Author Topic: astringency  (Read 1124 times)

Offline twopumpsandimsorry

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astringency
« on: February 25, 2014, 08:27:53 AM »
Im having some issues lately with astringency. I tend to mash at 153 and flay sparge with h2o that is at or above boiling. I tend to keep the water well above the grain bed. Not sure if this is the culprit or not. Also use 5.2 which i know people hate. Only going to make one change at a time so I'm thinking that the sparge water temp will be the first adjustment. I usually use a ratio of 1.25 quarts of h2o to lb of grain to mash, and just sparge until i hit my pre boil volume. Just looking for some opinions. Thanks
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Offline troybinso

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Re: astringency
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2014, 08:34:24 AM »
Not sure how you could sparge with water that is above boiling temperature, but you definitely wouldn't want to even if you could. I would shoot for about 175-180 sparge temp coming out of the hot liquor tank. It will cool down a little bit on the way into the mash tun.

Offline Jimmy K

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Re: astringency
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2014, 08:36:03 AM »
Do you use 5.2 in the mash, in sparge water, or both? If your sparge water is over 5.8pH (most tap water is) and over 170F, you'll extract husk tannins. I would definitely lower that sparge water temp.
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: astringency
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2014, 08:37:20 AM »
If you are not controlling your pH (5.2 does NOT control your pH, at least not well) then you should not be raising the temp of the grain bed above 170 so I would watch the sparge temp. if you are getting astringency then is sounds like the 5.2 is indeed not working to control your pH in the range you want (ie. around 5.2).

try a batch with RO water and use bru'n water or another water tool to predict your pH. if that takes care of the issue, get your water tested and get a pH meter or reasonably accurate strips and use the spreadsheet to predict and the tools to measure your mash pH or just keep using RO.
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Offline twopumpsandimsorry

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Re: astringency
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2014, 08:41:18 AM »
i use 5.2 in the mash. I pull the spage water from a kettle that i have going during the process. The thought behind it was by the time the sparge water hit the grain bed it would have cooled the point where it would not extract tannins. I have not had my water tested but most of the brewers i know that use the city water do not make any changes to it. It's apparently pretty good. I just want to avoid making more then one change to the brew day. I am not planning to get anymore 5.2 but don't want to cut the temp and ditch the 5.2 at once.
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Offline coolman26

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Re: astringency
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2014, 08:41:48 AM »
Morti beat me to it.  When I first started I had some undrinkable beers until I had my water tested at Ward labs.  Found out the reason my black beers were fantastic.  Get your test and you may be able to dilute with RO.  My guess is dropping your sparge temp, and looking at your water will correct your problem. 
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: astringency
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2014, 08:44:35 AM »
i use 5.2 in the mash. I pull the spage water from a kettle that i have going during the process. The thought behind it was by the time the sparge water hit the grain bed it would have cooled the point where it would not extract tannins. I have not had my water tested but most of the brewers i know that use the city water do not make any changes to it. It's apparently pretty good. I just want to avoid making more then one change to the brew day. I am not planning to get anymore 5.2 but don't want to cut the temp and ditch the 5.2 at once.

well, do what you want but the problem is almost certainly the combination of your sparge pH and the sparge temp. you can change either and deal with the problem. I don't think that removing 5.2 from the equation is going to do anything to alleviate the problem although, depending on how much you use it might make your beer taste better, less minerally. the thing(s) that are going to work are controlling the temp and/or pH.
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Offline twopumpsandimsorry

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Re: astringency
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2014, 08:48:21 AM »
It's easier for me to make one change at a time so I can definitively identify the issue. If i change sparge temp and have the same issue then i know it's a ph issue. If I do both at once then I don't feel that i have a solid grasp on what's wrong. Just my way of doing things. I suspect it's both but need to take the slow boat to make sure.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: astringency
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2014, 08:55:09 AM »


try a batch with RO water and use bru'n water or another water tool to predict your pH. if that takes care of the issue, get your water tested and get a pH meter or reasonably accurate strips and use the spreadsheet to predict and the tools to measure your mash pH or just keep using RO.

+1.   5.2 does more harm than good. Try the RO and Bru'nWater -  I use them  and can sparge with 190-195F water with no astringency.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2014, 08:57:36 AM by HoosierBrew »
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Offline Jimmy K

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Re: astringency
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2014, 09:01:31 AM »
I don't use 5.2 anymore, but adding that product is not causing your astringency problems - so removing it will not fix it - so if you want to leave it in for now, no problem. You might loose some heat between the kettle and grain, but I'm sure it's not 40 degrees worth (212F to 170F). Heat to maybe 175F and check the temperature at the surface during the sparge. If it's high or low you can adjust next time, but try to keep it at or under 170F.
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: astringency
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2014, 09:03:00 AM »
Do you use 5.2 in the mash, in sparge water, or both? If your sparge water is over 5.8pH (most tap water is) and over 170F, you'll extract husk tannins. I would definitely lower that sparge water temp.

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Offline kramerog

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Re: astringency
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2014, 09:11:57 AM »
It's easier for me to make one change at a time so I can definitively identify the issue. If i change sparge temp and have the same issue then i know it's a ph issue. If I do both at once then I don't feel that i have a solid grasp on what's wrong. Just my way of doing things. I suspect it's both but need to take the slow boat to make sure.

Temperature and pH are synergistic or are both conditions to excess extraction of tannins.  For example, decoctions don't extract too much tannins because the pH is OK. 
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: astringency
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2014, 09:16:51 AM »
It's easier for me to make one change at a time so I can definitively identify the issue. If i change sparge temp and have the same issue then i know it's a ph issue. If I do both at once then I don't feel that i have a solid grasp on what's wrong. Just my way of doing things. I suspect it's both but need to take the slow boat to make sure.

I understand what you are saying and it makes sense. What I am saying is that changing your temp WILL work and so would changing your pH. Astringency is causes by too high a temp at too high a pH. if the temp is lower, not problem, if the pH is lower, not problem.

However pH problems have more repercussions than the high temp sparge. I sparge with nearly boiling water and I batch sparge so it raises the grain bed temp quite high. But because I control my pH it's not a problem. and because I control my pH I don't have (as many) issues with chill haze, kettle pH, finished beer pH, or other pH related issues. so I say change only one thing at a time but if you change pH first you'll get more bang for your experimental buck.
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Offline duboman

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Re: astringency
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2014, 09:51:00 AM »
It's easier for me to make one change at a time so I can definitively identify the issue. If i change sparge temp and have the same issue then i know it's a ph issue. If I do both at once then I don't feel that i have a solid grasp on what's wrong. Just my way of doing things. I suspect it's both but need to take the slow boat to make sure.

Temperature and pH are synergistic or are both conditions to excess extraction of tannins.  For example, decoctions don't extract too much tannins because the pH is OK.

+1
Tannins are extracted because of the combination of BOTH high sparge temp AND a pH that is not in the ideal range, they are not mutually exclusive of each other.
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: astringency
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2014, 09:54:03 AM »
Don't forget the third wheel in the astringency train...oversparging. Sure, make sure the alkalinity of your sparging water is reasonably low and avoid taking the sparging water temp above 170F. But the thing that tripped me up a year ago while I was breaking in my new brewing system, was oversparging. I was ending runoff at 2 Brix and had a faint tannin note. I now aim to end runoff at about 3 Brix. Problem solved.
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