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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > astringency problem & water profile help please
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Old 04-03-2010, 01:38 AM   #1
artguy
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Default astringency problem & water profile help please

I have found an astringency in pretty much all of my AG beers, and I'm wondering about the cause. I did have thermometer issues for a while, but I'm pretty sure I worked those out and now get an accurate read on my mash temps, so I don't think I'm extracting tannins by sparging above 170F. I'm thinking it may have to do with my water, and I've tried to figure it out via Palmer, spreadsheets, and a bunch of HBT threads on the subject, but I can't quite get my mind around it all. So, do you think water treatment of any sort might help? My profile is clearly low in a number of salts. Here's the data I have from the water report in mg/L:

Calcium = 19.92
Magnesium = 3.08
Sodium = 5.48
pH = 6.48
Alkalinity = 55
Hardness = 62.4
Sulfates = 13.23

I haven't been treating the water at all thus far, but it seems I should look into adding brewing salts. I'm not sure that will help the astringency, although I did learn that elevated mash or sparge pH can cause tannin extraction, so I'm wondering whether adding salts would help with that indirectly??? Any advice on dealing with my water or whether it is even likely to be the problem? Thanks.

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Old 04-03-2010, 02:35 AM   #2
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While I'm no expert, let me throw in my $0.02 here...

My pH levels are right around 6.4-6.6 at my place, too. I'd pick up some Five-Star 5.2 pH stabilizer to lower the pH level of the water. It's quick, easy, and inexpensive. I use it in all my AG batches and haven't had a problem with astringency yet.

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Old 04-12-2010, 02:54 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by artguy View Post
I have found an astringency in pretty much all of my AG beers, and I'm wondering about the cause. [...]

Calcium = 19.92
Magnesium = 3.08
Sodium = 5.48
pH = 6.48
Alkalinity = 55
Hardness = 62.4
Sulfates = 13.23
Artguy,

I'm having similar problems. Have you seen -TH-'s spreadsheet? Bobby M put together a nice thread about it.
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f128/wat...dsheet-144461/

I threw your numbers in. Your RA is high enough to maybe have high pH issues when brewing very light beers, but does your problem spans many varieties (mine does)? You don't list your chloride, so if it was very very low, your not balancing your sulfate. I doubt that's a problem, as your sulfate is low.

I have tried many things to 'fix' this problem. I make some very good, almost great beer, but I am almost always held back by some astringency. Here are some things I have been trying - to no avail so far:

Malt conditioning - to avoid shredded husks
Coarse crush - I usually crush pretty fine
Salt additions - I used aforementioned spreadsheet. For me, I have very high tap pH, and very low RA. I have to raise RA, but acid treat the sparge water ( among other adjustments).
Camden - always use it

I am going to start using lower hopping rates, lower than should be necessary. I also need to get an updated water profile from my water source. I know I'm not giving much help, but maybe we can figure this out.
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Old 04-12-2010, 02:56 PM   #4
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FWIW, here's my water:

From Lansing BWL. Reported as mg/l (ppm)

Analyte--------------Reported-as------Typical-Concentration----------------Range
Calcium-------------CaCO3---------------48-------------------------------40-60
Magnesium----------CaCO3---------------38-------------------------------30-40
Total-Hardness*-----CaCO3---------------90-------------------------------85-100
Carbonate-(CO3)----CaCO3---------------20-------------------------------15-30
Bicarbonate-(HCO3)-CaCO3---------------15-------------------------------10-25
Total-Alkalinity------CaCO3---------------35-------------------------------25-60
Sodium*-------------Na------------------48-------------------------------40-60
Iron*----------------Fe------------------0.3-------------------------------0.1-0.7
Sulfate*-------------SO4-----------------90-------------------------------40-120
Chloride*------------Cl--------------------44------------------------------30-100
Silica*---------------SiO2-----------------11------------------------------9-13
Fluoride--------------F---------------------1------------------------------0.6-1.4
Phosphate,-Tot------P---------------------0.3-----------------------------0.2-0.8
Phosphate,-Ortho----P---------------------0.2-----------------------------0.1-0.5
Chlorine-------------Cl2-(@-plant-tap)-----1.2-----------------------------0.8-3.0
pH------------------pH-Units--------------9.4-----------------------------9.2-9.8
Turbidity------------NTU------------------0.2-NTU-------------------------0.1-0.5
Conductivity*-------uS/cm---------------300------------------------------250-750

5-6-Grains-of-Hardness------------- 55-60-psi-(pounds-of-pressure)
* These parameters will more likely be at the high end of the range during high demand periods in the summer months of June, July and August

Look at that pH!

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Old 04-13-2010, 01:13 AM   #5
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Hi hammacks,
Thanks for the input. I did find TH's spreadsheet and played around with it a good bit. I'm definitely going to add some salts to get a number of my levels up. And I'm also going to get some pH testing strips so I can actually monitor pH, rather than just hoping for the best, and probably some lactic acid for the sparge water just in case it's necessary (although my tap water pH is not as high as yours!). I may also just try brewing a batch with bottled water at some point, so as to eliminate other possibilities than water. Here's to hoping we both figure it out!

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Old 04-16-2010, 04:07 PM   #6
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Hey artguy,

Do you have blowoff on most of your batches? Do you think some of the 'krausen crud' that clings to the side of a fermenter gets rinsed back into your beer? (Maybe during bottling/kegging if you tip while you do it). I've read it is intensely bitter.

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Old 04-16-2010, 11:40 PM   #7
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I've only had blow off on one batch, and nothing too weird about krausen either, so I doubt that is my particular issue.

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Old 04-22-2010, 07:54 PM   #8
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Another thing to add to the 'tried it' list:

Used some gelatin on an ESB that was taking some time to clear up. Hadn't used it in a while. I was hoping it wouldn't have the astringency, allowing me to conclude I was having tannin issues, but nope. same thing.

I plan to rebrew my last couple beers (porter and ESB) to refine them, as I have realized I almost always brew a completely new recipe each time. Probably not the best way to perfect a beer. I see a redo of this ESB with lighter hopping rates :-( , and higher mash temp in my future.

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Old 04-23-2010, 01:06 PM   #9
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hammacks,

your water pH is a bit high, which might be trouble. Your water is pretty soft, so your mash pH should be fine, but you may want to try acidifying your sparge water with lactic

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Old 04-23-2010, 01:30 PM   #10
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Are you sure you have astringency? Like chewing on a tea bag, back of the tongue numbness? Lowering the pH of your sparge water to <6 might help.

Water shouldn't effect astringency. The usual causes are sparging too hot, too long, or getting husks in the mash. Other causes are too fine a crush or excessive oxidation.

http://www.homebrewzone.com/astringency.htm

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