Author Topic: Astringent Beer  (Read 3917 times)

Offline bbump22

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Astringent Beer
« on: May 07, 2010, 09:51:29 AM »
I received my feedback from a recent competition and one of my beers was said to be a little astringent and I agree with them as it does have a noticeably dry finish.  I have read that:

"...often the result of steeping grains too long or when the pH of the mash exceeds the range of 5.2 - 5.6. Oversparging the mash or using water that is too hot are common causes for exceeding the mash pH range. It can also be caused by over-hopping during either the bittering or finishing stages." 

This was a partial mash recipe and I am pretty certain I didn't oversparge the mash and probably used water that was not hot enough to batch sparge with, I didn't check the pH though.  I was wondering how over-hopping could result in having an astringent quality to the final beer.  When I pour my wort into my carboy, I strain out the hops and sometimes I will use a sanitized spoon to try to get any wort out of the hops that may have been absorbed.  Should I refrain from doing that?  Could that be the cause of astringent beers?  I bought a refractometer recently, but am not confident with using it.  When I take a hydro reading and compare it to the refracto reading, they are significantly off.  I used tap water to calibrate the refracto (where can I find distilled water).  Should I use pH strips to check the runnings to avoid a high pH?

I'm full of questions today, I just want to make astringent free beers!

Cheers!
mmmm....beer

Offline richardt

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Re: Astringent Beer
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2010, 10:16:25 AM »
There are a lot of unknowns in this situation you’ve described. 
Astringency is akin to chewing on grape skins—mouthpuckering.  The term is easily mistaken or misused to mean bitter, harsh-flavored, or something off-flavored.  The astringency is supposedly due to tannins.
With all respect to Jeff Foxworthy, here are some suggestions:
Water—if your water has a high residual alkalinity or sulfate level, your beer may seem astringent.
Water—if your chloride to sulfate level is low, your beer may seem astringent, or bitter.
Mash—if you’re over sparging with hot water (>170 F), then your beer may be astringent (due to tannins).
Mash—if you’re allowing the mash pH to rise higher than 6.0, then your beer may be astringent.
Hops—if you’re using hops according to schedule, but not chilling your wort quickly after knockout (turning off the heat) with the immersion chiller, then your beer may be astringent due to increased hop utilization.

Refractometer—if you’re using a refractometer with ATC—I’d go with that.  Hydro readings should be done at 60 F.  Are you cooling the wort down before checking the reading.  Learn the refractometer method (it just requires a few drops and it’s fast!).

Offline bbump22

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Re: Astringent Beer
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2010, 10:30:10 AM »
Water—I've been told be some experienced homebrewers in my area that Seattle's water is great so I think I can cross that off.
Mash—I thought the grain bed should be between 165-170, and that most folks sparge with water around 190 or so.
"Mash—if you’re allowing the mash pH to rise higher than 6.0, then your beer may be astringent."  Should I check using pH strips?
"Hops—if you’re using hops according to schedule, but not chilling your wort quickly after knockout (turning off the heat) with the immersion chiller, then your beer may be astringent due to increased hop utilization."  I place my ketting in an ice bath and use a wort chiller, takes about 15 minutes to cool 4 gallons of wort.

See anything obvious that could be causing the problem?
mmmm....beer

Offline denny

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Re: Astringent Beer
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2010, 10:46:23 AM »
Using too much water for steeping or a partial mash can cause problems.  Normally, the grain will pull the pH down into the right range. If you use too much water, the grain won't be able to do that.  The pH will be too high, which can lead to astringency issues.
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Offline bbump22

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Re: Astringent Beer
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2010, 10:53:44 AM »
Using too much water for steeping or a partial mash can cause problems.  Normally, the grain will pull the pH down into the right range. If you use too much water, the grain won't be able to do that.  The pH will be too high, which can lead to astringency issues.

For this particular batch, it was a mini-mash and I used 7.25 LB of grain that I mashed with 10 qrts of water at 152 degrees for an hour.  Then I batch sparged with 7 qrts of water at 165 (heated sparge water to about 186).  I think the ration of water to grain is about 1.35 qt/lb - I think that should be ok.

Thanks for explaing how too much water could cause a high pH, that is useful information for the future.
mmmm....beer

Offline denny

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Re: Astringent Beer
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2010, 11:38:18 AM »
You're right, that doesn't sound like the problem.
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Offline richardt

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Re: Astringent Beer
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2010, 11:54:59 AM »
                                                   Ion Amounts
Home          Ca        Mg      Na   SO4   Cl   HCO3
Seattle, WA     17.0        1.0      4.0   2.0   4.0   18.0

Yeah, you're probably right about the water being OK.

Is it the "extract twang" that you and others may be calling "astringent?"

I'm puzzled, too.

Offline bbump22

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Re: Astringent Beer
« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2010, 12:18:04 PM »
                                                   Ion Amounts
Home          Ca        Mg      Na   SO4   Cl   HCO3
Seattle, WA     17.0        1.0      4.0   2.0   4.0   18.0

Yeah, you're probably right about the water being OK.

Is it the "extract twang" that you and others may be calling "astringent?"

I'm puzzled, too.

I used 1 lb Extra Light DME and 2.5 Lbs Pale LME (last 15 minutes).  The LME was from my LHBS out of a bulk container that they filled on spot for me so I would imagine that it was still fresh.  Maybe from the hops?  I used 1 oz. magnum (60) .5 oz magnum (25) .5 oz crystal (5) and dry hopped with .5 oz too.  Magnum was pellets while crystal were cones. 

I just want to be certain that the astringency isn't a result of my brewing process.  Generally my beers don't come out astringent, but have had 2 recent cases where they did. 

Thanks for chiming in guys.
mmmm....beer

Offline santoch

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Re: Astringent Beer
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2010, 08:30:26 PM »

Check out the WAHA web site:

http://www.wahomebrewers.org

We have a "find an experienced homebrewer / beer judge" section on there just for this type of thing that works better when you try to troubleshoot it in person.
.
There's also a list of clubs and contacts on there for you to hook up with other home brewers.

HTH-
Steve Antoch
WAHA
Mt. Si Brewing Society
Washington Homebrewer's Association (WAHA)
BJCP Grand Master Judge

Offline euge

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Re: Astringent Beer
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2010, 10:56:44 PM »
Using too much water for steeping or a partial mash can cause problems.  Normally, the grain will pull the pH down into the right range. If you use too much water, the grain won't be able to do that.  The pH will be too high, which can lead to astringency issues.

For this particular batch, it was a mini-mash and I used 7.25 LB of grain that I mashed with 10 qrts of water at 152 degrees for an hour.  Then I batch sparged with 7 qrts of water at 165 (heated sparge water to about 186).  I think the ration of water to grain is about 1.35 qt/lb - I think that should be ok.

Thanks for explaing how too much water could cause a high pH, that is useful information for the future.

Since the grain was mashed, then hopefully the grain bill matched up with the water profile. It's not only about water-grain ratios affecting pH. Simply put if you're trying to mash at a SRM outside what the water can handle then the pH will be affected.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline andrew

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Re: Astringent Beer
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2010, 07:16:13 AM »
I have an oatmeal stout that I bottled a few weeks back that’s really astringent, but I know what happened. It was like watching a slow motion train wreck.

I had just done dough in and my grommit on my hot liquor tank decided to spring a major leak, so me half way panicing decided instead of  just steping back and letting it go, to hold down the arm of my autosparge and spill the 4 gallons of 180 degree plus water into the mask tun. Needless to say the mash temp jumped over 170 and then slowly went down. Yep like bitting into grape seeds.
Andrew Tingler

In bottles or on tap: porter, quad, and wit
Secondary: empty
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On Deck: Blackberry Stout and Irish Red

Offline bbump22

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Re: Astringent Beer
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2010, 07:45:51 AM »
I have an oatmeal stout that I bottled a few weeks back that’s really astringent, but I know what happened. It was like watching a slow motion train wreck.

I had just done dough in and my grommit on my hot liquor tank decided to spring a major leak, so me half way panicing decided instead of  just steping back and letting it go, to hold down the arm of my autosparge and spill the 4 gallons of 180 degree plus water into the mask tun. Needless to say the mash temp jumped over 170 and then slowly went down. Yep like bitting into grape seeds.


Pretty good story though AND at least you it didn't ruin your brew day!  :)
mmmm....beer

Offline bbump22

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Re: Astringent Beer
« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2010, 07:46:55 AM »

Check out the WAHA web site:

http://www.wahomebrewers.org

We have a "find an experienced homebrewer / beer judge" section on there just for this type of thing that works better when you try to troubleshoot it in person.
.
There's also a list of clubs and contacts on there for you to hook up with other home brewers.

HTH-
Steve Antoch
WAHA

Thanks Steve - I'll check into those sites.  Appreciate it.
mmmm....beer

Offline denny

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Re: Astringent Beer
« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2010, 08:21:21 AM »
I have an oatmeal stout that I bottled a few weeks back that’s really astringent, but I know what happened. It was like watching a slow motion train wreck.

I had just done dough in and my grommit on my hot liquor tank decided to spring a major leak, so me half way panicing decided instead of  just steping back and letting it go, to hold down the arm of my autosparge and spill the 4 gallons of 180 degree plus water into the mask tun. Needless to say the mash temp jumped over 170 and then slowly went down. Yep like bitting into grape seeds.


I think it's more likely that your pH was off due to a dark beer than 180 water being the issue.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline andrew

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Re: Astringent Beer
« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2010, 08:53:18 AM »

I figured it was a combo of the two problems from too hot and too much water messing with the ph of the mash... however I didn't feel the need to repeat the two varibles to see which one was the biggest culprit so a few days later I did fix my spigot on the hot liquor tank so the problem wasn't repeated, just should have done it sooner. O well, live and learn, procrastination will sneak up on you sometimes.


I have an oatmeal stout that I bottled a few weeks back that’s really astringent, but I know what happened. It was like watching a slow motion train wreck.

I had just done dough in and my grommit on my hot liquor tank decided to spring a major leak, so me half way panicing decided instead of  just steping back and letting it go, to hold down the arm of my autosparge and spill the 4 gallons of 180 degree plus water into the mask tun. Needless to say the mash temp jumped over 170 and then slowly went down. Yep like bitting into grape seeds.


I think it's more likely that your pH was off due to a dark beer than 180 water being the issue.



Andrew Tingler

In bottles or on tap: porter, quad, and wit
Secondary: empty
Primary: empty
On Deck: Blackberry Stout and Irish Red