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Vourlauf question

Once in a while and it seems just in light color beers I get an off flavor that I guess is bandaid? Maybe not but its my best guess. Something that i never really give much thought to is vourlauf. I always run off a half gallon and recirc that. Is that enough?
I usually do 15 gallon batches and have a keg for mash tun.

Medicinal or bandaid flavors are usually caused by incorrect mash pH. Not knowing you water, but guessing this would make since in your example as they are often light beers and those are difficult to adjust pH for. What water/salt calculator are you using?

These off flavors can also be linked to inorrect water amounts and temp.

As far as vourlauf. Its not how much you do as to what’s is in it or remains in it. You can get clear run-off after a quart or may need to vorluf a gallon. This depends on your system.

But, I don’t think your off flavor is being caused by vourlauf. I would look into your water.

I have also heard of “Band-Aid” coming from chlorine in the water. Not sure on that but I know you don’t want chlorine in your water so either a filter through a carbon block cartridge or a campden tablet overnight will help with that.

As for the pH, I have been looking into pH quite a bit lately and Kai’s pH page
http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=How_pH_affects_brewing
is very interesting. Riverstreet, when I used to make pale beers, I would get some harsh and unusual flavors (not sure if it’s bandaid but funky nonetheless) and one of my issues was high bicarbonate in the water (which does not play well with softer, pale beers) and another of my issues was a high pH. I have learned that I need to dilute my source water with distilled water to lower the bicarb (some batches I make are 6 or 7 gallons of distilled with 1 or 2 gallons of source water and then calcium chloride to reach 50ppm of Ca) and I also need to pay special attention to mash and preboil pH especially on pale beers.

I agree with Loopie on the recirculating… I continue to do it until the wort is somewhat clear and I see no solid material in the clear measuring cup I use to recirc. That’s about 2 cups every time I recirc and I probably do it 10-15 times on the mash runoff and again on the sparge runoff (batch sparge).

Bottom line: Pale beers are tricky to make because there are soooo many things that can get in your way: High primary temps, a mash pH that is off, bad water composition, chlorine, oxidation, poor yeast health, bad sanitation practices, etc. These things can affect any beer but pale beers have nothing to hide flaws.

Had that problem too when I first started all grain. Was fixed by doing what Ken and Loopie mentioned; learned about mash pH and started treating my water for chlorine. My water is high in bicarbonates which is what was pushing my mash pH way out of the desired range. Since figuring all that out I’m now able to crank out everything from Munich Helles to Imperial Stouts by adjusting my water accordingly. Learning how to use Bru’n Water made an enormous difference in my beers.

This is the program I use. Martin is a water guru and this program is by far the best.

Riverstreet, I would download Bru’n water, buy enough distilled water to do a complete batch of your light beer, enter all zeros on water profile, build the water and brew the batch. This will help determine if its your water.

I know I’m getting precariously OT, but on the topic of bicarbonates: I have mentioned many times how it affects beer and for me it has been big because I go for lighter and/or softer and/or more finesse beers. By bicarb is 138ppm but all of my other numbers are low: Ca 34, Mg 12, Na 5, Cl 21, SO4 27. By diluting with distilled and then adding back some CaCl and/or gypsum (depending on style), my beers are much better all the way around. They are clearer, smoother, creamier and have much, much better head formation and stability. Also, I started down this path using bulk RO water I was getting from the store and my results were slightly better but not by much so I spent a lot of time looking at other factors. Turns out this bulk RO water was not very RO at all and still had high TDS and Bicarb numbers so RO is not all the same. I actually sent a sample to Ward Labs and was appalled at what was in this so-called RO water. So now I only dilute with distilled.

Never got the RO water that I used to dilute tested but my mash pH measured within .1 of what I had calculated using Bru’n Water so it must have been decent. My water is pretty close to yours Ken only there is a fair bit more calcium and my bicarb is just short of 300 ppm. Problem with using RO or distilled for me was how much water I had to drag home to do 10 gallon batches, particularly when doing a lighter lager. I now use 85% phosphoric to counter all that bicarbonate which has worked well and been much easier.

Never heard of mash pH being a contributor to bandaid flavors. Chlorine, yes.

My water is pretty much as close to yours as can be according to ward labs. Let me know how much you’re diluting by and how much cacl and or gypsum you’re adding. Thanks.

I do have chlorine in the water I use but I always get water ready the day before and also put campden in it.

This is the program I use. Martin is a water guru and this program is by far the best.

Riverstreet, I would download Bru’n water, buy enough distilled water to do a complete batch of your light beer, enter all zeros on water profile, build the water and brew the batch. This will help determine if its your water.[/quote]

You could also try Kai’s online pH calculator. I think it’s easier to figure out than Martin’s.

http://www.brewersfriend.com/mash-chemi ... alculator/

Note: apparently there is no single accepted method for mash pH estimation, and reportedly Kai & Martin use slightly different equations, so your results may vary depending on the nature of your water & your additions.

My water is pretty much as close to yours as can be according to ward labs. Let me know how much you’re diluting by and how much cacl and or gypsum you’re adding. Thanks.[/quote]
My strategy so far has been to dilute every beer I make and pale beers get higher dilution (anywhere from 75% to 87%) and amber might get 50% while darker beers get 25%. These dilutions are having a positive impact on beers of all colors. Then I added CaCl and/or gypsum to get my overall Ca number back to 50ppm. If it’s an amber ale, pale ale, red ale, English pale ale or anything where “hoppy” is better, more gypsum is added. If it’s something softer like a helles, pilsner, festbier, etc., it will get more CaCl. Today I’m making something I call Signature Ale (it’s listed on my recipe page) which is hopped once at the beginning of the boil and that’s it. It’s a sort of amber-red ale but it’s not necessarily meant to be overly hoppy. It’s SRM is around 12 and I diluted 25% with distilled and added 1g of gypsum and 2g of CaCl to the mash and the Cl:SO4 ratio is “balanced”. Cheers.

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