what happened last night!

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tranceamerica

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Well, did my 2nd PM brew last night & all went very well...except...when it came time to empty the mashtun, the grain had blocked the spigot & nothing came out...

I have a false bottom, which is just a folding vegetable steamer thingy, and it appears as if when I put the grain in, I'd given it too vigerous of a stir, and lots of grain went past it...sigh...so...

I dumped all the grain and water into my brewpot, cleaned out the spigot, replaced the false bottom...and then drained it...and sparged...all was ok except...

...well, there's a lot of grain pieces in the wort, even though I strained it ...

...getting better all the time =)
 

avidhomebrewer

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I'd give it a bit more time to settle in the primary before you rack it to secondary to make sure all that extra crap settles out. Maybe a few extra days beyond what you normally do.
 

Evan!

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Little grain pieces shouldn't be a problem, really...but the husks might. In the future, I'd advise you to upgrade from a steamer basket.
 

WBC

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Having the proper false bottom would be a wise investment. A lost batch is expensive too.
 
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tranceamerica

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Ok, here's my followup question - it's in the primary now, been fermenting strongly for 24 hours. Today, I tasted some of the blow off liquid, and it was VERY astringent. (bitter). Obviously, I feel I've done something wrong, so can you critique my process?

Strike water at 172*F
Doughed in, measured temp at 155*F (a bit above my target of 153*F)
Measured temp at 1/2 hour 155*F
Then, as written above, had real issues getting the wort out - had to dump the whole shebang into the brew pot, clear out the spitgot, wash the false bottom, dump the whole shebang back into the mash tun, and drain.

Sparged with 180*F water in two goes - I believe this is a batch sparge (?) here's what I did: total sparge water was 2.5 gallons, divided it in two 1.25 gal containers.

- dumped in 1.25 gal at 180*F, gave it a big stir, waited 5 min, drained. recirculated some of the water to get it more clear, but still had some small bits of crap in the wort
- repeated the process above 1x

then, brewed as normal.

I'm worried that:

1) my sparge water was too hot(?)
2) the mash getting stuck + pieces of junk in the brew pot contributed to the bitter taste.

or: maybe it's just too early in the process, and the bitter taste will mellow out..

EDIT - even the smell of what's bubbling out makes my nose pucker - ouch!
 

WBC

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The bitter may be the husks were in contact at temps far above 170 and that is a no-no. You "may" have a tanin taste I think. When you say bitter then you are not referring to hops, right? If you had the proper false bottom I do not think you would have had any problems with this batch.
 
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tranceamerica

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WBC said:
The bitter may be the husks were in contact at temps far above 170 and that is a no-no. You "may" have a tannon taste I think. When you say bitter then you are not referring to hops, right? If you had the proper false bottom I do not think you would have had any problems with this batch.

No, it's not hops. What temp should I sparge at? Sparge water was at 180.
 

WBC

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tranceamerica said:
No, it's not hops. What temp should I sparge at? Sparge water was at 180.
A lot of people say that is OK but it depends on your equipment too. An all metal lauter tun gives off heat and a cooler/mashtun does not after it is heat stabilized. The idea is that when the sparge water hits the grain, heat is absorbed quickly and if stirred should maintain around 168 to 170F. If it is too hot it can go way over 170F and if held long enough will start to extract tannins from the husks. It is the brewers responsibility to keep this from happening. Adjust your sparge water temp accordingly and remember to stir the top of the grains regularly so as not to disturb the grain bed after it has established a filtering action.
 
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tranceamerica

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***sigh*** yes, this is probably what happened - too hot.

I'm using a cooler - so probably the 180*F water had the grain bed above 170*F.

In addition - I just ran a test on my thermometer - stuck it in boiling water (212*F) and it only read 208*F - so likely my "180*F" water was really more like 183-184*F.

The thermometer also takes a long time to get to the correct temp, then if you pull it out of the hot thing, it drops so fast that you're not sure you got an accurate read. Time for me to upgrade to a better thermometer & be more careful next time as to my sparge temp.

two questions:

1) is there any hope for my astringent beer? Will it maybe mellow out?

2) would it make sense to add the sparge water, at a cooler temp, and have some hotter water on hand to raise the temp if necessary? Like, use sparge water at 170*F, and add a pint or so of 190*F water if the grain bed is too cool?

thanks much...
 
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tranceamerica

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update - tasted this batch (w/thief) and it is astringent. tasted the previous batch (in primary still) that was brewed the exact same way - and it's fine. huh. clearly, there was a difference, maybe the stuck runoff debacle had something to do with it...or maybe still the sparge water was too hot. of course, if enough bits of husk got into the brew pot, then maybe boiling them did it, I don't know.

All I know is that next time I'm going to be a heck of a lot more careful with temps, and with the grain in general.

And, in the meantime, I've got a horrid taste in my mouth & I'm depressed about this batch - it was fun to make it, but now I feel....bitter...LOL!!
 

WBC

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I think you will do just fine on your next brew and making mistakes like this makes us much better brewers because it sticks in the grey matter much better than someone else telling us to not make this mistake.
 
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tranceamerica

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well, I'll go ahead and let it ferment & bottle it & hope for the best. maybe the Astringency Ale will become something wonderful in time...
 
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