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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Different, unexpected off flavors
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Old 11-15-2011, 12:41 AM   #1
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Default Different, unexpected off flavors

Hey, all. I'm a LITTLE bit drunk right now due in part to relaxing, not worrying, and having a homebrew(s) - kindly forgive any trespasses here. Anyway.

-Got an Irish Red bottled for about two weeks now. Had an off-flavor (very powerful) when I tried it last week, sort of powdery, astringent and bitter like old, wet bark. Pretty sure it's tannins, and I'm pretty sure it's because I squeezed the sparge grain bag to get all the juice out. (will this off flavor dissipate in time?)

-Tried the same ale again last week, refrigerated. Actually kind of tasty with an unexpected caramel flavor, though that same offtaste became apparent after about half a glass.

-Had another about an hour ago, NOT refrigerated/at room temperature. Completely different character, all green apples and cideriness. What's going on? Is the difference explained by the difference between room temp and in the fridge? Is it reasonable to have two bottles with different offtastes? The astringency/bark/wood flavor was still there, but muted.

I'm not gonna pour it out or anything, I've read enough here to know better. I'm just a little curious about the process. The next step probably involves pitching it into a corner somewhere and forgetting about it untill 2012.

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Old 11-15-2011, 12:54 AM   #2
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You wouldn't get tannins from squeezing the bag. Lots of us use the BIAB all grain method of brewing, and squeeze the crap out of the bag with no ill effects.

I really think your beer just needs more time to condition. Give it another 2-4 weeks and you will probably be amazed at how much better it tastes.

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Old 11-15-2011, 01:17 AM   #3
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Huh. Like I said, continued aging was already my plan - but it's great to hear what you've just told me. Reassurance is key.

Though for the record, a lot of the websites I read SWEAR that by squeezing the bag I ruined my beer. :/

Not doubting you there, just a little weirded out by the spectrum of advice.

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Old 11-15-2011, 01:46 AM   #4
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Yup. You don't have to search very hard to find people who are positively sure that squeezing the bag will introduce tannins into the wort. I think most of the time, they are just repeating something they heard, without actually experiencing it themselves. But I think if you search this forum on "BIAB" and "squeezing bag", you will find testimony from many, many brewers who squeeze the bag for every last drop of wort with no problems.

One of the more convincing arguments is that commercial breweries mash their grains in huge vessels that exert pressures far beyond what we can do by squeezing the bag, and they don't get tannins. From what I have read, the extraction of tannins is primarily driven by high temperatures (above 180 degrees), and high pH.

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Old 11-15-2011, 02:53 AM   #5
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That's the other X factor in my brewing (or rather, the other two.) When I brewed, I had no thermometer - I brought my wort to a boil, turned off the heat, and sparged. I think I'm PROBABLY fine, but overanalysis is hard to avoid at this point.

My water quality is kind of ****ed out here, though. I don't have any hard data, but it's apparently the worst for miles. My uncle brews some amazing beer and he's only about three miles away, but AFAIK he's on a totally different water grid.

Again, no hard data. I drink the water (usually Brita it) and it tastes okay, post-filter. I'm probably fine but it's gonna bug me.

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Old 11-15-2011, 06:11 AM   #6
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That's the other X factor in my brewing (or rather, the other two.)I brought my wort to a boil, turned off the heat, and sparged

This is troubling. Squeezing grains won't extract tannins, but the two things that certainly will are high mash pH and boiling your grains. Heating grains well beyoned mashout temps (above 170F) is a great way to get tannins. I don't have to tell you to buy a thermometer, but buy a thermometer. No reason to ever boil your grains.

If you do have some serious tannins, they will definitely mellow out over time, but that will be later, rather than sooner.

I say, if it gets drinkable in a reasonable amount of time (or is drinkable when it's done), drink the whole batch and promise never to do that again.

Good luck!
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