Specialty Grain Steeping

Hello… I’m relatively new to brewing, have 3 batches down and all have come out pretty good. I just brewed the NB Cream Ale and it came with grains to steep. The instructions say to steep for 20 min while to water comes to 170 degrees. I know I had the water at about 160, dropped the grains and let steep for the 20 min. I would bring the fire back on to maintain the temp during the steep. Did I do this correctly?

As long as it was between 160-170 degrees for 20 minutes you will be fine. Some people put them in cold water and by the time it reaches 170 degrees they pull out the grains to begin boiling.

Yeah that’s fine. A better way is to put the grain bag in when you start heating the water then pull it when it’s around 160°, that ought to give you 20 minutes or so of steeping. Steeping grains is mainly for color and flavor, you don’t garner a lot of fernentables from it.

Ok… Thanks for the replies. The cream is fermenting nicely and I can’t wait to drink the first one.

[quote=“FireMedic218”] The cream is fermenting nicely and I can’t wait to drink the first one.[/quote]I hear that, I brew one about every 4th or 5th batch. When I serve them to newbs I call it plain ale, when I call it cream ale it seems they expect it to taste cream soda.

It has seemed to me that the instructions saying to add the bag of grain (while heating the water) and steep until you hit 170 would result in wide variation in steeping times, depending on one’s heat source.

That’s why I’ve preferred to follow alternate instructions suggesting to achieve a certain temp and steep for xx minutes. Though I can’t find the reference, I had for some reason settled on 160F for 30 minutes.

On the All-Grain forum, there is a debate about using 153F for mash temps.


Would this suggest 153 would be a better target temp? For 20, or for 30, minutes?

This must be where I got the 160F for 30 minutes instruction… (Palmer)


Note the comment at the bottom re: differences vs. mashing:
“Steeping differs from mashing in that there is no enzyme activity taking place to convert grain or adjunct starches to sugars. Steeping specialty grains is entirely a leaching and dissolution process of sugars into the wort.”
So, I guess that debate about mash temps doesn’t apply.