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Astringency and esters.

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I got my scores back from the local comp. (my first). One of my entries took second (kolsch 34.5) but my others failed.
My other entries (IPA, IPA, Stout) ranged from 26 -29+ and the concensus seems to have been "astringency" and "esters"

I grind my own using a Corona - very tight (but no stuck sparges when batch sparging).
I  think my pH is OK - relying on colorphast strips.
I believe the astringency is due to feral hops I have been using. I've decided to stop using the feral hops.
Efficiency is typically 65-70% consistantly.

I'm looking for suggestions to help eliminate the astringency and explain the esters. I too think I noticed the astringency but I can't figure out if it is from the hops or from the grains - grainyness was mentioned.

All-in-all I am pleased with the results and the feedback, though I'd like to have known how I fared, comparatively, in the categories in which I didn't place.

Fun stuff!

I've been noticing astringency lately also, I've blamed and tried everything in my process but hops.  I have hops that are a year old and I've recently bought a few pounds of pellet hops.  I'm going to buy more.  But, with that said I've also noticed astringency in commercial beers lately.  I bought SN BigFoot and it tastes solventy to me.  Maybe my tastebuds are whacked?   :-\

I've even wondered if S05 hasn't mutated...

Easy on simply accepting Astringency. First take a look at the skill level of the judges and secondly taste the beer. Does it cause a FEELING, a SENSATION in the mouth which is drying (not to be confused with a dry finish) and somewhat puckering. It is NOT a flavor, it is a SENSATION. Too many people at the judging table call a flavor astringency when it is not.

Yesterday I proctored a BJCP exam and had a beer which was unpalatable and so dry it was taking the moisture out of the room to put it into my mouth. Despite having that characteristic the beer was only very very slightly astringent. I asked the Administrator afterwards if he had spiked the sample since I couldn't think of a way that beer would not have been strongly astringent and he admitted it was spiked sample.

As far as esters, look at your fermentation temp and cool it down to control the esters or choose another yeast. Keep the fermenter temps for general ales below 68F. Of course this is the temp of the fermenter, not the room in which they were fermented in. Without having tasted your beers my gut tells me you fermented too warm and your beers may not have been astringent. OTOH, perhaps they were, look for issues in the process. I really don't fall into the camp where hops cause astringency, more often I see that as bitterness if I can attribute it to hops. YMMV

All -grain I assume?

If your Kolsch doesn't have any astringency you are mashing very well. Astringency from grain husks comes when grain is milled too fine or mashed at too high of a pH >6 along with mash temperatures above 170F.

If your dark beers have some astringency it might be a harshness from mashing at too low of a pH <5 or so. But it sounds like you are checking everything.

Hops can leave some astringency and perhaps you are right about your wild hops. Make the same recipe with regular hops and see if that makes a difference.

Brew on

Well put mdixon - astringency and diacetyl arte the most overdiagnosed flaws - its rather annoying to many competitors.


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