I have been pondering the Cascadian ale off and on again lately. One of the things that has been a concern has been the dark color without the flavor additions. It would seem that if you brew in a “traditional” way you will end up with some dark bitterness and roasted qualities to the beer. Basically qualities you don’t want to bring to the front in this beer style.
Enter the technique of the cold steep. This is similar to making a cold brewed tea. By allowing the crushed grain to steep in room temperature water you pull out color without pulling out harsh tannins and roasted flavors. A perfect technique for beers that need color without added flavor.
After the steep (roughly a day or so) you can add the steeping liquor to your mash or directly into your boil kettle. Or after a short boil you can add the liquor to your fermenter.
While I grab a pint I want to thank Gordon Strong who outlined this technique as well as a couple others in his book “Brewing Better Beer.”