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Extract w/steeped grains

Jims New Brew

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New guy here. Hello everyone,

I have searched and am now more confused than when I started. I am new to brewing and brand new to the Beersmith software. I am an extract brewer that uses steeped grains. I downloaded the Beersmith manual and when I read it I got the impression that for extract w/steeped grains you set the type of brewing at extract and the software does all of the calculations for you. I then read in a thread that I found that you need select partial mash and set up a mash schedule. I have played with both ways and in both the OG comes out pretty close to the recipe I am putting in but the FG always seem to be quite a bit higher than what the reipe states.

What is the correct setting for Extract w/steeped grains (extract or Partial mash)?
If partial mash, then HELP! I am not sure I get it.
Why does the FG always come out high? (1.007 in recipe 1.017 in Beersmith)?

Thanks for any input.

Jim
 

dogma46an2

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LOL !!
It's ok, Its all going to be ok my friend.
We all have been there .
The one thing about this passion is the more you learn the less you know
I mean yes bottom line throw some sugars hops water and yeast in that sh*t and wait and youll get beer .
But the more we grow the more we realize how much truly goes into brewing a batch a of beer.

Lets see...
Ok well,
1. Go with partial mash as your not doing a straight extract. As in you are you using some fermentable malts with your specialty grains and not just unfermentables and extract.Controlled temps and sparging... Right?
unless you are just using extract and then specialty grains. The program is going by technique as well
but you can cheat this some what 
Alot of people do a method of "Brew in a Bag " (there are websites you can look up for this)
But what I figure is you have like a 4 gal or 3 gal brewpot
and are doing like 3 gal then adding water in the end ?
2 the Program gives you a general F.G
You have to think of all the variables.
I mean the program doesnt have the exact ratio via your extract lots of variables in this age true weight etc....
and you could have more sugars to attenuate or convert in that
Are you sparging ? How are you sparging ?
I mean if the brew is hitting a lower gravity. Then your getting more alcohol right ? so thats not a bad thing ...
John Palmer wrote a book
http://www.howtobrew.com/section3/chapter18-3.html
also
http://www.byo.com/component/resource/article/511-countertop-partial-mashing

Best thing is to not stress brother
RHAHB !
Just add in the final you get when you finish and go with that the next time you brew your batch
as well (though this wouldn't make that big a difference )
are you converting your Hydrometer reading via your temps?
Hope some of this helps ...

let me know a bit more info and we can help ya
 

Jims New Brew

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Thanks for the input. I will try to provide a little more information.

1. I have so far only brewed 2 batches of beer both using a Mr. Beer. That system has been retired and I am gearing up for the second phase of my brewing career. Phase 2 will be as follows:

2. I have a 5 gallon pot. I will be brewing 2.5 or 2.75 gallon batches. (I want to brew a lot of different beers 1 case at a time) I will use extract and some specialty grains that I will steep in a bag, (about 1 or 1.25 quarts of water per # of grain) rinse/sparge with a like volume and temperature of water and then add the tea to my extract wort. I will then top off the brew pot to achieve the boil volume projected by the software. (something a bit ove 3 gallons) With the 5 gallon pot and the reduced batch size, I plan to do full boils just like the big boys except on a smaller scale.

3. I bought the Beersmith software with two purposes in mind. I would like to start playing with my own recipes once I get some experience and since I am going to brew smaller than normal batches, I plan to use the scaling feature to adjust interesting recipes to my size.

4. The question regarding the FG is only based on the software not on any actual results. I have entered recipes that I got from some books using the extract method and then scaled them to my setup and every time the OG matches very closley to the recipe but the FG predicted by the software comes out much higher.

I hope this helps you answering my questions.

Thanks,

Jim
 

dogma46an2

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Oh! Ok, well unless I am wrong then that would be an extract brew and I would set it up as such .
The reasoning would be most likely the extract you get  has a bit more in sugars and fermentables. I would think this is what is happening. As you make your brew just keep a close detailed diary. See if a batch you make that is exactly the same comes out exactly the same .Plus you can plug in what your actual F.G is
I have never had one match to a T. Though your 10 point difference is a bit much
 

Jims New Brew

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Dogma.....
Thanks for the reply. I guess that you are right. I will be tracking what results I get and see how it comes out over time.

From what I have read and gotten from this forum, I have come to the following conclusion. Please if I am wrong, someone correct me so I don't continue to live in ignorance.

It seems to me that the only significant difference between mashing and steeping is the grain that is used. Granted the times, temperatures and methods vary but basically you are soaking grain in hot water at a controlled temperature for a controlled time. The differences are that in steeping you are using Specialty grains that by a heating process, have already had the starches converted to sugar and are only extracting that sugar while in mashing, you have to convert the starch to sugar and then extract the sugar.

I gather that Beersmith knows what type the grain is and how to treat it.
 
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