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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Water Profile and My Harsh Tasteing First AG
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Old 11-09-2007, 03:23 AM   #1
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Default Water Profile and My Harsh Tasteing First AG

I resently completed my first AG and I just loved it! I am less than satisfied with the overall taste of my first beer, just a plain old APA. It tasted very astringent and bitter right off and has settled a little after 4 weeks. I would characterize it as harsh. I did get a little crazy with crushing a pound or so with a rolling pin but the majority of the 17lb grainbill was crushed by NB. My efficiency was 79% and I mashed out, batch sparged with 168F water, equal amounts

After reading I think the culprit may be my local water. I called and got the profile.

Cal 60ppm
Sul 50ppm
Mag 55ppm
Chloride (Didn't know)
Na 20ppm
Bicarbonate 40ppm
Ph 9.3

How does this profile affect my beers in the future and what would the group suggest to fix it if indeed it is the problem?

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Old 11-09-2007, 03:27 AM   #2
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The water looks to be fairly soft with a very high pH. I think your first action should be to acidify your mash a bit. Alkaline mashes can increase astringency. A bit of pH 5.2 buffer might be a good start. A pH meter, some acid malt, and a bottle of lactic acid are even better.

Also, your caveman crush method may have ground up the husks a bit more than is desirable, leading to increased tannins. Buy pre-crushed grain or invest in a grain mill.

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Old 11-09-2007, 03:29 AM   #3
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Your pH is 9.3 ? Wow that is high ! That is the first item that I would correct in the water. At that pH your wort extraction and or Ph should be impacted.

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Old 11-09-2007, 03:30 AM   #4
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55ppm of magnesium is pretty high. It's one possible culprit. Check out the link below for a good beginning in brewing water knowledge.

http://www.allaboutbeer.com/homebrew/water3.html

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Old 11-09-2007, 03:49 AM   #5
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5.2pH stabilizer is a good start for sure. It'll at least be one less thing that could be the problem. Besides, it was your first AG, those rarely go perfectly. Don't despair, things'll get better.

-RS

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Old 11-09-2007, 04:56 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedSun
5.2pH stabilizer is a good start for sure. It'll at least be one less thing that could be the problem. Besides, it was your first AG, those rarely go perfectly. Don't despair, things'll get better.

-RS

How do you use 5.2 Ph Buffer? Do you put it in the sparge water or mash itself, or both?
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Old 11-09-2007, 05:02 AM   #7
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Be sure to also keep your mash scedule reasonably short. My first AG was drier than I wanted, but my mash schedule took 4.25 hours after an overnight acid rest. I have since read a couple places that mashing should be limited to two hours tops, shorter is better.

Agree that pH 9.3 must be corrected.

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Old 11-09-2007, 07:19 PM   #8
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The pH of your water is irrelevant. It is the pH of your mash that is important. Based on your water analysis your mash pH - without any added dark grains - is 5.7 which is acceptable. If you add any dark grains it will be lower. Big Ed has a point about your magnesium - > 50 can lead to a harsh bitterness.

GT

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Old 11-09-2007, 09:21 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Got Trub?
The pH of your water is irrelevant. It is the pH of your mash that is important. Based on your water analysis your mash pH - without any added dark grains - is 5.7 which is acceptable. If you add any dark grains it will be lower. Big Ed has a point about your magnesium - > 50 can lead to a harsh bitterness.

GT


What about sparge water though? I can fix my mash Ph by adding buffer, but if my sparge water is 9.3 will that be the reason why I extracted tannins? As far as the magnesium, how can I precipitate it out? I would HATE to have to resort to buying 20 Gallons of spring water everytime I wanted to brew.
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Old 11-09-2007, 09:43 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Mojo Rising
What about sparge water though? I can fix my mash Ph by adding buffer, but if my sparge water is 9.3 will that be the reason why I extracted tannins?
I think water pH is definitely relevant. Perhaps not as important as mash pH, but still important when it goes to extremes like 9.3. (Mine is the opposite extreme... 4.5.) 9.3 isn't terribly extreme, but it's definitely up there. This is the kind of problem where you have to solve it by the process of elimination. I would forget about everything else and get your water pH down (for mash and sparge) to more acceptable levels. If you try too many things at once, you might not know for sure what fixed it. If lowering the water pH doesn't fix it then, hey, I guess the problem wasn't pH!
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