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Questions about Malts

I was listening to a Beersmith Podcast last night, and he had a gentleman on discussing a brewing technique that involved primarily mashing the base malts convert starches into sugar, but then steeping most specialty malts. He said there was a value that would tell you which grains needed to be mashed, and what grains could be steeped due to their low value of gravity point potential.

Does anyone know what this value is when researching malts?

What would be the “cut off” value when determining to mash vs soak?

Are the malts that you wouldn’t mash… the specialty grains… milled?

What are other considerations I would need to take a look at?

Thanks!

They could be referring to diastatic power of the malt. Typically the higher kilned malts have a lower diastatic power.

Some people wait to add their roast malts until the very end of the mash, because they feel it will reduce the harshness of the bitterness those malts contribute. I’ve personally never tried it, because I typically use a debittered or huskless roasted malt variety.

The specialty malts are indeed milled.

Thank you for the response. The gentleman made the point by saying “in extract brewing you steep your specialty grains, so why in all grain do you mash them” I thought it was a good point.

I am trying to wrap my head around how this approach would impact ph and OG.

Without the specialty grains, your pH would drift higher, and OG will be slightly lower. You can plug the grain bills into your favorite water and mash calculators to see the difference.

You’d probably want to mash at a higher temp than you normally would as well, because the specialty malts won’t be contributing as many dextrins as they would if they were included for the duration of the mash.

No, it’s not a good point. Mashing is nothing more than a controlled steep. Yes, you can steep the specialty grains separately, but unless the recipe is specifically constructed for that you’ll get a different flavor than the recipe was intended for. Plus, you’re doing more work for no benefit. It’s done so that you don’t have to deal with the pH effects of the specialties. Personally, I’d rather do that and have the recipe turn out as intended.

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[quote=“denny, post:5, topic:26222”]
Plus, you’re doing more work for no benefit
[/quote] This. Less steps the better in my lazy opinion

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My mantra…

Make the Best Beer Possible
With the Least Effort Possible
While Having the Most Fun Possible

the corollary…

Do whatever it takes to make good beer, but be sure the effort you take is worth it.

I don’t mind doing more work if there’s a payoff. In this case, I haven’t found that to be the case.

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