Cold Steeping Dark Grains

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by MrBIP, Dec 10, 2014.

  1. MrBIP

    MrBIP Active Member

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    I've been here ... reading ... lurking .. :)

    Got something to question/discuss:
    Will try to keep this reasonable in length:

    Made a Porter a couple of times now, and I really like how it is: http://www.brewersfriend.com/homebrew/r ... lar-vortex

    Had a very detailed comment on a score sheet from a contest suggesting that "... adding the roast late in the mash will help"

    And then I commenced to doing some research and got into quite a bit:
    - dark / roasted grains are almost fully converted in the malting process and really do nothing but steep in the mash anyway?
    - with things like black malt and roasted barely, mashing will actually extract tannins in the mash (from the burnt husks), and bring them out in the boil, that results in astringency / harsh flavors?
    - one can, a) add these types of malt at the end of the mash, when sparging (I batch), b) hot steep the grains (not above 170-175) and add to kettle or fermenter, or c) cold steep for 24 hours and then add to kettle or fermenter (<< some things to be done there to avoid wild things causing other issues if going to fermenter).?

    So, what's been the experience with roasted barely, black malts, chocolate malts (?), etc.
    How are you handling those in the brewing process?


    MrBIP
     
  2. The Brew Mentor

    The Brew Mentor Active Member

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    Without going into it too much, the research I've done says cold steeping or adding dark grains to your mash just prior to mashout and sparging will give you a much smoother character without the harsh tannins associated with them.
    Personally, applying this method,has in my Porter and Oatmeal Stout has won me gold metals in competition.
    Give it a try and see if you like it.
    Brian
     
  3. SwampWater

    SwampWater Member

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    I cold steep the day before and add the strained dark grains with 10-15 min left in the boil. Usually after I add my wort chiller ( 20 mins left ) and the boil starts going again, then I add my dark extract. If I use crystal malt, I add it at the end of the mash.
     
  4. MrBIP

    MrBIP Active Member

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    Thanks for comments on that one. A little over 2 years in and I never discovered this? :eek:
    I've got an RIS and that Porter going end of this month so I'm going to do things a bit different with both.
     
  5. SwampWater

    SwampWater Member

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    I got this info from Gordon Strong's book, "Brewing Better Beer". I think he really made a lot of sense in most of the book. Some things I won't do, but I got a lot of good info from it. His mashing techniques were very interesting.
     
  6. cearum

    cearum Member

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    A little over 6 years and I've never discovered this. (or I did and completely forgot)
     
  7. Ozarks Mountain Brew

    Staff Member

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    Ive brewed a bunch of dark beers and never had a bitter taste form any dark grains but might just be the amounts or type I used
     
  8. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Ditto here.... But there's always room for experimentation! I'm working on a 1.5 gal BIAB Baltic Porter and may steep the grains vs mashing them for 60 minutes.... in the second batch. There are too many variables in a brand-new recipe to go messing with process. Besides, I've never had any trouble with harsh bitterness in my dark beers using standard mashing with the dark grains in the tun, either.
     
  9. MrBIP

    MrBIP Active Member

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    I've brewed that Porter twice and I like it, but it's noted to have some astringency. I get very little of .. actually have to really "look for it". But, while some have called it slight, some have said it to detract from what is otherwise a very good beer. So, I'm thinking, ok, third time out, let's try this and see if it mellows it out.

    From what I've read, I'm leaning toward cold steeping and then putting that "tea" in at the end of the boil... no more than five minutes left. Which I think should kill off any nasties that might be partying in the steep, but still limit the tannins that would create the astringency.

    And it seems like very little extra effort to perhaps get something "smoother".
     
  10. MrBIP

    MrBIP Active Member

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    Did this today:
    I put the roasted barely in "cold" steep yesterday at noon, doubled it from 4 oz to 8 oz and put it in one quart of water. Then today at noon, during brewing, strained it and rinsed it with another 1/2 qt, which gave me one quart, which I added at flame out, I let the wort cool longer from boiling to 180 than I normally would (about 20 minutes or so) to let that addition steralize/pasteurize. So, this is fermenting now.

    After I strained the liquid, I checked the gravity, found it to be 1.033. I also tasted it .. it tasted very much like cold coffee to me.
     
  11. SwampWater

    SwampWater Member

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    I found my cold steeped Porter to be very smooth. I think I will double the amount of grains next time though. I also need to buy a bigger strainer as I was getting some grains in my extract. I didn't rinse them when I strained them to my pot. Are you supposed to rinse them? If so, how much?
     
  12. MrBIP

    MrBIP Active Member

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    First time I'm trying this, just figured it made sense to rinse them and get as much out of it as possible.
     
  13. GernBlanston

    GernBlanston New Member

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  14. MrBIP

    MrBIP Active Member

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    Well that was interesting .. and now I'll have to try the "hot steeping" method.
    Wish I was set up to try three different methods at the same time, but that would simply not be feasible, so I'll have to trust that my process is reasonably consistent and rely on memory for tasting comparison.
    Thanks for posting that.
     
  15. MrBIP

    MrBIP Active Member

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    Bottled the "cold steeped" porter today....
    Of course things will continue to change, but... there's a really great "roasty" smell and caramelly/roasty flavor and certainly no "edge" or after-taste in it.
     
  16. MrBIP

    MrBIP Active Member

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    Well....
    This porter "falls flat" relative to the previous batches with dark grains in the mash. It just doesn't have that "edge" that I would expect in a robust porter. (I'm not very good at describing flavors/smells). I listened to the entire podcast that GernBlanston posted and this result seems to match what they found. Brew schedule has Polar Vortex brewing again April 19 and I'll try the "hot steep" method with that. This batch is just ok. I'll drink it, and I'm not ashamed to share it, but I'm not impressed.
     

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