Author Topic: Need help regarding "tangy" flavor in a mild  (Read 390 times)

Offline ravenwater

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Need help regarding "tangy" flavor in a mild
« on: May 06, 2020, 02:45:35 PM »
I’m looking for input on possible cause of a flavor issue with my English dark mild. I feel I generally have a recipe that captures what I was after in making my first mild except it has a “tangy” flavor that I don’t think should be there – almost like a mild lactic bite. Any insight others might have as to where that bite I coming from would be helpful. I used a small amount of amber malt and a smallish amount of brown malt. Not having used these before I’m wondering if others have ever found anything in their flavor contribution they’d relate to the tangy element. Otherwise nothing unusual in ingredients. I believe my starting point for water minerals was Martin’s brown malty profile, though looking things back over I didn’t approximate it real closely. Here’s my mineralization in ppm:  Ca = 48 / Mg = 6 / Na = 30 / SO4 = 62 / Cl = 72 / HCO3 = 55. It there possibly a mineral contribution responsible? [for comparison the brown malty profile is 60 / 5 / 15 / 50/ 60 / 85]. There was no acid adjustment for pH so no possible contribution from any acid addition. My other thought is that it’s a pH issue. I don’t have a meter and use software to predict mash pH. My predicted mash pH was 5.22 – definitely on the low end and obviously just an estimate, not a hard figure. The yeast was WLP006 British Bedford which I’ve used before and not had issues with. Suggested temp for the yeast is 65-70 degrees and my fermentation was in the mid 60's in a temp controlled chamber with a thermowell probe. I'm pretty meticulous about sanitation and feel I know how to avoid bugs that could contaminate a batch. The flavor seemed a bit more prominent after a week or two in the keg, but maybe I just keyed into it more. Thoughts?
« Last Edit: May 06, 2020, 02:56:26 PM by ravenwater »
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Need help regarding "tangy" flavor in a mild
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2020, 03:14:33 PM »
Some people these days including myself are noticing the same thing and have started to mash at higher pH of 5.4-5.6.  Here is just one example (out of many) of a VERY lengthy thread to read through if you are interested in learning more about how we've all been conditioned and trained by experts to mash way too low based on confusion or misunderstanding over whether "mash pH" is reported at mash temperature or at room temperature:

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/threads/will-it-mash-at-ph-5-00.667992/page-2#post-8653242
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Offline ravenwater

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Re: Need help regarding "tangy" flavor in a mild
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2020, 03:19:52 PM »
Dave, thanks for your input. I usually target at 5.3 - 5.5 mash pH to give a little leeway and hit the middle ground since I can't directly measure it, so the batch of mild was lower than usual pH for me. My first suspicion is that it's a pH issue but want others' input to confirm or rule out multiple potential causes.
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Offline ravenwater

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Re: Need help regarding "tangy" flavor in a mild
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2020, 04:39:23 PM »
Maybe I've now answered my own question here but I still would welcome others' input - - I've reviewed writings (Braukaiser & other) on boil and final beer pH and have encountered info on tartness occurring with final beer pH being too low. I suspect this is my culprit and I could adjust mash pH to compensate (and check wort pH of boil to confirm if I had a way to do so). Shoot! The learning never stops it seems. So now the question is would an adjustment of pH in the final beer eliminate/reduce this tartness, and the best way to go about that?
« Last Edit: May 06, 2020, 07:06:24 PM by ravenwater »
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Offline BrewBama

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Re: Need help regarding "tangy" flavor in a mild
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2020, 05:55:48 PM »
I get that twang with English strains. I don’t care for it myself.


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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Need help regarding "tangy" flavor in a mild
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2020, 08:22:08 PM »
I wanted to replicate what I thought was a Guiness trait once and left the pH at around 5.2 and found it too lactic for most people's tastes.  I had also Bretted a small portion (a quart IIRC) pulled at high krausen to give it the Brett character discussed by some.  I actually enjoyed it, but I only made it one more time after that, because the regulars didn't want to help me drink it and a full corny of that lasted a while.  I may make it again in a smaller batch setting. 

Given the coloration of the mild, it may have been a bit too low on the pH and with the lighter flavor profile, any tangy flavor would likely stand right out.  I like a good mild, too.
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Offline Kevin

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Re: Need help regarding "tangy" flavor in a mild
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2020, 02:38:47 PM »
You mentioned the water minerals you used but make no mention of your starting water. You need to know what you already have in your water before randomly adding anything or else your end result may be way off.
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Offline ravenwater

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Re: Need help regarding "tangy" flavor in a mild
« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2020, 02:42:35 PM »
Kevin - you're correct, I left that out and knew better than to leave it out. Meant to say I start with R/O water.
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Offline Northern_Brewer

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Re: Need help regarding "tangy" flavor in a mild
« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2020, 06:16:10 PM »
I believe my starting point for water minerals was Martin’s brown malty profile, though looking things back over I didn’t approximate it real closely. Here’s my mineralization in ppm:  Ca = 48 / Mg = 6 / Na = 30 / SO4 = 62 / Cl = 72 / HCO3 = 55. It there possibly a mineral contribution responsible?

That's an under-mineralised profile for any kind of British beer. To give one example, Murphys, one of the main labs in the UK suggest for mild (their column headings are wonky) :

Ca= 100 / Mg = 10 / Na = / SO4 = 150 / Cl = 200 / HCO3 = 50

As you can see, they suggest at least 100ppm calcium and 200ppm chloride for all British styles, and 100-400ppm sulphate depending on style. US ideas on water chemistry for British styles are a bit strange.

But some British strains produce a bit of lactic, S-04 is notorious for it and WLP006 is a pretty close relative of S-04, so I'd look to the yeast.

The other thing is to look at other sources of acidity, such as carbonation - Murphys suggest a finishing pH for cask beer of 3.7-4.1, US brewers seem to aim a bit higher and then let carbonic acid from their higher levels of carbonation do some of the work of reducing the pH.

So what's your final pH, and what carbonation are you using?
« Last Edit: May 08, 2020, 09:28:26 AM by Northern_Brewer »

Offline ravenwater

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Re: Need help regarding "tangy" flavor in a mild
« Reply #9 on: May 07, 2020, 06:47:56 PM »
I can't give you a final pH - no way to measure it - it would have to be inferred, I guess from an estimated mash pH of 5.2. I carbed with dextrose in the corn keg to hit about 1.5 volumes - I like my British beers on the low end for carbonation. Thanks for the info on more typical British beer mineral profiles. I'll hang on to that for future reference. When I've used the WLP006 before in ordinary bitters they did not have the prominent tart/tangy note that I have now in my mild.
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Offline Megary

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Re: Need help regarding "tangy" flavor in a mild
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2020, 08:26:23 PM »
Some people these days including myself are noticing the same thing and have started to mash at higher pH of 5.4-5.6.  Here is just one example (out of many) of a VERY lengthy thread to read through if you are interested in learning more about how we've all been conditioned and trained by experts to mash way too low based on confusion or misunderstanding over whether "mash pH" is reported at mash temperature or at room temperature:

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/threads/will-it-mash-at-ph-5-00.667992/page-2#post-8653242

That link was a great read read Dave.  Thanks for that.

Offline ravenwater

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Re: Need help regarding "tangy" flavor in a mild
« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2020, 09:59:38 PM »
Yes - good link. Long thread that I will need to take more time to pour through and ponder, with multiple links within that thread itself. It can all leave one floundering a bit, I think (or true for myself I guess). I sometimes just want to leave the details alone as much as possible and not worry as long as I am creating tasty beer, but then again want to attend to details that can improve my beer or help me avoid the occasional catastrophic brew that seems to have gone off the rails.
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Offline bucketbiochemist

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Re: Need help regarding "tangy" flavor in a mild
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2020, 09:19:06 PM »
I'm not sure if this is useful at all, but I've been using WY1469 to do various bitters and I kept getting something that I picked up as tangy over the course of a number of years.  Temperatures are pretty moderate where I am in San Francisco, so I did a lot of fermentation at garage ambient (which was probably on the low end, low to mid 60F much of the time).  Attenuation was fine, yeast didn't stall.  But I found I got less of the tangy flavor when I boosted the temp a few degrees -- 67F early and 69F near end of fermentation.  Not sure it would apply to your strain, but thought I'd pass it along. 

Cheers!

Jim

Offline ravenwater

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Re: Need help regarding "tangy" flavor in a mild
« Reply #13 on: May 26, 2020, 02:47:22 PM »
I'm not sure if this is useful at all, but I've been using WY1469 to do various bitters and I kept getting something that I picked up as tangy over the course of a number of years.  Temperatures are pretty moderate where I am in San Francisco, so I did a lot of fermentation at garage ambient (which was probably on the low end, low to mid 60F much of the time).  Attenuation was fine, yeast didn't stall.  But I found I got less of the tangy flavor when I boosted the temp a few degrees -- 67F early and 69F near end of fermentation.  Not sure it would apply to your strain, but thought I'd pass it along. 

Cheers!

Jim

Jim, I've had a few other folks mention to me that they've picked up a bit of tangy note from British strains. Thanks for passing your experience along. In my particular case I was able to rectify the flavor by adding a little baking soda to shift the pH.
Shawn Crawford  -  Rio Rancho, NM.  
 BJCP, Worthogs Homebrew Club of New Mexico

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Online Silver_Is_Money

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Re: Need help regarding "tangy" flavor in a mild
« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2020, 08:07:48 AM »

That's an under-mineralised profile for any kind of British beer. To give one example, Murphys, one of the main labs in the UK suggest for mild (their column headings are wonky) :

Ca= 100 / Mg = 10 / Na = / SO4 = 150 / Cl = 200 / HCO3 = 50

As you can see, they suggest at least 100ppm calcium and 200ppm chloride for all British styles, and 100-400ppm sulphate depending on style. US ideas on water chemistry for British styles are a bit strange.

Admittedly this is merely a bit of nitpicking here, but the suggested water profile as seen above can only be made to be potentially real (I.E., to exhibit cation/anion balance) if the suggested sodium (which was left blank) is a whopping 87 mg/L (ppm).