I know this is an old thread, but it's along the lines of exactly what I am wanting to ask. Gordon Strong has another book I just picked up, his recipe book. And in it more of the late mash/cool steep techniques for his dark grains and crystal malts for his recipes. I know he does this because of using RO water and very little added to it. If he didn't practice this technique, he would have a hard time with his mash ph brewing certain beers.
Anyway, besides doing so for a mash ph/brewing water aspect is the benefit worthwile? I'm fixing to brew a Porter next and I have been thinking of at least maybe holding off the Chocolate malt and Black malt until the last 15 minutes of the mash. I don't have a recirculating system, so adding the malts just before or during my vorlauf doesn't seem like it would be sufficient for the roast character needed. I'm all for limiting the acrid harshness, but the roast is an important character of say a Porter. I have no desire to cold steep or steep the dark grains seperately. My water is quite alkaline so the dark grains help my mash ph. I'm just wondering if anyone has done more of a late mash with the dark grains over a vorlauf or the other cold/seperate steep methods?