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Old 06-15-2011, 04:40 AM   #1
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Default May be extracting tannins, should i change spacing?

Ok, so i have using the factory setting on my barley crusher and been getting 88% efficiency. I mean thats great and all but i am concerned i am extracting some tannins from the barley husks, I feel like im getting a really shape bitterness from getting such a high efficiency that i can slightly taste on the back of my tongue with a majority of my beers. Does this sounds possible? If so what spacing would you guys recommend to get down to at least 80%?

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Old 06-15-2011, 12:43 PM   #2
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I am going to take a guess that you are fly sparging. With that, I'll take another guess that it is a slow fly sparge.

I say that because I now have my BC back at factory setting, but I finish my sparge in about 30 minutes (instead of the often published 60 minutes), and I was able to get my efficiency down to 75-77%.

I was having the same problem of too much efficiency (85-88%) but I was overcrushing the grain (with a tightened down BC) and sparging too slow. If I am on the right track, speed things up a bit, and you will be able to drop your efficiency.

The other guess is that you are completely draining your mash tun to hit your preboil volume. I think this will have less effect then the sparge speed, but by starting with more sparge water than the calculations call for, you can avoid draining every last bit of runnings from your tun, and hopefully, leave behind more of that low quality wort.

I also want to point out what a funny problem this is, because 99% of the threads along these lines are about increasing efficiency. That said, you will see an improved wort quality if you can get down to the mid 70's.

Joe

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Old 06-15-2011, 12:54 PM   #3
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Does you wort look cloudy going into the boil kettle? If so, I would vorlauf to make the wort clearer before you boil it. I had a similar problem a while ago, and traced it back to too much draff (bits of grain) getting into the boil kettle.

I did one batch where I vorlaufed until it was crystal clear, and one until it was mostly clear. The mostly clear batch actually tasted a little better than the crystal clear batch, so you don't have to go crazy with the vorlauf, just enough to filter out most of the draff.

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Old 06-15-2011, 12:57 PM   #4
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I had the same issue with a pale ale recipe that I brewed a month ago, the wort had a very grainy taste and was astringent as well. Now I mash for an hour and fly sparge for 30 minutes to fill my boil pot. I take a hydrometer reading to make sure I was above my 1.010 self proclaimed cutoff after I'm done lautering.

I take samples during the lauter and taste them to see if they are still sweet and I also make sure my sparge water is at 168F or slightly below and I've had no issues with the past 4 all grain batches.

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Old 06-16-2011, 01:18 PM   #5
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I would look more towards the pH of your mash and your water chemistry before worrying about the crush. I don't remember exactly what my BC is set to at the moment, but I get a good bit of flour out of mine. My efficiency is in the mid-eighties and haven't had any of the issues you are describing.

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Old 06-16-2011, 01:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bull8042 View Post
I would look more towards the pH of your mash and your water chemistry before worrying about the crush. I don't remember exactly what my BC is set to at the moment, but I get a good bit of flour out of mine. My efficiency is in the mid-eighties and haven't had any of the issues you are describing.
That's what I was thinking It could that "sharp bitterness" has more to do with water chemistry than with the crush.
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Old 06-16-2011, 05:05 PM   #7
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That's what I was thinking It could that "sharp bitterness" has more to do with water chemistry than with the crush.
Could you elaborate some more on that? What ions in particular cause that?
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Old 06-16-2011, 05:20 PM   #8
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I agree on the possibility of it being the water. You said you notice it in the majority of your brews, which styles do you notice it in?

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Old 06-16-2011, 07:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
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Could you elaborate some more on that? What ions in particular cause that?
Sodium and sulfates, in particular, can make a beer very harsh. I brewed a Kolsch several years back (before I paid attention to silly things like water chemistry) wherein I used softened water. That was the harshest, most bitter beer I've ever tasted, and there were next to no hops in it!

Now I find it ironic that I (a chemist) ignored the water chemsitry...

Anyways, John Palmer's guides are good sources on water chemistry. Sodium and sulfate are your culprits.
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Old 06-16-2011, 09:56 PM   #10
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Sodium and sulfates, in particular, can make a beer very harsh. I brewed a Kolsch several years back (before I paid attention to silly things like water chemistry) wherein I used softened water. That was the harshest, most bitter beer I've ever tasted, and there were next to no hops in it!

Now I find it ironic that I (a chemist) ignored the water chemsitry...

Anyways, John Palmer's guides are good sources on water chemistry. Sodium and sulfate are your culprits.
In my case, I have a very high bicarbonate level. That gives lighter colored beers a terrible harshness, very sharp. I made a kolsch a few years ago without any adjustments, and it was sharp and harsh compared to now.

But yes, sulfates can cause this too. I've seen quite a few recipes calling for "1 tsp gypsum". If I did that, my tongue would burn from the harshness!

I'd try something simple to see if the water is an issue. Buy RO water, just this once. Use a few grams of calcium chloride following the "beginner's water primer" but nothing else. Brew the beer with the same crush, same techniques, etc. If that fixes it, it was the water. If not, it is something else. But in my experience, a harsh astringency tends to be water related if decent technique is used.
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