Boiling Malts vs Steeping

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I am new to home brewing and am still trying to get everything right.
This weekend I tried a new recipe for a London ESB which consisted of 9
lbs of extracts, goldings hops, plus 2 lbs of caravienne.  I thought the
recipe was unusual because the instructions told me to place the
caravienne into the cold brewing water at the beginning, and then bring
the water to a boil.  The caravienne grains were in the wort throughout
the whole hour of boiling and ended up in a mush on the bottom of the pot.
In every other beer I have made, I steeped the grains at 170 F using a
grain bag, then removed the spent grains after a specified time and
continued on to the boil.  I never boiled the grains.

I boiled them this time thinking that it might be best to follow the recipe.

Will boiling the caravienne instead of just steeping the grains give my
beer an off taste of some kind?  Is boiling the grains a standard
practice or did I just get a bad recipe?

Also, what is caravienne?  I can't seem to find much information on that.

Thanks much

Re: Boiling Malts vs Steeping


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I don't have too much grain experiance, I'm just doing extracts right
now, but I do know that the idea behind steeping is so the heat can
extract the flavor and sugars from the grain. The amount of heat and
amount of time will result in different extractions, (Lower heat for
longer = more sugars, etc), that's why there are specific temperature
levels that must be maintained during mashes. But the warning I've
heard is NOT to boil the grains, at any cost, otherwise you're
releasing tannins from the grains, which will result in very
astringent and bitter tastes. In fact most directions I've read about
steeping say not to even squeeze the bag of grains when you take it
out, otherwise you'll release those tannins. I would let this ferment
out, bottle it, and forget about it and move on to the next batch. Who
knows, maybe those directions knew what they were talking about and in
a few months those bottles will be fine.

mike


Re: Boiling Malts vs Steeping


Thanks Mike.  My understanding was the same as yours... ie. boiling
grains is bad.  However, I also read that in the past brewers were
advised to boil.  So I must have gotten some "old school" directions.
We'll see how it turns out in a month or so.

MLynchLtd wrote:
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Re: Boiling Malts vs Steeping



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Yes, some of the old texts tell you to just leave the grains in throughout
the boil.

You are in a good position to judge the wisdom of this advice! :)  Please
be sure to post back when you drink it and let us know how it tastes.
The big question will be whether it is astringent or not.  Astringent is
similar to bitter, but different.  It is really a sensation, not a taste
(like alum, tea, or green persimmons), that you can feel on the roof of
you mouth with your tongue.

Astringency will mellow out somewhat with time, so if your batch IS
astringent, you can let it age for a while and see if it gets better.
(Personally, I don't think you'll see any noticable astringency.  If every
beer they made was astringent, the authors of those old texts would have
used a different procedure!)

Derric


Re: Boiling Malts vs Steeping


On Sat, 07 Jul 2007 23:19:56 GMT, Dennis O'Connell

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From Northern Brewer:  "CaraVienne (21 L) is an excellent all-purpose
caramel malt."

I would have just steeped them as before.  The 170 temp is basically a
max. , i.e. you don't want to exceed that by much.  AG brewers, like
me, mash at temps in the 150s range.  That would do just as well for
steeping.  I see nothing gained by putting them in cold.  The
instructions seem geared for simplicity and convenience.

Also, FWIW, 2#s of caramel malt in a 5-gal recipe seems excessive.  I
would have cut that back to 1#.  And were thiose grains crushed, or
did you put them in whole?  If they were mush at the end, I assume
they were crushed, as they should be.  Some extracts tend to leave a
lot of unfermentables, and 2#s of caramel add even more.  Well, let us
know how it turns out.  

John S.

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Re: Boiling Malts vs Steeping



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As I understand it, steeping at the correct temperatures encourages certain
enzyme reactions that aid in sugar extraction.  Too cold, not enough
extraction.  Too hot and some of the reactions are halted.  Moreover, the
grain husks contain tannins that get released at higher temps (beyond 170
degrees) that can contribute an astringent taste to the beer.  (Ever steeped
a tea bag for too long?)

Better to steep and remove rather than boil the grains.



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