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Author Topic: Help figuring out an off flavor  (Read 2992 times)

Offline cheshirecat

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Help figuring out an off flavor
« on: October 07, 2013, 09:14:24 pm »
Hi guys. I've been struggling with an off flavor in many of my hoppy beers. I get a sourness on the finish that is fairly unpleasant, it is not puckering sour like a sour beer. It also doesn't get progressively worse. Pretty sure it is not an infection, doesn't taste like lacto and having had a couple wild yeast infections I am eliminating that too.

After doing some research, I came across an article by Brad Smith that says that astringent flavors can come off at sour. So I am thinking could be one of two things... My water or over sparging/too hot sparging.

I use my sparge on all my beers the same and since only hoppy beers get the flavor I thinking its not that. I use Denny's batch sparge method and usually sparge about 1 gallon or so (I do 3.5 gallon batches, my pre boil volume is usually 5 gallons on a 75 minute boil). I sparge with 180-190 degree water.

I have very, very soft water (got it tested from Ward twice), so I build it up. For my water I am shooting for 110 ppm (Calcium), 18 ppm (Magnesium), 300 ppm (Sulfate), 50 ppm (Chloride), 50 ppm (Bicarbonate). I use this on all my hoppy beers. I use BeerSmith to calculate my additions.

Any thoughts?

« Last Edit: October 07, 2013, 09:50:18 pm by cheshirecat »

Online erockrph

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Re: Help figuring out an off flavor
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2013, 09:37:31 pm »
If we follow the astringency line of thought, it could be tannins from the hops. What temp do you dry hop at, and for how long? Do you use pellets or cones? Do you keg hop? Cold crash before packaging? Do you ever brew a hoppy beer without dry hops? If so, do you still notice it in these?

Also, I find that citrusy hops come across with an impression of tartness. My last IPA tastes exactly like pineapple-grapefruit juice, even though there is no actual lacto/tartness/acidity in the beer itself. Maybe your palate is just perceiving this citric note as unpleasant sourness.
Eric B.

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Offline cheshirecat

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Re: Help figuring out an off flavor
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2013, 09:47:58 pm »
I dry hop at room temp, my place stays about 68-72 unless it is really hot. I use pellets and I do dry hop in the keg most of the time. They are removed before I cold crash, which I do to all my beers.

Yes, I get it in my non-dry hop beers too. Got it both in my Cali Common and ESB. My ESB doesn't have citrusy hops.

For a while I thought it was just my lighter beers. But my recent pils and cream ale didn't have these flavors, but I don't do anything for my water on those beers. I keep the water as is, which is why I thinking it may be water.

I should also say that my mash pH is almost always between 5.2 to 5.5.

Offline mabrungard

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Re: Help figuring out an off flavor
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2013, 06:34:55 am »
I'm not sure how you would create the water profile indicated above.  The cations and anions aren't balanced.  Its either missing a cation or an anion is at too high a concentration. So the question is: what did you do when you created this water?

Since you mention the tap water is very soft, it likely also has low alkalinity.  That is a good thing and that should reduce the potential for leaching tannins during the sparge.  The only question is how low the alkalinity is.

If your perception is telling you the off-flavor is bitter or astringent, I would delete the magnesium addition to see if that is an ion you don't like in your beer.  Its not needed.
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Help figuring out an off flavor
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2013, 08:18:32 am »
A good test for astringency is to not cold crash a beer and see if the off flavor is worse. You're pulling out some of those polyphenols that cause astringency during the cold crash so by not cold crashing the off flavor would be worse if astringency is the issue.
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Offline denny

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Re: Help figuring out an off flavor
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2013, 09:56:33 am »
Astringency is a mouthfeel, not a flavor.  If you taste "sour", then I have a hard time thinking it's astringency.
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Offline bluesman

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Re: Help figuring out an off flavor
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2013, 10:39:41 am »
Tanin extraction which lends an astringency in the mouthfeel can occur under the right conditions. Your mash pH during the sparge would be an indicator (>6.0), along with the gravity (<1.010), and an excessively hot sparge (>175F) can/will extract tanins from the husks during the sparge. It's time dependent as well. Just a thought.
Ron Price