Are there any situations when this would be needed, or make any sense?

Steeping base malts usually makes no sense at all, and changes to taste made by steeping black malt or roasted barley instead of mashing it are obvious. But what about crystal / cara? Always just dump it to my mash tun?

2 Answers 2


Basically any roasted malt have little to no enzymes from the heat in processing the malt and have already had thier sugars converted internally from enzymes. Mashing them does nothing special for them.

So steeping crystal, carmel, roasted, carapils and carafoam can give the same results as adding them to the mash. Possibly even better results given the added control you have in steeping.

You don't want to steep a base malt as they need to have a thier sugars converted in a mash.

Typically it's just easier to put everything in the mash. But steeping gives you more control. For example steeping really dark grains to prevent them from dropping your mash ph too much.

Most maltsters have great datasheets and faqs for thier individual products for those wanting more detailed information on specific grains.


Depends on what you're trying to do. All grain varieties that do not need a mash step to help convert them can be steeped. I have steeped many a variety to make different beers.

If I had two recipes that were very close in gravity and use the same base malt, I have made enough base malt wort to cover both brews, then split the wort and steeped the specialty grains to make two different beers. A stout and an English IPA for example using Maris Otter as the base.

That way I am using steeping to make two beers, saving time on doing only one mash.

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