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General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: daze1231 on April 03, 2010, 02:25:33 AM

Title: Astringency Question
Post by: daze1231 on April 03, 2010, 02:25:33 AM
Hi Y'all-

I've noticed some recent batches have what i perceive to be an astringent quality to it, and i'm analyzing my processes to pinpoint the reason.

I mash using a 10-gallon Rubbermaid cooler with a false bottom. Almost in 75% of batches, the mash gets stuck, and i usually have to transfer the mash to another vessel, clear the clog, and transfer again, and begin the lautering process over.

During the process, the grains get agitated quite significantly and it's very time consuming when it happens. So, i'm wondering whether these two factors may contribute to the astringency, as the agitation of grain may be extracting tanins from the husks, as well as a rising PH due to the additional time the grains are in the mash tun.

Any light that can be shed on this by anyone would be most appreciated, and suggestion certainly welcome..

Happy Brewing!


-DAZE
Title: Re: Astringency Question
Post by: diybrewing on April 03, 2010, 02:39:58 AM
Why are you getting such a high number of stuck mashes? 75% is really a high percentage. I have had 1 stuck mash in the past 6 years.Did you make your own false bottom? Have you ever tried rice hulls?
Your astringency could be coming from the amount of transfering you are doing, Are you checking the pH at any time during this time?
Title: Re: Astringency Question
Post by: daze1231 on April 03, 2010, 02:45:32 AM
i guess my false bottom sucks, is my best guess. or maybe its i try to brew too big of beers for my mash tun. i also started to do a regular mash out, which seems to have helped.

Have not done any PH testing as of yet, but that's certainly good advice.

Thanks!


-DAZE
Title: Re: Astringency Question
Post by: gail on April 03, 2010, 02:53:39 AM
Are you using a plastic false bottom or a stainless one?  The only stuck mash I've ever had in 9 years was with a plastic false bottom that floated on me, causing a clog in the valve.
Gail
Title: Re: Astringency Question
Post by: daze1231 on April 03, 2010, 02:57:53 AM
it's a stainless one, but i notice alot of grain somehow manages to slip underneath it and get sucked into the drain valve. maybe it's too small in diameter for my mash tun, but it was the one that came with the kit from northern brewer.

-DAZE
Title: Re: Astringency Question
Post by: gail on April 03, 2010, 03:05:37 AM
Possibly try making sure you're not dislodging the false bottom as you stir, causing grains to get underneath.  A smaller amount under the false bottom will just run out of the valve as you recirculate until the grain bed sets.
I'm wondering about your crush--too fine will create stuck mashes and may also lead to excessive tannins in the finished beer which might seem astringent.  Astringency will feel like chewing on grape skins, or even like drinking strong tea, sort of drying on the sides of your cheeks.  How much flour do you have in the grain after milling?
Gail
Title: Re: Astringency Question
Post by: daze1231 on April 03, 2010, 03:13:34 AM
i have my grains milled at my LHBS, and that doesn't seem to be the problem. I think you might have nailed it with the question about my stirring.... i'm probably inadvertently lifting the false bottom up slightly through aggressive stirring, therefore allowing grains to slip under the false bottom..

Thanks again for the advice!!!!

-DAZE
Title: Re: Astringency Question
Post by: gail on April 03, 2010, 03:25:38 AM
I think I use the same stainless false bottom (from my LHBS tho, not NB) and it really works great, no complaints.  Hope that changing your stirring ends your hassles of stuck sparges AND the astringency you're sensing.
Good luck,
Gail
Title: Re: Astringency Question
Post by: daze1231 on April 03, 2010, 03:31:58 AM
so glad i joined this forum..this place rocks!

-DAZE
Title: Re: Astringency Question
Post by: denny on April 03, 2010, 04:09:44 PM
as well as a rising PH due to the additional time the grains are in the mash tun.

I'm curious about this statement.  I don't think I've ever sen any correlation between a longer mash and rising pH.  Anybody else?
Title: Re: Astringency Question
Post by: daze1231 on April 03, 2010, 07:32:34 PM
perhaps i'm mistaken here Denny. Sounds like if there was a correlation, you'd know better than I. I think i menat that a longer mash would create a situation where more tannins would be extracted, which sounds like has nothing to do with PH.

Thanks,

-DAZE
Title: Re: Astringency Question
Post by: denny on April 03, 2010, 07:46:36 PM
I think i menat that a longer mash would create a situation where more tannins would be extracted, which sounds like has nothing to do with PH.

I've heard people postulate that, but IME I've never had it happen.  I know that a lot of people who do overnight mashes and have never reported this happening.  I tend to think it's more theoretical than real.
Title: Re: Astringency Question
Post by: gail on April 03, 2010, 08:39:05 PM
Sounds like a few different things are being discussed here.
Correlation between astringency, tannin extraction and pH--yes.
Correlation between length of mash and pH (with the exception of an acid mash)--not that I've ever heard, read about or experienced. 
Anyone know of any data to correlate length of mash (after the initial 10-15 minutes or so at sacc temps) with rising (or even changing) pH?  Kai?
Gail
Title: Re: Astringency Question
Post by: denny on April 03, 2010, 09:13:31 PM
FWIW, Gail, it's something I've often heard repeated but I don't think I've ever seen any data about it.
Title: Re: Astringency Question
Post by: gail on April 03, 2010, 09:20:00 PM
Denny...this has my curiousity going.  What would make this process happen (rising pH in longer mash)?  Once buffered, how would this change?  What chemical changes are being produced in very, very long mashes?
Gail
Title: Re: Astringency Question
Post by: MDixon on April 04, 2010, 01:06:45 AM
daze - I gotta throw my $0.02 in there, what EXACTLY makes you believe your beers are astringent?
Title: Re: Astringency Question
Post by: daze1231 on April 04, 2010, 02:01:46 AM
That's actually an excellent question. From the description of many of the off-flavors in beer that i've read, the astringency one best fits my situation.. there's a perceived bitterness, and not the hop-like kind of bitterness, but more of a harsh mouth-puckering sensation.


 
Title: Re: Astringency Question
Post by: MDixon on April 04, 2010, 05:59:48 PM
Sounds like you have realized you don't taste astringency, you FEEL/SENSE it. If you are finding the beers puckering then it does sound as if they have some astringency.

Have you measured your pH to ensure you are mashing and sparging at a proper pH level?
Title: Re: Astringency Question
Post by: daze1231 on April 04, 2010, 08:46:47 PM
MDixon-

Nope, no PH testing as of yet. There's a number of process additions i intend on adding to my brewing, and PH testing is at the top of the list.

Any recommendations on relatively inexpensive and effective ways to do this? I've read that those electronic PH meter devices are good, but expensive, and require alot of maintenance. how about ColorPhast strips?


Brew on!

-DAZE 
Title: Re: Astringency Question
Post by: lupy on April 04, 2010, 11:03:16 PM
Any recommendations on relatively inexpensive and effective ways to do this? I've read that those electronic PH meter devices are good, but expensive, and require alot of maintenance. how about ColorPhast strips?


Brew on!

-DAZE 

The colorphast strips are reportedly adequate but read approximately 0.3 too low. I got mine from sanitationtools. (http://www.sanitationtools.com/Products.asp?Product=1438&Category=65) The 4.0 - 7.0 range works well for our purposes.

To continue the thought; If one were to rely on the colorphast strips and the mash pH was right where it should be, what direction should one look to address the perceived astringency?
Title: Re: Astringency Question
Post by: MDixon on April 07, 2010, 11:58:32 AM
It's really two things. Be sure the mash pH is in line, then, during the sparge be sure the pH of the runnings is not rising too high. The easiest test IMO is to do it on a pale malt grist (maybe with a little crystal), from there most any other mash should behave similarly unless the water changes for some reason or the grist has a fair amount of roasted grains.
Title: Re: Astringency Question
Post by: redbeerman on April 09, 2010, 06:20:12 PM
Another thing to consider is the sulphate content of the water.  Higher levels tend to accentuate hop bitterness and from personal experience this can be a problem if not controlled or accounted for, but I would definitely check the pH first.
Title: Re: Astringency Question
Post by: tviemont on April 20, 2010, 02:15:24 PM
To follow up on redbeerman's post, did the OP add gypsum to his beers?  I have a beer that is puckeringly astringent on tap right now.  From reading this thread, I think I may have gone overboard on the gypsum.  I will try dosing a glass with a solution of CaCO3 to try to salvage it. 

Following on the same lines, does this defect appear in the OP's dark beers as well as his light colored beers? 
Title: Re: Astringency Question
Post by: matt64 on April 20, 2010, 11:38:33 PM
Haven't brewed too many batches yet, but some of my English Pale Ale batches were astringent due to excess carbonates I used to increase the pH.  After a batch, I discovered my pH test strips were garbage and invested in a decent pH meter and standards.  When I cut the carbonates back to <50 ppm and maintained a 5.3 pH the astringency was gone.  Not sure, but I suspect the tannins were coming mostly out of the hops.
Title: Re: Astringency Question
Post by: bbump22 on April 29, 2010, 05:31:19 PM
Does anyone have a recommendation for a quality pH meter? 

Also, I am curious to see how many times during the brewing process folks generally measure the pH and make adjustments if necessary.  I read on BYO, that brewers should measure the mash, the final runnings, the wort, and finished beers...anyone routinely check those measurements in particular?
Title: Re: Astringency Question
Post by: denny on April 29, 2010, 05:47:42 PM
I check mash pH about 10 min.. into the mash and that's pretty much it.  I may start checking kettle pH, just out of curiosity.
Title: Re: Astringency Question
Post by: Hokerer on April 29, 2010, 05:49:41 PM
Does anyone have a recommendation for a quality pH meter?  

Kai's got a bunch of info on his site including a "pH Meter Buying Guide"

http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php/PH_Meter_Buying_Guide (http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php/PH_Meter_Buying_Guide)
Title: Re: Astringency Question
Post by: bbump22 on April 29, 2010, 05:57:26 PM
Does anyone have a recommendation for a quality pH meter?  

Kai's got a bunch of info on his site including a "pH Meter Buying Guide"

http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php/PH_Meter_Buying_Guide (http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php/PH_Meter_Buying_Guide)

Great site - this should keep me busy the rest of the week!
Title: Re: Astringency Question
Post by: ringwoodbrewer on April 29, 2010, 06:23:24 PM
hey, if your having trouble preventing astringency, midwest carries a mash ph stabilizer, which has worked awesome to control this situatiuon for me, and its rather cheap
Title: Re: Astringency Question
Post by: denny on April 29, 2010, 06:52:10 PM
hey, if your having trouble preventing astringency, midwest carries a mash ph stabilizer, which has worked awesome to control this situatiuon for me, and its rather cheap

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.  It depends on your water and your recipe.  For me, it didn't do anything.
Title: Re: Astringency Question
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on April 29, 2010, 10:42:15 PM
I check mash pH about 10 min.. into the mash and that's pretty much it.  I may start checking kettle pH, just out of curiosity.
I also check pH of last runnings.
Title: Re: Astringency Question
Post by: denny on April 30, 2010, 03:38:23 PM
I check mash pH about 10 min.. into the mash and that's pretty much it.  I may start checking kettle pH, just out of curiosity.
I also check pH of last runnings.

Being a batch sparger, I don't bother.  I did check for quite a while a long time back and never found the pH getting anywhere close to the "danger zone".
Title: Re: Astringency Question
Post by: hopfenundmalz on April 30, 2010, 03:54:45 PM
If you fly sparge, you can also taste a sample of the runnings toward the end, and see if you detect astringency.

Got that tip from a few guys in the club.
Title: Re: Astringency Question
Post by: bspisak on May 18, 2010, 03:18:18 PM
The colorphast strips are reportedly adequate but read approximately 0.3 too low.
That's about the difference you'll see due to temperature of the mash. Just like gravity, pH readings are temperature dependent. The "ideal" pH of 5.2 is at mash temp, which would make it 5.5 at room temp.
Title: Re: Astringency Question
Post by: a10t2 on May 19, 2010, 02:50:50 PM
That's about the difference you'll see due to temperature of the mash. Just like gravity, pH readings are temperature dependent. The "ideal" pH of 5.2 is at mash temp, which would make it 5.5 at room temp.

It's actually pretty neat. The offset more or less cancels out the temperature correction. So if you take a room temperature measurement and just read the strip directly you're actually reading the mash temp pH.

Anyway, what I generally do is check the pH with a ColorpHast strip (actually, half of a strip - they're plenty big enough to use each one twice) about 5 minutes after sealing up the mash tun. If it was off I'd use whatever salts I was holding back for the boil to correct it. So far I haven't had a mash that was far enough off to worry about though.
Title: Re: Astringency Question
Post by: bluesman on May 19, 2010, 08:42:07 PM
I'm not sure if this was already asked or not.... What kind of water are you using?

Do you know or have you had your water tested?

Just curious because as redbeerman has stated high sulphate water can cause an astringency or high level of perceived bitterness.