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Astringency question

 
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rickysa



Joined: 13 Mar 2013
Posts: 133
Location: Southern Pines NC


PostLink    Posted: Tue Aug 26, 2014 2:33 pm    Post subject: Astringency question Reply with quote


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I have had this problem in every batch I've brewed, and having researched here and in Palmer's book (and everywhere else I could find) I realize this issue can be managed by:

Proper milling (to reduce excessive husks)
Proper pH of mash and especially sparge
Proper temp of mash/sparge


to quote Kal:


Quote:
Time isn't the only factor. It takes a combination of one or more things:

- Time
- Temp
- pH

If your temp is a normal mash temp of (say) 148-156F and never above 168F, and your pH is in the right range (5.2-5.3) you could mash for days without issues.


My question is....in many recipes, I see the instruction to
Quote:
Raise mash to 168F (mash-out).
....why wouldn't that lead to excess tannins?
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mnoltimier



Joined: 10 Oct 2011
Posts: 60
Location: Berthoud, CO

Drinking: Big Nut Brown Ale, Sky Pond Pale Ale, Smashin' Punkin, Berlinner Weisse, Vienna Lager, Hopulence IIPA, Helles Angels

Working on: Maude Flanders Red, Gallagher's Watermelon Wheat


PostLink    Posted: Tue Aug 26, 2014 4:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I talked to Colin Kaminski about tannins last year at GABF and he said the magic number to stay under is 173... so I use 168 to be safe.
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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 9859
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Janet's Brown, Maibock, Kolsch, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: West Coast Blaster (American Red IPA)


PostLink    Posted: Wed Aug 27, 2014 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The mash out at 168F is short. I only hold it for 10 mins.

That said, even holding longer is likely not an issue as tannin extraction is increased by :

- Higher temps (higher than 168F, mostly above 172-173 as mnoltimier mentioned)
- higher pH
- Longer time
- lower gravity

So think of the mash: It's extremely high gravity (concentrated). The time is short, only 10 mins, the pH is low (5.2) and we're only doing 10 mins or so.

Where it can become a problem is near the end of the sparge assuming you fly sparge per my setup/instructions. As you slowly fly spage, the gravity of the wort in the MLT drops and the pH goes up. So to combat this I treat my sparge water with lactic acid to the 5.6-5.8 range, and I also turn off my HLT at the start of the sparge. So the sparge water starts at 168F (which is already lower than the 172-73 limit) and then drops over time. By the end of the 60-90 sparge when the pH has crept up a bit (but not over5.6-5.8) and the gravity has crept down, the sparge water is closer to 150-155 so as to reduce any possibility of excess tannin extraction.

Note I said excess - you'll always get SOME tannins and in some beer styles (some german brewers for example) will purposely bump up conditions to get a little bit more tannic bite.

Could be your water chemistry too. I found that my blonde ales had a little more tannic bite to them before I started to pay attention to water chemistry. See my blonde ale recipe for the target Ca/Na/Cl/Mg/S04 numbers and use EZ Water Calculator to get there.

Good luck!

Kal

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rickysa



Joined: 13 Mar 2013
Posts: 133
Location: Southern Pines NC


PostLink    Posted: Wed Aug 27, 2014 3:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the replys...

Kal, I've done the "Brew Day: Step by Step" four times (among 10 other recipes) and always produce the tannin bite. I've obtained our local water profile and amended per EZ to the targets indicated on the Blonde as well as the others (where given). I've discovered mistakes I've made in the past out of ignorance (too hot sparge at the end, improper pH monitoring during sparge, to fine a grind...pretty much every mistake you can make Smile ) but felt I had managed the errors on the last three batches I brewed....no dice. I had even entertained winnowing the grind, but realized that was kinda silly...but desperate situations require desperate action Wink .

Frustration sat in, and I tried to get someone local with experience to come brew/watch/monitor errors, but small town and no luck...I've started a "Full system for sale" thread twice but stopped myself. I've taken several months off and am ready to start again...trying to think through any possible missteps before I make them.

Here I go!
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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 9859
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Janet's Brown, Maibock, Kolsch, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: West Coast Blaster (American Red IPA)


PostLink    Posted: Wed Aug 27, 2014 5:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not sure what the issue could be. Best to get someone to help out / provide assistance when you brew - there's something somewhere that is causing the issue. Have you given samples to other brewers to try too?

Kal

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rickysa



Joined: 13 Mar 2013
Posts: 133
Location: Southern Pines NC


PostLink    Posted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 6:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Best to get someone to help out / provide assistance when you brew


Believe me, I've tried!

We have a local brew-club, but nobody with much all-grain experience (on their webpage, I offered to host an all-grain brew day w/ the beer going to one of those attending...no takers)

We have a local (small) brewpub with a couple of twenty-ish master brewers...I've offered them whatever they wanted money-wise to come spend a couple of hours with me....they agreed to, but never showed.

I keep looking at the EB map hoping someone close by will put a system together
Smile

Anybody want to come to Pinehurst to brew and play a round of golf?? Spend a week at the beach?? Go offshore fishing???

Smile Smile
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jcw0220



Joined: 15 Oct 2011
Posts: 24



PostLink    Posted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What are your numbers at the end of sparge? The biggest factor for tannin extraction is pH. Like has been mentioned before this become much more of an issue as the gravity decreases and temperature increases.

What is the gravity and pH of your last runnings into the kettle? Do other people taste the astringency you mention? Has it always been an issue?

I noticed that after using my system for a year or so I started getting an astringent burnt flavor in all my beers. I concluded that it was my heating elements and cleaned the life out of them, that solved the problem.
cheers
joe
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rickysa



Joined: 13 Mar 2013
Posts: 133
Location: Southern Pines NC


PostLink    Posted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 7:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
What is the gravity and pH of your last runnings into the kettle? Do other people taste the astringency you mention? Has it always been an issue?


1. I haven't checked that...in fact, I hadn't really researched the problem until prior to the last four batches (which were all brewed before the first was ready to drink---all four, two different recipes, had the same issue). Those four I checked the pH of the mash and the sparge prior to sparging and made adjustments as necessary.

2. Yes, especially my wife Smile

3. Yes, since Day 1. I believe I've made every error leading to off flavors there is, and each still had the astringency issue.


Quote:
I noticed that after using my system for a year or so I started getting an astringent burnt flavor in all my beers. I concluded that it was my heating elements and cleaned the life out of them, that solved the problem.


Interesting....I always fill the BK with a BPW wash and boil it for awhile, but nothing more (except scraping the majority of goop off before cleaning)

Thanks for the input Thumbs Up
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jcw0220



Joined: 15 Oct 2011
Posts: 24



PostLink    Posted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 9:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Depending on what source you are reading you want to end the sparge when the pH gets above 6 and/or the SG below 1.010. That is when bad things start to get rinsed out of the grain husk. Like most things in the brewing world there is much debate over the actual cut off point, and those numbers are just a general rule.

If the flavor has always been there I wouldn't attribute it to the elements, unless they had some oil or other taint on them from the manufacturer.
Cheers
Joe
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silverspoons



Joined: 21 Dec 2010
Posts: 555
Location: Webster NY


PostLink    Posted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you think the problem might be coming from your sparge ( PH, temp etc..) why not try a batch sparge to eliminate or identify a problem area. After mashout.. open up your mash valve full and take the first runnings then dump all your sparge water in. let sit for 10 minutes and run all that out.. then boil as usual. You might loose a little efficiency but you also might identify where the problem is occurring. I've done this on "shortened" brew days. I just collect directly into a pitcher and then dump in the boil kettle.

Silverspoons
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rickysa



Joined: 13 Mar 2013
Posts: 133
Location: Southern Pines NC


PostLink    Posted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's a great idea...I have been quite maverick with the sparge in the past.
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skelley



Joined: 24 Feb 2012
Posts: 210
Location: brookfield, wisconsin


PostLink    Posted: Tue Sep 02, 2014 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If that does not work you might try a brew with only RO water and build a profile yourself just to entirely eliminate the most fundamental and largest volume ingredient common to all your batches.
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stickyfinger



Joined: 04 May 2014
Posts: 172
Location: hudson valley, NY


PostLink    Posted: Fri Sep 05, 2014 2:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another idea to see if you are really getting tannins or if it is something else is to try one batch doing a simple no-sparge. This is a wasteful process, but you will produce a very rich, super-low-tannin beer. Just use online calculators to find out how much grain and water you will need to mash and then run off the entire volume with no sparging to obtain preboil gravity. Try to brew a beer that you usually do and see if you like that beer more. If so, you are probably getting tannins, if not, you have some other problem.

I recently did a saison and way over sparged it on accident. I think I sparged down to around 2 plato or less!!! I was really worried when I tasted the wort pre-fermentation. It had a very puckering bite. After fermenting it out to dryiness, it has a very nice dry crispness and is not at all unpleasant. If you are trying to make a dry, crisp beer, I think some tannin really can help with that. If you want a really rich, malty beer, then just be a little wasteful with the sparge and make sure to keep the pH down.
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stickyfinger



Joined: 04 May 2014
Posts: 172
Location: hudson valley, NY


PostLink    Posted: Tue May 12, 2015 12:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've also noticed that two things led to astringency in my experience. sometimes it ages out quite nicely, so just store it cold and wait. One, if you crush too fine you might get astringency. Two, if you sparge your mashbed too much, even if you have the right pH, you can get astringency in my experience. I've never had a beer that was undrinkable though. Maybe that comes from having a way-off pH?
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Orbit



Joined: 11 Dec 2018
Posts: 11



PostLink    Posted: Sun Dec 16, 2018 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wonder is it true that sparging with RO/distilled water is safer, because there is practically 0 bicarbonate so tannins are not wash out from husk even when we oversparge ?
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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 9859
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Janet's Brown, Maibock, Kolsch, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: West Coast Blaster (American Red IPA)


PostLink    Posted: Sun Dec 16, 2018 2:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most brewers already use soft/low bicarbonate (low alkalinity) water for brewing/sparging as otherwise you can't get your water adjustment numbers where you'd want for most beers. For example, my city water is very soft. Not quite RO of course, but soft enough that I can hit my water adjustment targets without having to use RO.

If you have really hard water with high bicarbonate where it could cause issues you have much more important issues to worry about that are going to cause your beer to not be ideal.

As per previous posts above, I also recommend letting the sparge water cool as pH rises and gravity lowers. This helps avoid excess tannin extraction.

So you can certainly sparge with RO water but it's not going to help someone who's already paying attention to their other numbers. In other words, if your process is sound and you're able to hit your water adjustment numbers with the non-RO water you have, I wouldn't bother sparging with RO. Just make sure to follow my BREW DAY STEP BY STEP process as it'll make sure you do not extract excess tannins.

Good luck!

Kal

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