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Old 02-27-2012, 04:39 AM   #1
tdjb
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Dec 2009
Castle Rock, CO
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I've been searching around and haven't found anything really that I think can help me with my issue. Last week was probably my 8 or 9th all grain batch but during this time I've run into an issue that is starting to bother me. Every couple of batches turn out lacking "backbone", they taste like bitter water (water + hops) kind of. On all of my beers I've used known good recipes (EdWort's pale ale, Jamil's american brown, etc), same process, same equipment. On most of these (aside from one) I've at least hit my target of 70% eff. and many times go a bit over. The OG and FG are almost always within a few points of each other (nothing drastic to cause these issues).

So my question is, what could be causing this? The only thing I can think of is mash temp or fermentation temp. I typically use two thermometers and am pretty good about keeping my mash temps where the recipe calls for (I use a 10 gal. cooler). For fermentation I don't have anything to control that but I do monitor the room the beer ferments in to make sure nothing gets out of hand (70+ or under 60).

At first I thought it might be my water but I would think all of my beers would have come out bad. I've actually brewed EdWort's pale ale twice, the first time (my first brew ever) it turned out great, the second time (about 3 months later) it just didn't have any backbone to it. It's really just frustrating because I hit all my numbers and everything tastes great going into the fermenter but I never know what I'm going to get when I open a bottle. Are there any tests/steps I can do in the future to make 100% I'm getting "good" beer into the bottle?


Just as an FYI I do a double batch sparge and use a CFC chiller to get the wort down to temp pretty quickly if that matters.

 
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Old 02-27-2012, 05:03 AM   #2
peterson82
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Nov 2011
Alexandria, Virginia
Posts: 60

Same thing happens to me. I believe it can be a few things. Water chemistry, pH, mash temp, mash time will all affect the outcome. If you have a low chloride to sulfate ratio (like I do for IPAs) then there is definitely a lack of maltyness. I need to bring the ratio closer to .77 in order for it have more character. I also have problems with pH, and that can affect the beer in many ways, so I am guessing one of those would be flavor. Mash temp I always keep pretty much the same, so perhaps that doesn't affect how malty a beer is as much as the previous. Perhaps mash efficiency and malt character in beer to hand-in-hand?

No expert, just some thoughts.

 
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Old 02-27-2012, 05:07 AM   #3
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Use higher mash temps. Use more crystal malts to add body and sweetness. Try a different yeast. Use softer water (i.e., use 50% reverse osmosis water from the store).
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Old 02-27-2012, 06:23 AM   #4
erikhild59
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Mar 2011
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Try calcium chloride added to your mash.I do this on almost every batch(otherthan ipas). Alkiline sparge water can lend an astringent bitterness also, covering malt flavors. I treat my sparge water with lactic acid to drop the ph.

 
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Old 02-29-2012, 01:07 AM   #5
tdjb
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Dec 2009
Castle Rock, CO
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Thanks for the ideas guys, I guess I'll just have to play around. I've been wanting to brew a big RIS for next winter but I don't want to risk it being crappy so I'm trying to get everything figured out before I commit to it.

 
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Old 02-29-2012, 01:59 AM   #6
wetzie
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Sep 2010
Baltimore MD, Maryland
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I am about 10 batches into all grain and having thje same problem. I haven't done much with the water yet and just starting to learn how this effects different styles of beer.
i get great compliments on my stouts and irish ales but my ipas lack the body of what i am looking for.
i am in need of learning how to do recipes but I need to do more experimenting.

 
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Old 02-29-2012, 08:34 AM   #7
Croat
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Feb 2012
Zagreb, Croatia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wetzie View Post
i get great compliments on my stouts and irish ales but my ipas lack the body of what i am looking for.
i am in need of learning how to do recipes but I need to do more experimenting.
If you say that you make good stouts and irish ales its because of the water you use. Its probably simillar to irish water which means its high in carbonates and bitter chloride to sulfate ratio. Without adjusting your water you'll probably never going to be satisfied with you "lighter" beers

 
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Old 02-29-2012, 01:24 PM   #8
optimatored
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Dec 2008
West Hartford
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It could be as simple as your maltster... i went from using malteurop to briess 2row and i taste a more significant malt backbone in my beers.
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Old 02-29-2012, 01:37 PM   #9
permo
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Sep 2009
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I also had the same problem when I first started brewing. Every brewer and brewery is different. I had to modify recipes and especially mash temps to account for the level of attenuation I was getting and getting "the life sucked" out of my beers by very healthy fermentations and mash temps that were too low.

#1. Get a very accurate thermometer and calibrate it. Nothing can throw you off more than thinking you are mashing at 155 when you are actually at 145.....

#2. switch to a strain of yeast known for more malt foward beers London ESB from wyeast comes to mind.

#3. Increase your mash temp and ferment cooler. I just did a dead guy clone and I mashed it at 155 and am fermenting at 57. It will still finish at 1014 or so and the maltiness will be excellent.

 
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Old 02-29-2012, 03:26 PM   #10
Croat
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Feb 2012
Zagreb, Croatia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erikhild59 View Post
Try calcium chloride added to your mash.I do this on almost every batch(otherthan ipas). Alkiline sparge water can lend an astringent bitterness also, covering malt flavors. I treat my sparge water with lactic acid to drop the ph.
Try to check your chlorine to sulfate ratio.

 
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