Poor mouthfeel - is this just me?

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by mattbk, Nov 2, 2012.

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  1. mattbk

    mattbk Devotee (467) Dec 12, 2011 New York

    Made an oatmeal stout.

    Used 2.5 lbs of oatmeal in a 5 gal batch.

    Mashed @ 158.

    FG = 1.025

    Mouthfeel is medium light.

    Wha? What am I missing?
  2. inchrisin

    inchrisin Defender (654) Sep 25, 2008 Indiana

    Maybe the answer is in the water profile, grainbill, OG, humidity in the air, etc. How old is the beer?
  3. mattbk

    mattbk Devotee (467) Dec 12, 2011 New York

    kegged on sunday. OG = 1.069. Also 2 lbs of C60, 3/4 lb of Carafoam. Humidity? Pshaw.
  4. Danielbt

    Danielbt Initiate (0) May 4, 2012 Texas

    I can't imagine a beer with a FG of 1.025 has a medium-light mouthfeel. Especially with that much crystal and carafoam. Holy crap, it should be positively chewy.

    Maybe you over-carbed the keg?
    GreenKrusty101 likes this.
  5. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,386) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    My guess is (over)carbonation. How many volumes did you carb to?
  6. mattbk

    mattbk Devotee (467) Dec 12, 2011 New York

    volumes are probably about 2.3. ~9 psi at a temp of about 38 deg F. (no temp control on this fridge)

    the wort was really thick and syrupy prior to fermentation, i was excited. it didnt over attenuate obviously.

    could mash pH have anything to do with this?

    or - it could just be me.
  7. Naugled

    Naugled Crusader (730) Sep 25, 2007 New York

    Is the mouthfeel the same when its a bit warmer?
  8. mattbk

    mattbk Devotee (467) Dec 12, 2011 New York

    pretty much.
  9. BumpkinBrewer

    BumpkinBrewer Disciple (353) Jan 6, 2010 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    Even when I use the fast carb method, I still find the beer as a whole is better in a week or two. Maybe give it more time?
    OddNotion likes this.
  10. mattbk

    mattbk Devotee (467) Dec 12, 2011 New York

    okay, try this on for size:

    previous batch I made I used nearly 5g total of combination chalk/bicarb to raise pH. i had used palmers spreadsheet tool for this. the beer was thicker and sweeter.

    according to the brun water tool, my pH should have been about 5.8 - sort of high, but definitely favoring alpha amylase.

    this past batch i used bru'n water to calculate salt additions. bru'n water recommended only 2 g of chalk/bicarb. this should have put my pH at about 5.4 - a more optimal range - but not one that favors maltier beers and more mouthfeel, as opposed to a pH of 5.7-5.8. this beer was thinner and more bitter.

    no, i did not measure pH. next batch, and from here on out, ill be doing this.

    would this explain my perception of the beer? if not, im out of ideas.
  11. mattbk

    mattbk Devotee (467) Dec 12, 2011 New York

    am i on the right path Y or N? Experts in water chemistry, I'm looking in your direction.
  12. Tebuken

    Tebuken Disciple (324) Jun 6, 2009 Argentina

    Take into a count that chalk is soluble only in a half,if you did not check mash Ph there might be a possibility it was lower than you think,hence a lack of sodium and carbonates in your water could be the culprit.(poor buffering)
  13. mattbk

    mattbk Devotee (467) Dec 12, 2011 New York

    If chalk was halved I'd lose Ca not Na... this would have my final Ca concentration at 44 (maybe a little bit low) and my final Na at 30 (almost definitely low). The lack of carbonates would also bring my pH down to 5.3.

    Would a lower pH and lack of these elements result in the lack of mouthfeel on their own? Even if the FG is 1.025?
  14. Tebuken

    Tebuken Disciple (324) Jun 6, 2009 Argentina

    I don´t know why you say you would lose only Ca,I think you lose Ca and Co, Na comes from NaHCO3.If your mash Ph was lower beta-amylases have performed a better work,thus more fermentables were extracted, this could lead to a thinner beer.I think the lack of these minerals could be the culprit, but there might be others taking into a count your FG is 1025.
  15. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,386) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    I could be wrong, but I really don't think it's the minerals. I'd pour a sample and degas it, then see if there's a dramatic change.
  16. mattbk

    mattbk Devotee (467) Dec 12, 2011 New York

    Yes, you would lose Ca from chalk and lose NA if bicarb was not dissolved - which it is, since it is highly soluble. Therefore, lack of sodium would not result from lower dissolution of chalk.

    Will do...
  17. mattsander

    mattsander Zealot (549) Feb 3, 2010 Alberta (Canada)
    Beer Trader

    +1 for overcarbonation. 2lbs of crystal???
  18. mattbk

    mattbk Devotee (467) Dec 12, 2011 New York

    we likes our beer sweeeeet.
  19. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,386) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    Just a thought... while I'm still thinking (over)carbonation rather than minerals, you could test the latter by adding a carefully weighed amount of table salt to a sample and see what that does.
  20. inchrisin

    inchrisin Defender (654) Sep 25, 2008 Indiana

    Buy more peanuts :slight_smile:
  21. yinzer

    yinzer Initiate (0) Nov 24, 2006 Pennsylvania

    Isn't there something in Gordon Strong's book about a high pH muting flavors? If there is nothing to taste I think that CO2 might step up.
  22. mattbk

    mattbk Devotee (467) Dec 12, 2011 New York

    I realize that ideal pH range is 5.3-5.5, but also that higher pH will create a less fermentable wort and fuller body. From Brun:

    The pH of the mash influences a number of factors in brewing including; fermentability, color, clarity, and taste of the wort and beer. A slightly acidic mash pH of between 5.2 and 5.8 (measured at room-temperature) improves the enzymatic processes during mashing. The lower end of that range produces more fermentable wort and thinner body. The lower end of that range also produces better extraction efficiency, lighter color, better hot break formation, and the beer is less prone to form haze. The upper end of that range produces less fermentable wort and more body (Briggs et. al., 1981). Tailoring the mash pH helps a brewer create the wort character desired for the finished beer. In most cases, narrowing the target mash pH range to between 5.3 and 5.5 is recommended.

    I haven't yet tried adding salt. I had some last night, I really do not believe it is overcarbonated, if anything, the carbonation might be a bit too low (since the beer has not been kegged for long.) I'll try adding salt and see what happens. If this doesn't work - will go back to targeting 5.7-5.8 for mash pH, this time using the meter as a check.
  23. mattbk

    mattbk Devotee (467) Dec 12, 2011 New York

    I wanted to follow up on this thread from a while back - I remade this batch and wound up hitting a pH of 5.8 during the mash. I needed quite a bit of bicarb and chalk to make this happen, but within ranges for the style I was going for (black, malty). I also added a bit of NaCl to the mash and sparge. The resulting beer had a very nice and full mouthfeel, sweet but not too sweet or cloying, enough to balance some of the bitterness from the roasted barley I used.

    Every one in a while, someone newer on this forum wonders what water chemistry will do for your beer. This is a complete validation for me that water chemistry is the difference between OK-to-good beer and great beer. Additionally, you really need to measure the pH during your mash to dial in your profile. Cheers.
    koopa likes this.
  24. samtallica

    samtallica Initiate (0) Jul 22, 2010 North Carolina

    The length of your boil can make a difference here too. If I want a chewy beer, I do a 2 or 3 hour boil.
  25. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Defender (679) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    What yeast did you use? I realize it finished at 125, but just curious. I'm thinking your 158*F mash was not really that high...did you check with a second thermometer? Did you mash out? I've been doing 30-45 min mashes in beers I want viscous and it seems to help (even with oatmeal)
  26. mattbk

    mattbk Devotee (467) Dec 12, 2011 New York

    Boil time was 90 minutes. Mash time was 60. We don't double check temp on every batch we do, only periodically, it has fallen in range in batches before and after using an independent measuring device. We mashed out, but because of the system we use, we probably only get up to about 162 during mash outs. The yeast was London Ale III, which is typically 71-75% - I had only 68% attenuation on this batch. It was not overattenuation, as I said.

    Regarding longer boil time: I assume you are adding extra water or collecting extra sparge for your long boil. Why would a longer boil make mouthfeel heavier just by adding and then boiling off water? Increasing unfermentable sugars via carmelization? I can see this altering taste of the beer, but not sure how or why it would affect mouthfeel.

    The shorter mash time is an interesting idea, I may try this for my next batch - although it will be hard to iodine test a stout considering how dark the beer is...

    Are there thoughts that increasing the pH as I did was not the most effective way to improve mouthfeel? It did not appear to hurt my efficiency.
  27. samtallica

    samtallica Initiate (0) Jul 22, 2010 North Carolina

    Exactly, just collect extra wort when you sparge. The longer you boil, the more melanoidins you're going to get which will contribute to mouthfeel. I've never done the exact same beer with a 90 minute boil vs a 180 minute boil but I can say I've been very happy with the mouthfeel of the imperial stouts I've done using a 180 minute boil. When I was doing 90 minute boils, I had issues with them feeling thin on the palate.
  28. WickedSluggy

    WickedSluggy Devotee (400) Nov 21, 2008 Texas
    Beer Trader

    It is really hard to believe that mashing at 158 with oats is producing a thin mouthfeel. Assuming you are getting the desired original gravity (meaning your efficiency is adequate) you should have loads of dextrines in your beer. It seems doiubtful that the answer is variations in water chemistry.

    Are you certain that your mash temperature is being maintained? What is your mash process and how are you measuring your mash temperature? Brewing software can underestimate heat loss in a system if not tuned to your system. Temperature can vary greatly withing a mash tun. If you are reading with a single probe maybe the mash temperiture isn't what you think. I use three probes. One dial therm through the Sanke Keg MT; One is at the oultlet of the RIMS tube, and I take temperiture reading with a long probe thermometer. The three probes can vary wildly if I don't insulate well and recirculate.
  29. mattbk

    mattbk Devotee (467) Dec 12, 2011 New York

    OK. I have made two batches. Used the same temp probe for both. I reached >75% efficiency for both (usually I range 73-77%). As I said, I don't check with multiple probes for every batch, but in batches before and since the batch with problems, I checked versus another probe, and the measurements are within a degree of each other. I don't believe my strike temp was off.

    Now - I do what you guys will probably think is an unusual thing regarding maintenance of mash temp. I don't have a RIMS or anything too crazy. I have a 15 gallon picnic cooler tun - that I never felt maintained temp very good for 5 gallon batches (lots of heat loss, and inconsistencies). What I started doing for 5 gallon batches - and it maintains temp really well - is immerse an 8 gallon kettle in a 12 gallon kettle that I use for 10 gallon batches. I fill the 12 gallon with water and bring that water to my desired mash temp - 158 in this case - and then add grains and mash with single step infusion in the 8 gallon kettle. Basically, I jacket the entire area of my mash tun. Once I hit my temp, I cover and the temp never fluctuates by more than 0.5 degrees over the course of an hour. I'll usually check 3 to 5 times during the course of the mash, and check at varying spots in within the tun. I'll then lauter in the cooler once the mash is over.

    The only things that I knowingly changed between the first and second batch was an extra 0.5 lb of pale malt (trying to up gravity a bit) and the water chemistry. There was a considerable difference in both mouthfeel and flavor. There could be other things that I haven't accounted for, sure! But the water chemistry was the only thing I was trying to change, and the result was dramatic. I am open to other ideas, of course.
  30. mattbk

    mattbk Devotee (467) Dec 12, 2011 New York

    good advice. will maybe give this a try next batch.
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