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Old 11-03-2012, 08:48 AM   #1
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Default Mad astringency

A little background info. I've dabbled in homebrewing making mead and a 1 gallon beer from a kit from Brooklyn Brewing Company, courtesy of the SWMBO. I made the jump to a 5-gallon kit and figured I'd use a beer kit to get used to the different process.

I made my first batch using a Brewer's Best kit for Pumpkin Porter. Everything seemed to go well and everything looked and smelled normal throughout. I fermented in primary for one week and then transferred to secondary for about three weeks. Bottled and everything looked and smelled fine.

Fast forward one week and I want to see how the beer is progressing so I put one in the fridge for a few hours and crack it open. Instantly I could smell something was wrong. It smelled very astringent. I was afraid to taste. I tasted it anyway and it tasted as awful as I thought it would. It tasted like beer but a little soapy and very, VERY astringent. Fast Forward another week and I put another bottle in the fridge and leave for two days. Cracked open, smells astringent. Tastes astringent but more mild than the first beer.

I've done some reading and I've taken note of things I can pay attention to with my next batch of beer. I've got one variable that I will definitely look for as I keep testing bottles of this batch though.

Before bottling, I cleaned all of my empties with Oxyclean. Some of them were allowed to dry before washing in a no-rinse sanitizer (the stuff that came in the kit) but not all. I've read that some chemicals will cause astringency; is it possible that not rinsing the bottles after the Oxyclean wash is responsible for the very sudden and extreme astringency?

I noticed none of the smell or taste during bottling and its suddenly showing up in the bottles . I'll continue bottle conditioning and treat each bottle as unique. I filled a growler which was not cleaned with Oxyclean and was sanitized and sealed, so if that beer ends up fine I'll be pretty certain its from not rinsing the Oxyclean solution well enough.

All ideas and opinions are welcome. I realize it can very well be something to do with my process so I won't take anything personally.

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Old 11-03-2012, 09:36 AM   #2
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One or two weeks it´s little time to actually know if there is something wrong with your brew. "Astringency" can mean many things, it can be from roasted malts (post your recipe), can be yeast (yeast twangs feel astringent and sometimes bitter), can be tannins, or as you suspect your cleaning and sanitazion methods, I use oxyclean (chemiproxi actually same stuff) as a cleaner but I always rinse and sanitize with a non-rinse sanitizer (I love star-san but I´ve used others too). Oxyclean can leave a residue in bottles if you don´t rinse it but on the other hand it is a good cleaner and a fair decent sanitizer. Soapy is a flavour that has been reported as soemthing related with hops, old LME, cleaning and sanitizing procedures, water chemestry... My advice is let your beer sit in bottles longer, specially for a porter. It´s possibly nothing more than "green beer". Too early to know so for now I´ll just relax and have a little patience.

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Old 11-03-2012, 03:12 PM   #3
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Thanks. I figured I would take it one bottle at a time and see what happens. I resolved before brew day that if I ruined it, it would be a learning experience.

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Old 11-24-2012, 04:54 AM   #4
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Here is the recipe from the Brewer's Best site http://www.brewersbestkits.com/pdf/1...in%20Spice.pdf
I've left the beer for a few weeks now (can't exactly recall how many at the moment). The beer still has a lot of astringency. It foams easily when poured, leaves large bubbles in the bottom of the bottles, and has a slightly soapy feeling in the mouth. And actually I wonder if some of what I think as astringency really the beer being overly-spiced.

So far, I've thought of a couple of things to watch with my next batch.

1. I used the BYAB method with the included mesh bag. It said to keep grains loose for steeping evenly, but I didn't think they stayed very loose in a tied off bag. My plan to fix this is using a perforated pot, line with a bag and pour grains into bag and allow everything to stay loose until removal of perforated pot. My best guess is it could have leeched tannins from the grains on the outside while barely extracting anything from the grains in the center.

2. I noticed mashing temperatures were on the high side rather than low side. Next time I'll try to keep them on the lower side to further avoid tannins.

3. I used LME, but didn't use a rubber scraper to remove all of it from the containers.

4. Hop pellets were added during the boil but nothing was filtered out before cooling and transferring to fermentation, aside from racking. I honestly don't know if this is something to worry about but it's something I'd like to find out.

5. Fermentation temps were on the high side, next time I'll try to keep them on the low side to keep it from producing off-flavors.

6. When bottling, I added the whole bag of priming sugar included in the kit to water and heated per instructions. Not sure if it was too much sugar or what. I also added the hot water/priming sugar directly to bottling bucket on top of beer. Not sure if this is a factor or not.

7. I allowed the bottles to soak in oxiclean and didn't rinse with hot water. Prior to bottling I rinsed in the included no-rinse sanitizer. I think the oxiclean may be a factor but I did bottle beer in a growler which was sanitized but I don't recall using oxiclean. The beer in the growler is also astringent, though less soapy. Next time I plan to simply clean with water and sanitize with Star San.

All in all, I'd say this bad batch was a big learning experience because it's caused me to look at a lot of factors which could have caused the flavor of this beer, factors which I'll keep in mind on my next batch. The last thing I'd like to point out is that I don't recall any astringent smell when bottling (just a strong spiced smell), though when I open a bottle the astringency is pungent.

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Old 11-24-2012, 05:52 AM   #5
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did you boil the steeping grains?

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Old 11-24-2012, 06:15 AM   #6
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First off, props to you for both doing some homework on your own to try to figure it out and for including a fair amount of info on your process rather than another simple "why's my beer bad?" Post.

I think you're looking in the right places. I'd recommend you choose a recipe with lighter malts for the next one, apply the lessons learned you already mentioned, and see how the next one goes.

What's your water source? Is it fairly hard water?

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Old 11-24-2012, 11:09 AM   #7
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On a side note concerning cleaning the bottles. I do an oxy soak then use one of these http://www.austinhomebrew.com/produc...roducts_id=906 to rinse them out before sanitizing.Works great for bottles and you can put a carboy on it also.

Let us know how the next batch turns out.

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Old 11-24-2012, 11:16 AM   #8
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You really can't smell astringent as brewers know astringency. It is a feeling on the back of the tongue after you swallow. You might be noticing the results of brewing with chlorinated water (band-aid smell) or it could be leftover from the oxyclean not being rinsed well enough (soapy).

Astringency comes from a combination of two factors, high pH and high temperature. If your water wasn't high in pH you didn't extract tannins. If your water was high in pH but you didn't get it too hot while the grains were steeping, you still didn't extract tannins. It requires both factors.

High fermentation temperatures will give you "fusel alcohol" which give you a "hot alcohol" taste but it will also create esters (banana smell) and phenols (clove like smell) but not astringency.

The kit you used is an extract with steeping grains, not an all grain kit so you were steeping the grain in the bag which is not the same as BIAB all grain brewing. That is a good thing for you as the temperature requirement isn't nearly as tight. As you keep brewing and reading on this forum you will learn more about the specialized terms that brewers use.

Filtering the wort going into the fermenter isn't necessary. I just dump everything in and my beers come out tasting good and they clear nicely.

Since you soaked the bottles in oxyclean without doing the rinsing, your beer might not have head when poured. I had this happen on 2 batches where I soaked but didn't rinse enough and it took me weeks to find out why.

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Old 11-24-2012, 11:11 PM   #9
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Thanks for all of the info, everyone. I'll crack another bottle and take notes on everything so I can better describe it. As for the water used, it was Ice Mountain Spring Water. I'll see if I can find some info on that water.

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Old 11-24-2012, 11:17 PM   #10
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I just read something that says Ice Mountain water has a pH of 6.98.

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