Author Topic: Off Flavors from Water Additions  (Read 3121 times)

Offline Joe Sr.

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Off Flavors from Water Additions
« on: July 15, 2016, 01:02:08 AM »
I've only just started using Bru'nwater so my experience with water chemistry and additions is limited.

The last two batches I have brewed (a Bavarian wheat and a Belgian wit) I have used the yellow balanced profile and used additions of calcium chloride and lactic acid per the spreadsheet.

Both of these batches have tasted off to me.  It's hard to describe, but the wit has an odd bitterness and a bit of an oddness to the nose.  I thought it was maybe yeast at first (could be, I've only just tapped the keg) but I'm not so sure as it's not a yeast flavor I've gotten before.

Both batches have been partial mashes with pils and wheat supplemented with Breiss pils extract.

The lactic acid is old.  Maybe 10 years?  I have no recollection of where it came from, but it had been unopened until recently.

The wit is supposed to be served on Saturday at a party, but I'm not sure I can serve this beer.

Is it possible to get off flavors from water additions?  The additions were 0.4g of calcium chloride in each the mash and sparge water (2 gals each) and the lactic acid was 2ml in each.  These don't seem like significant amounts.

I recall that Breiss uses water that has high sodium (IIRC) but the beers don't taste salty.

I don't think these are infections.  The wheat beer had a milder off-flavor but no one else seemed to notice it.  I has not gotten worse over time.

Both beers were in different fermenters and different kegs.  I used the same racking can and tubing.

Is it possible to get off flavors like this from water additions?  I assumed these would be improving the beer, but right now I'm regretting doing them.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline blair.streit

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Re: Off Flavors from Water Additions
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2016, 04:34:35 AM »
Is it possible to get off flavors from water additions?
Absolutely.
The additions were 0.4g of calcium chloride in each the mash and sparge water (2 gals each) and the lactic acid was 2ml in each.  These don't seem like significant amounts.
Is your source water highly alkaline? 4ml of 88% lactic seems like a lot for 4G of water. My water has low to moderate residual alkalinity, but in most beers I'm using less than 4mL of lactic for ~10G of total water. The 0.8g of calcium chloride seems like a "normalish" amount for a malty beer

For an easy taste test , you could try dosing 4G of water with 4mL of your lactic and taste that side by side with your source water (untreated). If it doesn't seem like what you're tasting, then add your 0.8g of calcium chloride and try tasting again.

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Off Flavors from Water Additions
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2016, 03:59:36 PM »
I'd thought about dosing the water and tasting it.  I may need to do that.

As far as alkalinity, I don't know enough to tell you if it's highly alkaline water.  Reported total alkalinity is 114.

I'll need to taste the wit again tonight, but I think I might have just been paranoid and gotten a nasty yeast bite on the first taste.  Subsequent glasses tasted better, go figure.  There's a lingering bitterness, but I think that's from the bitter orange peel.

There's still something going on with the wheat that I don't really care for, but I may have used too much calcium chloride.  I brewed that before I got a more accurate gram scale.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Off Flavors from Water Additions
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2016, 04:10:48 PM »
I think the biggest thing is probably the minerals from the extract combined with those added for the water probably add up to the beer being overmineralized. I always used distilled or RO with extract to compensate for the exctract's content.
Jon H.

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Off Flavors from Water Additions
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2016, 04:15:55 PM »
I think the biggest thing is probably the minerals from the extract combined with those added for the water probably add up to the beer being overmineralized. I always used distilled or RO with extract to compensate for the exctract's content.

That's part of what I've been thinking, as I've never encountered this before with years of partial mash brewing.

Both beers are pretty light, so off flavors will stand out I suppose.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline 69franx

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Re: Off Flavors from Water Additions
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2016, 04:19:24 PM »
I think the biggest thing is probably the minerals from the extract combined with those added for the water probably add up to the beer being overmineralized. I always used distilled or RO with extract to compensate for the exctract's content.
+1
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Off Flavors from Water Additions
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2016, 04:25:02 PM »
I think the biggest thing is probably the minerals from the extract combined with those added for the water probably add up to the beer being overmineralized. I always used distilled or RO with extract to compensate for the exctract's content.
+1

So how would you handle a partial mash beer? 

Are you mashing with distilled water with no mineral additions?  Or minimal additions but no residual minerals from the base water?

Assume I'm a simpleton.  Please.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline 69franx

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Re: Off Flavors from Water Additions
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2016, 04:31:28 PM »
I really never did any partial mash brews, but I know from reading here that water treatment with extract is not recommended unless you were to add a little more gypsum for a hoppy style. I dont have a good answer for you, maybe Jon or someone else will
Frank L.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Off Flavors from Water Additions
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2016, 04:44:05 PM »
I think the biggest thing is probably the minerals from the extract combined with those added for the water probably add up to the beer being overmineralized. I always used distilled or RO with extract to compensate for the exctract's content.
+1

So how would you handle a partial mash beer? 

Are you mashing with distilled water with no mineral additions?  Or minimal additions but no residual minerals from the base water?

Assume I'm a simpleton.  Please.



Good question, Joe. I only brewed a couple true partial mash beers before scaling up to AG, and I didn't adjust water back then (90's). But I'd assume that Briess' mineral content is high, sure seems that way. By keeping the mineral additions to a minimum it seems like you did the right thing. It's hard to advise without knowing Briess' exact mineral content.
Jon H.

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Off Flavors from Water Additions
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2016, 05:18:52 PM »
Good question, Joe. I only brewed a couple true partial mash beers before scaling up to AG, and I didn't adjust water back then (90's). But I'd assume that Briess' mineral content is high, sure seems that way. By keeping the mineral additions to a minimum it seems like you did the right thing. It's hard to advise without knowing Briess' exact mineral content.

I believe Martin has studied the mineral content of extract to some degree, or at least the water used for Breiss.

I've never gotten freaky flavors from their extract with un-treated partial mash water.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline blair.streit

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Re: Off Flavors from Water Additions
« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2016, 07:24:12 PM »
Good points. I whiffed on the extract part earlier.

Seems like with partial mash you'd just leave it with straight distilled or RO and that should get you pretty close unless your partial mash is contributing a very large part of the final solution (which seems unlikely).

I don't have direct experience myself, but I did use all distilled when I did extract and PM.

Offline mabrungard

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Re: Off Flavors from Water Additions
« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2016, 09:57:10 PM »
You shouldn't have significant flavor issues with Briess extracts if you limit the gravity you get out of the extract to about 50 points. That keeps the sodium at reasonable level...assuming that your brewing water has low sodium.

1 ml per gal of 88% lactic is getting up there, but 'most' tasters wouldn't find that objectionable. However, I know that Supertasters might be able to detect it and possibly object to it. I'm a fan of Berliner Weisse, so I'm not one who would object to minor lactic levels. Others might not be as tolerant.
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Off Flavors from Water Additions
« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2016, 02:37:54 PM »
You shouldn't have significant flavor issues with Briess extracts if you limit the gravity you get out of the extract to about 50 points. That keeps the sodium at reasonable level...assuming that your brewing water has low sodium.

1 ml per gal of 88% lactic is getting up there, but 'most' tasters wouldn't find that objectionable. However, I know that Supertasters might be able to detect it and possibly object to it. I'm a fan of Berliner Weisse, so I'm not one who would object to minor lactic levels. Others might not be as tolerant.

Thanks, Martin.  I'm mashing around 5 lbs minimum and adding the extract late.  I assume that the mash would be improved with the acid addition, but maybe I'm someone who can really taste lactic.

I served a keg of pale ale on Saturday, because I just wasn't sure about the wit. But the pale went quick, and I tapped the wit later.  The keg of wit floated in record time and people loved it, despite my reservations.  Perhaps it's just me...
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline brewinhard

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Re: Off Flavors from Water Additions
« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2016, 05:08:35 PM »
Did you do a full boil or partial with top off at the end?  Just curious, as some of these flavors might be from over concentrating the minerals as the boil off ensues.

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Off Flavors from Water Additions
« Reply #14 on: July 18, 2016, 05:25:27 PM »
I did a four gallon boil (or more like 3.5 after absorption in the grain) and topped off in the fermenter.

The additions were calculated for the mash and sparge amounts.

It's weird.  Some of my more critical tasters loved the beer, so it could be a taste threshold thing.

I wish I had more time to brew so I could do some comparison batches.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton