I’m not Denny. However, pH does come into play for specialty grains. I can’t speak to the sensory thresholds, but different husk compounds are accessed at different pHs, and when the specialty grain steep is at different gravities. For me it’s a case of, what’s it hurt to follow conventional wisdom? You could borrow a few pH strips (beer range) from a fellow brewer and measure it at a few different points in the steeping process. If you can’t taste a difference, then it may not be important to you.
As the other guys said, yes, pH does count in steeping. It’s no different from mashing in that regard. Too high a pH increases the risk of tannin extraction and using a lot of water prevents the grain from being able to pull down the pH. To be safe, I recommend steeping in no more than 2 qt.of water per lb. of grain.
This can be a serious concern for someone that has high alkalinity tap water. Then it will be important to either use a very low water amount or plan on acidifying the water to knock out the alkalinity. If the brewer has low alkalinity water like rain water or RO water, then this is not really an issue. They can use more water in their steeping process without worrying about the wort pH climbing too high.
If you know the profile of your tap water, you can check out what the steeping wort pH will be by inserting the grain and water info into Bru’n Water. It will work for this too.
I had a problem with some astringency in my last brew, black ipa extract. The directions for the kit said to steep the 1 pound of grains in 2.5 gallon of water. I used closer to 3.5 trying to get the best hop utilization i could.That put me at about 12.5 quarts per pound of grain Drastically above your recommendation. I believe that was likely my problem. Probably not a lacto infection :oops:
Upon digging further into those past threads you’ve posted, I found where someone did some independent research, and found it made no difference if you were using RO or distilled water. I guess that’s why I’m so confused. I’m new to this game, and just like everyone else am on a mission to master the craft. I guess I’ll have to get some grapes and chew on the skin to see what astringency is. I bottled my last two extract batches in May (BB Porter and BIg Honkin), and they seem fine but I know they could be better. I also feel that beers like that are more forgiving than say the Dale’s Pale I just did. We’ll see. Like anything else, there is no better teacher than experience…
I put 5.5 gallons in the turkey fryer and while im waiting for that to boil I put 1 gallon in a pot on the stove for steeping once steeping is done i just pour it in the turkey fryer bringing my total to 6.5 then after my hour of boiling its down to 5ish gallons of wort.
I had a problem with some astringency in my last brew, black ipa extract. The directions for the kit said to steep the 1 pound of grains in 2.5 gallon of water. I used closer to 3.5 trying to get the best hop utilization i could.That put me at about 12.5 quarts per pound of grain Drastically above your recommendation. I believe that was likely my problem. Probably not a lacto infection :oops: [/quote]
This could easily be a case where the water alkalinity overwhelmed the grain acidity and resulted in a high wort pH that may increase tannin extraction and make the hops rougher.
The thinner wort would also improve the bittering extraction. If the kit was designed around a concentrated wort boil, the diluted wort could easily throw off the bittering calculation and may have given this beer more than intended bittering.