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Old 07-24-2013, 09:06 AM   #1
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Default astringent

My American Stout placed 2nd in this years Kona Brewing Contest. One comment from both judges was the word "astringent". Slight taste, I don't sparge but do use city water in my BIAB set up. Would distilled water help? I"d like to take 1st place next year.


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Old 07-24-2013, 12:10 PM   #2
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When you all grain brew you can't use distilled water because the yeast need some minerals in the beer. Try bottled spring water or build water from distilled and mineral additions.

It's possible that the judges perceived astringency from the effects of the chlorination of the water too. What does your city use for that and how do you deal with that?


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Old 07-24-2013, 01:55 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RM-MN View Post
When you all grain brew you can't use distilled water because the yeast need some minerals in the beer. Try bottled spring water or build water from distilled and mineral additions.

It's possible that the judges perceived astringency from the effects of the chlorination of the water too. What does your city use for that and how do you deal with that?
Sure, you can use distilled water. I use 100% RO water (very close to distilled) to sparge. That's actually recommended to avoid astringency in all beers. Sparging with water with low alkalinity is the way to go.

Normally, using a lot of darker grains in a beer does create some astrigency- but if it's excessive, it could be a pH issue during the mash or sparge. Sparging with 100% distilled water could totally fix a too-high sparge pH. Since this is a no-sparge beer, though, I'm leaning towards mash pH issues.

Do you check mash pH at all? You can use distilled water with 5 grams of Calcium chloride per 5 gallon batch and that would provide enough minerals for the beer.
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Old 07-24-2013, 07:16 PM   #4
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Thanks all, I have never checked mash ph. I'm gonna locate a test kit or meter and check. The only reason I ask is for the next contest as I've never had anyone else mention it.
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Bottled in the refer: Am Imperial Stout(3/11)
Bottled in the refer: SN Celebration Clone
Bottled in the refer: Choc/Coffee Stout
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Old 07-24-2013, 09:00 PM   #5
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Given the volcanic geology in HI, I expect that your tap water is fairly soft and non-alkaline already. Its probably only a few notches off of distilled now. Using distilled may not provide much benefit in the way you are seeking.

Oversparging could be a problem, but since you BIAB, there shouldn't be that problem. If there is little alkalinity in your tap water, its possible that a bit of alkalinity is needed in the mash to help neutralize excess acidity from the roast and crystal malts. Since your water probably doesn't have much sodium in it, using baking soda in the mash may be an acceptable way of neutralizing excess acidity and maintaining the mash pH in a desirable range. A program like Bru'n Water can assist in calculating if a bit of alkalinity is needed in the mash.
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Old 07-25-2013, 10:10 PM   #6
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Sometimes roast barley and or black malts can leach off an ashy charcoal like flavor that is somewhat astringent, depending on you water profile and mash pH. I find adding some gypsum or chalk can help to mitigate this flavor.
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Old 07-25-2013, 10:21 PM   #7
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it's also possible that the mill you use is crushing too finely and your extracting astringency from the crushed husks because of that
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Old 07-25-2013, 10:21 PM   #8
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Slight astringency isn't a bad thing in an American stout...the comment may not have been a "bad" one.

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Can have a bit of roast-derived astringency, but this character should not be excessive.
http://www.bjcp.org/2008styles/style13.php#1e
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Old 07-26-2013, 02:15 PM   #9
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Try a half campden tab. Lots of municipalities are switching to chloramine as it is more stable in the pipes that free chlorine, unfortunately, it can't be boiled off effectively for us as brewers. I switched to campden and it completely eliminated the astringent off flavors for me.
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Old 07-26-2013, 06:55 PM   #10
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Mahalo, will take all suggestions into consideration on the next brew.


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Fermenting: Am. Pale Ale(3/28)
Bottled in the refer: Am Imperial Stout(3/11)
Bottled in the refer: SN Celebration Clone
Bottled in the refer: Choc/Coffee Stout
Bottled in the refer: German IPA
Bottled in the refer: German Dry Stout
Bottled in the refer: Wai`anae SummerAle Ale
Bottled in the refer: GermanImperialStout
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