How do you determine the right temp? Should everything be brewed @ the same temp or can different temps offer different drinkable results?

My first try at my own recipe was steeped @ 120 degrees for about 15min then brought to a rolling boil for an hour. I put the hops in at different stages and ended up boiling off about a gallon. The whole experiment yielded about 4 gal instead of the 5 I was going for. Now my beer tastes "Worty" Should I have increased the temp? Or is it b/c I didn't compensate for the boil off?


  • Are you asking about the steep temperature, boil temperature or fermentation temperature? – Dean Brundage Dec 30 '09 at 14:54
  • When you say "Worty" do you just mean super sweet syrupy? – Jordan Dec 30 '09 at 16:50

You should steep at 155 F for 30-60 minutes then remove the grain bag. 120F is in the range of the protien rest, used when mashing to break down the protiens of undermodified malt or unmalted or flaked wheat. This is not neccessary when making an extract brew.

That's besides the point. The worty taste is probably due to your fermention not completing, or not adding enough hops.

If you expected to produce 5 gallons and only produced 4 gallons of wort your original gravity was probably a lot higher than you expected. If it was higher than 1.060 then you made a high gravity beer, which puts added stress on the yeast requiring additional steps such as yeast starter and lots of oxygenation. You should check the final gravity of the beer before bottling. If it's high, then fermention is not complete and you should give it more time.

If your beer did finish, and it still tastes sweet, then add more bittering hops next time.

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  • Or dry-hop it, let it sit for two weeks in secondary then bottle it. (Obviously this was a while ago, but y'know - next time.) – KO Jun 20 '10 at 2:50

It depends if you are making an extract brew or a partial-mash. If you are making an extract (all the steeping grains are considered "specialty malts") then the grains are mostly adding body and flavor and the temp shouldn't matter too much. If you are doing a partial mash (ie, some of your grains are considered "base malts") then you actually need to extract sugars and the temp matters a great deal. If you don't get the temp right, then your starting gravity reading should reflect this, although since you yielded only 4 gallons, your starting gravity will be off anyway.

As far as yielding only 4 gallons, you can either start your boil with 6-to-6.5 gallons if your kettle can handle it or you can just top if off with fresh water to the 5 gallon mark after the boil.

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