Adding Grains To Your Beer Making It More Complex

When making a brew there are a couple things that you can do to make a beer a bit more complex.  I recommend using specialty grains.  When using specialty grains and extract you are pretty much making a tea by soaking grains in a pot of water.  In order to use specialty grains in your beer you need to do a couple things, or at least understand a few things.

The first thing that you need to do is crush the grains. At Jay’s Brewing we have a mill and also there are mills at most home brew shops.  But if that doesn’t work for you for what ever reason there are ways around it: rolling pin, food processor, coffee grinder, hammer, two cookie sheets.

When using manual methods, make sure to crush it a lot.  With that said, don’t go crazy on it just crush it.  When using motorized devices, just try not to turn the grain to dust.

After you have your crushed grains, stick the grains into a grain bag or muslin “socks” and your finally ready to make your tea!

Time and temperature of “steeping” the grains can vary slightly for different grains and different beers but here’s a steeping schedule that will be fine for anything an extract brewer is making: 150 degrees for 30 minutes. You may put the grains into the water cold and bring the temperature up  to 150 (then hold for 30 minutes). That should get you a little more out of the grains.

No matter which way you go with steeping your grains, be careful not to burn your rain bag on the bottom of the pot.  To get the most out of your grains, you should rinse them out after the steeping is done.  This technique may sound a bit elaborate but it really will help get the most out of your grains.

One way to do it is, use a separate, smaller pot with warm water in it. Pot #1 is the pot you steep in and will put extract into.  Pot #2 is your dunking pot. Have pot #2 at around 160 degrees when your steeping is done. Actually, 168  would be perfect, but it’s far better to be a little low than a little high.

Take out your grain bag from pot #1 and dunk it into pot #2. Swish it around, dunk it, whatever gets the water flowing through the grains. It’s even OK to squeeze the grain bag, but do it very gently. A hard squeeze is bad.  Once you’ve rinsed out the grains in pot #2, throw them away and add the water from pot #2 into pot #1. Bring up to a boil and proceed with extract and hop additions.

And that’s how to do it!

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2 Comments on “Adding Grains To Your Beer Making It More Complex”

  1. Chris Waskowich Says:

    So, does that mean the grains I get from you are pre-crushed – or do I need to do that? Basically, I have not been crushing the grains.


    • Jay's Brewing Blog Says:

      I’m pretty sure in the past I have been crushing your grains. Most of the time I just assume that people want there grains crushed and will unless told not too. I don’t think you have anything to worry about, because I believe I’ve been crushing your grains.


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