terrible finish

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HouleyJ512

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I am new to homebrewing...as of January 2007. I have brewed 2 batches of beer. The first batch was a dark lager. It came out alright but with some flaws. The biggest problem I had with it is the finish. The actual taste of the beer was pretty good, not spectacular, but hey, it was my first brew. Anyway, the finish was terrible, a very bitter, strange grain-like taste.
My second brew was supposed to be similar to Samuel Adams Boston Ale, not a clone just similar. Again, the beer tasted ok but the finish was the same awful, grain-like bitterness.
Now I should tell you that I am brewing in a partial mash style, so some extract, some specialty grains. I also understand that when steeping the grains if the water temp gets above 165F it can impart some real nasty flavors from the tannins of the grains. So I don't think that this is the problem. Is there anything else that could cause such a horrible finish? Another thing, I keep hearing about sparging my grains. Is that the same as steeping them in water or am I missing something?
 

Sir Humpsalot

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What about your crush? How are you crushing the grains?

What kind of efficiency are you getting from your grains? Are you partial mashing? Or all grain brewing? If you don't know how much efficiency you're getting, just tell us your original gravity for the beer, and how many pounds of grain went into how many gallons of water..
 

zoebisch01

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If your water pH is really off it can lead to problems. Fwiw, dark malts are very acidic and in general if you use over 10% of them in the grainbill you should make sure you have some bicarbonates to buffer them, although it doesn't appear this is the case with your Boston Lager. Still you may want to double check your pH.
 
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HouleyJ512

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I am partial mashing...right now i'm unsure of the original gravity but i do know that we had 5lbs of grain and a wort batch size of 3.5 gallons. I mixed about 5 lbs of malt extract with an additional 2 gallons of water.
 

Yooper

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Well, if you post your recipe and all the details (temperature, time, fermenting time, yeast) we can take a look and see what's going on.

Sparging is when you rinse your grains. Depending on your PM technique, you can do that in the mash tun, or you can do it over the brewpot. Let us know exactly what you did and how, and we can see if anything stands out.
 
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HouleyJ512

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ok, i will get my recipe up as soon as i get the chance. i don't have it available right now.
so if sparging is just rinsing your grains then what does it mean to sparge with a specific amount of water (say 2 gallons)? Am I just taking the grains out of the steeping water and then dropping them in another pot of water to rinse them?
one more question...when transferring to the primary fermenter should I be straining my wort?
 

Sir Humpsalot

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HouleyJ512 said:
ok, i will get my recipe up as soon as i get the chance. i don't have it available right now.
so if sparging is just rinsing your grains then what does it mean to sparge with a specific amount of water (say 2 gallons)? Am I just taking the grains out of the steeping water and then dropping them in another pot of water to rinse them?
one more question...when transferring to the primary fermenter should I be straining my wort?
Strain your wort on the way to primary? I do that if it's convenient, but sometimes it's not. It is a big no-no if you are going to let your beer sit around in the primary fermenter for a long time, but if you rack off to secondary within a few weeks, it's not really an issue. I hear that the trub provides good food for the yeast. I've had, however, beers that were incredibly full of trub. If that's an ongoing problem for you, you might want to strain some out, especially if you're trying to eek 5.75 gallons out of a 6.5 gallon primary.
 

todd_k

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did you squeeze the grain to get more liquid out of it? that can lead to more tannins in your beer and more bitterness.
 

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HouleyJ512 said:
ok, i will get my recipe up as soon as i get the chance. i don't have it available right now.
so if sparging is just rinsing your grains then what does it mean to sparge with a specific amount of water (say 2 gallons)? Am I just taking the grains out of the steeping water and then dropping them in another pot of water to rinse them?
one more question...when transferring to the primary fermenter should I be straining my wort?
When you sparge your grains, you are either pouring 170 degree water over them, or if you you are batch sparging, you add it to the grains. Then you stir and let sit for about 10 minutes. Then, drain. Just like in all grain. It really depends on your equipment. Some people mash in their oven, some in a cooler, some (like me) started in a bottling bucket!

Here are some good directions: http://beer.about.com/gi/dynamic/of...org/Library/Methods/Tolley/PartialMash1.shtml


By the way, I always strain going into my fermenter. You can get a big metal colander that fits over a primary bucket, or line a funnel with cheesecloth in you're using a carboy. It really helps keep some of the junk out, and helps aerate your wort as well. Still, the junk will settle to the bottom eventually anyway and you can rack off of it- so some people do, some people don't.
 
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