Adding Dark Grain at Vorlauf

Hi all,

Here is a post for discussion and to share ideas on a technique called “Adding Dark grain at Vorlauf”.

In this past year, i’ve been adding dark grain at mash out after reading from a similar technique from Gordon Strong in is book “Modern Homebrew Recipes”. The technique consist of adding dark grain at Vorlauf (60+ SRM ballpack). The intend of this method is to reduce harness of darker grain. Because there is no diastatic power with theses grains, they can be added at Vorlauf with minimal impact on sugar extract.

That’s the idea.
Starting 2022 soon, i’m trying to improved and now questioning this method.

Dark grain at Vorlauf, or at full mash, what is the real impact
Looking around on the internet, most people tend to be in favor of adding grain at vorlauf.
Some has identified that it remove some body and that some style would not benefit from this technique. Other reading also point that the difference in harness is negligible and just make it more complicated. What are you taught around this ?

Dark grain at mash out, or sparge with a Robobrew.
Current method : Adding dark grain at mash out (15 min).
I don’t know if Vorlauf is a thing with the robobrew. You can recirculate the worth on top of the lifted grain bed, but worth won’t be evenly distributed. I’m wondering if I could work to add dark grain on top of the lifted grain bed, and extract sugars only with the sparge. Would there be a better method, or the 15 min mash out is OK? Not sure it removed that much harness since it at 168 degF for 15 min.

Thank you for reading!

I used to do this all the time but not so much when using dark grain in a recipe but in order to lower the pH of the mash. I used to take something like 50-100g of black patent malt and pulverize it in a coffee grinder and add it at mash out. Since the amount was so small, it didn’t really affect the colour of the beer but it definitely reduced the pH during sparging.

I have since stopped the practice and use varying amounts of acidulated malt in all my mashes.


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I tried this a few times when trying to control color for my red/amber beers. When I added the dark grain at the mash-out with my Robobrew I found little difference. What I find works best is steeping the dark malt BEFORE adding the remaining grains. I put it in a grain bag for 15 minutes at mash temperature, recirculation off. Pull out the grain bag and let it drain. Then add my lighter grains. I figure it should also work to control harshness.