Troubleshooting my AG beer

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Troubleshooting my AG beer

Postby serum » Tue Jan 13, 2015 07:40

I've been noticing that my beers aren't sweet enough and they also have a bit of a husky taste and a little astringency. I also find that the hop bitterness isn't quite as pronounced as it could be. It's not enough to ruin it but it's stopping it from being as good as it can be. I have a few ideas of what it might be but can anyone throw in any more suggestions.

Based on what I've read I think this could be a water treatment issue as my recipes are generally blond beers that are mostly or all pilsner malt. I've read that you want almost no alkalinity to brew a pilsner. The water I use is the cheap waitrose water and has around 32ppm alkalinity which isn't a lot but is it still too much for this beer?

I don't think I'm over sparging but I'm worried that the ph is rising when I sparge. I check the gravity as I go, making sure the corrected reading isn't below 1.010 and the temperature of the mash isn't over 75C while I sparge.

My current plan is to try adding some acid to my mash / sparge water to get rid of the alkalinity to bring me closer to a pilsner water profile but is there anything else I can try. I have been adding calcium chloride to the water which increases the calcium from around 20ppm to about 70ppm but so far I've not gone any deeper into water treatment. I'll only be using a little acid so I've picked up some lactic as it seems easier to use but will probably move on to something with less flavour later on.

One question I have is whether astringency will replace sweetness as I've noticed my beers lack the sweetness of commercial examples with the same grain bill. I've tried mashing higher and I'm waiting to see how that turned out so maybe that's the answer. I'm also going to invest in a good thermometer to help me nail my temps.

Any help is appreciated! I can post recipes, water info and so on if need be.

FV - Blond Biere de Garde
Bottled: Altbier, XX Bitter
Planned: Amber Saison, Spelt Saison
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