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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Why is my brew always bitter?
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Old 08-23-2011, 01:07 PM   #41
JLem
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After reading through all the posts here, I'm going to throw my $0.02 on the side of water and mash issues. Too high a pH during mashing and sparging will extract tannins from the grain which will give you astringency, which it sounds like you might be getting. So will over-sparging. I use bottled spring water for my brews and find that I need a few ounces of acidulated malt to help keep my mash pH low enough (5.2 - 5.4), particularly with lighter beers (darker, roasted malts will help acidify the mash, so I don't tend to need the acid malt).

If you are getting the same astringency in all your beers, try checking your mash pH. Or see if adding some acid malt helps. Or try sparging less - some folks monitor the gravity of the runnings and stop sparging when the gravity drops below a certain point (I want to say 1.010, but I'm no where near certain on that).

I have a hard time blaming this particular off flavor on too high a fermentation temp. Yes, too hot a fermentation can cause off-flavors but those tend to be medicinal or phenolic or fusel alcohols or esters. Can't say I have ever heard of astringency or bitterness coming from too hot a fermentation.

This is fixable.

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Old 08-23-2011, 01:16 PM   #42
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FWIW, I battled for a while with a constant astringent off taste in my brews, and I finally solved it by using acid malt (and 5.2 stabilizer) to lower my mash pH, as JLem and others are suggesting. It's an easy, inexpensive experiment to try.

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Old 08-23-2011, 02:06 PM   #43
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My sparge comes out to about 1.50 quarts per pound of grain, so I don't think I am over sparging. I use 5.2 stabilizer in my mash, but not my sparge. Also - I just "guess" at the amount to use as the instructions are a little vague. I uses those PH test strips a few times on my mash, and I was a little high but still under 6. I like the idea of using acid malt - I will give that a try just to see if it will help.

Just to ellaborate - the percieved bitterness is on the sides of the tongue towards the back and at the very back center of the tongue - not questioning the astringincy evaluation - just sure seems like plain old bitterness to me.

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Old 08-23-2011, 02:34 PM   #44
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I'm in Houston and have found that a 50/50 mix of bottled spring water and tap water make good beer. I discovered this by brewing a dunkel recipe twice; once all tap and once with my 50/50 mix. The mix decreased a strange harsh note in my brew. At less than a dollar per gallon, this was a reasonable solution to my problem. I do this for all my beers now.

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Old 08-23-2011, 06:13 PM   #45
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I brewed several beers (all extract) that all came out bitter (same IBU range as you), and eventually I found out that my water (100% filtered tap water) was causing the problems.

My sulfates were around 270 and chlorides around 110. I did a batch with 100% bottled water, and the problem went away. When I switched to AG, I did a 80/20 blend of RO water and filtered tap water (+ some calcium chloride) and my problem hasn't returned yet.

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Old 08-23-2011, 09:19 PM   #46
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I agree with azscoob on this one. Water profile has a direct affect on bitterness that makes it seem like over addition of hops. I use RO water on all my brews and only condition with salts if the PH is out of range, which is usually is not.

For my 5 gal batches, I usually buy 10gal of RO water at our local grocery store for 30 cents a gallon, which only adds about $3.00 to the bill.

Good luck,
Trip

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Old 08-23-2011, 09:44 PM   #47
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Alright guys - next batch will be a scottish ale (80 shilling) - not sure I will need the acid malt with that recipe, but I will go back to RO or Spring water and see if the bitterness changes.

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Old 08-28-2011, 01:00 AM   #48
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If your using RO water do you add water additives to it?

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Old 08-30-2011, 06:52 PM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brewjunky
If your using RO water do you add water additives to it?
You should. RO water will be stripped of pretty much everything you need for a good mash and healthy yeast. Using straight RO with an all-grain batch probably won't work too well.
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Old 04-30-2014, 03:39 AM   #50
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I know this is old but I have the same bitterness problem. Back of the throat and tongue. So I was wondering if u still have the issue. I too use ph 5.2 stabilizer and it doesn't seem to work - though I didn't use it on my last batch. An update on your techniques and any additional issues would be beneficial. Thanks.

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