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Old 02-18-2007, 08:14 PM   #1
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Default Slightly harsh taste

Today I racked my first AG from primary to secondary, and I tasted the hydrometer sample, and it was very good, but was a bit too bitter. My recipe was as follows:

11 lb. 2-row
1 lb. crystal
0.5 lb. roasted
1 oz. Kent Goldings @ 60 min
1 oz. Kent Goldings @ 30 min
1 oz. Fuggles @ 5 min
White Labs Irish Ale Yeast

O.G. was 1.062, and I have yet to check the FG as my hydrometer is sitting inside my other carboy so I don't have to take samples from it constantly.

Anyway, the bitterness was not quite like a hop bitterness. It wasn't overly pronounced, but it was there. Could it be tannins? I did a batch sparge: I poured in some sparge water, stirred, let it sit for an hour, and then drained (after filtering). I then poured in some strike water, stirred again, let it sit for 15 minutes, and then filtered & drained again. Is something about my process off that might cause some tannins to come through?

I'm not really that concerned about it, whatever it is, because this beer is still really green and a couple months in the bottle might mellow it out just right, but has anyone else come across anything like this?


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Old 02-18-2007, 09:03 PM   #2
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It'll taste better in a couple of weeks.

You may also find that your are being hypercritical and paranoid with your first batch. After brewing my first AG I could swear I could taste a medicinal flavour but no one else could. It disappeared after a couple of weeks in the bottle.

Tannins can cause an harsh bitterness.
Can be caused by mashing/sparging at too high a temp or over sparging.


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Old 02-18-2007, 09:11 PM   #3
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As you said, the beer is still really green. It could mellow quite a bit yet.

I made a very similar recipe recently and was *very* surprised at the change in flavor from the racking sample to two weeks in bottle to five weeks in bottle. I tend to like my British/Irish ales malty and was at first disappointed that I somehow messed up the hops profile (I thought I bittered too much too early and added my aromatics too early, as well). That first sample from racking tasted fit for cleaning brass. But, time continues to teach me, and it came out really good after five weeks in the bottle.

But, if you're sure it isn't your hops, then...

How hot was your sparge water? Your mashing temp(s)? All I can think of is that your sparge water may have been hot enough to cause some tannins to leech out during your 15 minute interval.
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Old 02-19-2007, 12:30 AM   #4
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Check the PH of your water, batch sparging is pretty forgiving but high mash ph will cause some issues. For now I'd suggest waiting it out, it will most likely be fine.
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Old 02-19-2007, 12:35 AM   #5
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Another suggestion, I've learned that English ales come out best when you do most of the bittering with the 60 minute addition. Skip the 30 and 20 additions and do a 1/2 ounce for flavor at 10 minutes and a 1/2 ounce at 1 minute or flameout for aroma. This really smooths out the bitterness, I think the 30 minute additions are really the culprit when beers come out harsh.
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Old 02-19-2007, 01:28 AM   #6
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I'd guess that the 1 oz Fuggles at 5 minutes is responsible. (Try sucking a few dry hop leaves for an example.) If so, as the others have said, it should be fine in a few weeks.

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Old 02-19-2007, 12:31 PM   #7
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All sound advice, thanks. I was pretty sure it would mellow with time (like I tell all the newbs), but it was a new flavor to me.

Mash was 153 for 1 hour (I forget what I had to heat the water to to get that), sparge water was heated to 170. Pre-boil volume was between 5.75 and 6 gallons.


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