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Thread: First batch woes

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    Jasper, Al USA
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    First batch woes

    Hi, I just put my first 3 batches on tap, a breakfast stout, a blonde, and an IPA, all 3 of them are dry with an astringent bitterness, everything we have brewed on our pilot system has turned out great. What are some possible causes?

  2. #2
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    Jun 2015
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    Anchorage, AK, USA
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    Is this the first that anyone has tasted these beers? Did it taste like this in the brite or fermenter as well?


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  3. #3
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    Jun 2015
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    Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada
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    Did your water change when switching from your pilot system? Chlorine can give a pretty unforgettable medicinal/band-aid flavor that can sometimes be described as astringent bitterness.
    If all 3 have the same undesirable flavor, I would look at common denominators, so water, yeast (if it is all from the same pitch/subsequent generations) or some infection.
    More info needed for an answer other than "could be anything"


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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by dmartin View Post
    Did your water change when switching from your pilot system? Chlorine can give a pretty unforgettable medicinal/band-aid flavor that can sometimes be described as astringent bitterness.
    If all 3 have the same undesirable flavor, I would look at common denominators, so water, yeast (if it is all from the same pitch/subsequent generations) or some infection.
    More info needed for an answer other than "could be anything"


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    Water was my first thought, but 2 of those batches were brewed on the small system at the same time I was brewing on the big system so the water should be the same.

    I used fresh us-05 on all three big batches and all 5 small batches, the only difference is the equipment being used.

  5. #5
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    Oct 2013
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    Dallas, Bangalore and soon Goa
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    Were all of your tanks and equipment cleaned properly? I.E. caustic wash, rinse, and an acid wash? A lot of new equipment needs to be washed and passivated properly before use.

    Do you have any other undesirable characteristics such as poor head retention, darkening of color, ect?

    What were your final gravity readings in relation to your expected? Is it in fact drier, or does it just perceive that way?

  6. #6
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    Feb 2016
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    San Francisco, CA
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    Astringent bitterness... could be polyphenol extraction from malt husks due to your bigger system behaving differently during the sparge than your pilot system. Take gravity readings during runoff to make sure it's not getting lower than you expect, pH too if you're set up for it.

  7. #7
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    Dec 2003
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    Strongsville, Ohio
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    Quote Originally Posted by feinbera View Post
    Astringent bitterness... could be polyphenol extraction from malt husks due to your bigger system behaving differently during the sparge than your pilot system. Take gravity readings during runoff to make sure it's not getting lower than you expect, pH too if you're set up for it.

    Ditto.. Sparge temp, gravity and to a lesser degree PH should all be watched closely, especially the last third of runoff.....and even more so when brewing on a new system till you learn its tendencies.

    Given your probable increased efficiency on smaller worts with your new system, say under 12p, its easy to sparge down to 1p or less, if you keep an eye on it you can cut off your runoff and dilute to kettle full gravity with HLT water

  8. #8
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    Jan 2017
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    There are a handful of variables that could contribute to astringency. Make sure you are not milling your malt too fine, or mashing for extended periods of time. Maintain you mash pH as always between 5.2-5.6 depending on your beer style. If you are running a mash tun with a heating source (anything other than single infusion) like a steam jacket make sure you are mixing adequately while your heat is on; and make sure that you don't exceed 170 degrees, same with your sparge water. When lautering into your kettle either perform a vorlauf or make sure large amounts of loose grain aren't making their way into your kettle. Make sure that your hops are good quality and free of excess vegetation/stems.
    Last but not least it could be your recipe formulation, a beer that could have tasted great at a 5 thru 15 gallon scale could be drastically different when bumped up to larger batches. DM me if you have any questions.

  9. #9
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    You will also see hop efficiency go up, so you should do a BU comparison with the pilot and the large scale recipes as well.

  10. #10
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    Oct 2014
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    Jasper, Al USA
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    Thanks for all the replies, I have a ph meter on the way, I hope I can get this figured out

  11. #11
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    Jun 2007
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    Jacksonville FL
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    My money is on oversparging, as a couple of others mentioned above. Your big system is probably a LOT more efficient and you are probably getting most of the sugar out before you are at your desired kettle volume. Don't just focus on PH, use a refractometer and check the sugar content of your final runnings, chances are you are basically just running off astringent yellow water for the last 10% or so of your lauter on smaller worts. When your runoff gravity drops below something like 1.010 you should stop the runoff and just top off the kettle with hot liquor, it won't hurt your efficiency appreciably and it will make better beer. We have to do this for the last 1-2BBL in the kettle for pretty much any beer with an OG below 1.060.

  12. #12
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    Mar 2017
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    Quote Originally Posted by JWbrew View Post
    Water was my first thought, but 2 of those batches were brewed on the small system at the same time I was brewing on the big system so the water should be the same.

    I used fresh us-05 on all three big batches and all 5 small batches, the only difference is the equipment being used.
    How does US-05 make a Blonde? :P
    Ryan
    Viridian Brewing Company
    [Brewery-In-Planning]

  13. #13
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    Mar 2017
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    Grand Rapids, MI
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    I completely agree with the advice that everyone else has given here regarding over-sparging. However, another concept, that is linearly related to over-sparging, is regarding hop isomerization efficiency with respect to pH. You want to ensure that your PREBOIL pH is lower than around 5.2 or 5.3. Any higher than this, and you run the risk of extracting a rather "harsh" or "astringent" bitterness from the isomerized hop alpha acids. The goal is to shoot for around 5.2 or so PREBOIL, and then I make sure that my POSTBOIL is low enough to ensure that the final beer pH is where I want it (4.1--4.5 based on style).
    Ryan
    Viridian Brewing Company
    [Brewery-In-Planning]

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