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I have a batch fermenting that I was planning to dry-hop but decided I wanted to actually increase the bitterness. I was thinking of doing the following process based on this answer which I think qualifies as something close to krausening (albeit somewhat defeating the historical purpose):

  • Steep specialty grains in a small amount of water (maybe a quart to a half gallon)
    • Doing this instead of using DME is the key thing I'm unsure about, but I have priming sugar already and some extra grains that I was thinking this could be a good use for
  • Add most (if not all) of the priming sugar I would normally add and bring to a boil
  • Add hops that would have been used for dry-hopping and boil for an hour
  • Cool, add to bottling bucket, and proceed as normal

Are there any major downsides or oversights in this approach?

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  • What specialty grains, exactly? This might change a lot. – Mołot Jan 24 '16 at 20:48
  • @Molot It's about 8 oz of Special B. I'm okay with whatever effect it might have on the beer, if that's what you mean. I'm also okay with dropping the gravity some, it was a bit high to start out with anyway. I'm mostly concerned with hop utilization since at the moment it's maybe around 15 IBU. – thesquaregroot Jan 24 '16 at 21:01
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Steeping caramel / crystal malts in water may still extract fermentables. As far as I know up to about 30% of what you would get from mash. See this site - it claims that Special B will give out a lot of sugar. If I read the numbers correctly, every 3 grams of steeped Special B will introduce about 1 gram of fermentables. Substitute grams for any unit of mass, doesn't matter.

To avoid adding sugars, you should rather steep very light, base malts, with no starch converted in malting house, or black ones with sugars already burnt past being sugars.

For hops, increasing bitternes is not something you have to do instead of dry hoping for aroma. You can do both.

For hop utilization, and sugar calculations consider adding "normal" sugar after boil, when used hops are already separated. Sugar from specialty malts should be enough for hop utilization chemistry, and losing some sugar with used hop matter will mess with your calculations, too. It will not be a big change, but oh well.

TL;DR:

  1. Count steeped Special B as priming sugar worth 1/3 mass.
  2. You can both dry-hop and do your procedure
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  • Sugars from steeping are mostly unfermentable. Further lowering perceived IBU, with the added sweetness. – Evil Zymurgist Jan 26 '16 at 12:35
  • @EvilZymurgist Do you have any source for this? I found steeped caramel malt pretty fermentable, but that's far from reliable. And if there are malts that shows this property, I'd love to know them, to use in sweet beers. If you do have source, I'll ask that as a separate question of course, to give you proper place to post it. – Mołot Jan 26 '16 at 13:24
  • @Mołot Its fundamental and indirectly touched on in most mash tutorials. Specifically check out the mash temp and active enzyme chart in John palmers how to brew. The difference between mashing and steeping is saccharification. Steeping is usually a short time in full boil volume of water that prevents the ph, temperature and time conditions needed for saccharification. If those conditions are met, you're no longer steeping, it's mashing. – Evil Zymurgist Jan 26 '16 at 13:39
  • @EvilZymurgist saccharification is not needed if condition in malting house was right. Wet malt browned at 60~65 C can produce maltose just as well there as it can in mash. You don't need it as it already happened. – Mołot Jan 26 '16 at 13:49
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    @EvilZymurgist "caramel malts are instead left wet and heated to typical mash temperatures of 150-170 F (66-77 C) for a few hours" - seems like both time and conditions needed for saccharification are perfectly met. – Mołot Jan 26 '16 at 13:52
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The term krausen, refers to the head formed during fermentation.

I guess I'm unclear as to why you would try to make a mini wort batch by steeping grains. The sugars from steeping are mostly unfermentable long chain sugars having not been converted by enzymes as they would in a mash. These will carry through and taste as underattenuation or sweet, offsetting IBU even further.

If increasing the IBU post boil is the only goal. Just simmer (low boil) your hops in water for 45 min, that will give maximum alpha extraction. Filter through a coffee filter while hot, and Add priming surgar. Add to your wort once cooled.

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  • To respond to your first sentence, I was referring to the carbonation/priming method: beersmith.com/blog/2010/03/22/krausening-home-brewed-beer. As to the rest, I was considering just boiling the hops as you mentioned but thought it might be easier to do it in one go with the priming solution. – thesquaregroot Jan 25 '16 at 4:56
  • @thesquaregroot thanks I missed the historical reference. Only down side to what you mentioned may be the total alpha acids by boiling the hops that were planned for dry hopping, usually dry hops are pretty big additions and may over shoot your desired IBU, easy to calc though. – Evil Zymurgist Jan 25 '16 at 7:52

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