixture to the mash right before adding my sparge water. I got a great dark color and very little roast flavor, perfect for the style and what I was looking for. But I would not use it for beer that I want more of a dark roast flavor like a robust porter or stout.

Offline kramerog

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Re: Cold steep and short boil for roasted grains
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2014, 07:59:09 PM »
I have not done it.  One question I've had about the technique is what to do about the resulting acidity since the acidic roasted grains are not mashed if anything.

how do you mean 'resulting acidity?' I find you get less acidity from the cold steep, similar to coffee. But I don't think mashing does anything to reduce the acidity anyway.


If you mash and control the pH of the mash which often involves adding alkalinity for stouts and porters then you control the acidity contribution of the roasted grains.  Perhaps, the acidity contribution of doing a cold steep is minor.

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Cold steep and short boil for roasted grains
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2014, 08:36:51 PM »
I have not done it.  One question I've had about the technique is what to do about the resulting acidity since the acidic roasted grains are not mashed if anything.

how do you mean 'resulting acidity?' I find you get less acidity from the cold steep, similar to coffee. But I don't think mashing does anything to reduce the acidity anyway.


If you mash and control the pH of the mash which often involves adding alkalinity for stouts and porters then you control the acidity contribution of the roasted grains.  Perhaps, the acidity contribution of doing a cold steep is minor.

this was my experience. I didn't measure the finished beer pH but it had a lovely full malty flavor profile that I don't think it would have if the pH were too low. In fact when I made the same recipe but added the roast grains at the end of the mash I DID get a flavor profile that indicated my pH was too low.

I did this with a India Dark Ale. Used .5lb of Carafa III and .5lb of Midnight wheat and cold steeped it for 24 hours. I added the entire mixture to the mash right before adding my sparge water. I got a great dark color and very little roast flavor, perfect for the style and what I was looking for. But I would not use it for beer that I want more of a dark roast flavor like a robust porter or stout.

adding the grains to the mash after the cold steep kind of defeats the purpose of the cold steep which is to prevent the actual grain and husk from heat during extraction. That's why it is recommended to add the steeping liqour to the boil or even the fermenter.
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time"
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"errors are [...] the portals of discovery"
- J Joyce