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Best Time to Add Crystal/Specialty Malts?

I’m getting ready to do my first all-grain batch and was unsure of what the best time to add crystal/specialty malts is. Do you just add them to the grain bill and mash the whole thing at typical mashing temps, or would you maybe add them first, steep them, then remove and add the base malt to the “tea” and continue with the mashing process?

Wasn’t sure if allowing them to hang out for a whole hour in the mash would be too much.

Yes they should be mashed with the base malt for the entire 60 minutes so they can convert.

In some cases (e.g., dry stout or black IPA) some brewers suggest making a tea with dark roasted grains (e.g., chocolate, roasted barley or black patent) to improve the overall character these malts provide.

The best time is w/ the mash but I’ve cheated and steeped some in my boil pot during mash runoff and before bringing to boil or have added when sparging, to avoid pH issues if I had them in the mash. When doing large batches where all the grain doesn’t fit in the MT, steeping at a different point will work.

I probably didn’t get the most out of them by adding them in the sparge.

Good stuff, thanks yall. First brew in 6 weeks is on you!

Different strokes, I guess.
About 10 years ago, at which time I already had more than 30 years of brewing under my belt , at the suggestion of a well respected professional brewmaster I changed my procedure by adding the crystal and other roasted malts at sparge,
The improvement to all of my regular brews was immediately apparent. I haven’t looked back since then…for me, adding them at sparge is definitely the way to go.

As with many procedural suggestions, I suggest that the OP should try it both ways and see what works best in his own situation. It’s the only way to determine what is really “best”.

[quote=“The Professor”]
Different strokes, I guess.
About 10 years ago, at which time I already had more than 30 years of brewing under my belt , at the suggestion of a well respected professional brewmaster I changed my procedure by adding the crystal and other roasted malts at sparge,
The improvement to all of my regular brews was immediately apparent. I haven’t looked back since then…for me, adding them at sparge is definitely the way to go.

As with many procedural suggestions, I suggest that the OP should try it both ways and see what works best in his own situation. It’s the only way to determine what is really “best”.[/quote]
Do you fly sparge or batch sparge? I wonder if that makes a difference when using your technique.

Different strokes, I guess.
About 10 years ago, at which time I already had more than 30 years of brewing under my belt , at the suggestion of a well respected professional brewmaster I changed my procedure by adding the crystal and other roasted malts at sparge,
The improvement to all of my regular brews was immediately apparent. I haven’t looked back since then…for me, adding them at sparge is definitely the way to go.

As with many procedural suggestions, I suggest that the OP should try it both ways and see what works best in his own situation. It’s the only way to determine what is really “best”.[/quote]

I’m a non expert who’s batch sparging so I really have no idea (And is it different strokes if I lean towards doing it that way?) In my case the newly added crushed specialty grains are only in the MT for a 5min stir w/ sparge water, a 3 min vorlauf, and then drained. I’m not overly worried about it but I like what you are laying down. :lol:

Never attempted it back when I was fly sparging.

I’ve been brewing over ten years, following this forum for more than 5 years, and I’ve never come across this concept before. Cool, I’ve got to try adding specialty grains to the sparge. Problem is, I tend to minimize specialty grain usage in most of my beers, so it may be a while before I have a good candidate to try this on.

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