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General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: watakooo on May 03, 2019, 12:02:09 PM

Title: Grain-like bitterness
Post by: watakooo on May 03, 2019, 12:02:09 PM
I brewed my first beer by BIAB method last month.
But I felt grain-like bitterness, probably derived from malt, and it was little bit unconformable for me.

What are possible causes for that kind of flavor?
Title: Re: Grain-like bitterness
Post by: jeffy on May 03, 2019, 01:03:27 PM
I brewed my first beer by BIAB method last month.
But I felt grain-like bitterness, probably derived from malt, and it was little bit unconformable for me.

What are possible causes for that kind of flavor?
Dark roast malts will taste bitter, especially if used to excess.
Another flavor that is confused with bitterness is from tannins.  It is more like biting grape skin and less like bitterness.
Title: Re: Grain-like bitterness
Post by: rburrelli on May 03, 2019, 05:32:18 PM
Knowing more about your recipe and process would help answer the question.
Title: Re: Grain-like bitterness
Post by: watakooo on May 04, 2019, 01:31:00 AM
Thank you for your reply, jeffy and rburrelli!
Sorry, my expression was not quite right.
It's difficult to express precisely, but it was unintended and little bit unpleasant crispiness, probably derived from malt.
I wanted to brew hop-forward American Pale ale.
I'd like to write a summary of my recipe and ingredients in another reply.
Title: Re: Grain-like bitterness
Post by: santoch on May 04, 2019, 05:02:14 AM
I agree with Jeffy, it sounds to me like you could be getting tannins.

Check your mash pH -- keep it below about 5.8 if you are doing any kind of sparge (ie, rinsing off that massive BIAB grain bag to get more sugars out).  Your mash should normally be down at 5.1-5.3, but it will naturally rise during sparging.  If you are doing the BIAB in your whole volume, ensure you keep that pH down, or you are sure to extract tannins.

Its also possible if your mill is shredding the hell out of the grain husks, but this is unlikely with a decent mill nowadays. 
Title: Re: Grain-like bitterness
Post by: watakooo on May 04, 2019, 08:03:25 AM
Ingredients and a process is as below.

Ingredients
   malt; pale malt(73%), crystal malt (7%), wheat malt(20%)
                hop; Citra 23.7g
    yeast; English Ale yeast 2g
Brewing method
   3L BIAB
Brewing process
   mash at 67 - 70℃ for 60min
   boil without adding hops for 60min
   add hop 15min after boiling, cover and wait for 15min
    cool in an iced water until it gets about 30℃
   transfer liquid to fermentator
   add yeast, wait for 10min, shake it, wait for 10min, shake it
   fermentation at 18℃-22℃ for 2 weeks
   add sanitized priming sugar 22ml (21g glucose/300ml water)
   second fermentation in a bottle for 2 weeks
Title: Re: Grain-like bitterness
Post by: watakooo on May 04, 2019, 08:10:08 AM
I agree with Jeffy, it sounds to me like you could be getting tannins.

Check your mash pH -- keep it below about 5.8 if you are doing any kind of sparge (ie, rinsing off that massive BIAB grain bag to get more sugars out).  Your mash should normally be down at 5.1-5.3, but it will naturally rise during sparging.  If you are doing the BIAB in your whole volume, ensure you keep that pH down, or you are sure to extract tannins.

Its also possible if your mill is shredding the hell out of the grain husks, but this is unlikely with a decent mill nowadays.

Thank you for your reply.
I did squeeze a grain bag by hand instead of rinsing, but pH was below 5.0 at the beginning of boil process.
But very helpful information for me.
Title: Re: Grain-like bitterness
Post by: Bilsch on June 12, 2019, 12:50:39 AM
When you say "grain like bitterness" I think of herbstoff aka grain bitterness which is caused by oxidation.
Title: Re: Grain-like bitterness
Post by: hopfenundmalz on June 12, 2019, 01:38:23 AM
When you say "grain like bitterness" I think of herbstoff aka grain bitterness which is caused by oxidation.
i know what it tastes like these days. Often pick it out in locally brewed German beers, Kolsch and Pils for example.

My wife, who has a great palate, seems to be blind to it.
Title: Re: Grain-like bitterness
Post by: Bilsch on June 13, 2019, 02:20:48 AM
i know what it tastes like these days. Often pick it out in locally brewed German beers, Kolsch and Pils for example.

My wife, who has a great palate, seems to be blind to it.

I missed it as well for a great portion of my beer drinking life, just assuming it was some sort of hop derived bitter flavor. Now that I know what it is, makes it really hard to ignore. Maybe one would be better off not knowing/tasting it was there.
Title: Re: Grain-like bitterness
Post by: santoch on June 13, 2019, 04:31:45 AM
When you say "grain like bitterness" I think of herbstoff aka grain bitterness which is caused by oxidation.
i know what it tastes like these days. Often pick it out in locally brewed German beers, Kolsch and Pils for example.

My wife, who has a great palate, seems to be blind to it.

Damn.  Now I gotta figure out exactly what this herbstoff thing is.

Like when I learned what THP tastes like. That grainy cheerios flavor that I thought complimented the graininess?  Drinking (some) sours isn't quite the same any more.
Title: Re: Grain-like bitterness
Post by: The Beerery on June 13, 2019, 03:21:14 PM
When you say "grain like bitterness" I think of herbstoff aka grain bitterness which is caused by oxidation.
i know what it tastes like these days. Often pick it out in locally brewed German beers, Kolsch and Pils for example.

My wife, who has a great palate, seems to be blind to it.

Damn.  Now I gotta figure out exactly what this herbstoff thing is.

Like when I learned what THP tastes like. That grainy cheerios flavor that I thought complimented the graininess?  Drinking (some) sours isn't quite the same any more.

It's from HSA. So its literally in every beer that isn't brewing in a low oxygen brewhouse. It will not be in European Macro brews.
Title: Re: Grain-like bitterness
Post by: Jayjay1976 on June 14, 2019, 04:08:35 PM
I also BIAB and have been struggling with this grainy flavor as well and have been trying (unsuccessfully as of yet) to pinpoint the cause. Along the way I've begun building starters, I now ferment with temp control, bought an RO filter and have learned basic water chemistry, and recently began monitoring pH but the taste is still there. My next move is to open up the gap in my mill just a bit to see if my current (tightest) setting is creating excessive husk particulate. Probably should have started there since the flavor to me seems almost obviously a husk issue.

If all else fails I'll start reading about HSA, but to be honest, none of the guys I brew with make any effort at that and I don't taste any of this phantom grainy flavor in any of their beers. My beers have had it to a greater or lesser extent for so long that I have thought about brewing a few extract kits to see if I still get it.
Title: Re: Grain-like bitterness
Post by: denny on June 14, 2019, 04:14:22 PM
I also BIAB and have been struggling with this grainy flavor as well and have been trying (unsuccessfully as of yet) to pinpoint the cause. Along the way I've begun building starters, I now ferment with temp control, bought an RO filter and have learned basic water chemistry, and recently began monitoring pH but the taste is still there. My next move is to open up the gap in my mill just a bit to see if my current (tightest) setting is creating excessive husk particulate. Probably should have started there since the flavor to me seems almost obviously a husk issue.

If all else fails I'll start reading about HSA, but to be honest, none of the guys I brew with make any effort at that and I don't taste any of this phantom grainy flavor in any of their beers. My beers have had it to a greater or lesser extent for so long that I have thought about brewing a few extract kits to see if I still get it.

Could be trhe malt you're using.
Title: Re: Grain-like bitterness
Post by: rburrelli on June 14, 2019, 04:23:11 PM
I also BIAB and have been struggling with this grainy flavor as well and have been trying (unsuccessfully as of yet) to pinpoint the cause. Along the way I've begun building starters, I now ferment with temp control, bought an RO filter and have learned basic water chemistry, and recently began monitoring pH but the taste is still there. My next move is to open up the gap in my mill just a bit to see if my current (tightest) setting is creating excessive husk particulate. Probably should have started there since the flavor to me seems almost obviously a husk issue.

If all else fails I'll start reading about HSA, but to be honest, none of the guys I brew with make any effort at that and I don't taste any of this phantom grainy flavor in any of their beers. My beers have had it to a greater or lesser extent for so long that I have thought about brewing a few extract kits to see if I still get it.

Could be trhe malt you're using.

Beat me to it Denny. It is an ingredient issue I would think.
Title: Re: Grain-like bitterness
Post by: The Beerery on June 14, 2019, 05:14:46 PM
I have ran many a BIAB experiments, and I too get a weird grain flavor, or what think is more of a grain husk flavor. For me it was coming from either direct heating and/or bag squeezing. Either way I stopped with BIAB because of this.
Title: Re: Grain-like bitterness
Post by: Robert on June 14, 2019, 06:14:05 PM


Though I've never done BIAB, I'm not certain, but I think I've detected this in a couple of my pale lagers lately.  I think it may have been a milling issue, since for a couple of batches I was getting more fine boak particles than I'd been accustomed to.  Might just have been down to a batch of malt that was susceptible to excessive husk damage under standard milling procedures.  At any rate, I'm going to pay a lot more attention to milling speed, and go back to extra measures against HSA, at least all that my mere human-scale brewhouse will admit.  (Conventional 2 vessel setup, direct fired mash kettle and separate lauter tun.)
Title: Re: Grain-like bitterness
Post by: Joe T on June 18, 2019, 01:47:12 PM
Sometimes lately, I will have days when all beers will have an unpleasant bitter astringency to them. It can be a homebrew, craft, or macro that I thoroughly enjoyed yesterday but it tastes terrible today. And then tomorrow it will taste great again. Not sure what's going on but it seems to be something with me, not the beer. Anyone else experience this?
Title: Re: Grain-like bitterness
Post by: Robert on June 18, 2019, 01:54:37 PM
Definitely.  The older I get the more all my senses mess with me, then throw in some allergens or whatever...  Some days I guess you just have to throw out the results.  You know, things taste funny today, I'm not taking any tasting notes.  On a day when I think my senses are more trustworthy, I'll make critical assessments of my beer.  But even on a bad day, I think we can still rank beers relative to each other. The playing field is still even.
Title: Re: Grain-like bitterness
Post by: denny on June 18, 2019, 02:07:05 PM
Definitely.  The older I get the more all my senses mess with me, then throw in some allergens or whatever...  Some days I guess you just have to throw out the results.  You know, things taste funny today, I'm not taking any tasting notes.  On a day when I think my senses are more trustworthy, I'll make critical assessments of my beer.  But even on a bad day, I think we can still rank beers relative to each other. The playing field is still even.

Robert, sounds like you should take my survey
Title: Re: Grain-like bitterness
Post by: Robert on June 18, 2019, 02:10:25 PM
Definitely.  The older I get the more all my senses mess with me, then throw in some allergens or whatever...  Some days I guess you just have to throw out the results.  You know, things taste funny today, I'm not taking any tasting notes.  On a day when I think my senses are more trustworthy, I'll make critical assessments of my beer.  But even on a bad day, I think we can still rank beers relative to each other. The playing field is still even.

Robert, sounds like you should take my survey
Not 60 yet, Denny, just getting a head start on decrepitude! 
Title: Re: Grain-like bitterness
Post by: jeffy on June 18, 2019, 02:30:08 PM
Definitely.  The older I get the more all my senses mess with me, then throw in some allergens or whatever...  Some days I guess you just have to throw out the results.  You know, things taste funny today, I'm not taking any tasting notes.  On a day when I think my senses are more trustworthy, I'll make critical assessments of my beer.  But even on a bad day, I think we can still rank beers relative to each other. The playing field is still even.
I find myself having to relearn all the smells I used to know, not because of old age, but because I had surgery to remove nasal polyps a little over a year ago.  Before that, unless I was on big steroids, I had anosmia.  Now I find myself blind to some things, but overall I'm really enjoying the sense of smell I have regained.
Title: Re: Grain-like bitterness
Post by: Visor on June 18, 2019, 02:40:29 PM
    Happens all the time, and not just with beer. I'm sure the fact that I've pretty well burned my taste buds out with 40 years of over the top, subtlety is for wimps, use every spice in the cabinet bachelor cooking has nothing to do with their schizophrenic variability now.
   Denny, I'll take your survey, if I can get an email to go through to you, got rejected a couple times yesterday.
Title: Re: Grain-like bitterness
Post by: denny on June 18, 2019, 02:50:18 PM
    Happens all the time, and not just with beer. I'm sure the fact that I've pretty well burned my taste buds out with 40 years of over the top, subtlety is for wimps, use every spice in the cabinet bachelor cooking has nothing to do with their schizophrenic variability now.
   Denny, I'll take your survey, if I can get an email to go through to you, got rejected a couple times yesterday.

Thanks for letting me know.  I'll get Drew to look into it.
Title: Re: Grain-like bitterness
Post by: Robert on June 18, 2019, 03:28:11 PM
Definitely.  The older I get the more all my senses mess with me, then throw in some allergens or whatever...  Some days I guess you just have to throw out the results.  You know, things taste funny today, I'm not taking any tasting notes.  On a day when I think my senses are more trustworthy, I'll make critical assessments of my beer.  But even on a bad day, I think we can still rank beers relative to each other. The playing field is still even.
I find myself having to relearn all the smells I used to know, not because of old age, but because I had surgery to remove nasal polyps a little over a year ago.  Before that, unless I was on big steroids, I had anosmia.  Now I find myself blind to some things, but overall I'm really enjoying the sense of smell I have regained.
Jeffy, I've read about a guy here in Ohio who was on the verge of opening his long planned brewery when surgery for a tumor left him completely and permanently without any sense of taste or smell.  The opening went ahead, the brewery has been successful, but he has to rely on his memory and the senses of others to guide him.  Count yourself lucky.
Title: Re: Grain-like bitterness
Post by: ynotbrusum on June 19, 2019, 06:49:17 PM
Definitely.  The older I get the more all my senses mess with me, then throw in some allergens or whatever...  Some days I guess you just have to throw out the results.  You know, things taste funny today, I'm not taking any tasting notes.  On a day when I think my senses are more trustworthy, I'll make critical assessments of my beer.  But even on a bad day, I think we can still rank beers relative to each other. The playing field is still even.
I find myself having to relearn all the smells I used to know, not because of old age, but because I had surgery to remove nasal polyps a little over a year ago.  Before that, unless I was on big steroids, I had anosmia.  Now I find myself blind to some things, but overall I'm really enjoying the sense of smell I have regained.
Jeffy, I've read about a guy here in Ohio who was on the verge of opening his long planned brewery when surgery for a tumor left him completely and permanently without any sense of taste or smell.  The opening went ahead, the brewery has been successful, but he has to rely on his memory and the senses of others to guide him.  Count yourself lucky.

Indeed.  That would be miserable, to say the least.  But, hey, Beethoven was deaf, right?  Anything is possible, but coming up with recipes for new varieties of ingredients would be pretty difficult in that situation.
Title: Re: Grain-like bitterness
Post by: Robert on July 09, 2019, 03:27:19 AM


When you say "grain like bitterness" I think of herbstoff aka grain bitterness which is caused by oxidation.
i know what it tastes like these days. Often pick it out in locally brewed German beers, Kolsch and Pils for example.

My wife, who has a great palate, seems to be blind to it.

Damn.  Now I gotta figure out exactly what this herbstoff thing is.

Like when I learned what THP tastes like. That grainy cheerios flavor that I thought complimented the graininess?  Drinking (some) sours isn't quite the same any more.

It's from HSA. So its literally in every beer that isn't brewing in a low oxygen brewhouse. It will not be in European Macro brews.

Drinking a Coors Banquet.   Swear I'm picking up Herbstoffe.  Huh.  Never thought about it before.   Maybe just hyper aware of late thanks to this thread. 
Title: Re: Grain-like bitterness
Post by: Richard on July 09, 2019, 04:26:18 AM
Our sense of smell and taste can be fickle and give different results from day to day. A few years ago I went through a period of time when everything tasted bitter. I eventually tracked it down to eating Chinese pine nuts from Costco. They are known to cause "Pine Mouth" which can last from a few days to a few weeks and cause everything to have a bitter taste. I grew up in New Mexico where we would harvest and roast our own pine nuts, so I love them. I never had a problem with those, but the Chinese ones are different. Now I don't pass judgement on the taste of a beer until I have tasted it on several different days under different conditions.
Title: Re: Grain-like bitterness
Post by: ynotbrusum on July 09, 2019, 11:38:18 AM
Our sense of smell and taste can be fickle and give different results from day to day. A few years ago I went through a period of time when everything tasted bitter. I eventually tracked it down to eating Chinese pine nuts from Costco. They are known to cause "Pine Mouth" which can last from a few days to a few weeks and cause everything to have a bitter taste. I grew up in New Mexico where we would harvest and roast our own pine nuts, so I love them. I never had a problem with those, but the Chinese ones are different. Now I don't pass judgement on the taste of a beer until I have tasted it on several different days under different conditions.

That is interesting to hear.  I swear I have had my taste thrown off for a day or so from particularly spicy smoked meats that I have eaten.  I thought it was just me....