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Old 08-21-2006, 08:09 AM   #1
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Default Water causing astringency in lighter beers?

OK, I think I have water that does not go well with brewing lighter beers like pilsner or helles etc. I keep getting a grainy astringency I don't get with even a pale ale. I read in Designing Great Beers that certain waters are good for darker beers but not good for lighter brews and vice versa. The only "light" colored beer that comes out good with AG is wheat beers.

It's been buggin the heck out of me. Anyone here good at analysing water? I have a printout of the water makeup somewhere around here.

What factors affect astringency? Something is pulling tannins etc from the husks during sparge and it isn't temp or excessive sparging. I do know that the water PH is neutral.

My Pales. IPA's Stouts, etc all turn out great. My Vienna was awesome. But I'm getting to the point of just giving up on lighter brews. I guess I could go with bottled water but then you have to deal with a lack of anything in the
water and that's not great either.

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Old 08-21-2006, 09:01 AM   #2
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If you're fly sparging it could be your pH. With darker mashes, the dark malts help keep the mash acidified longer thus keeping the tannins in check. If you don't have any dark malt your pH will rise during the sparge and you'll get tannins. You could try that pH 5.2 stabilizer or batch sparge a batch and see how it goes. Batch sparging is supposedly less prone to pH swings. Unless of course you're already batch sparging, in which case, umm, I don't know... Try the satbilizer or maybe an acid rest.

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Old 08-21-2006, 01:37 PM   #3
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It's your mash/sparge Ph.

The reason you're not getting it in your other beers is because darker grains help acidify the mash. You could use some CaCl or small amounts of an acid like phosphoric or lactic to correct this. You'll need some Ph test papers too.

Edit: Just realised i'm echoing Cheyco

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Old 08-21-2006, 10:32 PM   #4
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You don't say if you do check the PH of your mash. That is what is important, not the PH of your water. I assume a town like Kelowna has municipal water supplied to you. If so then you can get a profile from your engineering dept. of the minerals and salts contained in your water. From there you can determine the additives needed to make your water suitable to brew lighter coloured beers

you can download a trial version of promash and use the water profiler to acheive this.

I use 5.2 PH Stabilizer from Paddock Wood and I batch sparge. I adjust my water to the specs of what I'm brewing and I brew a fine lager/pilsener, even if I do say so myself. I check my PH with cheap strips and seem to hit my PH on the numbers ( as much as the cheap strips will tell me)

Cheers and I hope this helps you.

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Old 08-22-2006, 12:37 AM   #5
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Thanks. Thats what I was suspecting. Now that I think about it I used to do a rest at 104F as a gum rest and that is in the acid rest range. Stopped doing that a while ago, but I did have one pilsner turn out ok back then.

Anything cheap and easy to find to lower ph? Would "acid treatment" for wine work? I've seen that at winemaking shops. No real Homebrew supply here.

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Old 08-22-2006, 01:26 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennys Fine Consumptibles
Anything cheap and easy to find to lower ph? Would "acid treatment" for wine work? I've seen that at winemaking shops. No real Homebrew supply here.
Gypsum is cheap and lowers the pH, but I'm not so sure that that's the right way to go with Pilsner malt.

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Old 08-22-2006, 04:43 AM   #7
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I think you could add acid malt to your mash. Another option is to use spring water from the store.

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Old 08-22-2006, 12:30 PM   #8
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You don't want Gypsum in a pils, the sulfates will give you a 'harsh' bitterness that you are trying to avoid. Calcium Chloride good and will give a 'rounder' taste (this is also what Ray Daniels advocates).

Lactic acid and phosphoric acid are available on online homebrew shops over here. Phosphoric acid is actually what's created in the mash naturally which lowers the Ph so this is what I use. Use small amounts - a few drops to a cup of water and stir small amounts in while Ph testing.

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Old 08-22-2006, 12:42 PM   #9
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1. There's a terrific graph in Palmer's How to Brew that you use with your water report to see what kinds of beers your water is best suited toward.

2. Beer Captured also has a nice appendix on water modification, telling how to adjust various water profiles for brewing various styles.

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Old 08-22-2006, 01:01 PM   #10
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As mentioned above, the pH 5.2 stabililzer by 5 star chemicals is great as well. It is a blend of phosphate buffers that will buffer your mash to 5.2-5.3 without any worries. If your water is potable then this stuff should get you in the right range with no worries. I use it and I like it a lot (when I remember to put it in!!)

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