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Old 10-02-2013, 08:44 PM   #11
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Andy, can you explain "malty bite" a little more? That seems contradictory as malty is usually used to describe an out of balance beer (toward sweet) and bite too bitter or astringent. If your water is in fact the problem, I suspect you may be describing astringency but the malty part of your description threw me off...

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Old 10-02-2013, 11:13 PM   #12
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PH also effects astringency and high PH will be hell on low SRM beers like pils or helles. It also effects mouthfeel and how the malts/hops taste/feel on the tounge.

Are you sure you tested the PH correctly?

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Old 10-02-2013, 11:37 PM   #13
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I can't really describe the taste better than that unless I open one up and type it while I'm drinking one. As soon as I get my daughter to bed I'll do that.

As for testing the pH correctly - I definitely didn't. Monday was the first time I even tried. I forgot to do the test until the sparging stage, and then when I did do it, I plunked the strip into the mash, held it there for a few seconds and pulled it out... bright pink. I'll definitely try a better pH test just using the strips the next time I brew (hopefully within a week).

Thanks all for chipping in. I'll be back with a better taste description (although I'm obviously untrained in the terminology).

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Old 10-03-2013, 12:07 AM   #14
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You really shouldn't dip those straight in the mash. They are covered in chemicals.

ALso to much of a soak can was them out, which could be why it was pink.

Take a spoon and put a enough on the pad to wet it. Or dip it quickly into the runnings that are in the spoon. Just long enough to wet the strip, like half a second or so.

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Old 10-03-2013, 01:06 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estricklin
Honestly, when it comes to water, if your tap water is good enough to drink, it's probably gonna make good beer. Probably a good idea to throw a campden tablet in each batch if your using tap water though. If you have all your other brewing practices down pat, and your beer is coming out good, then worry about your water. The strips will get you by until you can get a meter, they aren't super accurate, but usually +/- .2. Use small amounts of brewing salts or lactic acid to make pH adjustments in your mash. Chances are though, this isn't what's causing your off flavor, so I wouldn't get too wrapped up in it. Hopefully you can get another brewer to try your beer and get some good advice.
My tap water tastes fine but my water is not acceptable for brewing because of very high alkalinity. If your water is very alkaline your mash ph will be way to high and you will definitely get astringency and that homebrew twang.

For my pale beers I use 100% RO water and darker beers I use a 50/50 RO to tap water. I then build my water with minerals suitable for the beer I am brewing.

I highly recommend reading the water chemistry primer in the brew science section of this website. I also strongly recommend learning water chemistry. I also recommend downloading the spreadsheet at brunwater.com and learn how to use it. And yes, get a water report so you know what you are dealing with.

Hitting mash ph and building my water for the beer I am brewing has taken my beer to a whole new level. Do not overlook this important aspect of brewing.
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Old 10-03-2013, 06:44 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phuff7129 View Post
My tap water tastes fine but my water is not acceptable for brewing because of very high alkalinity. If your water is very alkaline your mash ph will be way to high and you will definitely get astringency and that homebrew twang.

For my pale beers I use 100% RO water and darker beers I use a 50/50 RO to tap water. I then build my water with minerals suitable for the beer I am brewing.

I highly recommend reading the water chemistry primer in the brew science section of this website. I also strongly recommend learning water chemistry. I also recommend downloading the spreadsheet at brunwater.com and learn how to use it. And yes, get a water report so you know what you are dealing with.

Hitting mash ph and building my water for the beer I am brewing has taken my beer to a whole new level. Do not overlook this important aspect of brewing.
You could also use lactic acid in the mash. Other acids might work as well depending on the water chemistry. With my particular chemistry HCL acid works. I only use that for pilsners as most of my beers are pale or darker.

You could probably brew a decent stout with that water. How high is it and is it Total alkalinity or just the water ph?

Besides the water chem primer, Something like "Principles of Brewing Science" 2nd edition by the late Dr. George Fix is a good read.

It's sad, but a lot of micros don't treat their water due to cost. I know quite a few that make excellent pale ales up to imp stouts but when it comes to low SRM beers.. they all have that astringent grain husk taste.
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Old 10-03-2013, 01:29 PM   #17
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I ended up falling asleep with my daughter last night, so I didn't get a chance to open a beer for tasting. I'll aim for that tonight.

Right now I'm off to follow phuff's advice and learn more about water chemistry. I have a report for Toronto but at this stage for me it might as well have been written by space aliens. Although I see there are traces of arsenic in it...

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Old 10-04-2013, 02:38 AM   #18
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The old "if it tastes fine it'll make fine beer" adage really doesn't apply to all grain brewing. Certainly bad tasting water shouldn't be consumed in any way, let alone brewed with. But decent taste doesn't come close to guaranteeing your water isn't the source of your problems. You'll hear plenty of advice from folks who are lucky and have well balanced source water. They'll tell you not to worry, your beer will turn out fine cause theirs does. Well, if you use their water, maybe they're right! But I don't like to make good beer based on luck anyway, so I start with a high percentage of RO water and "build my own". I'm still learning, but have made big improvements since I put more focus on my water...

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Old 10-08-2013, 01:30 AM   #19
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Malty Bite Taste Description

Ok, so I've just opened up a beer that has the characteristic of the 'Malty Bite' that I used to describe my beer earlier. I'll try to describe this (off) flavor a little better. The beer is from the 'Edworts Pale Ale' recipe, that I followed to a Tee. It was bottled in early June, so has had plenty of time for off-flavors to dissipate. As for that, it is indeed remarkably better than when I opened one after 3 weeks. I've had this particular bottle in the fridge now for about a week. Carbonation is perfect, but the beer itself leaves something to be desired. Just as a disclaimer - I've had no formal training in tasting, so I might be using terms incorrectly - trying to make this up as I go along.

There's a thick taste to it - lots of 'mouthfeel' that is somewhat 'bready' in taste, but with a sharp bitterness to it. This biting bitterness is unlike an American hoppy taste. Instead it's almost like the taste of burnt meat. It is most noticeable at the middle-back of the mouth, both around the roof of the mouth and at the back and sides. It leaves a long biting after-taste in these regions that makes you feel quite thirsty to wash it away. In a way, it almost tastes like I imagine it would taste to take dry malt extract and eat it with a spoon. It's almost tastes as if the grain never converted to beer, and I'm mixing DME with water in a glass and attempting to drink it. Throw in a shot or two of cheap vodka and that is what the beer tastes like.

Hopefully that's a better description, and hopefully someone says, "I know exactly what you're talking about... this is what you did wrong."

Thanks!
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Old 10-08-2013, 01:44 AM   #20
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Sounds like astringency. What's your water source? Did the recipe call for gypsum? The malty and the bite are likely 2 different tastes. Bready, malty mouthfeel are good. That bite in the back of your throat isn't. It's either high pH, high sulfite, tannins or a combo of all three. The solution is to know your water profile and mash pH. These will also prevent tannin extraction...

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