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Can I steep my hops with my specialty grains?

doug@aarehomes.com

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Hello everyone,

In an effort to save time and energy, I was wondering if I could steep my bittering hops with my specialty grains in a fairly small amount of water for maybe 45 min. then add my extract and flavor hops for a 15 boil and then chill. I guess Im asking if the bittering hops have to be boiled or is steeping adequate?

Thanks for your help
 

MaltLicker

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Yes, you can steep some hops with your specialty malts.  Doing so in an all-grain scenario is called First-Wort Hopping, in which you add hops to the initial wort as you start collecting the run-off.  Steeping some hops at roughly 155F with the specialty grains would have similar effects.  FWH results in more stable hop compounds and a smoother bitterness and hop flavors.  Lots of people do that. 

The bittering hops, and your malt extract, however, each need a full 60-minute boil to be accomplished.  It is the boiling temps that extracts/creates bitterness by converting alpha acids to iso-alpha acids, and it is also boiling that accomplishes many things to the wort, and that requires a full 60-min rolling boil. 
 

KipDM

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also, steeping/first wort hops contribute much LESS to the bitterness of the beer since not all the alpha acids have been removed from the hops when they get taken out.

also, for the grains you have steep, you need the boil to remove ?dimethylsufildes? from your beer to prevent any form of suplfur/skunky smell. that's also why you want a good, rolling boil, and not a mild, gentle boil.
 
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