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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: UnequivocalBrewing on October 05, 2016, 06:50:04 PM

Title: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: UnequivocalBrewing on October 05, 2016, 06:50:04 PM
Hello - I apologize for the long thread but I'm hoping this forum can help me out.  I've been brewing a series of New England IPAs - trying to hit similar styles to Treehouse, Trillium, Lawsons, etc.  I've done 8 of them in the last 8 months and for the most part they have been excellent.  I am using this style as a test ground to experiment with different techniques.  The last two that i've done have resulted in an astringent bitterness.  I have narrowed my potential culprits down to four things but wanted to get more eyes on this troubleshooting:

1.  Sparge water too high - I use RO water and build up from there.  I normally don't do any sparge acidification in my fly sparge and I understand this could potentially cause it.  On the flip side I haven't really changed my process and the RO water is low in alkalinity so I'm skeptical that this is it.
2.  Grain crush too granular - I have my monster mill set at .035 and maybe it's crushing too much.  Combine with #1?
3.  I have been experimenting with some Citric acid in the boil kettle to drive the PH down a bit.  I used 13 grams in a 10 gallon batch and 9 grams in a 10 gallon batch recently.  I don't know if that much Citric acid could cause some astringency?
4.  Overhopping - I doubt this is it.  The last two batches I do a very very tiny 60 minute addition of .1 oz of Columbus just to keep foaming down.  Then I did a flameout addition while whirlpooling through my dudadiesel wort chiller for 30 minutes.  After the 30 minutes I chilled it down very quickly to pitching temp.  I used: 3oz Amarillo leaf (8.9%AA), 2.5oz Galaxy pellet (14.9%AA), 1oz Cascade leaf (5.5%AA), 1oz Centennial pellet (8.3%AA).  I put these in a stainless steel hop spider and I stir the hops occasionally.  According to Beersmith this would drive 52.3 theoretical IBUs using the RAGR formula.

Here are some specifics on my process

All Grain:
65-70% 2-row (either US or MO - this doesn't matter)
15-20% white wheat malt
12% flaked oats
~3-4% Crystal type malt (carapils + honey OR golden naked oats)

Water:
RO built up with salts to hit 112 calcium, 18 magnesium, 200 sulfate, 100 chloride
I consistently hit 5.2 with 15 minutes into my mash

Mash:
Add salts to mash
1.6qts/lb
HERMS recirculation at 150F
Mashout step by increasing the HLT with HERMS to 168

Sparge:
With RO water - no acidification
Continuous fly sparge with two pumps until I hit my pre-boil volume

Boil:
60 minutes
Add sparge salts directly to beginning of boil
Add 9-11 g of citric acid directly to beginning of boil

Hopping:
As I said above
~15 oz dry hops during the tail of fermentation just as the Krausen falls (7 days)

Anyway, that's probably enough.  Looking for someone smarter than I am to help me work through this.  It's starting to get discouraging.
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: natebriscoe on October 05, 2016, 07:17:19 PM
What's the preboil ph?
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: UnequivocalBrewing on October 05, 2016, 07:36:01 PM
I've never measured the pre-boil PH.  Would you recommend doing that before or after I add the salts to the kettle?
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: dilluh98 on October 05, 2016, 07:36:54 PM
If you are hitting pH = 5.2 in the mash, I don't see a reason for the additional citric acid in the boil. I'd look there first. Also, not sure you really need to go down to 5.2 in the mash to begin with. I stick with 5.4 for all APA and IPAs. The only thing I go down that far on is a saison. Just an opinion.

YMMV.
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: HoosierBrew on October 05, 2016, 07:41:48 PM
Also, not sure you really need to go down to 5.2 in the mash to begin with. I stick with 5.4 for all APA and IPAs. The only thing I go down that far on is a saison



^^  I like hop expression in American styles much better @ 5.4pH.  And saison is the only beer I mash @ 5.2 as well.  Another  $0.02  .
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: natebriscoe on October 05, 2016, 07:44:27 PM
I've never measured the pre-boil PH.  Would you recommend doing that before or after I add the salts to the kettle?
After salts before hops
Actually both before and after salts would be helpful
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: UnequivocalBrewing on October 05, 2016, 07:53:46 PM
On the citric acid:  I saw some brewing notes pasted to the walls at Bissell brothers.  It appears as if they use it Citric acid in the mash, during the end of the sparge, and in the kettle.  I also measured my finishing beer PH and it was normally about .2 higher than other New England IPAs.  I figured the Citric acid might help in driving that down a bit.  But I guess this could be other factors, primarily yeast?

On the astringency:  Thanks for the advice on the 5.4 range.  However, do we think that's causing astringency that I'm hitting 5.2?  I believe that mash PH at the higher end of the range would cause that astringency.  Or high alkalinity sparge water, correct?
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: dilluh98 on October 05, 2016, 08:05:19 PM
On the citric acid:  I saw some brewing notes pasted to the walls at Bissell brothers.  It appears as if they use it Citric acid in the mash, during the end of the sparge, and in the kettle.  I also measured my finishing beer PH and it was normally about .2 higher than other New England IPAs.  I figured the Citric acid might help in driving that down a bit.  But I guess this could be other factors, primarily yeast?

On the astringency:  Thanks for the advice on the 5.4 range.  However, do we think that's causing astringency that I'm hitting 5.2?  I believe that mash PH at the higher end of the range would cause that astringency.  Or high alkalinity sparge water, correct?

Not sure. I know that when I brew saisons at 5.2 mash pH, I get that extra little kick of tart that I like in a saison but my saison is low on hops. Going that low with something that's heavily hopped may increase the perception of astringency. The one attempt I took at the NE APA style, I liked quite a bit and my mash pH was at 5.4 (not saying this is the only factor). It did not come across as astringent at all but it lacked a bit in the "juicy" department if such a quality is to be believed.
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: natebriscoe on October 05, 2016, 08:08:19 PM
In general low ph's don't cause astringency.
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: kramerog on October 05, 2016, 08:54:09 PM
Re sparge water, why not add the sparge salts to your sparge water rather than the boil?  This will have the effect of acidifying the sparge water addressing point #1.  I'm not convinced that points # 1 and 2 are the issue but I also don't what temp. your sparge water is at.

Like the others I think that the citric acid is excessive.
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: UnequivocalBrewing on October 05, 2016, 09:06:57 PM
On the salt additions to the sparge water.  I have a HERMS coil in my HLT.  For the mashout I just increase the temp of the HLT while still recirculating.  Then after my mash has hit 168 I then push that 168F water from the HLT over for a continuous fly sparge until my boil kettle hits the right pre-boil volume.  There is always some water left in the HLT.  So would I treat the HLT water for the entire volume that I put in there?  For example, I usually put about 12 gallons of water in the HLT but typically only need to push over 6-7 for the sparge.
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: Stevie on October 05, 2016, 09:35:25 PM
I always add my sparge salts to the kettle. I brew with RO and per Martin this practice is fine. No astringency on my end.
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: dunngood on October 05, 2016, 11:32:50 PM
Have you had your RO water tested? We have had some very serious problems with our store RO.
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: UnequivocalBrewing on October 05, 2016, 11:36:08 PM
I have not had my RO water tested.  It is a home RO system from Kinetico.  From what I understand this system is solid so I haven't worried about this. 
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: natebriscoe on October 05, 2016, 11:48:19 PM
I have not had my RO water tested.  It is a home RO system from Kinetico.  From what I understand this system is solid so I haven't worried about this.
That could be it. My home system varies  by the alkalinity coming in.
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: UnequivocalBrewing on October 05, 2016, 11:52:01 PM
Without doing a full test with a lab...how could I test that theory?  The water I collected recently is running at 7.7 PH.  I suppose I could take a few gallons of that and add some 88% lactic to see what PH I get to and back into the total alkalinity?
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: UnequivocalBrewing on October 05, 2016, 11:53:22 PM
And by the way - when I use Bru'n water, I normally hit that mash PH I'm shooting for.  Almost to the point where I sometimes ask why I even bother measuring but end up measuring every time.
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: neddles on October 06, 2016, 12:32:56 AM
Without doing a full test with a lab...how could I test that theory?  The water I collected recently is running at 7.7 PH.  I suppose I could take a few gallons of that and add some 88% lactic to see what PH I get to and back into the total alkalinity?

A simple way to start would be with a TDS meter to measure the Total Dissolved Solids in the water. Would also be helpful to find out how much output TDS your system is rated to put out when it is functioning properly.
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: HoosierBrew on October 06, 2016, 12:37:14 AM
A simple way to start would be with a TDS meter to measure the Total Dissolved Solids in the water. Would also be helpful to find out how much output TDS your system is rated to put out when it is functioning properly.


Yep
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: dunngood on October 06, 2016, 01:02:05 AM
I have had astringent problems and I am convinced it is the hops. Check this out.

 http://byo.com/stories/item/1124-mash-temperatures--hop-astringency-mr-wizard

Also I now make sure my sparge water is below 6PH.

Just a fast way to check your water is a TDS meter. About $20.
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: dunngood on October 06, 2016, 01:13:51 AM
I have had astringent problems and I am convinced it is the hops. Check this out.

 http://byo.com/stories/item/1124-mash-temperatures--hop-astringency-mr-wizard

Also I know make sure my sparge water is below 6PH.

Just a fast way to check your water is a TDS meter. About $20.
Title: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: Stevie on October 06, 2016, 01:14:25 AM
Could it be chlorophinols that you are mistaking for astringency? Not all RO systems are capable of reducing chloramine levels very well. The key is lots of contact time with carbon. This is why some systems have two carbon blocks before the membrane and one after. More before the membrane couldn't hurt. Some makers sell carbon blocks specific to chloramine, but I have seen some say it isn't worth the extra expense.

I'm not an expert, just what I have gathered while researching home RO systems.
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: UnequivocalBrewing on October 06, 2016, 01:41:38 AM
Chloramine is used in municipal supplies right?  I'm on a well.

Just to make sure everyone understands what I mean by astringency.  It's an off-putting bitterness in the back of my tongue.  it's not a nice mid-palate bitterness from a nice crisp IPA.
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: natebriscoe on October 06, 2016, 02:11:45 AM
Chloramine is used in municipal supplies right?  I'm on a well.

Just to make sure everyone understands what I mean by astringency.  It's an off-putting bitterness in the back of my tongue.  it's not a nice mid-palate bitterness from a nice crisp IPA.
Given i can't taste it, in my mind it sounds like hop astringency from a to high boil ph. Long lingering harsh bitterness?
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: UnequivocalBrewing on October 06, 2016, 02:24:32 AM
Ok, I will be brewing in two days.  I think I am going to make the following changes:
1.  drop the citric acid
2.  add salts to the sparge water
3.  Acidify the sparge water to about 5.4

And then I'll measure the pre-boil PH.  What PH should I be on the look out for?  5.2-5.4, correct?
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: natebriscoe on October 06, 2016, 02:38:42 AM
Ok, I will be brewing in two days.  I think I am going to make the following changes:
1.  drop the citric acid
2.  add salts to the sparge water
3.  Acidify the sparge water to about 5.4

And then I'll measure the pre-boil PH.  What PH should I be on the look out for?  5.2-5.4, correct?
I shoot for 5.4 or less preboil. 5.3 would be good
Make sure your way of ph measurement is accurate as well.
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: Stevie on October 06, 2016, 03:06:59 AM
Try a different bitting hop? I love bittering with Columbus, but many don't.
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: mharding73 on October 06, 2016, 03:21:21 AM
Maybe just utilize FWH?
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: Hand of Dom on October 06, 2016, 10:07:05 AM
Could it be yeast in the beer?
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: ynotbrusum on October 06, 2016, 11:40:42 AM
There have been some interesting discussions around regarding bitterness extraction from late hop and dry hop additions.  I think it could be your culprit.  Most folks and spreadsheets assume a zero bitterness extraction with late/ flame out/whirlpool (at180 or below)/dry hopping, but that is proving not to be the case.
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: UnequivocalBrewing on October 06, 2016, 12:47:02 PM
ynotbrusum - This is where I'm leaning towards as well as I look back over time on my notes/recipes.  I used to do a 60-minute addition, 5-minute addition, and then a fairly sizable flameout.  However, that flameout addition was typically done in conjunction with immediate chilling.  As I started to experiment I've started shifting all the IBUs into the flameout/whirlpool addition.  As a result of that I am adding very large flameout additions to maintain similar IBUs in the recipe builder (Beersmith).  However, I have been doing a full 30 minute whirlpool and my kettle rarely falls below 200F in that time frame.  So, I don't think the tool is accurately calculating the IBUs in the flameout...because if you think about it a 30-minute whirlpool at 205-210 is not a whole lot different from a 30-minute boil addition and it's a TON of hops in there.  And add 15-18oz of pellet hops in 10 gallons for dry hopping I think that may have an impact as well.
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: HoosierBrew on October 06, 2016, 01:04:49 PM
There have been some interesting discussions around regarding bitterness extraction from late hop and dry hop additions.  I think it could be your culprit.  Most folks and spreadsheets assume a zero bitterness extraction with late/ flame out/whirlpool (at180 or below)/dry hopping, but that is proving not to be the case.



I agree for the most part. Late additions and flameout stands definitely add noticeable bitterness. Dry hopping has been shown to add some bitterness, more so on big dry hop additions. Cooler hopstands undoubtedly add some, but I don't notice it below a certain temp. Regardless, it's something for us to be considering, especially on beers like NE IPA where it's all about tons of late and dry additions.
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: reverseapachemaster on October 06, 2016, 01:09:26 PM
How does the FG of the latter two beers compare to previous beers? Bitterness and astringency are more easily noticed in a drier beer over a sweeter one.
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: kramerog on October 06, 2016, 01:36:18 PM
On the salt additions to the sparge water.  I have a HERMS coil in my HLT.  For the mashout I just increase the temp of the HLT while still recirculating.  Then after my mash has hit 168 I then push that 168F water from the HLT over for a continuous fly sparge until my boil kettle hits the right pre-boil volume.  There is always some water left in the HLT.  So would I treat the HLT water for the entire volume that I put in there?  For example, I usually put about 12 gallons of water in the HLT but typically only need to push over 6-7 for the sparge.
I would add the sparge salts to the entire sparge volume.  You can estimate the total sparge volume in advance so as not to dilute based on an estimated grain retention of 1 pint per gallon.

Sent from my XT1095 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: zwiller on October 06, 2016, 02:15:05 PM
First off, I would try and seek out a BJCP to sample to get more accurate feedback.  Hopefully you have a local or ship to one of us.  This should help distinguish polyphenol/tannin astringency vs bitterness.  That said, based on your description, lingering/back of throat is harsh bitterness.  Classic for Columbus if you ask me.  Did you use Columbus in the successful beers?  IMO NE IPA should not have any high coho hops nor boil additions.  We can pick apart your process but it is actually pretty sound, including the 5.2 pH.  It is now fact these NE brewers deliberately lower the pH for this style, however, the acids used vary by the brewer, but honestly I citric would work well.  I would still double check your water tho, seems odd that your final pH was higher with the acid additions...
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: neddles on October 06, 2016, 02:21:53 PM
It is now fact these NE brewers deliberately lower the pH for this style...

Where did you get this as fact? Not doubting, just wondering. Also… lowering pH in the mash, kettle or final beer?
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: zwiller on October 06, 2016, 03:38:00 PM
HBT IIRC, but Kimmich has videos posted I guess.  Of course, many disputed this as a mash temp reading but he later confirmed it was room temp.  I do not recall if Kimmich offered advice on sparge, but I seem to recall there is another dose to boil. 
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: denny on October 06, 2016, 03:52:47 PM
Ok, I will be brewing in two days.  I think I am going to make the following changes:
1.  drop the citric acid
2.  add salts to the sparge water
3.  Acidify the sparge water to about 5.4

And then I'll measure the pre-boil PH.  What PH should I be on the look out for?  5.2-5.4, correct?

You could also try batch sparging if you aren't already.  It doesn't have the affect on pH that fly sparging has.
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: Stevie on October 06, 2016, 05:16:59 PM
^^ this made me think. Maybe you are over sparging? Do you know the gravity of the runnings at the end of sparge? Try sparging a bit less and topping off in kettle. Might take a minor efficiency hit, but worth it if the beer isn't bad.
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: erockrph on October 06, 2016, 05:40:26 PM
First off, I would try and seek out a BJCP to sample to get more accurate feedback.  Hopefully you have a local or ship to one of us.  This should help distinguish polyphenol/tannin astringency vs bitterness.  That said, based on your description, lingering/back of throat is harsh bitterness.  Classic for Columbus if you ask me.  Did you use Columbus in the successful beers?  IMO NE IPA should not have any high coho hops nor boil additions. 

This is along the lines of what I was thinking. Astringency and bitterness aren't usually the same thing. For NE IPA-style beers I usually just use a hop shot to get my bitterness, or whirlpool hot to get my IBU's there. And Columbus and Chinook are two hops I'd never use in this style.
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: UnequivocalBrewing on October 06, 2016, 07:47:05 PM
The FG has been consistently 1.014 down from 1.065 - roughly in line with Treehouse Julius.  I've found it harder to get to that 1.014 with Conan than I can with Yeast 1318.

On the Columbus, that's interesting.  I was wondering if I should switch that up but as I said before I only used 0.1 oz of Columbus at 60 minutes for a whopping 3 IBU.  I do that just to keep foaming down...not sure if it actually does anything.  And yes, I've been using Columbus (or CTZ) in all of these beers.  I'm pretty sure it's Trillium's bittering hop as well.

On the sparging comment, you may be right.  I used to be careful about adding ONLY the amount of sparge water from my HLT during my fly sparge.  However, recently I've just set the pump from MT to Kettle to roughly the same rate as the pump from the HLT to MT.  Then I just turn them both off when I've hit my pre-boil volume.  I may be transferring too much high PH (7.5) RO water into the Mash Tun and throwing off the PH.  Not sure about the final runnings of the mash...difficult to measure because it's getting pushed around with pumps.  I can measure it next time though.

As for the comment about NE IPAs and PH, it's interesting.  Bissell has some hand-written notes in their bathroom that show Substance getting Citric acid additions in the mash, sparge (last 40 gallons only), and kettle.  Targeting a mash PH of 5.37.  Not sure if the citric acid is there so much for dropping the PH of the beer or making the water chemistry right.

The BJCP suggestion is a great one.  I will keep that in mind for sure.  Thanks!

To net this out I think I may have a few things fighting against me:
1.  Big hop stands at too high of a temp
2.  Too large of a dry hop
3.  Too much sparge water

Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: natebriscoe on October 06, 2016, 08:04:35 PM
The FG has been consistently 1.014 down from 1.065 - roughly in line with Treehouse Julius.  I've found it harder to get to that 1.014 with Conan than I can with Yeast 1318.

On the Columbus, that's interesting.  I was wondering if I should switch that up but as I said before I only used 0.1 oz of Columbus at 60 minutes for a whopping 3 IBU.  I do that just to keep foaming down...not sure if it actually does anything.  And yes, I've been using Columbus (or CTZ) in all of these beers.  I'm pretty sure it's Trillium's bittering hop as well.

On the sparging comment, you may be right.  I used to be careful about adding ONLY the amount of sparge water from my HLT during my fly sparge.  However, recently I've just set the pump from MT to Kettle to roughly the same rate as the pump from the HLT to MT.  Then I just turn them both off when I've hit my pre-boil volume.  I may be transferring too much high PH (7.5) RO water into the Mash Tun and throwing off the PH.  Not sure about the final runnings of the mash...difficult to measure because it's getting pushed around with pumps.  I can measure it next time though.

As for the comment about NE IPAs and PH, it's interesting.  Bissell has some hand-written notes in their bathroom that show Substance getting Citric acid additions in the mash, sparge (last 40 gallons only), and kettle.  Targeting a mash PH of 5.37.  Not sure if the citric acid is there so much for dropping the PH of the beer or making the water chemistry right.

The BJCP suggestion is a great one.  I will keep that in mind for sure.  Thanks!

To net this out I think I may have a few things fighting against me:
1.  Big hop stands at too high of a temp
2.  Too large of a dry hop
3.  Too much sparge water
If .1 Oz of any hop causes an astringency, there is a ph issue. A high preboil ph would tell you the the sparge is to alkaline or over sparged (which both are a high ph problem). Assuming the mash is what you think it is.   
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: Stevie on October 06, 2016, 08:27:44 PM
I don't think the ph of the RO is that big of a deal. The minerals in the mash will have a much bigger effect. I think you are over sparging. Stop a gallon short next batch and add that gallon straight to the kettle.
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: natebriscoe on October 06, 2016, 08:52:49 PM
Easy way to find out taste the wort before and after the first hop addition.
Acidification of the sparge water would minimize the effects of oversparging (which effects are caused by a high ph).
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: ynotbrusum on October 06, 2016, 09:37:12 PM
If the fear is the sparge, take some hydrometer readings as it runs off and stop if you reach 1.010, then adding the water straight to the kettle to get to the desired pre-boil volume.

Or as Denny says - do like him and batch sparge it (I do).
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: HoosierBrew on October 06, 2016, 09:41:31 PM
If the fear is the sparge, take some hydrometer readings as it runs off and stop if you reach 1.010, then adding the water straight to the kettle to get to the desired pre-boil volume.

Or as Denny says - do like him and batch sparge it (I do).




^^^.  Good advice on both counts. I used to fly sparge and got frustrated at times with astringency. Batch sparging is an easy switch and much less sensitive to pH issues.
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: UnequivocalBrewing on October 07, 2016, 01:46:37 AM
Maybe I'm missing something.  I don't understand why fly sparging would cause any more astringency than batch sparging.  At the end of the day, you're rinsing the sugar from the grains regardless of the approach.  I understand that you could drive astringency with fly sparging through high alkalinity/PH in the water and/or by over-sparging.  However, wouldn't the same hold true for batch sparging? 
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: chinaski on October 07, 2016, 03:03:09 AM
If the fear is the sparge, take some hydrometer readings as it runs off and stop if you reach 1.010, then adding the water straight to the kettle to get to the desired pre-boil volume.

Or as Denny says - do like him and batch sparge it (I do).



^^^.  Good advice on both counts. I used to fly sparge and got frustrated at times with astringency. Batch sparging is an easy switch and much less sensitive to pH issues.

Batch sparging also eliminated astringency in my beers.

There is an episode of Chop & Brew that is a presentation by John Kimmich about Heady Topper- in it he says that its a beer that is brewed using only the highest gravity runnings of the mash.  His wort making process alone would never be accepted by a large-scale operation because it leaves so much sugar behind in the mash; nevermind the costs of the hopping rates he employs.

I think a lot of homebrewers spend time chasing high efficiency at the costs of risk of astringency and (in some cases) very inconsistent efficiency from one batch to the next.  For me batch sparging is both efficient enough and completely consistent; which makes my brewing much more fun than it was when fly sparging.
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: zwiller on October 07, 2016, 01:34:24 PM
Gonna throw a wrench in this whole batch sparging reduces pH concerns.  I get the science, less time for the reaction to occur, but it depends on your water.  With my 90ppm alkalinity water, batch sparging is no different than fly in terms of pH.  I have the data to back it up.  Also, acidifying sparge does more than eliminate tannin extraction, it drives the overall wort pH down and once you start comparing your final pH to your favorite commercial beers, you will realize you need more acid in your process than you once thought. OP did himself a huge favor looking at this already. 

If it is astringency it is from polyphenols, polyclar will fix that in a snap.  Like I said tho, astringency I think is more a puckering/drying the tongue feel and back of the throat is classic high coho hop (some guys love this).  Most likely it was a combo of all, long sparge, iffy RO water, and the CTZ. 
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: erockrph on October 07, 2016, 01:41:32 PM
Gonna throw a wrench in this whole batch sparging reduces pH concerns.  I get the science, less time for the reaction to occur, but it depends on your water. 

I always thought the science behind this was that by introducing all your sparge water at once, you hit a single point for your pH - as long as this is below the point where you start extracting tannins, then you're in the clear. With fly sparging, your pH is a curve over time rather than a single point. As you deplete the buffering capacity remaining in the mash, your pH rises. At some point every fly-sparged mash will cross the point where you start to extract tannins, unless you either acidify your sparge water or if you stop before the pH rises high enough.
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: zwiller on October 07, 2016, 04:20:57 PM
I oversimplified for brevity...  ;D  Personally, I don't really care how or why since I spent the time monitoring it with a meter for a few.  From memory, in a double batch sparge, pH of first runnings stayed "under 6", but not much like, 5.8, 2nd went well over 6, like 6.3.  Trust me, this in not good.  For the record, they did rise over time as well but not much.  Now this is in the days before BNW and pH info was not really accessible to us.  We spent a few years debating little specks of detail like mash temp or room temp.  In any event, I learned AG brewing from reading Dave Miller and his standard tech was to acidify sparge to 5.7 for every beer.  I did this and beers were good (I blew people's minds in the 90's) but the 8 hours fly session were a dog.  Had a kid and took hiatus.  Lurking in the forums (green board) I found renewed interest in brewing via batch sparging.  I dove in but swore the beers were not as good.  I started fooling with the sparge and the quality came back.  That is not to say these beers were an astringent mess, they were actually pretty good, just not as good.  Nowadays I acidify sparge to mash pH.
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: UnequivocalBrewing on October 07, 2016, 05:23:40 PM
I am brewing again in a few hours and I am going to plan to acidify my sparge water in the HLT.  Having not done this and not having access to TA I was going to use Bru'n sparge acidification with a low TA setting.  I was going to add lactic acid and measure until I hit mash PH.  Does this technique make sense?  Or would you alter this?
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: zwiller on October 07, 2016, 06:09:27 PM
TA being total alkalinity, right?  Yeah, that sounds doable.  I think Martin has a baseline for RO in the main page.   
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: blauvvy on January 30, 2017, 02:11:24 AM
I am brewing again in a few hours and I am going to plan to acidify my sparge water in the HLT.  Having not done this and not having access to TA I was going to use Bru'n sparge acidification with a low TA setting.  I was going to add lactic acid and measure until I hit mash PH.  Does this technique make sense?  Or would you alter this?

Any results on this?
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: UnequivocalBrewing on January 31, 2017, 12:42:27 AM
Hi, pretty sure it was all related to the size and timing of the hop additions.  I was just adding WAY too many hops in at the flameout and holding the temp for too long.  I have adjusted that back down and the balance has improved by leaps. 
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: bayareabrewer on January 31, 2017, 05:58:43 PM
Hello - I apologize for the long thread but I'm hoping this forum can help me out.  I've been brewing a series of New England IPAs - trying to hit similar styles to Treehouse, Trillium, Lawsons, etc.  I've done 8 of them in the last 8 months and for the most part they have been excellent.  I am using this style as a test ground to experiment with different techniques.  The last two that i've done have resulted in an astringent bitterness.  I have narrowed my potential culprits down to four things but wanted to get more eyes on this troubleshooting:

1.  Sparge water too high - I use RO water and build up from there.  I normally don't do any sparge acidification in my fly sparge and I understand this could potentially cause it.  On the flip side I haven't really changed my process and the RO water is low in alkalinity so I'm skeptical that this is it.
2.  Grain crush too granular - I have my monster mill set at .035 and maybe it's crushing too much.  Combine with #1?
3.  I have been experimenting with some Citric acid in the boil kettle to drive the PH down a bit.  I used 13 grams in a 10 gallon batch and 9 grams in a 10 gallon batch recently.  I don't know if that much Citric acid could cause some astringency?
4.  Overhopping - I doubt this is it.  The last two batches I do a very very tiny 60 minute addition of .1 oz of Columbus just to keep foaming down.  Then I did a flameout addition while whirlpooling through my dudadiesel wort chiller for 30 minutes.  After the 30 minutes I chilled it down very quickly to pitching temp.  I used: 3oz Amarillo leaf (8.9%AA), 2.5oz Galaxy pellet (14.9%AA), 1oz Cascade leaf (5.5%AA), 1oz Centennial pellet (8.3%AA).  I put these in a stainless steel hop spider and I stir the hops occasionally.  According to Beersmith this would drive 52.3 theoretical IBUs using the RAGR formula.

Here are some specifics on my process

All Grain:
65-70% 2-row (either US or MO - this doesn't matter)
15-20% white wheat malt
12% flaked oats
~3-4% Crystal type malt (carapils + honey OR golden naked oats)

Water:
RO built up with salts to hit 112 calcium, 18 magnesium, 200 sulfate, 100 chloride
I consistently hit 5.2 with 15 minutes into my mash

Mash:
Add salts to mash
1.6qts/lb
HERMS recirculation at 150F
Mashout step by increasing the HLT with HERMS to 168

Sparge:
With RO water - no acidification
Continuous fly sparge with two pumps until I hit my pre-boil volume

Boil:
60 minutes
Add sparge salts directly to beginning of boil
Add 9-11 g of citric acid directly to beginning of boil

Hopping:
As I said above
~15 oz dry hops during the tail of fermentation just as the Krausen falls (7 days)

Anyway, that's probably enough.  Looking for someone smarter than I am to help me work through this.  It's starting to get discouraging.

kind of a shot in  the dark, but are you brewing with 2015 galaxy whole hops from a hopsdirect sale that recently happened?
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: UnequivocalBrewing on January 31, 2017, 06:22:35 PM
No, I don't think so.  I believe it was mostly galaxy but not from directhops.  I think these were either from YakimaValleyHops or from a LHBS.

Why, did you have some astringency from some?
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: blauvvy on February 01, 2017, 01:57:51 AM
Hi, pretty sure it was all related to the size and timing of the hop additions.  I was just adding WAY too many hops in at the flameout and holding the temp for too long.  I have adjusted that back down and the balance has improved by leaps.

I'm with you on the temperature.  Next batch I try, I'm going to whirlpool only, nothing in the kettle.  Shooting for 140F down to about 120F. Only fear here is infection.

Here's another random thought... when you transfer to your fermenter, do you end up carrying over a lot of the vegetal matter from the kettle / whirlpool hops into the fermenter?  I do mainly out of greediness and not wanting to leave any wort behind.  I'm getting the same astringency and wondering if this much vegetal material in the fermenter is adding to the problem.  Aiming to avoid this too and will post some results in a week or two.
Title: Re: Astringent New England IPA
Post by: bayareabrewer on February 01, 2017, 05:46:01 AM
No, I don't think so.  I believe it was mostly galaxy but not from directhops.  I think these were either from YakimaValleyHops or from a LHBS.

Why, did you have some astringency from some?

Yup. The pound I got tasted like cigarette butts.