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Old 08-01-2012, 03:55 PM   #1
JeffoC6
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Default Looking for advice on new process

Hey gang,

So I started brewing in January with a Brooklyn Brew Shop 1-gallon AG kit.
I loved it and didn't want to wait approx 6 weeks to brew again, so I got myself set up with 5 additional 1 gallon carboys and started out building my pipeline by doing 1 gallon, full volume BIAB with no sparge.

I have since brewed 28 AG, 1-gallon batches. However, recently I discovered that the underlying "taste" that I was experiencing in ALL of my brews was due to tannins.

I brew full volume, no sparge, BIAB using ONLY Poland Spring water. From day 1, folks on here have advised that "if the water tastes good, it's good enough to brew with." Well, the tannin/astringency issue I've had throughout all of my brews may have been from a few things, full volume BIAB being one of them. I was advised that I could be messing up my mash pH with a "thin" mash and all of that water. I was also advised that purchasing some RO or distilled water and simply adding some calcium chloride could also benefit me.

So, after delving into this issue and (hopefully) correcting my problems, I'm not sure how to proceed. My "new" process is that I calculate my full volume of water, just like before, and add the measured/calculated amount of calcium chloride to my water. Then, I split the water in half, keeping half in my primary brew kettle, and putting the rest in my secondary brew kettle. I mash into the water as normal, but after my mash, I now pull the bag and dunk sparge into the secondary kettle that has been heated to 160-165. I then dump all of that water/wort into my primary brew kettle and start my boil.

I did this "new" process last night for the first time and hit 73% efficiency. I normally hit anywhere from 66%-70%, so I'm happy with the numbers I hit last night. I also feel that the addition of the calcium chloride and the use of the distilled water will help in eliminating my tannin/astringency issues.

However, I'm at a crossroads. Do I keep brewing using this new process? Or do I wait to see if this new process worked? I have a pumpkin ale that I want to brew the weekend of the 15th, but if this new process doesn't work out, I'm going to be in the same boat I was in these last few months- Several batches of tannin/astringent tasting beers.

What should I do?

PS- As an aside, the astringency/tannin issue is not from a sanitizing issue that I'm having. Nor infection. And yes, I do squeeze the bag when I do BIAB, but from countless folks on here and throughout the world, this shouldn't cause tannin issues.

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Old 08-01-2012, 04:05 PM   #2
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Using distilled water and adding chemicals is a good method if you know what you're doing. However, water science one of the most complicated aspects to understand in homebrewing. It's usually more than just adding CaCl. To make the best beer, you usually need to adjust for pH, magnesium, sulfates, etc. I suggest using a calculator such as ezwater or Bru'n water. To learn about water, read up on John Palmer's "How to Brew" or better yet, listen to The Brewing Network's "Water Extravaganza" episodes.

Nick

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Old 08-01-2012, 04:07 PM   #3
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I full volume BIAB and haven't experienced the tannins/astringency issues you describe.

Are you using strictly RO/Distilled water now, or mixing and matching it with your standard water? See if you can't get a water report to see what your spring water is composed of. Having that information will allow you to avoid blindly adjusting your water (assuming you're stil using some of your local water and not 100% RO). That's what I've done - simply called the municipal water supply and got the water reports. It might take a few days to get connected with the right person but eventually they can just e-mail you the reports that they take/get. Knowing what kind of water you're working with allows for you to better estimate mash pH, which after measuring, you can then tweak and adjust for brews down the road. I know if your mash pH is off, it can cause astringency.

Does it fade as the beers age? Or does the astringency remain constant no matter the age of the beer?

Another question could be fermentation temps/temp control.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ntalkers View Post
Using distilled water and adding chemicals is a good method if you know what you're doing. However, water science one of the most complicated aspects to understand in homebrewing. It's usually more than just adding CaCl. To make the best beer, you usually need to adjust for pH, magnesium, sulfates, etc. I suggest using a calculator such as ezwater or Bru'n water. To learn about water, read up on John Palmer's "How to Brew" or better yet, listen to The Brewing Network's "Water Extravaganza" episodes.

Nick
Also check out the Brew Science section here on HBT. AJ has some great information on water/mash pH. He's helped me out a ton on that, and coupled with the BN's episode on water I'm well on my way.
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Old 08-01-2012, 04:17 PM   #4
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I would definitely check out what your pH is during your new method in the mash process, I believe in the low 5s, 5.2-5.6, range is what you should shoot for. Then you can use the calculators to figure out how to adjust it.

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Old 08-01-2012, 05:02 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ntalkers View Post
Using distilled water and adding chemicals is a good method if you know what you're doing. However, water science one of the most complicated aspects to understand in homebrewing. It's usually more than just adding CaCl. To make the best beer, you usually need to adjust for pH, magnesium, sulfates, etc. I suggest using a calculator such as ezwater or Bru'n water. To learn about water, read up on John Palmer's "How to Brew" or better yet, listen to The Brewing Network's "Water Extravaganza" episodes.

Nick
I went off of Yooper's guidance. She told me that If I added calcium chloride at the rate of 1 teaspoon per 5 gallons of water (to either RO or Distilled water) then I would be fine with that type of water. I trust her
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Planned:
Prim #1: Ed Wort's Bavarian Hefe
Prim #2:
Prim #3:
Prim #4:
Prim #5:
Prim #6:
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Old 08-01-2012, 05:04 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jholen View Post
I full volume BIAB and haven't experienced the tannins/astringency issues you describe.

Are you using strictly RO/Distilled water now, or mixing and matching it with your standard water? See if you can't get a water report to see what your spring water is composed of. Having that information will allow you to avoid blindly adjusting your water (assuming you're stil using some of your local water and not 100% RO). That's what I've done - simply called the municipal water supply and got the water reports. It might take a few days to get connected with the right person but eventually they can just e-mail you the reports that they take/get. Knowing what kind of water you're working with allows for you to better estimate mash pH, which after measuring, you can then tweak and adjust for brews down the road. I know if your mash pH is off, it can cause astringency.

Does it fade as the beers age? Or does the astringency remain constant no matter the age of the beer?

Another question could be fermentation temps/temp control.


Also check out the Brew Science section here on HBT. AJ has some great information on water/mash pH. He's helped me out a ton on that, and coupled with the BN's episode on water I'm well on my way.
I've used Poland Spring on every brew thusfar. Last night was the first time I used anything different. I use soleydistilled water and used 1 teaspoon of calcium chloride per 5 gallons of water, per Yooper's recommendation.

I'd rather not use my tap water. It's hard and doesn't taste very good.

The beer has the astringent flavor throughout, it doesn't go away with age.

I have a fermentation chamber and can hold my temps wherever I want, and normally ferment on the low side of the yeast range.
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Planned:
Prim #1: Ed Wort's Bavarian Hefe
Prim #2:
Prim #3:
Prim #4:
Prim #5:
Prim #6:
Bottled: Saddle-Up IPA, Leaf House IPA
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Old 08-01-2012, 05:05 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twistr25 View Post
I would definitely check out what your pH is during your new method in the mash process, I believe in the low 5s, 5.2-5.6, range is what you should shoot for. Then you can use the calculators to figure out how to adjust it.
Yea, the mash pH strips I have apparently only go up to like, 4.4? Hahaha. Either way, I heard the pH strips are horrible.

Any other suggestions? When do you test the mash pH? Once you reach the pH, will it swing lower and higher? Or does it stay at the same pH level?
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Prim #6:
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Old 08-01-2012, 05:23 PM   #8
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You need to test your ph during the mash because the higher roasted malts are more acidic, once you have the ph after stirring your mash you can then add you salt or calcium to lower or raise the ph, 5.4 being the best but anything from 5.2 - 5.7 is fine, you can buy ph testers similar to refractometers just take a sample of the wort.

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Old 08-02-2012, 01:13 AM   #9
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I typically take samples 5 or 10 minutes after dough-in, and 30 minutes in, depending on what style of batch I'm brewing. If I've brewed it before, I typically take fewer measurements. If I haven't brewed something similar to the batch before I take more measurements.

I use a Hanna pHep 5 meter - works pretty good. That coupled with using spreadsheets here on HBT I've done pretty well with my pH. I use the spreadsheets to estimate my additions based on my water report, and then verify my actual pH with the meter and then adjust future brews accordingly.

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