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Want to use Cara Pils-Dextrine in my next brew to add body and aid in head retention. I have not made the jump to all grain yet, and I am doing a partial mash. Will steeping/mini-mashing Cara Pils like a specialty grain work, or do I need to do a full mash to get my desired results?

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Short Answer

Steeping CaraPils is fine.

The Reasoning

One of the goals of mashing is conversion, which breaks down starches present in grain to sugars that yeast can eat. Some malts are converted in the malting process making it unnecessary to mash for conversion. The HomebrewTalk wiki lists "mash req'd" column on their malts chart indicating which malts must be mashed to convert.

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Light caramel malts, including carapils, are not fully converted during the stewing (mash-in-the-husk) process. Steeping anything under about 30L will add unconverted starches. Whether they will add enough unconverted starches to cause problems is another matter, and many extract recipes take a "who really cares, go ahead and steep carapils" approach. But you're still adding starches. – Evan Harper Sep 27 '14 at 9:21

I think its important to point out the differences between steeping and mini/partial mashing.

You can steep cara-pils, but keep it to less than 5% of the grain bill as you'll probably add too much uncoverted starch.

However, if you really mean mash the carapils, then you can go whole hog and use what ever % you want.

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You can steep it or use dextrin (same thing). It's the other white powder. Cheers.

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