Author Topic: Causes of astringency  (Read 1108 times)

Offline Joe Sr.

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Causes of astringency
« on: March 01, 2014, 05:09:04 PM »
Got some score sheets back and one of the comments on one of the beers was "astringent."  Tasting the beer again, I can see what the judge was tasting.

I popped open a stout, and there's that same dryness of finish.  Almost chalky.

I'm doing in a partial mash in a grain bag, rinsed with about at most a gallon for sparging.  I usually do a half gallon but there's some batches I've rinsed more.  I don't squeeze everything out of the bag.

Just curious as to what could be causing this.  I know over sparging will extract tannins, but I don't think I'm doing that.  Any other things I should be watching?

For extract, I use Briess Pilsen.  I know Martin has said they have high sodium (IIRC) in their water when their making the extract.  Could that be an issue at play here?
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Online Steve in TX

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Re: Causes of astringency
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2014, 05:19:26 PM »
Could be your roasted malts. You could try moving them to the end of the mash.

Offline bonjour

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Re: Causes of astringency
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2014, 05:43:58 PM »
What style is astringent?  and include a recipe and process.
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Causes of astringency
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2014, 06:34:55 PM »
What style is astringent?  and include a recipe and process.

A stout and a dubble.

I'll look up the recipes but process is mini mash of 5 or 6 lbs (specialty grains plus 2 or 3 lbs of base malt) for 60 minutes at +\- 155. Mash is 3 gallons. Rinsed with half gallon of heated water. Never checked the temp. Would a cool sparge cause it?

DME is added late in the boil. Boil volume is about three gallons or so.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Causes of astringency
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2014, 07:04:27 PM »
No, a cool sparge shouldn't be an issue.  I think it sounds like a pH issue. Those dark roasted malts are inherently acidic and could drop your pH low enough to leave an astringent, acrid perception in the beer. I remember the first AG stout I brewed, well before I got a handle on pH - it had a very similar character. Since I use RO water now that has basically no sodium, I use baking soda to adjust dark beers up to a good pH - I like ~ 5.5 pH for dark beers. It works extremely well.
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Causes of astringency
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2014, 07:12:46 PM »
Here are the recipes:

Stout
3 lbs Maris Otter
8 oz Chocolate
4 oz Roasted Barley
4 oz Black Patent
3 lbs DME (Breiss Pilsen)
.75 oz  Nugget 60 min
.75 Fuggles 30 min
.5 Fuggles 10 min

Dubbel
2.5 lbs Pale Ale Malt
2.5 Munich
8 oz Biscuit
3.5 lbs DME (Breiss Pils)
1 lb Wheat DME
1 lb D-45
1 oz Nugget 60 min
.75 CEntennial 15 min

The stout probably was mashed below 155.  The dubbel above. I've been trying to get more body so I've been mashing higher.  Both are lacking body.  Comments on the score sheet for the dubbel reflected lack of body and suggested using Munich (which is in there).  The nugget hops are getting old, but I don't think hops would give an astringency.  Could they?

The dubbel also had dates carmelized and added to the secondary.  At first there was a vegetal flavor, but that is gone.
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Online Steve in TX

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Causes of astringency
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2014, 07:45:38 PM »
Both roasted barely and patent malt? That's quite a bit if roast. What is your batch size? Do you adjust your water?
« Last Edit: March 01, 2014, 07:48:19 PM by Steve in TX »

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Causes of astringency
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2014, 08:09:54 PM »
No roasted malt in the dubble. I'm thinking water pH. Unless it's really extreme over spargeing shouldn't cause astringency unless your pH is out of line.
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Causes of astringency
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2014, 08:16:42 PM »
5 gallon batches.  Chicago tap water run through a charcoal filter.  No water adjustments, never checked pH.

Other batches using the same process and water are fine.  Both dark and light beers.

I would say the stout recipe is not a keeper.  Too much roast in the flavor, but the finish is drrryyyyyy.

I made a double batch of the dubbel, so I'll need to tap the other keg and see how it is.  Maybe it's the dates?

On two score sheets for the dubbel, only one called out astringency.  The other judge said it was delicious but not enough body for the style.  Maybe I'm finding astringency where it's not because of that comment, but I don't think so.  I don't think star san residue in the bottle would cause it.  I suppose I should check the tap against the bottles and see if they're the same.
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Online Steve in TX

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Re: Causes of astringency
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2014, 08:22:43 PM »
8oz roast for 5 gallons is reasonable. I've often used full pound. Maybe your water has changed with the seasons. Might think about getting it analyzed and maybe start using RO.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Causes of astringency
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2014, 08:36:49 PM »
I've made quite a few stouts with ~ those amounts of roast malts that came out good, but I think it would benefit from some crystal 80 (and maybe Munich) to balance the roast. I could see that one having a pretty dry finish, even with spot on pH.
Jon H.

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Causes of astringency
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2014, 08:50:30 PM »
Seasonal water treatment doesn't explain it, I think. There brewed 9 months apart. March and December of last year.

I suppose that could be what ever winter treatment the city uses.
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Online Jimmy K

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Re: Causes of astringency
« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2014, 04:56:49 AM »
Water pH can cause astringent hop bitterness too. I don't know much about it, just read about it in Water.

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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Causes of astringency
« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2014, 05:57:01 AM »
Yes, Briess extracts do have high sodium due to their local water company using ion-exchange to soften the municipal supply. If you were adding only a minor addition (30 to 50 points of gravity) then it shouldn't really be a problem. It could be a problem if you were making a big beer with mostly extract.

While alkalinity can produce problems with pH and subsequent tannin and silicate extraction, its not the only way to get them. As you might expect, I am fairly particular about water chemistry. But I was producing a mild tannin expression in my first few beers when I switched over to my new brewing equipment. It turned out that I was oversparging and introducing tannins in that way. I had been stopping the runoff at 2 Brix, but that was apparently too low. I now stop at around 3 Brix. That solved the problem.

Joe, I note that you are in north Chicago. For some of Chicagoland, the water is from the Great Lakes and other places are groundwater. I'm curious about your source. The lake water quality is relatively constant. The lake alkalinity is modest, but should still have some neutralization for some styles.

The Great Lakes Compact has changed what can be done with lake water. If your wastewater does not make it back into the lake, then I understand that they are requiring those utilities to stop using lake water and find another source so that this use isn't draining the lake. If your utility had to get a new source, that could be a source of your problem. Other sources in the region are typically much more alkaline. Hopefully you have been neutralizing your brewing water with acid, as needed. That should remove that source of tannin and silicate from your beer. But it won't solve oversparging.

Good luck!
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Causes of astringency
« Reply #14 on: March 02, 2014, 08:10:10 AM »
Martin,

I'm in the city itself along the north lakefront. Our water comes from Lake Michigan.

I've never done any water treatment except to run it through an under counter charcoal filter.

The lake water seems very constant, though there are times when you can smell the chlorine strongly. I believe this is seasonal perhaps when they change to chloramines. But I've never tracked it. Or it could be when there's a spike in E. coli bacteria along the lakefront. I don't know if they up the dose of chlorine at that point.


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