Is my water too hard?

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Is my water too hard?

Post by bionut » 4 years ago

Hi!
My last brew, a SMASH with Pale Ale malt and Cascade hops (homegrown) has a harsh bitterness that you stays on the tongue for 5-10 seconds after you drink it, although i didn't use so much hops: 50 grams of Cascade as 60, 25 and 5 min aditions, for 4 kg of malt . The smell is also a little bit strange, i can't asociate it with nothing :(
Could that be a sign that my water is too hard, with to much carbonate?
I can't do a water test because it cost to much (the price is bigger that 25 kg of malt :D), so i can't know for sure the carbonate concentration, but i've read that hard water can speed up the isomerization proces...

Can the high mash temperature (67-68 Celsius) be the problem? I don't know it tanins from the grain would give a harsh bitter taste to the beer...

Any advice or critic is appreciated.


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Post by 2trout » 4 years ago

I think that more data is needed Bionut. Posting your recipe would help. Does your water taste good?

trout
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Post by bionut » 4 years ago

Well, the recipe was made by me for my ingredients inventory.
4 kg pale ale mashed at 67 °Celsius for 60 min
Hops are mentioned above
60 min boil
2 packs of dried yeast (generic Brouwland ale yeast)
OG 1.034
FG 1.018 (i know that is to low, but i guess that is the high mash temperature fault?)
Fermented at 18-19 ° for 4 days, then 2 weeks at 22°.

For hops i've used muselin bags. Could that be from the homegrown hops?
Or is a sign oh high sulfate of carbonate in my water?
FYI the water is perfectly good to drink, no taste at all (well water).
Until now i've brewed only extract kits so i don't have a comparation.

The bitterness really comes out, it makes my face twist a little. Also, the beer have a distinct smell, wich i can't relate to anything.

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Post by BobBrews » 4 years ago

bionut,

A good starting place is to buy some disposable pH test strips. They are fairly cheap at most brew supply stores. Once you find the starting pH you can adjust with a few cheap additions of gypsum or whatever is needed to get you close. pH is important in nailing down certain flavors and tastes but I had a few medals won before I even tested my pH. My pH was way off but the beers still won so maybe it was just luck? :luck:

Look here.... http://www.howtobrew.com/section3/index.html
Last edited by BobBrews on 24 Nov 2013, 20:50, edited 2 times in total.
tap 1 Raspberry wine
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tap 3 Czech Pilsner
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Post by 2trout » 4 years ago

Well, in looking at the info you provided, I don't think that the mash temp is your problem, nor do I feel that the FG is to low either.

It is likely that the problem lies with the hops, or with something that Im not very knowledgeable in. That is, is the balance between the grain and hops not right? Maybe 150g(5.3oz) of your homegrown hops is to much for 4 KG(8.8lb) grain? Do you need a bigger beer to go with the volume of hope you used?

trout
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Post by bionut » 4 years ago

I only used 50 g of hops, ~1.5 oz, not 150 g.


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Post by bionut » 4 years ago

BobBrews wrote:bionut,

A good starting place is to buy some disposable pH test strips. They are fairly cheap at most brew supply stores. Once you find the starting pH you can adjust with a few cheap additions of gypsum or whatever is needed to get you close. pH is important in nailing down certain flavors and tastes but I had a few medals won before I even tested my pH. My pH was way off but the beers still won so maybe it was just luck? :luck:

Look here.... http://www.howtobrew.com/section3/index.html
The only pH strips i can get here (and i have them) are the ones with full range pH (0..14), so i can't really test the pH with decimals.
I allready have Palmer's book.

Is it possible that water chemistry to affect the hop isomerization so much? I don't really know how tanins taste, to make a comaparison.
Last edited by bionut on 24 Nov 2013, 23:22, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by BobBrews » 4 years ago

bionut,
Is it possible that water chemistry to affect the hop isomerization so much? I don't really know how tannins taste, to make a comparison.
Yes it affects the perception of bitterness! Tannins are astringent. Look for astringent below.

http://www.howtobrew.com/section4/chapter21-2.html

Got to go The Packers will be starting soon and I need to get my crying towel ready!
Last edited by BobBrews on 25 Nov 2013, 00:00, edited 2 times in total.
tap 1 Raspberry wine
tap 2 Bourbon Barrel Porter
tap 3 Czech Pilsner
tap 4 Triple IPA 11% ABV

Pipeline: Mulled Cider 10% ABV

http://cheesestradamus.com/ Brewers challenge!


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Post by smyrnaquince » 4 years ago

You can also look here for what affects the perception of bitterness. Take a look the section on Sulfate/Chloride Ratio; it may apply to you.
Last edited by smyrnaquince on 25 Nov 2013, 10:55, edited 2 times in total.


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Post by PistolPatch » 4 years ago

Nice to see you back online smyrna ;)

bionut, this could be the start of an infection.

Before you brew next, pull everything apart completely that you can and smell it. Anything you can't pull apart, see if you can do the 'nostril' test on it (search site for nostril and you'll find what I'm talking about). Pay particular attention to any sort of taps. Smell your hoses and make sure they are food-grade (and heat-proof if you are doing no-chill). If you keg, make sure you haven't bought crappy kegs (like I did once) that either rust on the inside welds or that have inside welds that aren't smooth and polished.

As for pH strips, you should be able to get the Duotest pH 3.5 - 6.8 strips such as seen here by mail order no matter where you live. I have them and a pH meter and they are usually within about 0.3 of each other which is fine. I don't think this will solve your problem though as I don't think this is going to be a water problem.

It might be but I wouldn't be betting on it. For starters, if your water was really hard, you'd know about it as you would have regular heavy calcium deposits to deal with in your bathroom and kitchen kettles etc. (Here's an idea... Drop into your local swimming pool shop with a beer or two and ask them about the local water. Another avenue of investigating water might be to see if there is a home brew club in your area.)

Regardless, check the infection avenue carefully.

:luck:
PP
Last edited by PistolPatch on 25 Nov 2013, 20:16, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by bionut » 4 years ago

I checked my water pH, it is 8.5-9, pretty alkaline. Could this be my problem?


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Post by 2trout » 4 years ago

Bionut,

I really have little experience with water chemistry, but 8.5-9 ispretty darn alkaline if you ask me. From what little I know, what you use to lower the Ph has to do with several water components.

A simple suggestion would be to use 1/2 tap water and 1/2 bottled or distilled water for your brews.

If you want to tackle water chemistry, start with a report from your local water utility(if your on city water).

trout
Last edited by 2trout on 14 Dec 2013, 06:06, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by Mad_Scientist » 4 years ago

High pH could be a part of the problem as far as mash efficiency goes, but has little to do with taste (I believe :dunno: ). Your mash pH could have been as high as 5.57 pH. [EDIT: But if it's hard water, this is not true]

If you do have hard water then it could be the perceived bitterness you describe; http://beersmith.com/blog/2008/08/24/br ... d-or-soft/

Can you buy one of these kits; http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?ti ... er_testing
Maybe a fish aquarium store could order it for you?


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Post by bionut » 4 years ago

I don't really afford a proper water test... I'll try to get a test like you posted.
Tomorow is a brew day, i will see how this batch will turn out and keep you posted.
Thanks for your help!

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Post by Yeasty » 4 years ago

Mad_Scientist wrote:Maybe a fish aquarium store could order it for you?
They may be able to tell you.

I've found this test kit to be good and used by a lot of brewers Amazon sell them (follow the site link) Here

As previously said if you have a hard water problem your kettle will fur up with deposits what does it look like.?

Re reading your OP there are a few things you need to consider:

You say this was your last brew, so there must be previous brews, what did they taste like?

You used home grown hops, were they "green" or dried. Could they be oxidised ? how were they stored before use.

What smell a little bit strange ? the beer or the hops ?

I wouldn't get to worried if its only one brew, give everything a good clean and sanitise like crazy, like PP said you may have a slight infection.

Yeasty
Last edited by Yeasty on 14 Dec 2013, 17:56, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by bionut » 4 years ago

This was my second all-grain brew, for the first i didn't had a siphon so i poured the wort with a big pastic cup in the fermenter, and it turned slighty sour. Before that i made a lot of kits without any problems.

The hops were dried, kept in the freezer in plastic bags. How can i know if they were oxidised?

The beer had a little strage smell, the hops smells like hops.

Today i brewed another batch, i will see how it will turn out.

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Post by Yeasty » 4 years ago

The Beta acids can produce bitter compounds when oxidised there is a BYO article here

Your slightly sour first brew may be something to worry about, there is a possibility that you have an infection lurking in your equipment. As per my last post a good clean and sanitise would be a good thing to be sure that an infection is ruled out.
Last edited by Yeasty on 15 Dec 2013, 05:40, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by bionut » 4 years ago

I made a thorough cleaning/sanitizing after that infection, and again good sanitizing before pouring the wort in the fermenter.
What kind of infection can give a bitter/harsh taste? Having in mind that the first infection was a sour lactic kind, i believe?

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Post by Yeasty » 4 years ago

I can't comment on the infection taste as I've never had one but I would expect it to be sour or acidic so I suppose that rules out an infection. As you have used home grown hops perhaps the problem is with those. I'd brew the same recipe with shop bought hops and compare the results.
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Post by BobBrews » 3 years ago

bionut,

Look at this link about "Off Flavors"


http://www.howtobrew.com/section4/chapter21-2.html
tap 1 Raspberry wine
tap 2 Bourbon Barrel Porter
tap 3 Czech Pilsner
tap 4 Triple IPA 11% ABV

Pipeline: Mulled Cider 10% ABV

http://cheesestradamus.com/ Brewers challenge!

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