To steep or not to steep?

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Stout Brewing

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Evening!

Got a brew day coming up, version 2 of a Chocolate Milkshake Stout I’m working on.

Already decided on a few tweaks to improve but wanted to see if anyone has any experience of steeping darker malts in water before using?

Read a few bits about it removing harshness etc but would be keen to hear any experiences.

Cheers!
 

foxy

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Evening!

Got a brew day coming up, version 2 of a Chocolate Milkshake Stout I’m working on.

Already decided on a few tweaks to improve but wanted to see if anyone has any experience of steeping darker malts in water before using?

Read a few bits about it removing harshness etc but would be keen to hear any experiences.

Cheers!
If making a porter, oatmeal or milk stout I cold steep overnight, removes the astringency associated with the dark malts. Making an Irish stout I like the astringency so I put the dark malts in the mash though it does fade over time. You can hot steep, not sure on the time something like 20 mins at 70 C, but if you have read a bit about the time and temperature you will know.
Remember to include the steep liquor in your water calculations, I know someone who didn't once.
 

HarryFlatters

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I did in the last stout I made, and I think it's pretty smooth.

If you wait until a week on Saturday, I've entered it in the February competition, so wait to see what @Grizzly Notations and his chums think of it to see if it worked :D
 

Stout Brewing

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If making a porter, oatmeal or milk stout I cold steep overnight, removes the astringency associated with the dark malts. Making an Irish stout I like the astringency so I put the dark malts in the mash though it does fade over time. You can hot steep, not sure on the time something like 20 mins at 70 C, but if you have read a bit about the time and temperature you will know.
Remember to include the steep liquor in your water calculations, I know someone who didn't once.
Thanks for this @foxy! Going to look at cold steeping. When you mention the steep liquor, could I then use all of those liquid to sparge?

Again thanks for the comment!
 

Sadfield

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Cold steeping often looks like homebrew invention, a work around for poor bittering hop selection, or not even considering the bitterness from dark malts when designing a recipe, then piling a load of hop IBUs on top. And then there's also the composition of the water used to brew, to consider. So, possibly a question of whether you want to add an extra process over adjusting the recipe, using a low cohumulone hop or treating the brew liquor. Capping the mash, by adding the dark grains prior to sparging is another option. There's any ways to skin a cat. Does your cat need skinning? Have you an issue with astringency?
 
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Hengoedbrewer

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I cold steeped for an attempt at Oatmeal Stout, my second BIAB AG beer. I didn't like how it came out but I think this didn't have anything to do with the cold steeping, perhaps something went wrong during my process as I am very inexperienced with AG. The beer finished very high, no head, very little body, thin mouthfeel- basically the exact opposite of what I wanted! I had cold steeped grains as a kit adjunct before and it went fine (Coopers chocolate and vanilla stout) so would be willing to try again in future.
 

foxy

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Thanks for this @foxy! Going to look at cold steeping. When you mention the steep liquor, could I then use all of those liquid to sparge?

Again thanks for the comment!
You can add it to the fermenter if its sterile, and I would say you could use it in the sparge water. I have Gordon Strong's book Brewing Better Beer but I was cold steeping before that it has been around for a long time. As mentioned above there are a few ways to go about it, and I could definitely recommend his book.
 

Stout Brewing

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Cold steeping often looks like homebrew invention, a work around for poor bittering hop selection, or not even considering the bitterness from dark malts when designing a recipe, then piling a load of hop IBUs on top. And then there's also the composition of the water used to brew, to consider. So, possibly a question of whether you want to add an extra process over adjusting the recipe, using a low cohumulone hop or treating the brew liquor. Capping the mash, by adding the dark grains prior to sparging is another option. There's any ways to skin a cat. Does your cat need skinning? Have you an issue with astringency?
Thanks for this @Sadfield - no massive astringency issues just experimenting with as many ways as possible to firstly, learn and secondly, try to get the beer as creamy and smooth as possible! A lot there for me to research/think about!!
 

Stout Brewing

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I cold steeped for an attempt at Oatmeal Stout, my second BIAB AG beer. I didn't like how it came out but I think this didn't have anything to do with the cold steeping, perhaps something went wrong during my process as I am very inexperienced with AG. The beer finished very high, no head, very little body, thin mouthfeel- basically the exact opposite of what I wanted! I had cold steeped grains as a kit adjunct before and it went fine (Coopers chocolate and vanilla stout) so would be willing to try again in future.
This is my exact fear @Hengoedbrewer! Considering I’ll be fermenting for 3 weeks, and then leaving in the bottle for a good couple of months before drinking, it’d be gutting to find a low body beer at the end!
 

Stout Brewing

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You can add it to the fermenter if its sterile, and I would say you could use it in the sparge water. I have Gordon Strong's book Brewing Better Beer but I was cold steeping before that it has been around for a long time. As mentioned above there are a few ways to go about it, and I could definitely recommend his book.
I’ll have a look for Brewing Better Beer - sounds good!
 

Sadfield

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Thanks for this @Sadfield - no massive astringency issues just experimenting with as many ways as possible to firstly, learn and secondly, try to get the beer as creamy and smooth as possible! A lot there for me to research/think about!!
Nothing wrong with experimenting. If you don't already treat your water, raising chloride levels will give a softer texture and raising sodium levels will reduce the perception of bitterness. A simple experiment is to add table salt (sodium chloride) to an already brewed beer to see how it affects the flavour.
 

Stout Brewing

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Nothing wrong with experimenting. If you don't already treat your water, raising chloride levels will give a softer texture and raising sodium levels will reduce the perception of bitterness. A simple experiment is to add table salt (sodium chloride) to an already brewed beer to see how it affects the flavour.
Ooo interesting ok - I've been reading a little about water pH but only touched the surface. Read an interesting blog on Neon Raptors website yesterday and their Pushmi/Pullyu beers which got me thinking, although fully understood about 60% of it

https://www.neonraptorbrewingco.com/ourblog
 

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