Efficiency with Steeping Grains?


Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
Established Member
Jul 8, 2012
Reaction score
Okay, so recently I brewed an extract recipe with steeping grains and I overshot my OG by 7 points. I've never overshot like that! Maybe three or four points but never 7! Anyway, I'm here to ask what may have caused this. Below is the recipe and an explanation of the steeping process (I did change my steeping process with this batch...)

OG expected: 1.055
OG actual: 1.063 (temp at reading was 62 degrees F)

http://www.brewersfriend.com/homebrew/r ... oot-porter

I steeped the grains for 55 minutes (got caught up cleaning so they went a bit longer) in 1.25 gallons of water at 156 degrees. This time though I used my spagetti strainer in the pot and left the steeping bag open over it - grains had a lot of room. Then when I rinsed the grains after the steep, I poured the steeped water over the spent grains (I've never done this) and then used .75 gallons of water at 150 degrees over the spent grains (I usually do this). Both times I poured over the grains I left the steeping bag open in the spagetti strainer - in the past I always just left the steeping bag tied up.

The steeping grains was the only thing I did differently this time around. Everything else was done per usual - 3 gal boil, 5.25 gal total etc. - I did so a 30 minute boil with a late addition which I haven't done in a while but that shouldn't affect OG should it?

I guess my biggest question is: How did I overshoot?
But also: Did I conduct a "mini-mash" of sorts? (Steeping grains were all crystal and specialty so there really shouldn't be any real conversion, right)?
You may have squeezed a bit more sugars out of these grains with your process change. I copied the recipe and set the efficiency to 100%. It reports the OG is 1.064. 100% efficiency with steeping grains isn't likely. So, your process could have increased the OG by a couple points, but it probably isn't the entire story.

What brand of DME was it? It is possible the ppg is 43 instead of the default 42, and that is why.

Other causes could be:
Slightly more DME was used than called for? Scale may need calibration.
The 5.25 gallon batch size was undershot, or the OG reading was taken before topping off? Fermentor volume lines may need calibration.
Larry I had done the same thing with the steeping efficiency and that is why I came a asking. There is no way I hit 100% I figured. The DME was Briess. I'll have to check the ppg on that. I thought maybe the water too but I felt I was pretty spot on. I had it down to the quart.

Thanks for the input. I'll have to test again the new steeping method I guess. I figured I'd get a little more but not what the recipe is saying. Probably a combination of the things you mentioned.
Just double checked and Briess Golden Light (what I used) is 43 ppg...
Great, mystery solved. You can input that as a custom fermentable in your inventory and it will flow through into the drop down.

We are working on a much slicker way for people to manage their own grain lists and search for grains by brand name.
Right on, thanks for the heads up! I hadn't even thought of there being a difference between Mutons and Briess! At any time I could end up with either depending on where I get my goods. I'll have to keep that in mind.

I played around with the customizable fermentables and adjusted accordingly and it made a slight difference so it has to be a bit of a combination. Thanks again. I didn't think I could actually pull quite a bit of sugar out the steeping grains like that. If the batch comes out tasty then I will surely keep fiddling with it to maximize them.

Brew is bubbling away like crazy at the moment! :)