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Old 01-25-2010, 02:50 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by jdc2 View Post
If the water in the mash isn't acidic enough, you can leach tannins
out of the grain husk, but the ions themselves don't cause weird flavors.
Generally, the last thing to worry about when brewing is the water
chemistry, and normally the only time there is a problem is when you
sparge with very hot distilled water. If you mash with distilled, as long as you
let it sit in the mash at a lower temp to acidify first, it's not a problem
either.
Jim
In addition, the op stated that his dark beers taste fine. Unless his
water is changing from batch to batch, it's more likely the strong
flavor of the dark malts is covering up the bad flavors that he can
taste in his light beers. To solve his problem, we really need to know
what his brewing process is like.
Jim
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Old 01-25-2010, 03:06 PM   #12
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I wouldn't assume that dark malts are covering up off flavors. It could be true but hard water edit... this should read alkaline/high in bicarbonates is generally more suited to the acidity of dark malt use. I don't think there's any harm in troubleshooting from a water perspective in addition to any other process issue.

One way to eliminate it as a possibility is to go ahead and brew a light beer using modified RO water. If you still get off flavors, it's not the water.

JDC2, do you really think acid rests are the typical way of dealing with high mash pH? I don't do it and step mashes are enough of a pain that even if you know how, I certainly would rather not. If I couldn't modify the water via salts that already compliment my flavor profile desires, I'd directly acidify with food grade acid. However, since I so rarely brew very light beers, I just pay for distilled.

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Old 01-25-2010, 05:27 PM   #13
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Yea I think if the dark malts were covering up off flavors, my Extra Stout wouldn't have got a 43/50 from a BJCP certified judge. It has to be the water. My brewing process stays the same. Even my Irish Red is great, and there isn't as much dark malts in that. My Pale Ales didn't have this weird off flavor either. We'll see what happens with this. I'll brew the Cream Common and the Wheat with modified RO water and report back in a couple months.

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Old 01-25-2010, 05:46 PM   #14
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Yea I think if the dark malts were covering up off flavors, my Extra Stout wouldn't have got a 43/50 from a BJCP certified judge. It has to be the water. My brewing process stays the same. Even my Irish Red is great, and there isn't as much dark malts in that. My Pale Ales didn't have this weird off flavor either. We'll see what happens with this. I'll brew the Cream Common and the Wheat with modified RO water and report back in a couple months.
Well, if the brewing process is the same, and the water is the problem,
then the bad flavors would have to be in the dark beers too, right?
Unless the huge amount of dark malt in an extra stout hides the flavor from
the judge?
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Old 01-25-2010, 06:05 PM   #15
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No. Any given water cannot be good for both Pilsners and Porters. If a given profile has an RA of 250, it's perfect for a Porter and awful for a Pils. You can't talk about water being a problem unless you know the profile and what's being brewed. If your RA is somewhere in the middle, say ideal for an Amber beer. You might say that it's good enough for any color beer only because it won't be all that far off in its buffering capability. The mash might go a little too basic but may not ruin the beer.

If a brewer consistently makes good light beers and the darks are always horrible or vice versa, it's probably at least due, in part, to a high or low residual alkalinity.

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Old 01-25-2010, 06:11 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdc2 View Post
Well, if the brewing process is the same, and the water is the problem,
then the bad flavors would have to be in the dark beers too, right?
Unless the huge amount of dark malt in an extra stout hides the flavor from
the judge?
The water is the problem for light beers because it is very hard water. Hard water is good for darker beers, not good for light beers.

Edit: What he said.
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Old 01-25-2010, 06:30 PM   #17
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The water is the problem for light beers because it is very hard water. Hard water is good for darker beers, not good for light beers.

Edit: What he said.
Pale ales are light beers, and some are burtonized, some aren't. Probably don't want hard water for Czech pils.
There's an entire series of mp3 broadcasts on water adjusment at the brewing network:
http://thebrewingnetwork.com/shows/Brew-Strong/Page-2
Jim
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Old 01-25-2010, 06:47 PM   #18
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Quote:
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Pale ales are light beers, and some are burtonized, some aren't. Probably don't want hard water for Czech pils.
There's an entire series of mp3 broadcasts on water adjusment at the brewing network:
http://thebrewingnetwork.com/shows/Brew-Strong/Page-2
Jim
Pale Ales are not light beers, especially mine, and compared to a Cream Ale.

That's what we have been saying. I need to adjust my water for light beers because mine is very hard, which is more suited to dark beers.
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Old 01-25-2010, 09:59 PM   #19
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My last shot for this thread.

First of all, there is more than one way
to make a dark beer. Using a yeast that doesn't attenuate completely
leaves some malty sweetness to balance the harsh taste of the dark
malt. If you use an attenuating yeast and couple that with a lot
of hardness which accentuates the hop bitterness, the beer is too
harsh in my opinion.

Second, you seemed to be complaining about "weird" flavors in
your light beers. I assume that means "bad" flavors, if not, my
apologies. But there shouldn't be any "bad" flavors due to water
hardness. Different from soft, but not bad. Usually you are
adjusting water because you want to duplicate a commercial
beer exactly, so you have to get the ionic concentration right.
If you don't, the beer won't be "bad", it will just not taste
the same as the beer you were trying to duplicate.

My problems with light beers were due to using dry yeast
and no temperature control, so I tend to think that's usually
the case, but only you know that, and only you know what
you mean by "weird".
Jim

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Old 01-25-2010, 11:51 PM   #20
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We're talking about high residual alkalinity and thus a mash pH that is too basic as a function of water profile, not the flavor contribution of the various ions. Palmer's how to brew chapter 15 is a good place to start.

In fairness though, only knowing "very hard" and the alkalinity isn't enough to say for sure that there will be a mash pH problem. You really have to know total alkalinity, calcium and magnesium to figure out your residual alkalinity.

I had a big problem with beers lighter than 8 SRM for two reasons. One, my mash pH was in the low 6 area without the benefit of darker acidic malts and my sulfate levels were extremely low. I had a horrible tannin and soapy bitterness. It had nothing to do with flavor coverups or lackthereof.

What kind of dry yeast was causing you problems? This wasn't like 15 years ago right?

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