How can I make my beer more crisp?

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

Matteo57

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2011
Messages
769
Reaction score
20
Location
Corona
So I feel like a lot of my beer, while the taste is really great, is a bit more fuller bodied than I would like. Even beers I mash really low at I find some of them a bit of a more heavy of a mouthfeel than I would like.
I did a really hoppy pale recently, mashed at 150, OG was 1.056 and FG was 1.011, and it is still, while flavor is great, should be a bit more crisp!
I usually ferment around 66-70F depending on the beer. Usually us-05 or cal ale yeast. I also keg and force carb my beers following a chart/guideline depending on the beer.
Is it water chemistry maybe that I need to start looking at that might be the culprit? I want to dive into water and start working with that, but I haven't had the time to really dig into that yet. Any thoughts?
Thanks!
 

microbusbrewery

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2011
Messages
2,122
Reaction score
325
Location
West Jordan
Do you always mash at 150F or higher? Beta-amylase is most active at 150F and below, so the simple answer would be to mash at a lower temp. Maybe try 145F and see how that goes.
 

BigFloyd

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2012
Messages
5,262
Reaction score
768
Location
Tyler
Your mash temp is normal for the style. I wouldn't be inclined to drop it any more than a degree or two (if that) for fear of making it taste too dry. Have you double-checked your thermometer to make sure that it's accurate? You'd be surprised at how badly off some of them can be.

Are your ferment temps of 66-70*F measured on the fermenter or surrounding air? If you can pitch around 62*F, let it warm to 65*F (beer temp), keep it there for 4-5 days and then let it finish in the 68-70 range, that will help give you a cleaner, more crisp ferment with US-05.
 

duboman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 13, 2011
Messages
6,365
Reaction score
517
Location
Glenview
+1 the the above suggestions but even if you are not yet ready to delve into water, a water report would help as you can then at least see what you are dealing with.

I had similar issues and once I started modifying my water the problem went away.
 

davesrose

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2008
Messages
967
Reaction score
11
Location
Atlanta, GA
+1 on fermentation temp. My average fermenting temperature is about 60 now (for safale-05). I'd say reaching 70 during active fermentation can have "malty" to fruity to buttery flavors. Another thing that can produce off flavors is not having everything completely sanitized.

For your current batches that aren't crisp enough, you can try lagering them for at least a couple weeks.
 

grathan

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2010
Messages
2,249
Reaction score
147
Location
Albany
I doubt our definitions of crisp are the same as I've had no formal training in tasting.

acidic low ph in finished beer can seem crisp to me. (+1 on the water report)
dry hops seem crisp to me
high carbonation levels give an appearance of crisp
yeast variety can play a huge role in perceived crisp, I find kolsch yeast to seem crisp (+1 on low ferm temps)
clarity seems to help crispness (less protein and yeast in suspension) (+1 on lagering)
 

austinb

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 12, 2007
Messages
250
Reaction score
15
Location
Portland
There are a number of things to look at. First as someone already mentioned, check your thermometer against another one to make sure it is accurate. I once had a beer that started at 1.050 and ended at 1.025. It was very sweet and not strong but no matter how long I waited it would not ferment out any more. Turns out my thermometer was off by about 20 degrees and I was mashing at about 170. While it doesn't sound like yours is way off if it is just a few degrees off you may be really mashing at 153-158 instead of 150. Also make sure you stir your mash and double check the temperature a couple times toward he beginning of your mash. If your thermometer is accurate then try lowering your mash to 148 next time and then start looking into water chemistry as your next step.

Your water can definitely affect the perceived crispness. We have really soft water here (low mineral content) and i always felt my beers were overly malty and never hoppy enough until i started looking into water chemistry. If you are lucky your city will have the mineral analysis of your water readily available to the public (I live in Portland, OR and they have the water quality report with all the minerals brewers are concerned with a available online). If your city does not have that info available to the public then order a brewing water lab report. They aren't too expensive and you should only have to do this once as your water is not likely to change much unless you move or if your water comes from different sources at different times of the year. The brewers friend website has a great brewing water calculator to help you achieve different style profiles. As long as you don't have an excess of any of the minerals it is easy to modify your water with simple additions of inexpensive minerals available at your local brew shop or even some such as baking soda and salt you may already have on hand. Once you figure out where your water is at you can figure out what you need to add for what your goal is whether it is a balanced, a hoppy or a malty beer and just write that down somewhere so you don't have to pull up the water calculator every time you want to brew. If this seems like it is getting too complicated and taking the fun out of brewing then you could always just try adding a teaspoon or two of gypsum to your mash water as it will add sulfites which will enhance the crispness of your hop bitterness.

It sounds like the yeast you are using is not the issue because us-05 and cal ale (same strain) are relatively clean dry yeasts and your ferm temp is good, I'd usually recommend no less than 60, no more than 70 and ideally between 65-68.
 
OP
M

Matteo57

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2011
Messages
769
Reaction score
20
Location
Corona
Hmm, I think I am going to have to print a water report.
I had one beer I think it was due to an off thermometer. Lately I use 2 and they are both calibrated so that should be fixed now...
Thanks for all o the insight. I will have to start fermenting the 05 a bit cooler and se if that helps
 

egress

Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2013
Messages
11
Reaction score
0
Reading my first brewing book (Complete Joy of Homebrewing, which I'm sure everyone has heard of) and I conveniently came across something that may help you.

He says you can substitute a portion of your extract (I know you're using all-grain but I'm sure there's an equivalent) with corn sugar to lighten the body (and flavor) but retain the alcoholic content. However, you should never replace more than 20% of your extract with corn sugar.

Hope that helps!
 

unionrdr

Homebrewer, author & air gun collector
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Feb 19, 2011
Messages
39,152
Reaction score
3,797
Location
Sheffield
Corn sugar is dextrose. Most bottlers prime with it. A pound or so is ok if you wanna dry it out a little. Try the WL029 kolsh yeast. you basically need lager like characteristics for a crisp beer in the normal sense. ales are meant to be maltier & more full bodied.
 

BigFloyd

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2012
Messages
5,262
Reaction score
768
Location
Tyler
Reading my first brewing book (Complete Joy of Homebrewing, which I'm sure everyone has heard of) and I conveniently came across something that may help you.

He says you can substitute a portion of your extract (I know you're using all-grain but I'm sure there's an equivalent) with corn sugar to lighten the body (and flavor) but retain the alcoholic content. However, you should never replace more than 20% of your extract with corn sugar.

Hope that helps!
The thread starter appears genuinely interested in correcting the issues with his brew. I'm afraid that trying to cover them up with corn sugar isn't fixing them. I'd stay away from using it in the fermentables except in those styles which call for it.
 
OP
M

Matteo57

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2011
Messages
769
Reaction score
20
Location
Corona
Correct. I often use dextrose in dipas to lighten the body of the beer and some other beers that might call for that. This isn't a "fix with dextrose" issue really. I think like others have stated it is probably either: ferment cooler, let sit longer before kegging, or adjusting water chemistry. I think about 2 weeks should be just fine to let sit, as long as all is done, cold crash or a couple days then transfer. I dry hopped my previous beer for a week then cold crashed then legged. Think next time I might try some others suggestion on cold crashing first. Then raising temp back up to 65ish or so and dry hopping then. Not sure if that will make any difference but we shall see.
 
Top