Author Topic: Bitter Taste When Extract Brewing  (Read 1363 times)

Offline pedrolikesbeer

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Bitter Taste When Extract Brewing
« on: April 19, 2011, 10:42:42 AM »
Need some help.  And before I say that, let me say thanks to all the posts and answers.  It's awesome to have a great resource for questions.  I'm pretty new to this so all these really help.

My question is, I seem to be getting this slightly off taste when my beers are finished.  I'm not really sure how to explain it.  It's a slightly bitter "bite" at the end.  For the most part, the flavor has been good.  I'm just not sure how to get rid of that last little taste.  Maybe I can describe it as maybe a little like a bitter after taste from burnt grains.  Or something similar to that.

Funny thing is that I recently made a lighter beer, kind of like a pilsner, but used Ale yeast because of temperature issues for lagering.  That beer came out very good.  But for my darker beers I'm having the problem.

Any suggestions as to what I may be doing wrong?  I do a lot of care in trying to clean and sanitize everything.  Guess I could be missing something when cleaning but I do the best I can.  My temperature during fermetation stays as consistent as I can get it at about 68.

Only thing I can think that I may be doing is either steeping my grains at a too high temperatureor too long, or boiling too high or long.

Any suggestions.  I feel like I'm really close to making a great beer, just can't seem to get past this one.

Thanks,
PedroLikesBeer

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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Bitter Taste When Extract Brewing
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2011, 10:50:50 AM »
Do you have any idea what the water is like where you live?  What kind of water do you use with your steeping/extract?  And can you post some recipes of the beers that were good and not as good?
Tom Schmidlin

Offline pedrolikesbeer

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Re: Bitter Taste When Extract Brewing
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2011, 11:06:05 AM »
I don't know specifics on the water.  But I know the tap water is good to drink and not a huge chlorine smell or taste.  Usually I use a water filter when making the water, but last time just used straight tap water. 

I'm sure I can  I get a report on the water from my water dept?  If I do, what numbers should I pay more attention to.

I'll post the recipes when I get a chance.  Don't have that with me now.  One was a dark ale and the other was an Oatmeal stout if that helps.
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Bitter Taste When Extract Brewing
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2011, 11:18:41 PM »
Get some campden tablets to treat your water, it will take the chlorine/chloramine out without filtering.  That doesn't explain the difference between the light/dark beers though.

Extract already has minerals in it, so if your water has a lot of minerals it is adding to what is already in the extract.  It's a possible source of problems.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline euge

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Re: Bitter Taste When Extract Brewing
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2011, 11:40:44 PM »

Yep. It's pretty important about the water. If you can get a report from the utility (look online) we might be able to help better. Start with some campden tablets in the future. It's one of the best things you can do if you get your water from the city.

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Offline hokerer

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Re: Bitter Taste When Extract Brewing
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2011, 06:55:41 AM »
Are you using the same type of extract for both the lighter (no problem) and darker (problem exists) beers?  In extract brewing, it's generally better to use the lightest possible extract you can get and then control the flavor/color with your steeping grains.
Joe

Offline pedrolikesbeer

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Re: Bitter Taste When Extract Brewing
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2011, 09:01:17 AM »
Thanks for the replies.  I'll work on getting some tablets and see if that helps.
I have another stout about ready to bottle.  I'll see how that comes out. 
In the meantime, I'll work on getting a report from the water dept here and I'll post again with that info and the recipe info.

I do appreciate the replies.

Ped

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Offline Beer Monger

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Re: Bitter Taste When Extract Brewing
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2011, 09:15:46 AM »
Another thing to consider with extract brewing is 'scorching' the extract.  You had mentioned: "Maybe I can describe it as maybe a little like a bitter after taste from burnt grains.  Or something similar to that."

Sometimes, extract brewers can unintentionally scorch or burn a bit of the extract if it's not sufficiently mixed in after adding (allowing some to sink to the bottom of the kettle & get burned there).  Also, you might be boiling at too high a temp (you said this above). 

Just a thought - based on your flavor description.  
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Offline pedrolikesbeer

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Re: Bitter Taste When Extract Brewing
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2011, 09:29:51 AM »
I am going to try using a lower temp when boiling and steeping.  I did that with the last kit.  I steeped at a lower temp and tried to keep the boiling temp down also.

I'm hoping both will help
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Offline Kit B

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Re: Bitter Taste When Extract Brewing
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2011, 02:07:18 PM »
My guess would be too much hardness in your water.
Your mineral levels, compounded with the mineral levels already existing in your extract may be leading to this flavor.
Darker malt can sometimes mask that, as well.
I noticed it, when I used to brew with extract...My water is FIERCE.
It's so hard, I'm surprised it doesn't come out of the tap as a limestone slurry.
Anyway...I brewed a batch with distilled & never got this flavor.
Then, I switched to all-grain, using R/O or distilled water & mineral additions.
My beers are much better, these days.

I could be wrong about your circumstances.
But, that was my situation.
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Offline weazletoe

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Re: Bitter Taste When Extract Brewing
« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2011, 10:07:18 PM »
If this is happening in your darker beers, I wondering if you are over sparging your steeing grains, or getting them to warm. You don't want the temp to go over 170* by any means. This will give you a bitter bite. Try and keep it at 160* to be safe. Also, when you pull the grain bag out, are you wringing it out? If you squeeze the bag to hard  this can also give you a bitter taste. Best to just pull the bag out, and do a good drip dry. Maybe a light squeeze against the side of the pot, with your spoon, but don't get to crazy.
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Online morticaixavier

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Re: Bitter Taste When Extract Brewing
« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2011, 03:23:47 PM »
If this is happening in your darker beers, I wondering if you are over sparging your steeing grains, or getting them to warm. You don't want the temp to go over 170* by any means. This will give you a bitter bite. Try and keep it at 160* to be safe. Also, when you pull the grain bag out, are you wringing it out? If you squeeze the bag to hard  this can also give you a bitter taste. Best to just pull the bag out, and do a good drip dry. Maybe a light squeeze against the side of the pot, with your spoon, but don't get to crazy.

not squezing the bag too hard and making sure to not get it above 170* is ALWAYS good advice, not just in brewing! :o
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Offline weazletoe

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Re: Bitter Taste When Extract Brewing
« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2011, 04:15:57 PM »
Good point. That is advice we should all follow.  ;D
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