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Old 07-07-2012, 01:27 AM   #1
mrsunshades
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Default AG recipe harshly bitter

OK = I have 3 all grain pale ales so far and they've all been harshly over bitter,and not a nice hoppyness either. So will this work, using the 1 oz of black malt, finely crushed, to the end of the mash, to reduce the harsh astringentcy that is overpowering the whole flavor?

I am not concerned with a slightly different color, or care so much about chill haze, JUST THE FLAVOR BABY!!!

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Originally Posted by Brewpilot View Post
I have been using a single infusion mash at about 155F... here it is.

MASH
Grain: American 2 Row Pale (4.75lbs)/Wheat Malt (4 lbs)/American Crystal 20L (1.25 lbs)/Black Malt (1oz)

Infusion mash in lauter tun using thermo-dynamic spreadsheet

Single step infusion with 12qt of 174F water for a target of 155F
Recommended temp was 168F and it settled at 157F… no real need to increase temp for cold tun

50 minute mash

1oz of finely crushed black malt added to last 20 minutes of mash to reduce haze and astringency

Occasionally stir mash to reduce hot and cold spots in mash.
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Old 07-07-2012, 01:39 AM   #2
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If it's harshly bitter and astringent, that sounds more like a water chemistry issue than an ingredients issue. It sounds like alkaline water in the sparge, and possibly a too-high mash pH. What is your water chemistry like?

I've moved this post to its own there- as it has nothing to do with a protein rest.

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Old 07-07-2012, 07:21 AM   #3
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Default astringency

On my 1st batch or two going AG, I didn't know to vorlauf (recirculate) the 1st few quarts of mash runoff to eliminate the bits of grain husk in the boil. I had enough grain in the boil to make for a bitter drink indeed!

Not sure if that is your issue, but I'm definitely thinking technique/process questions, rather than grain bill. Other than, dark roasted malts will help lower the pH of your mash.
--LexusChris

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Old 07-07-2012, 01:02 PM   #4
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I just ordered a water analysis kit from Ward Labs - pretty cool - they have h2o reports for farmers, home owners, and even us homebrewers!
Anyhow, I'm thinking that my water does indeed have something to do with this. Like I said, all 3 pale ales I've done have had this over bitterness, and it couldn't be the hops.
Lots of folks on HBTalk here are giving the advice to people with issues like mine to well, let it age, let it mellow, let it sit for a few weeks/months. If that's all I can do, fine, but
I'd like a brew that is nice and drinkable from the first, of course ... I understand that beer does get better with age, but ...
I will get back to you on my h2o chem, and thanks for the help!!!
Homebrew Stew

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Old 07-07-2012, 01:08 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrsunshades View Post
I just ordered a water analysis kit from Ward Labs - pretty cool - they have h2o reports for farmers, home owners, and even us homebrewers!
Anyhow, I'm thinking that my water does indeed have something to do with this. Like I said, all 3 pale ales I've done have had this over bitterness, and it couldn't be the hops.
Lots of folks on HBTalk here are giving the advice to people with issues like mine to well, let it age, let it mellow, let it sit for a few weeks/months. If that's all I can do, fine, but
I'd like a brew that is nice and drinkable from the first, of course ... I understand that beer does get better with age, but ...
I will get back to you on my h2o chem, and thanks for the help!!!
Homebrew Stew
I doubt it is your water unless you are on a well there. I in acworth and I'm sure that I am using the same waters source as you are. I haven't had any issues like that for the last 4 years. I actually have local water chem report. I'll dig it up and post it later.
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Old 07-07-2012, 03:15 PM   #6
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Default Water chemistry

Thanks for your help - with folks like yourselves asking and commenting about water chem, I assume that is an issue that IS indeed something that I can adjust/tweak/do something about. Can you point me to some other threads that tell of folks getting their water report, adding the right minerals or whatever, and getting their water fit for brewing the style they want without a lot of fuss?

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Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
If it's harshly bitter and astringent, that sounds more like a water chemistry issue than an ingredients issue. It sounds like alkaline water in the sparge, and possibly a too-high mash pH. What is your water chemistry like?

I've moved this post to its own there- as it has nothing to do with a protein rest.
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Old 07-08-2012, 04:57 AM   #7
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Default Water treatment

There are some good threads here on HBT about water treatment. I'd also recommend Palmer's "How to Brew" section on understanding mash pH.

I also like his section on common off flavors in beer. Check out his entry on Astringent flavors.

Astringency is different from bitterness. Astringent flavors cause a drying pucker sensation, like sucking on a wet tea bag. You feel it drying through your front teeth. At least, that was the description that helped me understand it.

The reason to look into water treatment is to make sure you are hitting the proper pH during your mash. Depending upon your grain bill & water, certain beer styles are likely to need some adjustment to maintain a proper 5.2-5.6 pH for the grain mashing. (see his Chapter 15) Higher pH can extract tannins from the grain husk, and give you astrigency. Also, sparge water that is too hot can extract some tannins too!

Dark roasty grains are more acidic and naturally lower your mash pH. That is why lighter beers tend to have more astringency problems, plus there is not a lot of heavy flavors to hide behind.

My tap water has a pH of 8.1 .. fairly high alkaline water. The nomograph in Chap 15 tells me that SRM 15-18 beers are my sweet spot with no adjustments.

When I brew my American Wheat (SRM 4.2), I use 50% tap water 50% distilled and add Calcium Choride & Gypsum. There are a number of Excel sheets around the various articles on water treatment, and I find them usefull in figuring out the number of grams of each salt to add, and when to add it (mash vs. sparge).

Another factor is the amount of chloride in your water. If you are not using a carbon based water filter for your brew water, that may help a bit too. Chlorides can also add some astringeny harshness to your beers, and will be more noticable in the lighter beers..

Hope that helps a bit. A little reading around the boards will help make sense of it all, and then you can try several different strategies to make your beer taste better.

Good luck!

--LexusChris

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