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Is An Astringent Wort Normal?

Is a noticible astringency, post boil and pre fermentation, normal? I’m getting it even in low hop beers and I do not taste it coming out of the mash tun. (edit – I wasn’t tasting the wort post mash out)

Update:
I think I’ve fixed the issue. The tongue drying harshness is not present in my latest batch. I did two things differently:

  1. I skipped the mash out
  2. I did not use a hop sack

As before, I’m leaning towards the mash out being the issue, but I did notice a layer of skum on top of the boil that I have not seen before (I’ve always used hop sacks).

I don’t even need to do a mash out because I use such a high girst/water ratio (around 1.7Q/Lb). But I am going to go back to fly sparging instead of no sparge for most batches since I determined it wasn’t my sparging that was the issue.

If you mean your wort gives you a drying sensation that lingers on the tongue, then no. I’m going to guess that you have a water issue thats affecting your mash pH and this is manifesting itself as astringency. Could be pulling tannins out of the husks, or could be high sulfate. Try RO water from Walmart and a teaspoon of calcium chloride for your next brew water, or at least cut your tap water 50:50 with RO and see if this affects the astringency.

how high of a mash temp are you working with?

You may be confusing astrigency with bittering. Post boil wort is very bitter. The fermentation and yeast flocculation take some of that out. If the wort did not taste ‘astringent’ going into the boil, its probably the bittering that you’re tasting.

Yes, it is definitely “drying”. I did recently switch to RO water in an attempt to fix this issue, but to no avail. I also switched to no sparge mashing and it do not help. Knowing that the wort is not supposed to be astringent out of the kettle will help me diagnose, thanks!

[quote=“alanzo”]I also switched to no sparge mashing and it do not help.[/quote]You can have pH problems with no-sparge (just like any other mash) - are you checking your pH?

As best I can, yeah. I have a Hannah ph meter but find it a bit hard to use. I’m pretty sure the wort tastes fine comin out of the mash and that I’m getting astringency during the boil or chilling.

Are you vorlaufing enough? Have a lot of pieces/chunks coming through to the kettle? I don’t see why you’d get more astringency from boiling unless like Martin suggested you are getting some green hop character and that is coming across as astringency. Is your finished product also astringent?

What salts/acids are you using for adjustments?

[quote=“tom sawyer”]Are you vorlaufing enough? Have a lot of pieces/chunks coming through to the kettle? I don’t see why you’d get more astringency from boiling unless like Martin suggested you are getting some green hop character and that is coming across as astringency. Is your finished product also astringent?

What salts/acids are you using for adjustments?[/quote]

Finished product is also astringent, yes. I do a constantly recirculating mash with a Hannah check temp thermometer. I do a mash out to 168. On the mild I brewed yesterday I used 5g of cacl and 2g of baking soda added to the mash and used RO water.

The sensation is drying of my entire tongue, not bitter in the back like it should be.

I think what I will need to do is brew up a batch and taste it for astringency every 15 minutes from mash to chill. I typically taste the mash and it’s been fine, but only ever taste the boiling wort after its done an chilled.

I don’t think this is a new problem for me. I thawed some wort I had in the frezzer since last summer an both of the batches I thawed were astringent.

I take it you’re heating during the mash? Maybe theres some hot spot in the system thats overheating part of the grist. Or maybe the thermometer is off. You might try not mashing out and see what that does.

I do no-sparge with the full volume of water and it works well for me. I’ve fought to get good sweet malty flavors but I don’t think I’ve had astringency problems per se.

Thats quite a bit of CaCl2 for medium colored beer, and I use chalk rather than sodium bicarb even though it isn’t quite as effective. I always err on the low side of mineral additions.

Good luck with your diagnosis, tweaking a system can be a pain. Hopefully the beer is still palatable.

[quote=“tom sawyer”]I take it you’re heating during the mash? Maybe theres some hot spot in the system thats overheating part of the grist. Or maybe the thermometer is off. You might try not mashing out and see what that does.

I do no-sparge with the full volume of water and it works well for me. I’ve fought to get good sweet malty flavors but I don’t think I’ve had astringency problems per se.

Thats quite a bit of CaCl2 for medium colored beer, and I use chalk rather than sodium bicarb even though it isn’t quite as effective. I always err on the low side of mineral additions.

Good luck with your diagnosis, tweaking a system can be a pain. Hopefully the beer is still palatable.[/quote]

It could be the mash out, as well. I’ve never tasted the wort between the beginning of the mash out and the end of the boil as far as I can remember.

[quote=“alanzo”] On the mild I brewed yesterday I used 5g of cacl and 2g of baking soda added to the mash and used RO water.[/quote]Post the recipe, including volumes for mash, kettle, and fermenter - I think you have a pH issue.

Here is my most recently brewed beer, brewed it just yesterday. It was after tasting the finished wort with astringency in mind that I concluded that the issue is coming from the mash/boil and not the fermentation.

Smoked Mild, 6.25 gallons, 62% efficiency – 18.7 SRM, 15.2 IBUs (Rager), 1036 OG
6lb Marris Otter 3L
2.5lb Weyermann Smoked 2.2L
.5lb Briess C60
.5lb Briess 120
.3lb Pale Chocolate 200L
.15lb Black Patent 500L
.85oz 5.5% Alpha EKGs 60 min
2gm Baking Soda
6gm CaCL
7 Gallons mash, no sparge, 2.81 qt/lb, topped off with around 2 gallons for 7.5 gallons Pre-Boil, all RO water, no acid added
– I’ve had this issue even when using 1.4 qt/lb and tap water (also soft)
– I put in the Pale Chocolate and Black Patent at the end of the mash to avoid their affect on pH, the SRM was 10.9 for the majority of the conversion (50 out of 75 minutes, including Mash Out)

Thanks for the help, everyone!

Well, it’s not a mash pH issue - everything checks out using bru’nwater.

2.5lb of smoked malt? That must be really mild stuff.

I suppose we’re back to a mash temp issue. What kind of mashtun are you running? And what issues are you having with your pH meter? They’re not that hard to calibrate, its a pain but sounds like you could use the feedback.

Possible sanitation issue? Do you have any way to confirm your equipment isn’t harboring any contamination?

Good to know, thanks! I just downloaded that Bru’nWater XLS, will have to play around with it more. Any tips?

[quote=“tom sawyer”]2.5lb of smoked malt? That must be really mild stuff.

I suppose we’re back to a mash temp issue. What kind of mashtun are you running? And what issues are you having with your pH meter? They’re not that hard to calibrate, its a pain but sounds like you could use the feedback.[/quote]

I like my smoke character. :slight_smile:

It’s a Blichmann BoilerMaker w/ the False Bottom. I do a “manual RIMS” – so it’s recirculating the entire time and I turn the flame on/off/up depending on my thermometer reading.

The pH meter is giving me issues becuase it is REALLY sensitive to temp and takes a long time to give an accurate response. Makes it a hard instrument to trust when it’s taking me 10 minutes to get a stable reading. I need to find a way to chill the wort to “room temp” really fast is all, I think. I’ve only used it a few times at this point.

At this point, I’m leaning towards the mash out. It’s not an issue at that temp for most systems, but with my high girst/water ratio, even at 1.5Q / Lb, tannens are extracted quicker.

Might need a new pH probe, when they get worn out they take a long time to equilibrate. For cooling wort just put some in a Whitelabs tube or test tube, sitting in a glass with cold water. It’ll chill off in a minute or so and you can get a reading at room temp.

I know its not a no-soarge issue because I’ve done quite a few of these mashes at 3.5+ qt/lb. I don’t do mashouts, recirculation or heating the mash so that is our only difference. I’d guess its the mashout heating step and possibly a thermo that reads low.

[quote=“alanzo”]I just downloaded that Bru’nWater XLS, will have to play around with it more. Any tips?..but with my high girst/water ratio, even at 1.5Q / Lb, tannens are extracted quicker.[/quote]Bru’nwater can be intimidating at first glance, but work your way through the pages and enter the data as indicated and when you’re done, you’ll know how it works and how to use it.

[quote=“alanzo”]but with my high girst/water ratio, even at 1.5Q / Lb, tannens are extracted quicker.[/quote]If the mash pH is correct, there shouldn’t be any excess tannin extraction at typical mashout temps. For a fast wort chill for a pH reading, I keep a small glass bowl in the freezer, then spoon a little wort into it, swirl it up the sides a couple times, and it’s at 70F.

I think I’ve fixed the issue. The tongue drying harshness is not present in my latest batch. I did two things differently:

  1. I skipped the mash out
  2. I did not use a hop sack

As before, I’m leaning towards the mash out being the issue, but I did notice a layer of skum on top of the boil that I have not seen before (I’ve always used hop sacks).

I don’t even need to do a mash out because I use such a high girst/water ratio. But I am going to go back to fly sparging instead of no sparge for most batches since I determined it wasn’t my sparging that was the issue.

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