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Astringency in dark beers

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I've been getting some astringency in my darker beers lately.  It's not overwhelming and maybe it's in my head since I've been tweaking my brewing water.  I've had my water tested and I have soft water(Ca 12, Mg 2, Na 7, Cl 9, S04 5, CaCO3 26).  I make great 3-14SRM beers with very small additons but I'm not as pleased with my 25+SRM beers.  I've used several different water spreadsheets and shoot for the midrange of RA for the given color.  I add chalk and baking soda to my mash for these dark beers with a bias toward chalk but still taste some astringency.  My ph checks with strips indicate that I'm in the correct mash ph range so what else could I be doing?  Is it just me?  Is it the roasted and chocolate malts that I tasting in these dark beers?  Could the grain be too old?  None of my friends seem to taste it but I'm not sure they are sophisticated enough to know.  Should I aim for the high end with my mash additions.  My beers seem to come out a little darker than Beersmith calculates but I edit the SRM values to match what my grain bags say they are in each recipe.  I batch sparge and do a mashout with 190df water and usually end up 168-170df after adding all of my sparge water.  I'm considering going 5 degrees lower or just warm water sparging just to make sure I'm not getting tannins.  Thoughts?    


--- Quote from: dee on February 04, 2010, 04:04:55 PM ---Is it the roasted and chocolate malts that I tasting in these dark beers?
--- End quote ---

It sounds like you're doing everything else right, so that could be it.

One other thing I've noticed is that for extremely dark beers, the mash chemistry calculators tend to overestimate the RA needed. You may be able to cut back on the carbonates and still get your pH in range.

Let's be clear, astringency is not something you taste, it is something you FEEL, a sensation.

I understand what you're saying.  To me it is a drying sensation that I would associate with coffee.  I may try mashing higher or going with a little more crystal and see what I taste.  Maybe its just me trying to second guess my adjustments.  Nobody else seems to taste anything unusual.  Most of my beers have turned out exceptionally dry and well attenuated lately so maybe that's it.   

maybe its just me, but i never go above 175 on the high-end for mash-out with a batch sparge.  the closer i get to 170, the less tannic and astringent my ales are.  then again, i did a one step decoction for my last pale, and that 212d didnt hurt anything.


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