Chapter 13

Steeping Specialty Grains

Example Batch

As an example, I will outline the procedure for making a Porter (one of my favorite styles). A Porter is an ale style of beer with a dark color, very malty flavor with a bit of a roasted finish. A Porter differs from a Brown Ale by being fuller bodied and darker, but with less of a roasted malt flavor than a Stout.

Port O' Palmer - Porter

MaltsGravity Contribution
6 lbs. of Pale Malt Extract (syrup)72
1/2 lb. of Chocolate Malt3
1/2 lb. of Crystal 60L Malt3
1/4 lb. of Black Patent Malt1
BG for 3 Gallons1.079
OG for 5 Gallons1.048
HopsIBU Contribution
1 oz of Nugget (10%) at 60 minutes26
3/4 oz of Willamette (5%) at 40 minutes9
1/2 oz of Willamette (5%) at 20 minutes4
Total IBUs39
Yeast(s)Fermentation Schedule
American Ale (liquid)Primary Ferment at 65°F for 2 weeks, or 1 wk Primary and 2 wk Secondary.


The procedure is identical to that for extract brewing. However, the specialty grains will be steeped in the pot before the extract is added. The 3 gallons of water in the boiling pot is heated until it reaches 160°F +/- 10°. Then the grain bag is immersed in the pot for 30 minutes. The grain bag may be dunked and swirled like a tea bag during this time to make sure that all of the grain is wetted. Agitation will help to improve the yield. Remove the grain bag from the pot, giving it a squeeze to drain the excess wort and avoid dripping on the stove.Now the brewer has a preliminary wort to which the extract is added. The wort is brought to a boil and the brewing proceeds exactly as for extract brewing described in the previous chapters.

Figure 73: Joe Brewer checks the temperature of the water for steeping the specialty grain. The temperature should be between 150°F - 170°F.

Figure 74: The grainbag contains 1.25 pounds of crushed specialty grain.

Figure 75: Although stop motion photography does not show it, the grainbag is being dunked up and down to fully wet the grain and improve extraction.

Figure 76: Okay, the specialty grains have steeped for 30 minutes and are ready to come out. The bag is drained and the grain is discarded.

Figure 77: Joe Brewer stirs in the malt extract and the brew is off and running. Brewing proceeds exactly as previously described in Chapter 7.

Palmer, J., Beginner's Guide to Using Grain in Extract Recipes, Brewing Techniques, New Wine Press, Vol. 4, No. 5, 1996.