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Steeping Grains - 1 Gallon or 5 Gallon?

I’ve read where people will steep their grains in 1 gallon of water for a 5 gallon batch. Is there a benefit to doing that? I’ve started doing 5 gallon boils and have been steeping my grains for 20 mins or 170 degrees in the 5 gallon, but should I be steeping the grains in a less amount of water to start?


The reason behind a more concentrated specialty grain steep is to reduce the chance of tannin extraction by keeping the pH lower. Keeping the temp below 170° is key. Between 150°-160° is a good range. It isn’t necessary to hold a constant temp as long as it is kept below 170°. Temps above 170° can extract tannins.

My normal specialty grain to water ratio is 1 pound of grains to 1 gallon of water. Some people suggest less water than that. I normally steep for 30 minutes.

I was confused at first about “to 170°” but after I re read it I understand now. You steep for 20 mins or until the temp reaches 170°. That’s why I pressed the 170° so much.

But i think says step for 20 min or untill you do reach. 170 fh. I sort do it different. Start the boil kettle with 5 gallon water. Add some burtonsalt. On the second pot i use 1.5 gallon and steep the grains. Once after 20 min i add the 1.5 gallon grains to the 5 gallon water so end up with 6.5 gallon water. Once boil check temp. And start the regular session. Did find out after the boil over. End up with about 5 gallon beer. Chill down. No need to add extra water. End result works out perfect

Why do you steep the grains separately in 1.5 gallons and not steep all at once in 6.5 gallons?

Acutally dont know haha. A all grain brewer did teach me. And i boil the water early to 170 and than add the grains to the five gallon boil so it speeds the whole system he did say steep separate you get more out of the grains and steeping in to much water might lead to tannins as well it does help bit propane wise.

There probably is something to this. Tannin extraction is more closely related to pH than temperature. The steeping grains when added to a small amount of water, which may or often is over a pH of 6, will buffer the water to pH to 6 or lower. I don’t have a pH meter but sure would like to test this. Might be why my American amber ales have increased in bitterness over the last two years. That will be a separate topic to come.

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Before i did start steeping separate or the method i do now. Did not know much difference on bitterness. Me dont have ph meter. I do use strips. Not 100% secure but got sort of idea. Will next time try the steepgrains how much ph. Once done steeping grains. But must say do like this way. Got something to do. Before the water comes at the right temp. And it does safe me bit propane gas.

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