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astringent mouthfeel

PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 1:01 pm
by jimmiec
A slight astringent mouthfeel is a common flaw on my Dixie Cup comment sheets. This flaw is probably coming from my mash handling and sparging, which has been both batch and fly sparging methods. However, I have just been fly sparging lately. I guess I need to start again with measuring the gravity and pH of the extract coming out of mash tun. Any other suggestions or could it come from somewhere else?

I calculate both my dough in and sparge water volumes from Beer Smith. For a 10-gallon batch (approximately 28 lbs of grain), it comes up to approximately 20-gallons of water and has been a very good number for hitting my pre-boil volume (14.5 gallons), which I need to have a good post-boil volume (12 gallons). My OG have been higher than the calculated OG at 75% efficiency.

I heat up the sparge water to around 170F, turn off the heat, and then fly sparge with keeping at least a 1-inch head on the grain bed. I do a vorlauf until it is nice and clear. It takes roughly 1 hour to sparge. The mash tun temperature never gets above 160F while sparging. After sparging, I inspect the grain bed and never seen any channeling. I used to measure the gravity coming out of the mash tun but stopped because it always seemed OK (above 1.010).

PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 1:10 pm
by aleguy
You're fine. I never detected significant astringency in your beers. Remember that most of the people judging aren't full-blown BJCP certified judges. Even if your mash went up to 170 it shouldn't have produced any astringency. Though they say fly sparging tends to produce more astringency than batch sparging.
IMHO the judges are confusing dryness with astringency. I once had Charlie Milan tell me my beer hadn't finished fermenting even though I had a final gravity of 1.002. He was confused by the ester profile which gave the beer an apparent sweetness even though it had a bone dry finish. You would think a Grand Master BJCP judge would have spotted that. But no. Take it with a grain or pound of salt and don't jump to conclusions based on fewer than three competitions.

PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 1:57 pm
by jimmiec
I wouldn't either but more than one judge commented on it and for both beers entered (Porter and Belgian Dubbel). The astringency may be slight and I would like to make it cleaner if the flaw is there. I got a bottle of each left and going to sit down with the beers and score sheets once I'm out of recovery. Actually Charlie judged one of the beers (Porter) and had some good comments.

I entered the Porter as First Time and Porter entries to see about the judging comments. They were pretty consistent but no mention of the astringency from the First Time entry.

Dryness and body is another thing to work on. Hoping the RIMS will help with that.

It was interesting experience to steward. They made me sit down with them a couple time to organize the table and pour. Poured a lot of them for myself too.

PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 3:13 pm
by jimmiec
Maybe the dryness of the beer does give an impression of astringency. Better control of my mash temperature would help with that.

PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 3:46 pm
by sdspespo1
But congratulations on placing second!!! So do the judges all sit down at the same time to judge a beer or is there a rotation? I wonder (along the lines of aleguy) if one might have seen anothers comments and wrote that down for desire to be part of the herd!
Bunch of misguided ungulates! :lol:

PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 7:17 pm
by jimmiec
Thanks sdspespo1.

For the first round, a set of judges (2 to 3 people) will judge a flight (consisted of a category at the Dixie Cup) such as Porter 12. The non-BJCP judges were teamed up with nationally ranked judges or higher. The judges hopefully are talking to each other while judging the flight. However, they don't have access to other flight info, etc. The second round judges do not see the first round score sheets and determines 1, 2, and 3 without completing a scoring sheet. The judges discuss and argue of the 1, 2, and 3 positions. The best argument was during the Sour Ales, which I can say later because may be not appropriate. I think it is a pretty fair system.

PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 7:38 pm
by sdspespo1
WHAT!!?? you mean an bunch of beer drinking judges were making comments that are not repeatable in public forums!!!

PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 8:03 am
by jimmiec
Nothing too bad but just want to keep it clean.

PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 8:28 am
by aleguy
Another possibility is that it was your carbonation that caused the astringent feeling. You might consider cask conditioning for beer you want to enter into competition. I have noticed that overcarbonated beer does have a bite similar to astringency and force carbonated beer can have a slightly metallic taste to it which is even more pronounced at high carbonation levels.

PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 9:43 am
by jimmiec
It was my first time using the counter-pressure filler and still have not opened a bottle that I have filled with it, probably should.

PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 8:39 pm
by Imakewort
are you adjusting your sparge water PH, by watching the Ph it will help reduce your astringent problem

PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2011 8:03 am
by redtail28
Congratulations on you win. I'm no expert
like Aleguy but maybe stop sparging a little
earlier 1.010 seems low.
my 2 cent.

PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2011 2:16 pm
by alms66
redtail28 wrote:Congratulations on you win. I'm no expert
like Aleguy but maybe stop sparging a little
earlier 1.010 seems low.
my 2 cent.

I missed that before, but either that's a typo (1.100 maybe?) or redtail's onto something there.

PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2011 8:31 am
by jimmiec
Thanks Redtail.

Imakewort, I tested my brewing water (watermill) and mash when I first got my pH meter from Northern Brewer. Everything seemed to be OK and my mash pH was 5.4 or something. Last night, my wife went and got 5 gallons of water for the house so I tested it and I got a pH of 6.8 (averaged 10 readings).

Next time I brew without drinking, I will test the pH of the water, mash, sparge water, and final extract collections. Maybe I need to get some Phosphoric Acid. I have some 5.2 but never used it because of some of the bad reviews and it didn't seem like I needed to use it since the mash was in a good pH range.

Should the final extract collections stay below a pH of 6?

PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2011 11:13 am
by jimmiec
Listening to the recent Brew Strong show on tanins. John Palmer says keep the final extract runnings pH below 5.8 to 6.0 and gravity above 1.015. I'm curious what mine have been.