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Which Grains Can Be Steeped? Which Need Mashing?

For beginning brewers, it can sometimes be hard to tell whether a given grain requires mashing or whether it can be simply steeped in water of the appropriate temperature.  Mashing is necessary when the grain doesn't contain sufficient enzymes to convert its starch into sugars yeast can consume.  Steeping those grains without exposing them to the necessary enzymes will contribute starchy flavors to the finished beer and will reduce the alcohol content.

The lists below have been compiled from sources believed to be reliable, and tell you which grains must be mashed in order to convert their starches, and which can be steeped or mashed.  Long steeping periods (45-60 minutes) can often achieve the effect of a mash provided that grains included in the steeping contain the necessary enzymes.

Corrections and additions are welcomed.  Please note them in the comments.

Base Malts and Other Grains (must be mashed):

  • American two-row
  • American six-row
  • British Pale Ale
  • Continental Pilsener
  • Fawcett Pearl
  • Flaked Barley
  • Flaked Corn
  • Flaked Rice
  • Flaked Rye
  • Flaked Wheat
  • Golden Promise
  • Kolsch
  • Lager
  • Maris Otter
  • Midnight Wheat
  • Oat Hulls (don't require mashing but are used in mashing to prevent a stuck mash)
  • Oatmeal (cook according to the package but with extra water, then mash)
  • Optic
  • Pale Ale
  • Pilsener
  • Rice Hulls (don't require mashing but are used in mashing to prevent a stuck mash)
  • Rye
  • Torrified Wheat
  • Wheat

Kilned Malts (should be mashed, but may be steeped):

  • Aromatic
  • Biscuit
  • Brown
  • CaraPils (Dextrin malt)
  • Dark Munich
  • German Beechwood Smoked
  • Light Munich

  • Melanoidin
  • Munich
  • Special Roast
  • Victory
  • Vienna
Roasted Malts (can be steeped or mashed):

  • Black
  • Black Barley
  • Black Patent
  • Carafa Special
  • Caramel
  • CaraMunich
  • CaraVienne
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee Malt
  • Crystal
  • Honey
  • Light Roasted Barley
  • Meussdoerffer Rost

  • Pale chocolate
  • Roasted Barley
  • Special B

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