Author Topic: Steeping Crystal Malt  (Read 5873 times)

Offline gmac

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Steeping Crystal Malt
« on: December 22, 2010, 03:08:33 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

Offline hamiltont

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Re: Steeping Crystal Malt
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2010, 03:34:35 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!!!
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Offline MDixon

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Re: Steeping Crystal Malt
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2010, 07:07:58 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.
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Offline ipaguy

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Re: Steeping Crystal Malt
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2010, 07:11:49 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.
+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.
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Offline gordonstrong

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Re: Steeping Crystal Malt
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2010, 07:16:23 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.
+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.
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Offline hamiltont

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Re: Steeping Crystal Malt
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2010, 07:51:32 AM »
By steeping C40 & BP in the full volume won't create an acidic environment where tannins might be extracted?  Cheers!!!
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Offline ipaguy

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Re: Steeping Crystal Malt
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2010, 08:34:45 AM »
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.
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Offline hamiltont

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Re: Steeping Crystal Malt
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2010, 08:59:27 AM »
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!!!
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Offline MDixon

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Re: Steeping Crystal Malt
« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2010, 09:39:59 AM »
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.
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Offline hokerer

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Re: Steeping Crystal Malt
« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2010, 09:48:10 AM »
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.
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Offline Kaiser

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Re: Steeping Crystal Malt
« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2010, 10:20:15 AM »
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

Offline gmac

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Re: Steeping Crystal Malt
« Reply #11 on: December 23, 2010, 10:31:15 AM »
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.

Offline MDixon

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Re: Steeping Crystal Malt
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2010, 10:37:22 AM »
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.
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Offline Kaiser

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Re: Steeping Crystal Malt
« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2010, 10:38:45 AM »
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 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

Offline Kaiser

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Re: Steeping Crystal Malt
« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2010, 10:40:44 AM »
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