Troubleshooting IPA - Grainy flavor

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by Drel, Jan 8, 2017.

  1. Drel

    Drel Aspirant (225) Nov 14, 2014 Massachusetts
    Trader

    Hey guys just wondering if I could get a little help from the community. I have brewed 5 batches of AG IPAs and they all end up having a grainy flavor on the finish which I am really not looking for. I'm not quite sure where in the process this flavor should be removed / covered up. I would rather some minimal malt sweetness or something similar to balance the hops. I will admit that this batch that I just tasted from the hydrometer sample is not yet finished fermenting, but it is close. All of my batches taste nearly identical from the samples no matter my grain bill or yeast selection and they all end up having a poor finish on the palate after bottling/carbing. The smell and mouthfeel are great. The initial flavor is adequate but I think the finish detracts from any hop flavor. I keep rolling with the trial and error strategy but not a whole lot is changing.

    This recipe:

    3.5 gallon
    7lb - Maris Otter
    1.25lb - White wheat malt (tried to get some sweetness)
    Mash 60 min @ 152
    60 min boil
    1 oz simcoe @ 30 min
    2 oz mosaic & 1 oz galaxy whirlpool
    2 oz galaxy dry hop
    Yeast - 1056 - 1L starter
    Water - ~150ppm each sulfate/chloride

    OG - 1.062
    FG - 1.020 (Still in progress) --> 1.015 estimated
     
  2. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Crusader (730) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    Could you be over-sparging possibly? One of the nastiest tasting flaws in an AG beer, imho.
     
  3. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,715) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium

    Can you please provide more details?

    Are you 'making' your brewing water? If so is your base RO water and what salts are you adding? What are your mineral amount for all of the other 'important' minerals: Sodium, Magnesium, Calcium.

    Do you measure your mash pH? If so, what is the value?

    How much water do you use? How much for the mash and how much for sparging?

    Cheers!
     
  4. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,470) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Before everyone goes off the races to solve your problem, let's define the problem. What do you mean when you say "grainy?"
     
  5. Drel

    Drel Aspirant (225) Nov 14, 2014 Massachusetts
    Trader

    I don't believe this to be the case. I use a mash/sparge water calculator and perform a single batch sparge.

    Not using RO water. I am using bulk poland springs but I looked at their water analysis report and all of their minerals reported were in a range of non detectable to approx 20 ppm so I basically viewed that as pretty close to distilled. I have only been adding gypsum/CaCl. Haven't checked pH of mash. pH of the water is 5 out of the bottle.

    It is kind of a bready/nutty/savory type flavor. No sweetness or "maltiness" whatsoever.
     
  6. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Crusader (730) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    Really? That seems really low
     
  7. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,715) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium

    Well, the critical pH is the mash pH.

    I have never researched this before but I was a bit surprised to read the varying pH values of various water sources:

    · Tap Water: 7.00 (neutral)

    · Reverse Osmosis Water and Purified water: 4.5 - 6.0 (depending on source)

    · Poland Springs Water: 5.0

    · Zephyrhills Water: 7.5

    http://fit4maui.com/water/pu/bottled_ph.html

    What these varying values for source water ‘translates’ to mash pH I am uncertain.

    Cheers!

    @utahbeerdude
     
  8. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,470) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    "Bready" to me could be a malty flavor or a yeasty flavor. Since you say no "maltiness," think about yeast. Are you fining your beer and/or allowing time for the suspended yeast to fall out of suspension?

    "Savory" (umami) also makes me think of yeast, as in yeast autolysis. Can you describe your yeast handling process, i.e. how you store it and at what temps, from the time you get it until the time you pitch it in your beer wort?
     
  9. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,470) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Water that is nothing but H2O would technically have a pH of 7. But in a sense, it has no pH (or rather no buffering capacity), because when you try to measure it, you get nonsense (like 4.5 or 6.0) because there are not enough ions in the water for the meter's electrodes work properly. It's a measurement artifact. If it could be measured accurately, it would be very slightly acidic, because of CO2 absorption by the water when it's exposed to air.

    That's silly. Tap water is all over the place, depending on the source.
     
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  10. Drel

    Drel Aspirant (225) Nov 14, 2014 Massachusetts
    Trader

    "Savory" (umami) also makes me think of yeast, as in yeast autolysis. Can you describe your yeast handling process, i.e. how you store it and at what temps, from the time you get it until the time you pitch it in your beer wort?[/QUOTE]

    As soon as I get any yeast I leave it in the refrigerator (at refrigerator temp?) until a couple days prior to brew day when I begin my starter. At that point I will leave it in the flask at around 68 degrees for it to do its thing and then I cold crash for 12-24 hours depending on brew time, decant, and pitch my starter when it is time.
     
  11. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,470) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    As soon as I get any yeast I leave it in the refrigerator (at refrigerator temp?) until a couple days prior to brew day when I begin my starter. At that point I will leave it in the flask at around 68 degrees for it to do its thing and then I cold crash for 12-24 hours depending on brew time, decant, and pitch my starter when it is time.[/QUOTE]

    Sounds pretty typical/normal.

    What about the other question, about allowing the yeast to fall out of supension?
     
  12. Drel

    Drel Aspirant (225) Nov 14, 2014 Massachusetts
    Trader

    I have tried London Ale III and American Ale 1056 which both have had this flavor. I was looking into Imperial A20 as people have reported that yeast has a more citrus finish but I am wondering if it is something I am doing incorrectly at this point.
     
  13. Drel

    Drel Aspirant (225) Nov 14, 2014 Massachusetts
    Trader

    I will leave my beers to ferment for approximately 2 weeks. They will finish up fermenting at 5-7 days then I leave for another 5-7 days for the yeast to clean up then I bottle. Is that not enough time for the yeast to fall out?
     
  14. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Crusader (730) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    No race here, but I have found that key words used initially such as "grainy" and "finish" usually mean astringent in the context of AG mashes (and limited ability to describe). A good question might be if the OP had the same problems with his extract batches...I think not...but I'm not a mind reader.

    btw...black coffee is ~ 5ph ...no matter what Palmer and others say, if you use that ph water in a lot of mashes AND 300ppm additions and don't measure your ph you are asking for trouble, imho cheers
     
    premierpro likes this.
  15. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,470) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    The pH per se of the starting water isn't really important, but the buffering capacity certainly is. In other words, not all 5.0 pHs are created equal.
     
    GreenKrusty101 likes this.
  16. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Crusader (730) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    Sounds like a good argument for not bothering to measure ph (not really)...I am assuming good RO/distilled water has very little buffering agents in it as opposed to Poland Springs/other packaged waters.
     
  17. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,470) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    That's a good assumption.
     
  18. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Crusader (730) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    So...you think it might be the Poland Springs water then? :slight_smile: (+the 300ppm additions)

    I wonder if the OP was making any additions with his extract batches (that he had no problems with)
     
  19. Drel

    Drel Aspirant (225) Nov 14, 2014 Massachusetts
    Trader

    Headfirst into AG no extract here besides for one mr beer kit. How does pH of the mash effect flavor? I thought it just impacted conversion
     
  20. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,470) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    I think it depends on what's causing the 5.0 pH and the overall ion profile in that 5.0 pH water. If the ion profile, including total alkalinity, were known, it cold be used to predict mash pH (along with mash additions and the grain bill). But the pH alone doesn't help predict anything.
     
  21. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Crusader (730) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    Mash pH indirectly will/could affect final kettle pH, hop utilization/flavor, and sparge tannin extraction (although there are other larger factors also)
     
  22. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Crusader (730) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    How did that turn out? Same grainy finish?
     
  23. Drel

    Drel Aspirant (225) Nov 14, 2014 Massachusetts
    Trader

    Ha. No. It was an expired can of red ale extract. Tasted super malty. Maybe I should add that to my next AG IPA batch. :rolling_eyes:
     
    GreenKrusty101 likes this.
  24. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,470) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    I was curious about a 5.0 pH for any drinking water (very low), so I looked up Poland Springs water report here. They report 6.6-7.1 for their "Natural" Spring Water" and 4.6 for their "Sparkling" Spring Water, i.e. carbonated water.
     
    GreenKrusty101 likes this.
  25. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,715) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium

    I am still hoping that Mark (@utahbeerdude) will provide some input to this discussion.

    As Neil Diamond would sing: Hello, again. :slight_smile:

    Cheers!
     
  26. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,245) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    Ditch the maris otter and use pils, problem.solved. :rolling_eyes:
     
    JrGtr likes this.
  27. utahbeerdude

    utahbeerdude Disciple (367) May 2, 2006 Utah

    I've read through the thread. It not clear to me that the off-flavor, much less the culprit, has been identified. If I were the OP, I'd have several experienced homebrewers try the beer in order to help identify the problem.

    Cheers!
     
    JackHorzempa, SFACRKnight and VikeMan like this.
  28. Drel

    Drel Aspirant (225) Nov 14, 2014 Massachusetts
    Trader

    My last recipe was 2-row with flaked oat / bit of honey malt with same result.

    If anyone is in northern MA, come on by. All the hydrometer samples you can handle! I can mail out a bottle post fermentation as well if anyone feels like critiquing.
     
  29. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,470) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    I'd be willing to receive a bottle or two, share with other locals, and provide feedback. You'll probably get several volunteers. I'd recommend spreading the samples around to get independent evaluations.

    Even better, I'd recommend entering your beers in competitions to see what the BJCP judges pick up. If judges in multiple comps (or in different flights of one comp) note the same thing(s), that will provide clues.
     
  30. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,470) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Maybe. How clear are your beers when you drink them?
     
  31. Hogue2112

    Hogue2112 Initiate (0) Apr 7, 2016 Ohio

    Whoa. This is a thing?
     
  32. Drel

    Drel Aspirant (225) Nov 14, 2014 Massachusetts
    Trader

    Yikes. I'm worried enough about what you guys are going to say, nevermind entering it into a legitimate competition haha. But I will send you some after if you'd be willing.

    Not very clear but that has been purposeful as a result of the process. I was following the AP NEIPA recipe (oats / 1318/ dry hop during fermentation) and know that it isn't supposed to drop clear.
     
  33. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,470) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    PM me for the address.

    Were all 5 batches NEIPAs? If not, how was the clarity of those that weren't?
     
  34. JrGtr

    JrGtr Disciple (368) Apr 13, 2006 Massachusetts

    this is kinda what I was thinking. I did read the thread and I wasn't quite clear if the "graininess" was a flavor thing or more of a mouthfeel, and exactly what was going on.
    Personally I like a bit of cracker / bready / biscuit thing at the end, and if that's what the OP is thinking, maybe just switch the base from the MO to either straight 2-row or pils malt may make the difference. It also may have something to do with the wheat malt.

    OP: where in Massachusetts are you?
     
  35. Drel

    Drel Aspirant (225) Nov 14, 2014 Massachusetts
    Trader

    Yes they were. I am firmly seated on the bandwagon. My first couple were abysmal due to working out how AG brewing actually works. :flushed: (Trial and error! Lots, and lots, of error!) I am really trying to get one solid recipe that I can brew regularly and then I will be moving on. I actually have a stout planned for this weekend. Wish me luck.

    MA/NH border around the 495/93 junction.
     
  36. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Crusader (730) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    I am always careful to not oversparge or overheat the grain bed...still remember that one sample from the off-flavor test kit...almost as bad as the butyric sample (not quite :slight_smile:)

    "How to Brew" pg 255-257
     
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  37. Hogue2112

    Hogue2112 Initiate (0) Apr 7, 2016 Ohio

    I really need to get in with a group that is doing one of these samplings. I have never tasted them isolated.
     
    GreenKrusty101 likes this.
  38. BRT2018

    BRT2018 Initiate (0) Feb 27, 2018 Brazil


    I am having the same issue here. 2-row, white wheat, London III (1059/1015), simcoe and mosaic. Grainy dominates in aroma and flavor. Have you found a way to fix this @Drel ? I'll try higher gravities.
     
  39. BRT2018

    BRT2018 Initiate (0) Feb 27, 2018 Brazil

    Water was 167ppm Chloride : 82ppm Sulfate
     
  40. Drel

    Drel Aspirant (225) Nov 14, 2014 Massachusetts
    Trader

    Man, I had completely forgotten about this post until I got the alert. I will say that I have gotten significantly better at brewing IPAs in the past year and it wasn't due to increasing gravities.

    I start with a base of Poland Springs water, which based on their water reports is pretty much a clean slate for all intents and purposes. I will also use mineral additions similar to what you mentioned.

    Make sure that you are using fresh ingredients! I suspect some of my issue was due to age and poor storage quality of the malts and hops that I was buying locally. I still use a local HB store....just not THAT one.

    Depending on what I am brewing I will add a small amount of crystal malt for a bit of sweetness. I also increased my hop rates on many of my IPAs.

    I know this has been a bit of a controversial topic in the past but I also find that my flavors and aroma come through far more pronounced when I keg my IPAs vs bottle condition. I will still bottle condition my more malt forward, darker, beers but I keg all of my light stuff now.

    And don't forget to cold crash your beers in the fermenter for at least 24 hours before packaging!

    If I think of anything else I will update but those were a lot of the big changes that I made in the past year.