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Old 09-05-2011, 04:11 PM   #1
makomachine
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Default Astringency / harsh character

Looking for some expert opinions on where to work on my process to fix a flaw I'm getting in my recent beers. I'm getting a harsh bite to the sides of the tongue on my last three beers that I can't pin down. My last beer, a Citra Pale Ale was temperature controlled at 67F with a 2.5L stir plate starter with WLP001. Pure oxygen for 60 seconds and fermentation temperature monitored and controlled closely by thermowell. I've changed a few things in my process, so hard to nail down the cause.

Additinal data points:

I use bottled spring water from Walmart with no water additions.
I mashed at 153 with a protein rest at 131 for 15 min - mash out at 168
OG was 1061 and finished out at 1012
Pitched 8/13, kegged 8/23 - 12psi at 40F

This beer turned out a bit bigger than I intended due to higher efficiency on a new setup. That said, I don't believe it's just 'hot' as it is almost more of an astringency than fusel character. Obviously time will help but trying to perfect my process and feel there is something I could be doing to take my beers to the next level. Water chemistry is something I need to work on but not sure that's the problem here.

My brother, who knows little about beer calls it an alcohol taste and a 'bite'. I also got a bit of this with my Pliny clone as well, so thought it might be hop related but my Oktoberfest has it at a very low level as well. Appreciate any tips to help me on my quest to making better beer!

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Old 09-05-2011, 04:41 PM   #2
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A couple points:

Are you pitching at fermentation temperatures, or is it higher? I'd try to cool the wort to fermentation temperatures and then pitch, if you're not already.

And check out the water primer in the Brew Science forum. If your mash pH is off by too much, you can get astringency.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f128/bre...primer-198460/

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Old 09-05-2011, 04:48 PM   #3
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Good questions. Pitching when I reach the yeast strain guideline is a standard practice for me. Try to pitch at target temp when possible - pitched the Citra Pale Ale at 67F. (Edit: found that I pitched at 70F in my notes, as I was having some cooling issues and had to leave for dinner. That said, wouldn't think that would be the problem as it was in a chest freezer and was likely at 67F in an hour or less.)

I'm thinking the water chemistry might be an issue but have always used Walmart spring water. I may take on a water build up from RO on my next batch to see if that solves the problem. Thanks for the link!

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Old 09-05-2011, 05:05 PM   #4
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1. don't use rubbing alcohol to clean any of your equipment
2. do you know what tannins taste like? is it tannins?
3. you are obviously doing all grain?

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Old 09-05-2011, 05:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dogphish View Post
1. don't use rubbing alcohol to clean any of your equipment
What's wrong with rubbing alcohol? It is so volatile that is doesn't stick around anyway.
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Old 09-05-2011, 05:17 PM   #6
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Use starsan and PBW exclusively for all cleaning and sanitation duties.

I'd say it's got a 'tannin twang', which is why I'm leaning towards water chemistry at this point - but can't say that's completely it. The side of the tongue is where it hits me and near the finish of the beer. Dont believe there is anything in my mash process driving it, but I'm not 100% sure on anything at this point.

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Old 09-05-2011, 05:17 PM   #7
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I've been having the same problems with my beer. I'm thinking mine has been due to tannins caused by a rise in the ph of the sparge. I batch sparge by the way. So the American Pale Ale that is in my fermenter right now I closely monitored the Ph all the way through the process. This time around I pre treated all of my water with Phosphoric acid to a Ph of 5.5 room temp. In doing this I managed to keep my Ph at 5.1 to 5.3 (at mash temp) all the way till the end of the sparge. I'm hoping this fixes the astringency problemI have been having. If not I will have to try something else. I will report back and let you guys know if this eliminated my problems.

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Old 09-05-2011, 05:18 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dogphish View Post
1. don't use rubbing alcohol to clean any of your equipment


It evaporates extremely fast. How could that cause problems?
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Old 09-05-2011, 05:18 PM   #9
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I would think more along the lines of BrewinginCO - that it is more a fermentation byproduct, but it sounds like you have a good setup. I would try to cool the wort further before pitching <65 F and let it come up 67 F.

Are you using different yeasts for your last 3 beers? If so, then I might be skeptical of a fermentation problem. High temps and long sparging times can extract tannins, also higher pH can do this as well. You can pre-treat your sparge water with phosphoric acid to prevent this.

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Old 09-05-2011, 05:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by insubordinateK View Post
I would think more along the lines of BrewinginCO - that it is more a fermentation byproduct, but it sounds like you have a good setup. I would try to cool the wort further before pitching <65 F and let it come up 67 F.

Are you using different yeasts for your last 3 beers? If so, then I might be skeptical of a fermentation problem. High temps and long sparging times can extract tannins, also higher pH can do this as well. You can pre-treat your sparge water with phosphoric acid to prevent this.
I'm guessing it is PH related. Need to pick up a Ph Meter and test the bottled spring water.

Different yeasts for 1 of 3 beers.

WLP001 - Citra pale ale, Pliny Clone
WLP830 - Oktoberfest
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