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Mouthfeel: Astringent, Dry, or Puckering

Problem:

For most beer styles, an astringent, dry, or puckering sensation is not welcome in the beer, and there are several potential causes.

Causes:

  • Bacterial contamination and infection can cause a dry or puckering mouthfeel.
  • Fruit skins boiled with the wort release tannins into the beer.
  • Grain husks boiled with the wort release tannins into the beer.
  • Overboiling hops yields excessive hop acids in the wort, causing a dry or puckering mouthfeel.
  • Overagitation of the mash can break up grains and release tannins into the wort.
  • Overhopping can cause hop resins to form tannin-like molecules, causing a dry or puckering mouthfeel.
  • High pH sparge water results in extraction of tannins from the grains.
  • Overly hot sparge water can extract tannins from the grains.
  • Poor quality malt can lead to tannin extraction as you try to coax wort from the grains.
  • Wild yeast contamination can result in extremely high levels of attenuation, by their ability to ferment some sugars, such as maltotetraose and dextrins, that cultured yeasts are not able to process. As a result of the breakdown of dextrins, the beer may lack body and therefore astringent components in the beer may be more pronounced.
  • Wort trub, if not separated out properly, can introduce tannins into the beer.

Cures:

  • Maintain sanitary conditions.
  • Remove skins from any fruit being used in brewing, and don't boil the fruit, but add it in the fermenter.
  • Properly crush grains, and remove grains from the brew before the boil.
  • Shorten the duration of the hop boil to reduce the release of hop acids.
  • Reduce stirring of the mash.
  • Keep hopping rates within reason for the style of beer being made.
  • Ensure that the pH of the sparge water is 5.7 or below.
  • Lower the sparge temperature below 168 F (75.6 C).
  • Use better quality malt, as good quality malt is readily available for homebrewers.
  • Filter wort trub as much as possible before fermentation. Or, use a blow-off tube on the fermenter to allow the krausen, which can include the trub, to escape during fermentation, rather than settling back into the beer.
Mouthfeel: Astringent, Dry, or Puckering