Author Topic: Adjusting a stout after kegging  (Read 1161 times)

Offline mbalbritton

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Adjusting a stout after kegging
« on: December 02, 2014, 02:12:59 AM »
Brewed stout that we added cocoa powder and cherry concentrate to. The end result was a bit sharp/tart. Is there anything at this point that I can add to my already kegged and carbonated beer to smooth it out?

Offline kramerog

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Re: Adjusting a stout after kegging
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2014, 04:14:09 AM »
Sharpness can be eliminated with an alkali like baking soda, pickling lime, and milk of magnesia or even 5.2.   The problem is that it is easy to overdose with an alkali as the pH can change unpredictably without doing a little testing on a sample beforehand.  However, unless you have a high precision scale doing testing on a sample is not too helpful.  Here is what I would do:  Measure 2-3 grams of baking soda, which is gentler than the other alkalis listed above.  Eyeball a 1/10 of that, add directly to keg, purge keg headspace and shake.  Taste the beer and repeat additions as necessary.

I don't have any experience with 5.2 but it would probably be harder to overdose with it than an alkali.

Edit: 5.2 appears to be primarily monobasic potassium phosphate.  It should work better than baking soda but if I didn't have any on hand I would use use baking soda.

Offline bboy9000

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Re: Adjusting a stout after kegging
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2014, 05:33:06 AM »
I had a dry stout with an "ashy" taste a couple of years ago.  Jamils recipe.   Would adding bicarbonate also help this?
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Adjusting a stout after kegging
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2014, 03:32:46 PM »
I had a dry stout with an "ashy" taste a couple of years ago.  Jamils recipe.   Would adding bicarbonate also help this?

I don't think so. Adding bicarbonate adjusts the ph up which directly affects the problem the OP stated. By adding cocoa, which is bitter, and cherries, which are tart, the OP added a lot of acidity to the beer which in turn accentuated acidic notes of the beer: the sharpness of the roasted grains, the bitterness of the cocoa and the acidity from the fruit. Raising the ph tempers that.

Problems with an ashy flavor are usually attributed to chocolate malt but I suspect it is actually a combination of chocolate malt plus water with too high of a ph in the mash or sparge that is extracting tannins out of the charred husks that carry that ashy flavor (plus a probable lack of soluble calcium to drop the tannins out of solution). The remedy in that case is using finings that drop out polyphenols rather than merely adjusting the ph. Once tannins are extracted you cannot adjust that with ph.
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Offline gmwren

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Re: Adjusting a stout after kegging
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2014, 04:38:05 PM »
Maybe add some lactose as used in sweet stouts. It will lessen the sharpness, but not remove it. I have adjusted kegged sweet stouts that had too much roast character.

Offline mbalbritton

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Adjusting a stout after kegging
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2014, 05:53:49 PM »
Were the last two posts/ suggestions addresses to my issue or to bboy9000?
« Last Edit: December 02, 2014, 11:19:28 PM by mbalbritton »

Offline gmwren

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Re: Adjusting a stout after kegging
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2014, 10:43:32 PM »
Where the last two posts/ suggestions addresses to my issue or to bboy9000?

Yours!

Offline mbalbritton

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Re: Adjusting a stout after kegging
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2014, 11:20:15 PM »
Thanks

Offline Joe T

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Re: Adjusting a stout after kegging
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2014, 02:15:59 PM »
Is it possible that the stout is over carbonated?

Offline mabrungard

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Re: Adjusting a stout after kegging
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2014, 04:14:01 PM »
While an alkali addition might correct an overly acidic beer, you need to be sure that the beer is overly acidic in the first place. If this was a stout made with very low alkalinity water such as distilled, RO, or rain water, then its likely that its overly acidic. In that case, the alkali additions mentioned above could be prudent. I would conduct tests in a glass of beer first, before adding any minerals to the keg. Once you add them, minerals are impossible to remove. So be sure that you the fix is going to be correct before committing the batch.
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Re: Adjusting a stout after kegging
« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2014, 04:50:24 PM »
While an alkali addition might correct an overly acidic beer, you need to be sure that the beer is overly acidic in the first place. If this was a stout made with very low alkalinity water such as distilled, RO, or rain water, then its likely that its overly acidic. In that case, the alkali additions mentioned above could be prudent. I would conduct tests in a glass of beer first, before adding any minerals to the keg. Once you add them, minerals are impossible to remove. So be sure that you the fix is going to be correct before committing the batch.

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Offline mbalbritton

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Adjusting a stout after kegging
« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2014, 06:15:09 PM »
Took a sample up to my local brew store, Dan's Brew Shed, and he suggested a lactose slurry. I added about 1/2# of lactose and it smoothed it right out to my taste. Dan felt the original was pretty good, but it was just too sharp for me. Now it's more smooth and enjoyable to my tongue.

Time for another!