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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > All my batches so far have a "grainy" taste please critique my technique
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Old 12-22-2008, 07:36 PM   #1
jmooney
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Default All my batches so far have a "grainy" taste please critique my technique

Hi All,

I'm not 100% please with the way my beer has been turning out and I wanted to see if there was anything I was majorly screwing up or if anyone could offer any advice on how to improve my process.

My biggest problem is that my beer seems to have a "grainy" taste and the body is smaller that I wanted/think it should be. I've brewed 3 batches now and all have the similar graininess issue. I’m pretty sure I’ve narrowed the problem down to how I’m steeping my grains but I’m not sure.


Batch 1:

BeerSmith Recipe Printout - BeerSmith Brewing Software, Recipes, Blog, Wiki and Discussion Forum
Recipe: Shady's Best British Breeks
Brewer: Jim Mooney
Asst Brewer:
Style: Standard/Ordinary Bitter
TYPE: Extract
Taste: (35.0)

Recipe Specifications
--------------------------
Batch Size: 5.00 gal
Boil Size: 4.08 gal
Estimated OG: 1.044 SG
Estimated Color: 11.1 SRM
Estimated IBU: 18.8 IBU
Brewhouse Efficiency: - %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients:
------------
Amount Item Type % or IBU
6.00 lb Pale Liquid Extract (8.0 SRM) Extract 88.89 %
0.75 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L (60.0 SRM) Grain 11.11 %
0.75 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] (60 min) Hops 12.2 IBU
0.50 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] (30 min) Hops 6.2 IBU
0.50 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] (1 min) Hops 0.4 IBU
1 Pkgs London ESB Ale (Wyeast Labs #1968) Yeast-Ale


Mash Schedule: None
Total Grain Weight: 10.00 lb
----------------------------
Steep grains as desired (30-60 minutes)

================================================== ======================================

Batch 2:

BeerSmith Recipe Printout - BeerSmith Brewing Software, Recipes, Blog, Wiki and Discussion Forum
Recipe: Shady's Best Irish Elixer
Brewer: Jim Mooney
Asst Brewer:
Style: Dry Stout
TYPE: Extract
Taste: (35.0)

Recipe Specifications
--------------------------
Batch Size: 5.00 gal
Boil Size: 3.00 gal
Estimated OG: 1.045 SG
Estimated Color: 22.4 SRM
Estimated IBU: 26.0 IBU
Brewhouse Efficiency: - %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients:
------------
Amount Item Type % or IBU
1.75 lb Light Dry Extract (8.0 SRM) Dry Extract 24.37 %
4.00 lb Pale Liquid Extract (8.0 SRM) Extract 55.71 %
0.56 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt - 80L (80.0 SRM) Grain 7.80 %
0.56 lb Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM) Grain 7.80 %
0.31 lb Barley, Flaked (1.7 SRM) Grain 4.32 %
0.50 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] (60 min) Hops 6.8 IBU
1.00 oz Cluster [7.00 %] (60 min) Hops 19.2 IBU
1 Pkgs Irish Ale (White Labs #WLP004) Yeast-Ale


Mash Schedule: None
Total Grain Weight: 10.00 lb
----------------------------
Steep grains as desired (30-60 minutes)

================================================== ======================================

Batch 3:

BeerSmith Recipe Printout - BeerSmith Brewing Software, Recipes, Blog, Wiki and Discussion Forum
Recipe: Shady's Best Briar Patch Berry Weiss
Brewer: Jim Mooney
Asst Brewer:
Style: Fruit Beer
TYPE: Extract
Taste: (35.0)

Recipe Specifications
--------------------------
Batch Size: 5.00 gal
Boil Size: 3.00 gal
Estimated OG: 1.043 SG
Estimated Color: 7.0 SRM
Estimated IBU: 8.5 IBU
Brewhouse Efficiency: - %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients:
------------
Amount Item Type % or IBU
6.00 lb Wheat Liquid Extract (8.0 SRM) Extract 100.00 %
0.75 oz Hallertauer Hersbrucker [4.00 %] (60 min)Hops 8.5 IBU
3.00 lb Raspberyy Puree (Boil 1.0 min) Misc
1 Pkgs Bavarian Weizen Yeast (White Labs #WLP351)Yeast-Wheat


Mash Schedule: None
Total Grain Weight: 10.00 lb
----------------------------


================================================== ======================================


My technique:

Batch 1 was my first real brew. I did a 4 gallon boil and added 1 gal water to the fermenter. I had a real tough time getting this to boil and at first attributed the graininess to steeping so long to get up to temp. but as I said it happened in batch 2 and 3 as well. Batch 2 and 3 I did a 3 gallon boil and added 2 gallons to the fermenter to avoid the problem of getting a boil going.

Here's how I've brewed these 3 batches:

-Heat 3 gallons of water to 120F
-Place all grains in grain bag and place in water
-Steep for 30 minutes while heating but making sure temp does go above 160F to avoid tannin issues.
-Remove grain bag and let drain into pot for a minute or so (don’t squeeze)
-Crank up heat to bring to a boil
-When boil is reached stir in malt extract(s) and add hops (pellets in hop bag)
-Boil 60 minutes and stir occasionally
-End of boil, remove hop bag, remove from heat
-Add 2 gallons cold water (I use bottled water) to fermenter, add wort to fermenter (this is how I chill, no chiller at this point)
-Place fermenter in basement (fermenting area) and put lid with airlock on fermenter loosely and let sit over night to cool
-Pitch yeast next morning and seal for fermenting.
-Batches have usually stayed in primary for 4 -5 weeks and then bottled normally

Any advice or comments would be greatly appreciated, I really think I can do better and I’d like to.

Happy Holidays!!

Jim

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Old 12-22-2008, 07:46 PM   #2
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I'm certainly no expert, but I typically get 1-2 gallons of water (depending on the amount of grains I'm steeping) up to 150*F, then put my grains in, holding the temp at around 150, +- 5 degrees for however long the recipe calls for, usually about 20 - 30 minutes.

Maybe the low temps you're starting the steep with are causing the grainy flavor...

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Old 12-22-2008, 07:49 PM   #3
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I'm not sure exactly what "grainy" taste means, but maybe you are over-carbonating? This might make it taste strange to you.

Aren't beers supposed to taste of grain?

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Old 12-22-2008, 07:53 PM   #4
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I noticed batch 1 was 18 IBU and batch 3 was 8.5

I would think that these low IBU would really bring out the malty/grainy flavour because there is not enough bitterness to balance.

Batch 2 seems to have a lot of adjucts - that is to say a lot for an extract brew (this would not be a problem with a mash) and your decent amount of IBU may not be enough to cover up a lot of unbroken starches that are getting into your wort.

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Old 12-22-2008, 08:01 PM   #5
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I steep at 155 for 45 minutes, in accordance with the AHS kit recipes I've used thus far.

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Old 12-22-2008, 08:06 PM   #6
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I don't believe that there is enough grain in at least two of the recipes for us to focus on the grain for your "graininess." I am putting my money on the old tried and true "extract twang." You could try switching out some of your LME for DME but the first thing I would do is switch all of your extract to late addition rather than beginning of boil.

Also +1 on heat to 150 first then steep for 30 then . . .

Also, big one here: Do not let your wort sit overnight cooling down. Just make an ice bath in your kitchen sink and set the kettle in it. Try to get your wort down below 80 and pitched with yeast within an hour of taking off the boil. Otherwise you run a mojor risk of DMS. This tastes like cooked corn. Could this be your grain taste?

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Old 12-22-2008, 08:11 PM   #7
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Oh, wow, I missed that part about letting the wort site overnight. Yeah, I would definitely take a good hard look at that step because that is a very unusual thing to do.

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Old 12-22-2008, 08:20 PM   #8
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Dang you folks are fast!

I had a feeling there were some holes in my process that I didn't know about.

I'll have to taste some tonight but DMS and "cooked corn" may be the winner. Next trip to the LHBS I'll see what they have in the way of chillers.



I do have a few questions though:

Steeping at 150 sounds good, how much water do I need to do this in? Would 1 gallon be OK for the sake of temp control? Then do I just add more water to my boil volume and boil on?

I can easily switch to DME, I'd be glad to not have to work with that sticky stuff anymore. Can someone give me a little more detail on late addition and how it works?

Thanks again,

Jim

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Old 12-22-2008, 08:26 PM   #9
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I'm not sure if this is an option but have you taken a bottle to an experienced homebrewer or your LHBS? They might be able to nail down the off flavor for you with a quick sniff or quaff.

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Old 12-22-2008, 08:29 PM   #10
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For your purposes one gallon is fine for steeping except for the thermal conservancy or lack thereof. In other words it will lose heat more quickly than 3 gallons of water heated to 150.

Late addition simply means adding the extract at the end of the boil. This gets you a couple things: better hops utilization and less caramelization.

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