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Old 10-31-2008, 05:36 PM   #1
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Default Water, Extract and Steeping Grains

Warning: Long post. Skip to end for actual question.

For my first two batches I added salts to the boil on the advice of my LHBS. The water I use is from the filtered spigot on my fridge. (Keeps my 12 year old busy for 10 minutes.) So I've been doing some reading of John Palmer like a good citizen and have gleaned the following pieces of info.

How to Brew - By John Palmer - Water Chemistry Adjustment for Extract Brewing
"Water chemistry is fairly complex and adding salts is usually not necessary for extract brewing. Most municipal water is fine for brewing with extract and does not need adjustment. So, if you are brewing from an extract recipe that calls for the addition of gypsum or Burton salts, do not add it."

So it seems there was no need to add the minerals but no harm done I guess. But both batches did have specialty grains.

How to Brew - By John Palmer - Mechanics of Steeping
"Water chemistry also plays a role in tannin extraction. Steeping the heavily roasted malts in very soft water will produce conditions that are too acidic and harsh flavors will result. Likewise, steeping the lightest crystal malts in hard water could produce conditions that are too alkaline and tannin extraction would be a problem again. In this case, the terms Hard and Soft Water are being used to indicate a high (>200 ppm) or low(<50 ppm) level of carbonates and the degree of alkalinity of the brewing water."

For both batches the salts were in the boil, NOT the steep, so the water was soft. Batch #2 had some Chocolate malt and I may get harsh flavors according to the above.

Next is the steeping process itself.

How to Brew - By John Palmer - Mechanics of Steeping
"The analogy to a tea bag is a good one in that if the grain is left in for too long (hours), astringent tannin compounds (a.k.a. phenols) can be extracted from the grain husks. The compounds give the wort a dry puckering taste, much like a black tea that has been left to steep too long. The extraction of tannins is especially prevalent if the water is too hot - above 170°F."

Batch #1 was steeped too long while I waited for the main boil but only an hour fifteen maybe. That's probably not too bad. However the recipe said to boil some water, remove from heat, then add the grains, so I probably got tannins from steeping too hot. Certainly the first bottle I opened last weeks after 2 weeks in the bottle had the mild astringent aftertaste. Hopefully that will mellow.

How to Brew - By John Palmer - Example Batch
"Remove the grain bag from the pot, giving it a squeeze to drain the excess wort and avoid dripping on the stove."

Now I squeezed for batch #1 a little but was advised afterwards that that was a bad idea. For batch #2 I was careful about temperatures but I "sparged" the grain to get everything out of it.

In summary I'm concerned about batch #2, the Nut Brown, because I steeped in filtered water. I think this is probably a minor issue though. I expect a RDWHAHB.

Actual Question: On batch #1, English Pale Ale, I think I have tannins. My question is, will they fade as I age the beer per Revvy's instructions?

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/never-dump-your-beer-patience-virtue-time-heals-all-things-even-beer-73254/

Please note I avoided saying "Did I ruin my first batch?". Except for just now.



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Old 11-01-2008, 01:25 AM   #2
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Probably .



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Old 11-03-2008, 04:40 PM   #3
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Thanks.

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Old 11-03-2008, 06:24 PM   #4
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gotta love it when you go through the trouble of typing the background and then an open-ended question.....only to get a non-descriptive, single word for an answer!

Thanks Kungpaodog, I feel like your sense of humor is much like mine. Your answer made me blow dr. pepper half way out my nose!

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Old 11-03-2008, 06:28 PM   #5
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p.s. - Groove puppy, I brewed my first batch yesterday. Steeped at exactly 160 for 30 mins. But squeezed the crap out of it every 5 mins, plus at the end. Found out this morning, it was probably not the best idea (maybe that's why my tea tastes like @$$ too?).

Mine's a nut brown that I planned to ferment at least 2 weeks, and then bottle for at least 3-4 (just in time for x-mas festivities). I asked the same question earlier, and got the don't worry answers that most new brewers get on here.

So, don't worry - just age the beer for a bit longer.

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Old 11-03-2008, 06:28 PM   #6
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Quote:
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Your answer made me blow dr. pepper half way out my nose!

MT
Thanks for sharing that bit of information.

I guess we don't have much to say about salts in extract brews.

Well, I don't have much to say about salts in AG brews either. I'm firmly in the "well, it tastes good, so it's ok" camp of brewing. I have hard water, so it's worked great for me in the types of brews I make. I think that just adding brewing salts without a water report or a specific goal in mind would do more harm than good. If I ever get a hankering to make pilsner, though, I'd pay much closer attention to water chemistry.

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Old 11-03-2008, 06:29 PM   #7
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Maybe...Maybe not....


But ya won't know if you dump it will you?


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Old 11-03-2008, 06:36 PM   #8
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Old 11-03-2008, 06:39 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
Maybe...Maybe not....


But ya won't know if you dump it will you?


I think I answered my own question yesterday when I tried bottle#2 at 3 weeks in bottle. The astringent aftertaste is pretty much completely gone.

Obviously there's an outside possibility that it's a bottle to bottle variance due to contamination but that seems a long shot. I think the extra week made the difference. I'm glad some bright, helpful chap on HBT talked to me about patience.
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Old 11-03-2008, 06:44 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by GroovePuppy View Post
I think I answered my own question yesterday when I tried bottle#2 at 3 weeks in bottle. The astringent aftertaste is pretty much completely gone.

Obviously there's an outside possibility that it's a bottle to bottle variance due to contamination but that seems a long shot. I think the extra week made the difference. I'm glad some bright, helpful chap on HBT talked to me about patience.
Well I'm glad I got through to SOMEONE on here...I'm still mourning a certain overanxious brewer's dumped barleywine...

*sigh*


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