Author Topic: Is there a max amount of steeping grains when brewing with extracts?  (Read 274 times)

Offline Uvolnit

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I've brewed 12 batches of extract and most of the recipes have called for about 1.5# of specialty steeping grains, which turned out ok but I feel like with not enough unique flavor or body.  So, for my latest brew that I tried keeping true to the recipe (Dunkel Weisse) I used 2# 11oz steeping grains to add to the flavor and body.  1# Caramunich 3, 8oz aromatic munich, 8oz flaked oats, 4oz carafa 1 dehusked, 3oz midnight wheat, 4oz rice hulls.  I know the rice hulls don't add to the flavor or color but to the chemistry of the oats.  As for extracts, I used 7# wheat DME. 
I'm wondering if there's a maximum amount of steeping grains that would overpower the intended extract recipe to potentially overpower the flavor.

Offline Bob357

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Re: Is there a max amount of steeping grains when brewing with extracts?
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2018, 01:25:18 PM »
Many grains require an actual mash to convert their starches to fermentable sugars. The more of these grains that you steep, the less fermentable your wort will be. You come to a point that a partial mash is a better choice than steeping. While there's no set number for how much you can steep, there's a point where it becomes counter productive.
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Offline Robert

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Re: Is there a max amount of steeping grains when brewing with extracts?
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2018, 02:49:52 PM »
The oats are one of those grains that require mashing.
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Is there a max amount of steeping grains when brewing with extracts?
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2018, 02:57:25 PM »
The maximum amount of steeping grains is 100%.  It's called all-grain BIAB.

Seriously.... if you can control your temperature at about 150 F for at least 30 minutes, that's BIAB mashing right there.  It's just a glorifed steep, that's all it is.

Robert is right -- you need to mash those oats.

You might find this helpful:

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Offline Bob357

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Re: Is there a max amount of steeping grains when brewing with extracts?
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2018, 03:24:46 PM »
The maximum amount of steeping grains is 100%.  It's called all-grain BIAB.

Seriously.... if you can control your temperature at about 150 F for at least 30 minutes, that's BIAB mashing right there.  It's just a glorifed steep, that's all it is.

Robert is right -- you need to mash those oats.

You might find this helpful:



I might add that in order for the grains to convert you need sufficient diastatic power.  Without that you're still only steeping.
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Offline Virwill

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Re: Is there a max amount of steeping grains when brewing with extracts?
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2018, 03:26:20 PM »
Great stuff here, dm. Thanks for the tips!

Offline Uvolnit

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Re: Is there a max amount of steeping grains when brewing with extracts?
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2018, 03:47:51 PM »
Many grains require an actual mash to convert their starches to fermentable sugars. The more of these grains that you steep, the less fermentable your wort will be. You come to a point that a partial mash is a better choice than steeping. While there's no set number for how much you can steep, there's a point where it becomes counter productive.

You're right, I think I should be doing a partial mash for the beers that I want more specialty grain flavor. 
I understand that the grains need a true mash to convert the sugars, I am just looking to get more of a body and specialty flavors in my beer that I haven't got to the extent I'm looking for when steeping the "standard" pound of specialty grains.

Offline Uvolnit

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Re: Is there a max amount of steeping grains when brewing with extracts?
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2018, 03:50:08 PM »
The oats are one of those grains that require mashing.

So will just steeping the oats for 30 mins add anything to the mash as far as mouthfeel like I was aiming for?

Offline Uvolnit

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Re: Is there a max amount of steeping grains when brewing with extracts?
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2018, 03:55:11 PM »
The maximum amount of steeping grains is 100%.  It's called all-grain BIAB.

Seriously.... if you can control your temperature at about 150 F for at least 30 minutes, that's BIAB mashing right there.  It's just a glorifed steep, that's all it is.

Robert is right -- you need to mash those oats.

You might find this helpful:



Great info!  Thanks.  I think I will be doing at least a partial mash for my next brew. 

Offline erockrph

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Re: Is there a max amount of steeping grains when brewing with extracts?
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2018, 04:04:05 PM »
The oats are one of those grains that require mashing.

So will just steeping the oats for 30 mins add anything to the mash as far as mouthfeel like I was aiming for?

It will. I have successfully used small amounts of flaked oats or barley in extract batches, and they do give you the same mouthfeel contribution as if they were mashed. The only issue is that they also bring unconverted starches, which can lead to haze and flavor issues. Aromatic/Munich also needs to be mashed. If it is a true Munich malt, it can convert itself. But if it is Aromatic malt, then it lacks the enzymes to self convert. I think a pound of grain that needs to be mashed will probably be too much, although a Dunkel Weisse is a style where you can probably get away with it.

I don't have a hard and fast number, but personally I don't think I'd go higher than half a pound of unconverted grain in an extract recipe.
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Is there a max amount of steeping grains when brewing with extracts?
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2018, 05:41:49 PM »
Isn't the term 'steeping' implying that those grains are either crystal or roast? If that is the case and we're not doing a 'mini-mash' in the steeping bag, then wouldn't the upper limit for crystal be in the 10 to 20 percent of fermentables range? For the roast, I'm guessing its the amount of grain that isn't causing the beer to be ashy and overly drying.

Under those assumptions, wouldn't the max amount of steeping grains be somewhat small? Maybe in that 2 lb range that was mentioned.

But I see that the OP is actually including some grain that should be mashed in that second listing. Then some diastatic power is needed, as mentioned above.

It's a natural progression! Keep up the good work and experimentation.
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Offline Stevie

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Is there a max amount of steeping grains when brewing with extracts?
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2018, 07:53:25 PM »
I brewed JZ’s hazelnut porter extract kit from MoreBeer as my third batch. 4.75lb of grain and I only had a newbies 5 gallon kettle. It was a huge pain.

https://www.morebeer.com/products/jamils-chocolate-hazelnut-porter-extract-beer-brewing-kit-5-gallons.html

Offline santoch

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The aromatic Munich requires mashing as well.
Munich usually has enough DP to mash itself but nothing else.
You'd need to add about a 1/2 lb of pilsner or wheat malt to be carefree you will convert the oats.


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