Ques.: why are steeped grains affecting OG?

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Ques.: why are steeped grains affecting OG?

Postby billvelek » Mon Dec 11, 2006 7:25 pm

I used to do extract brews and occasionally steeped specialty grains for a bit of color and flavor, but it was my understanding that there was no conversion of starches in the process because the roasting had denatured the enzymes, and without mashing with some regular malt or adding amylase, that the starches would not convert. In playing with BTP-1.0.16, which I am HIGHLY impressed with, I noticed that adjuncts do not affect the 'Efficiency' -- which they shouldn't because the adjuncts are already 100% and go into the kettle rather than the mashtun. Grains, on the other hand, do affect 'Efficiency' -- IF THEY ARE MASHED -- and there seems to be a presumption by BTP that any grains, including specialty grain, are, in fact, mashed. If I were to go back to extract brewing and merely steeped some specialty grains, how do I get BTP to not include the specialty grains as a souce of fermentables? Shouldn't I be able to change the 'Stage' for a grain to indicate that it is not being mashed?

On the other hand, maybe I'm completely wrong about all of this and we can all have a brew and a good laugh at me. :lol:

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Postby andrewqld » Mon Dec 11, 2006 9:31 pm

Bill, any grains that you can steep and don't need to be mashed have already been converted ie. crystal malt, cara pils. The idea of steeping these grains is to extract the sugars from them which of course would affect your OG. The same applies if you put them in the mash, they are being steeped and the sugars extracted and hence the increase in OG.

Why would you want to exclude specialty grains as a source of fermentables? They do after all contribute or what would be the point of adding them to an extract brew!

And it IS possible I have misunderstood your post :)

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Postby billvelek » Mon Dec 11, 2006 10:37 pm

Well, Andrew, it has been a number of years since I concerned myself with steeping specialty grains, so you are probably correct. While I had understood that most specialty grains had already been malted (a few are not and therefore would not contain the sugars you mention), it was not my understanding that most of those that were malted had also been 'converted' (mashed) already. The crystal malts I can understand, but, for instance, what about chocolate or black patent; have they actually been converted? If you are correct on all counts, then my initial post has no merit. On the other hand, if some specialty grains have already been converted and some have not, then perhaps BTP should at least differentiate between those, and it doesn't appear to me that this is possible right now.

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Postby andrewqld » Mon Dec 11, 2006 11:09 pm

Bill, here is a link to a malt supplier showing the specs for all their malts http://www.fawcett-maltsters.co.uk/specif.htm .

As you can see, you can expect to extract some sugars from all the malts right done to the Black malt, however after reading you original post again the penny has dropped and I now understand what you are saying.

Only the malts that are cristalized will have any impact to your OG when steeping, as the above link shows only SOME of the specialty malts are crystalized and the others would contribute nothing to your OG unless they were added to a mash, steeping them would just extract colour and flavour not sugars.

So you really are correct, the specialty malts should be treated a little differently by BTP based on their use. If they are being mashed, extract potential should be calculated but if they are being steeped, extract potential should be disregarded.

Sorry if I was a little slow on the uptake, I will be interested to see what Jeff has to make of this.

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sea water ?

Postby andrewqld » Mon Dec 11, 2006 11:32 pm

1.025, but I am baffled, please tell.

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Re: sea water ?

Postby jeff » Mon Dec 11, 2006 11:33 pm

andrewqld wrote:1.025, but I am baffled, please tell.

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Not sure if it applies here, but sugar isn't the only thing that increases the gravity.
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Steeping grains

Postby jeff » Mon Dec 11, 2006 11:38 pm

I think what it "boils" down to, is adjusting the efficiency when using steeped grains as opposed to mashing. I don't know any figures off hand, but I suppose experimenting with a pound of chocolate or black malt in a volume of water measured at one gallon when combined would give us the proof we need. I typically steep my grains at 150F for 30 minutes to activate any enzymes present in the lighter grains should they still exist.
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Re: sea water ?

Postby jeff » Mon Dec 11, 2006 11:41 pm

andrewqld wrote:1.025, but I am baffled, please tell.

Cheers
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Sorry, I dumped the sea water post because I wasn't sure if it was relevant. For those who are wondering, the question was:

Does anyone know the "original gravity" of sea water?
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Ingredient data

Postby jeff » Mon Dec 11, 2006 11:56 pm

If one of you decides to get crazy and try the experiment, I looked into the ingredient DB and found that black malt has a potential gravity of around 1.026. If one pound were used in 1 gallon total volume (grain included), 75% efficiency should produce a gravity reading of 1.0195. If the gravity measures 1.010 instead, then the efficiency is 38%. If you don't know what to do with that extra pound of year old black malt, we would love to know your findings. :wink:
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One other thing

Postby jeff » Tue Dec 12, 2006 12:03 am

The experiment is best conducted at steeping temperature. Measurements must be performed after cooling though.
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Other related problems

Postby billvelek » Tue Dec 12, 2006 11:30 am

Jeff, I'll see what I can do as soon as I have a chance; our family is having our Christmas reunion this weekend, so it'll probably be after that. For me, steeping temp is about the same as mashing temp, so I'll just set it up and do it at around 150-160F unless you recommend something else. If there is any diastatic power in the malt -- which I can't imagine that there is because the roasting should have denatured the amylase -- then we'll see some conversion.

Jeff, along similiar lines, I also discovered while experimenting around that your program is not taking into consideration the diastatic power in the grist, or the total lack thereof, and therefore you have some adjuncts that are converting and affecting OG when, in fact, it is impossible for them to do so. For instance, without adding ANY malt or amylase to the recipe, I can add a variety of adjuncts to incorrectly increase the OG: e.g., RAW barley, RAW wheat, RAW oats, RAW rice, and a few others. While no one is going to do that, I'm more concerned with possibly adding too much of something that has no diastatic power and possibly not having enough power in my malt to do a complete conversion during a particular mash schedule.

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Re: Other related problems

Postby just-cj » Tue Dec 12, 2006 9:38 pm

billvelek wrote:Jeff, along similiar lines, I also discovered while experimenting around that your program is not taking into consideration the diastatic power in the grist, or the total lack thereof, and therefore you have some adjuncts that are converting and affecting OG when, in fact, it is impossible for them to do so. For instance, without adding ANY malt or amylase to the recipe, I can add a variety of adjuncts to incorrectly increase the OG: e.g., RAW barley, RAW wheat, RAW oats, RAW rice, and a few others.
Gravity readings aren't a measure of conversion -- they are a measure of dissolved sugars in the wort, right? And don't starches (which are just long-chain sugars) also add to the gravity reading? If so, then the numbers that BeerTools Pro spits out are correct. If not, then there's something wrong.
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Re: Other related problems

Postby jeff » Tue Dec 12, 2006 9:54 pm

just-cj wrote:Gravity readings aren't a measure of conversion -- they are a measure of dissolved sugars in the wort, right? And don't starches (which are just long-chain sugars) also add to the gravity reading? If so, then the numbers that BeerTools Pro spits out are correct. If not, then there's something wrong.


Strictly speaking, gravity is a measure of density. 1.000 is our distilled water reference point. Add sugar, salt, minerals, etc and density increases (same volume, greater mass). I am not sure what effect starches have on the density which is why I proposed the "experiment" above. But it would make sense that adding anything with a greater density than water, to water, will increase the specific gravity. I would guess that even a cup of coffee might have an S.G. greater than 1.000 even though, to my knowledge, coffee doesn't have much by way of dissolved sugars. Am I way off?
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Postby billvelek » Wed Dec 13, 2006 12:41 am

Actually, anything that remains in suspension will affect gravity. I'll need to check on starches. But, for example, if you add 'sand' to your wort ... while it is in suspension, as in a "slurry", it will affect gravity ... but once it settles to the bottom, it no longer affects gravity. I don't know if starches settle to the bottom or ramain in suspension. Dissolved sugar, of course, do remain in suspension. But too much sugar, to the point that it precipitates to the bottom, will alter gravity, i.e., what is sittiing on the botton doesn't count. It's the same thing as stratophication.

I've been drinking homebrews and cooking 'Jambalaya', so I'm probably not in the best shape to consider this issue right now. ;-) I'll need to wake up tomorrow and think about it some more.

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Postby slothrob » Wed Dec 13, 2006 10:11 am

billvelek wrote:Actually, anything that remains in suspension will affect gravity. I'll need to check on starches. But, for example, if you add 'sand' to your wort ... while it is in suspension, as in a "slurry", it will affect gravity ... but once it settles to the bottom, it no longer affects gravity.


Only substances in solution contribute to specific gravity as read by a hydrometer, not those in suspension. Starch will contribute to SG to the limit of its solubility, which is much lower than sugar because it is a generally hydrophobic molecule.
Starch is more soluble in hot water than cold, so it will have a more substantial effect if you take your gravity reading hot and calculate your SG than if you read it at 60
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