Quick Question: Can you steep smoked malt for an extract batch?

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by JimmyTango, Feb 7, 2013.

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  1. JimmyTango

    JimmyTango Initiate (0) Aug 1, 2011 California

    I normally brew AG, and have very little experience with extract brewing but a friend has asked me to help him learn to brew. I feel like getting him started with extract and steeping grains is a good idea so that he can brew a few batches without me and then transition to AG once he has a better idea about the overall process.



    For his first batch he wants to make a dry stout with some smoked malt for depth. I know that normally a base grain like this needs at least a mini-mash, but I was wondering if the smoke character would be effectively extracted if we were to just steep it with the other Crystal and Roasted malts?
     
  2. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Defender (635) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    I think I might cold steep it if I didn't want to do a mini-mash...and use a little more than normal, but can't say I've tried what I'm suggesting.
     
  3. carteravebrew

    carteravebrew Zealot (502) Jan 21, 2010 Colorado

    What kind of smoked malt?

    I've steeped peat before with no problems. You use such a small amount (a couple ounces, tops, in a 5 gallon batch) that I don't think you really need to worry about ill effects.

    But if you want to use Rauch malt, you will need a lot more to get any significant smokiness from it, and it should be mashed.
     
    DmanGTR likes this.
  4. DmanGTR

    DmanGTR Meyvn (1,013) Feb 19, 2008 Florida
    Beer Trader

    Agreed with carteravebrew. You need to mash rauchmalt so you don't have unnecessary starches in your brew.
     
  5. JimmyTango

    JimmyTango Initiate (0) Aug 1, 2011 California

    Thanks guys! How much Peat would you suggest for subtle smokey background in a dry stout?
     
  6. carteravebrew

    carteravebrew Zealot (502) Jan 21, 2010 Colorado

    For 5 gallons, I'd say 3-4 oz.

    Others may think differently, but it's a very harsh grain.
     
  7. JimmyTango

    JimmyTango Initiate (0) Aug 1, 2011 California

  8. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Defender (635) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    Just racked to kegs a 9 gal. batch with 2# of Briess Cheerywood smoked malt...a little phenolic right now, but based on previous batches it should give me the smokiness I'm looking for (I used 2# in a 5 gal. batch already that turned out good once the phenolics settled down). If you are using Weyermann's smoked malt, I would suggest using a lot more than 3-4 oz.

    Sounds like you want to use peat... much stronger from what I hear...and maybe not even a base malt even though the L is real low (~2.5). I thought you wanted to use regular smoked malt initially.
     
  9. JimmyTango

    JimmyTango Initiate (0) Aug 1, 2011 California

    I've used the Briess Cherrywood in one of my best porters to date. Good stuff, and not too strong. I would be using it again or going with a few lbs of the Weyerman, but like I said I want to do extract so those aren't really options given the qtys needed. I've heard plenty of negativity on the peat smoked, but I thought that I could use it’s overpowering strength as an advantage in this situation--- plus the Stone Smoked Porter only has 4oz for 5 gal and I quite like the smoke character of that beer.



    Cheers!
     
  10. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,506) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Riley,

    Just so you know, both Peated Malt and Smoked Malt should be mashed; they are both non-crystalized malts:

    “Both grains need to be mashed, you won't get the effect you want just by steeping. Do a search on partial mashing, it's pretty simple and will help a lot. As far as the grains go, Rauch malt imparts a nice, more mellow smokey flavor and is often used as up to 100% of the grist. Peat malt is much, much stronger and gives a more earthy smokey flavor and needs to be used in much smaller quantities.”

    Below is a description of British Peated Malt from Northern Brewer:

    “2.5° L. Phenol level 12-24. While the malt is in the kiln, peat moss outside the kiln is gently smoked over slow burning coals allowing its vapors to drift above the malt. Peat malt is used in the distilling of Scotland's finest whiskies, but has found favor with homebrewers and craft brewers in smoked beers. Adds intense iodine and seaweed smoke phenol character - a little goes a long way!”

    For a small amount of peated malt (e.g, 3-4 ounces) it probably is OK to just steep this grain since you won’t be extracting much starch from such a small amount.

    So, let’s discuss whether you really want peated malt in this beer. Peated malt has a reputation of creating some ‘extreme’ flavors. I have had a number of Scotch Whiskys that used peated malt and I really did not enjoy drinking them, I personally would never use peated malt in any beer that I homebrew.

    The only experience I have with smoked malt is using 1 lb. of Weyermann Smoked Malt in making a Northern English Brown Ale. That 1 lb. contributed some ‘complexity’ to the overall beer but I could barely notice the smokiness. I would guess that something like 2 lbs. would provide a light smokiness to a beer.
    Now, let’s discuss steeping vs. mashing. If you really think about it there is not a huge difference between the two processes: you are soaking grains in hot water for a period of time. When you mash you need to be a bit more attuned to a specific temperature (e.g., 150°F) and you might be more interested in a specific water to grain ratio (e.g., 1.5 quarts of water per pound of grain). Mashing also classically has a one hour duration vs. 30 minutes for steeping.

    Permit me to make a suggestion. Purchase 2 lbs. of Weyermann Smoked Malt, place those malts in muslin grains bags, soak them in 150ish degree water (3-4 quarts) for 30-60 minutes, and then just remove the bags from the water. In effect you conducted a steep which also happens to be a mash. You can combine the Weyemann smoked malt with the other crystal/roasted malts or conduct the soak in a separate pot (your choice).

    Cheers!

    Jack
     
  11. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,506) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Do you think your friend likes peaty character (e.g., Stone’s Smoked Porter)? I know folks who find Stone’s Smoked Porter to be repulsive. Peated malt is a very polarizing thing.

    Cheers!
     
  12. JimmyTango

    JimmyTango Initiate (0) Aug 1, 2011 California

    Hmm... Thanks Jack!

    I was aware that all of the mentioned smoked malts need to be mashed, but I was hoping that theFor a small amount of peated malt (e.g, 3-4 ounces) it probably is OK to just steep this grain since you won’t be extracting much starch from such a small amount” bit would apply, which it sounds like it does.



    As far as the mini-mash goes… you’re probably right. I wanted to save the bit of time the extra steps would take, but will most likely be better off with the added effort.

    As far as the peateed malt goes... its hard to say. They friend I am helping out is not a very "geeky" beer drinker and has no real compas for what he likes. For this beer he asked for "guiness with a little bit of smokyness in the background" which is fine, but then went on to suggest that it be strongly roasty and very malty... Guiness is neither of those to me.

    Oh well, I'll figure something out.
     
  13. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,506) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Riley,

    “As far as the mini-mash goes… you’re probably right. I wanted to save the bit of time the extra steps would take, but will most likely be better off with the added effort.” Well, there really aren’t any extra steps: if you conduct your steep at a temperature in the 150-160 temperature range then the steep = mash. You really don’t need to be anal about the water/grain ratio (grains will indeed mash at ratios > 2 quarts/lb.).The vast majority of the starches convert to sugars in a 30 minute duration (the steeping timeframe). You really don’t need to mash/steep for one hour if you don’t want to.

    “For this beer he asked for "guiness with a little bit of smokyness in the background". I suspect that your friend would prefer a flavor profile of: “Rauch malt imparts a nice, more mellow smokey flavor” vs. “Adds intense iodine and seaweed smoke phenol character”. Of course only using 3-4 ounces of Peated Malt may be OK but I personally wouldn’t chance it.

    “strongly roasty and very malty” Well, the utilization of Roasted Barley will get you the “roasty” part. Whether a dry stout is considered “very malty” vs. just malty is a matter of palate.

    Good luck with this beer. It sounds ‘interesting’!

    Cheers!

    Jack
     
  14. JimmyTango

    JimmyTango Initiate (0) Aug 1, 2011 California

    Ok, so "minimash" it is. Now I need another pointer--

    The steeping grains/ minimash grist will be:

    2# Weyerman smoked malt
    .5# Roasted Barley
    .5# Caraffa II
    .5# Crystal60

    Then we'll be adding 5# light LME and 1# Munich LME.

    MY QUESTION IS: Will a full 5 gallon steep (~5.7Qts/lb mash ratio) allow for sufficient conversion? Or would it be more effective to steep in 1.5 gal (1.7Qts/lb ratio) and then add 3 with the extract for the boil?
     
  15. premierpro

    premierpro Disciple (375) Mar 21, 2009 Michigan
    Subscriber

    Anywhere from 1-2 quarts per pound will work. Your recipe looks tasty!
     
  16. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,506) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    The ‘traditional’ way to mash is the 1-2 quarts/lb. route.

    For those homebrewers who mash via the BIAB method, they mash all of their grains in the needed amount of water to get the needed amount of pre-boil wort. For example. 10 lbs. of grain in 7.5 gallons of water. This example yields a ratio of 3 quarts/lb.

    I wouldn’t exceed a ratio of 3 quarts/lb.

    Cheers!
     
  17. JimmyTango

    JimmyTango Initiate (0) Aug 1, 2011 California

    I was quite aware that 1-2 qts/lbs is the way to go, and usually mash on the "thinner side" around or slightly above 2qts/lb with great results.

    My question was more to do with how far y'all think I could push it... but as I figured I will go with the 1.5 gal to 3.5 lbs.

    Thanks!
     
  18. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,506) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    “My question was more to do with how far y'all think I could push it”

    And my answer was no thinner than the BIAB method (e.g., 3 quarts/lb.).

    Cheers!
     
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