Back to flavor problems

Brewing processes and methods. How to brew using extract, partial or all-grain. Tips and tricks.

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Back to flavor problems

Postby yooper » Wed Jan 09, 2002 4:50 pm

This forum is just an incredible source of information. All I can say about all of you is this is definitely not your first time at the rodeo. So here is another beginners question.

I plan on taking a few steps to eliminate my bitterness problems that I mentioned in a post a few days ago. One is to steep my grains in approximately 150-160 degree water for about 30 minutes and stay away from excessive temperatures to eliminate any tannin problems.

Another step is to make sure I can decrease the hop residue in the fermenting wort. In the past I have used just a standard stainless steel kitchen strainer. Is this enough or can I attempt to use a much finer strainer such as a coffee filter? I realize this could be a large pain in the rear but am willing to do it if it will help alleviate the problem, or is this going to far?

Thanks for all your help.
Dah yooper eh!
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Hop Bags

Postby BillyBock » Wed Jan 09, 2002 8:08 pm

As far as straining the hop residue from your wort, you could use hop bags available at your homebrew store. You'd just place the hop pellets in the muslin bag, loosely tie it and throw it in the kettle. The mesh is fine enough to contain hop particles but coarse enough to allow fluid to flow. You would have to use one bag per hop addition. So it might cost you an extra $1-$1.50 per batch but it's probably less hassle (and safer) than trying to pour boiling wort through a strainer. I'd have to do some checking, but I don't think hop residue in fermenting wort will increase bittnerness by any significant amount. It can't hurt to strain 'em; but you'll get the most mileage by just steeping your grains at 150-160 as you mentioned vice boiling them.
Good luck on your next batch, let us know how the bittering faired. Until then...Cheers!
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Try Irish moss

Postby Azorean Brewer » Thu Jan 10, 2002 2:37 am

Yooper, when I use flowers or plugs they go into a muslin hop sack one for each application IE: bittering, flavor or aroma. However whenever I use pellets I do not filter them out. I use one teaspoon of Irish moss (Which is some type of sea moss???) but what it does is positively charge the fermenting wort to carry any particles to the bottom of the fermenter. Add one teaspoon at 15 minutes left on the boil. Using tongs take out your flowers or plug sacks and leave the pellet particles in the wort. I have never had any problems with this. I pretty much use pellets exclusively unless I want a special flavor and I add as much as 4 oz. of hop pellets to my wort and I do not strain. Try the Irish moss, available at any homebrew supply store. One oz will go a long way for about $1.99, good luck,
Paul the Azorean Brewer.
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Try All Three

Postby l48shark » Sun Jan 13, 2002 9:04 am

These guys are both right and I actually use all three methods suggested and end up with a rather clear product. I boil my hops in grain bags. I also throw in Irish moss with 15 minutes of boil remaining. And I also strain the wort prior to pitching the yeast. I thought I would share my straining method, as it is a safe one because I strain after the wort is chilled. Once it is chilled, I pick up my brewpot and carefully dump the wort into my sanitized bottling bucket, avoiding to pour in the sediment at the bottom as best as possible. I then place the bucket on the counter and wait a bit for the sediment I stirred up to settle. I then set my primary fermenter on the floor and place a large funnel on top of that. The funnel is one I got from my local brewshop and it has a removable strainer. Finally, I open the spigot on the bottling bucket and the wort will hit the funnel, pass through the strainer and fall into the carboy. I don't open the spigot all the way or it will start to pull sediment off the bottom of the bucket, so I let it trickle in. The only problem is when a lot of sediment starts to block the filter and the funnel begins to fill with wort. (It is a finer filter than a kitchen strainer.) When that happens I have to close the spigot, pull the filter out and run it under very hot tap water before I replace it and continue. This funnel makes that very easy to do, though. When I get to the bottom of the bucket, I will see a lot of sediment left behind too. Of course, I was worried about bacteria, particularly when I need to handle the filter, but I have not had any issue after many batches so I don't worry so much about that now.
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Great Idea!

Postby brewdude » Sun Jan 13, 2002 5:51 pm

Never thought about filtering the wort before putting
it into the primary. That seems like it would take care
of a lot of the trub I'm getting. It is another step
though but I can see how it would aid in clarification.
It might also help with any off flavors. I've filtered going
into my secondary. Thanks for the idea!
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Hops pellets OK

Postby andytv » Sun Jan 13, 2002 6:17 pm

I've been watching this thread develop and am glad to see you are getting some good ideas. Here is some info which may be of use; Hops left in the fermentor donot contibute to bitterness. Generally speaking, the bittering agents are only extracted during the boil. At less than a boil, the bittering agents are not water soluble.
I have yet to filter any of my club's beers. On occasion we have had cloudy beers, but I really don't contribute the haze to hops trub. I think that careful siphoning and the use of a clarifier, such as Irish Moss will produce a clear beer. I'm sure filtering is a big help, but for me it is usually a race to get the wort from the pot to the fermentor, and I don't ike to hold up the process. At this point, the wort is something of a smorgasboard for bacteria, and I like to minimize exposure.
Excessive trub over a long period is a different story... after primary fermentation is complete, it is advisable to rack the beer off of the trub into a clean secondary fermentor. This process improves clarity and flavor. If you are serious about your hobby, as I am, I suggest you get a conical fermentor. The valve at the cone shaped bottom allows you to easily drain off trub w/o disturbing the beer or exposing it to atmosphere. It also facilitates yeast collection for re-use.

Good luck in the future, and don't sweat the fact that the bottom of your fermentor looks like a duck !@#$ in it!
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Postby Freon12 » Mon Jan 14, 2002 2:26 pm

I wish Mesa would put it straight for you if you confuse clear beer with less off flavors.I haven't seen our overlooking angel type in a while.
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Off flavors & clarity...

Postby Mesa Maltworks » Mon Jan 28, 2002 2:03 pm

Sorry I haven't stopped by in a while, I have just completed a merger of my company (Mesa Maltworks Brewing & Microbiological) with Ohio Brewing Company and had been focusing solely on that venture.

Now... Off flavors can occur in a beer regardless of the clarity. If you can describe the flavors specifically, I may be able to narrow down the sources for you. Hop tannins and malt tannins produce different types of tannic contributions to beer. I seriously doubt it's the hops unless you are going overboard ! A test for this would be to use a hop that is low in cohumulone, which is the most prominent compound responsible for harshness in hops. I don't know what style of beer you are brewing, but if it is an English ale style or a derivative thereof, First Gold is a good choice. If this is not the range of styles you are brewing in, let me know what style you desire and I'll match it up with a suitable low cohumulone hop. If you use one of these varieties and the problem disappears, it was the hop variety that you were using combined with technique. If the problem is still evident, the problem is being created in the mash.

A tidbit on clarity.... an interesting clarity aid that I use often is black malt, roasted or de-bittered black barley ! In VERY small amounts, these malts and grains do not impart flavor or color, but creates a physio-chemical reaction that causes protein break enhancement and leaves a clearer beer. This is a technique I discovered while researching some traditional German techniques that were used to comply with the former Reinheitsgebot trade law.
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