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Mouthfeel: Dry, Powdery, or Harshly Grainy

Problem:

You may detect a powdery, astringent, or grainy sensation in the mouth that is distinct from tannin astringency or oxidation. A number of factors can contribute to this undesirable characteristic.

Causes:

  • Torn, shredded, or over-crushed grains can cause this sensation.
  • Overly alkaline mash and sparging water can cause a dry, harshly grainy mouthfeel.
  • Burned mash can cause this sensation.
  • A lack of sweetness in the grist can cause this taste or mouthfeel.
  • Hard, chalky water can cause this problem.
  • Yeast autolysis, where large amounts of dead yeast digest themselves, results in the release of various undesirable substances including bitter resins, lipids, nitrogen, and sulfur-containing molecules like hydrogen sulfide.
  • High wort pH can enable the extraction from the grain of excessive amounts of undesirable substances. These include tannins, silicates, and polyphenols, all of which can contribute to off-flavors.

Cures:

  • Crush the malt gently. Break the grain while avoiding tearing, shredding, or crushing it.
  • Maintain proper mash and sparge acidity.
  • Maintain proper mash temperature.
  • Change the recipe grist to include sweeter malts.
  • Change the water supply or soften the water.
  • Use high-quality yeast in good condition. Rack beer promptly to ensure that the beer is not left sitting on yeast sediment too long after fermentation is complete. Minimize transfer of yeast during bottling. Store beer cool to limit the further activity of yeast in the bottle.
  • Maintain the pH of the wort at 5.7 or below.
Mouthfeel: Dry, Powdery, or Harshly Grainy