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Old 09-26-2010, 01:21 AM   #1
kanzimonson
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Default Really annoyed with my pumpkin ale

I just got a pumpkin ale on tap and everything about it is great except for this mildly unpleasant aftertaste. It's a little toasty and grainy, with a touch of maybe metallic (like freezer burn?), and some spiciness or even sourness like yeast bite. SWMBO, who has an incredible palate (but sometimes not the vocabulary to describe what she tastes), gave me the typical comment that makes me want to destroy all of my homebrewing equipment and go out with a murder-suicide: "It tastes like a homebrew! Why is it so sour?"

But she's right. It's a beautiful beer in all its complexity and myriad of flavors - it just has an aftertaste that really turns you off to the beer. Don't read too much into the fact that she used the word "sour"... I'm very confident it's not contaminated with something wild.

The thing is, I do a lot to eliminate yeast bite in my beers because I think I'm really sensitive to it. So I used a pretty flocculant yeast (WLP004 Irish Ale), used gelatin and crash cooled after fermentation, and I keg. The beer could be a little clearer, but it's not so cloudy that I worry about the yeast content.

It could be something related to the bitterness contributed by the spices too. I know the beer is young, but it still makes me wonder about the fact that SWMBO was able to correctly pin it as that flavor that plagues a lot of brewers no matter the age of the beer.

Recipe:

6gal
OG 1.069
FG 1.015
IBU ~20

10.4# Am two row
2# crystal 60
1.6# dark Munich
1# cpils
1# rolled oats
2 x 15oz canned pumpkin (in mash)
.6# whole cane sugar (at beginning of boil)

Mash 158* for ~45min

25g Amarillo/Centennial pellet blend - 60 min - 20IBU

1T cinnamon, 1t nutmeg, .5t allspice - 60 min
.5T cinnamon, .5t nutmeg, .5t allspice - 10 min

Pitched @ 67* with a large, stepped up starter of WLP004 Irish Ale. Was quite active at time of pitching and barely had any lag before the wort began fermenting.

Fermented at 67* for three days, then bumped to 69* for two days, then let free rise for two more days.

Added a gelatin solution and began crash cooling to ~40*. Sat like this for 4 days, then kegged today and quick-carbonated.

Dammit!!!!!!!

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Old 09-26-2010, 01:38 AM   #2
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So you started a could crash after 7 days and your trying to evaluate your beer at day 11? What's the rush? You let the yeast do only part of their job and then you put them to sleep.

I'm sure if you let that set for a month or 2, it'll get better.

Another thing I would be concerned about is the amount of nutmeg. I'm always very careful with that spice.

Good luck and enjoy your beer at Christmas!

Bull

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Old 09-26-2010, 01:54 AM   #3
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Time will solve your problem... see you at the dinner table on Thanksgiving!

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Old 09-26-2010, 02:06 AM   #4
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I simultaneously made a Moose Drool clone and it's completely drinkable and delicious right now. Breweries pump their beers out in under a week all the time. I admit that a beer like this will improve with age, but no beer should have problems at this point if fermented correctly.

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Old 09-26-2010, 12:20 PM   #5
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It will take some time with the pumpkin and spices. You have quite a bit of spicing in there. Adding spices at 60 min can get a little funky from what I understand. Give it a few weeks then try it again.

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Old 09-26-2010, 12:36 PM   #6
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Find the trusted BJCP guys at the nearest brewing club. There are always a few guys that can pinpoint your problem after taking a sip.

Pretty difficult to do an online diagnosis.

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Old 10-21-2010, 03:36 PM   #7
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Did you force carb by rocking the keg at a high PSI? If so you could have over done it add the bite could be the carbonic acid that builds up in solution from the force carbonating technique. You shouldn't expect to be able to drink the beer right after kegging it, even with force carbing. At least let it set over night at serving PSI (10 - 15) to equilibrate. Pour off the first pint (high in yeast). Then go from there.

Quote:
Breweries pump their beers out in under a week all the time. I admit that a beer like this will improve with age, but no beer should have problems at this point if fermented correctly.
Why even ask us questions if you think you know the answers?

Yes, fermentation is often done in less than a week, but conditioning is not, Hence your wife giving your "homebrew taste" scorn. You brewed a 1.069 OG beer. Wait at least 6 weeks from brew day to enjoy that baby, it will not disappoint.

This is purely opinion, but 3# of cara/crystal malts (2# crystal, 1 #carapils)....WTF? That is unnecessary. I would leave out the Carapils (pointless malt 90% of the time, especially with other cara/crystal malts). With a beer with an OG of 1.069, there is without a doubt going to be a malt profile. You don't need that much crystal malts to complement that grain bill. I would have used 1# cara/crystal max.
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Old 10-21-2010, 04:01 PM   #8
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11 days is pretty quick... especially for a beer starting at 1.069. You need to allow the yeast to fully condition the beer, it really does make a huge difference.

When you say huge starter what do you mean? How do you make your starters? If you don't pitch a large amount of yeast, you can't condition that fast. In fact, if you really want to be drinking your beer in 11 days, you are going to need to over pitch by a decent amount.

Further, if you want it that fast, you are going to need to filter, not only cold condition. Cold conditioning is most effective at lowest temps possible if you can drop it to 32º that will help a lot.

Finally, carbonic acid takes a while to dissolve. Whether you keg or not doesn't matter, you will have an acidic bite (likely what you are calling sour) from the carbonation process. It takes about 3 weeks to fully degrade and not affect the flavor. To avoid this time, you can carbonate to a very low level (like my mild that I drink after a week), or just give it the time it needs.

Quick turn around is possible but you need to have every aspect controlled, and to get to 11 days with a big beer takes some special equipment/processes.

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Old 10-21-2010, 04:05 PM   #9
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Boerderij_Kabouter - its like we were reading each other's minds.......

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Old 10-21-2010, 05:30 PM   #10
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Turns out I had simply overcarbonated the beer and was getting significant carbonic bite. Once I got rid of that it was great, though young. At about the 3 week mark it really hit its stride. Now it's been relatively constant.

As for funkswing, thanks for the opinion but I'm never listening to anything anybody says on this forum about crystal malts. HBT users are terrified of crystal malt.

Green Flash's West Coast IPA has over 15% crystal/cara malts in it, and that beer kicks ass. I don't think it's unreasonable for a beer trying to emulate PUMPKIN PIE to have 17% and come out a little sweeter. And now that I think about it, I believe Green Flash has an OG of 1.069 or right around there...

And what's with this belief that carapils is useless? I've heard people say that they think its effects can be emulated by mashing higher, but if that were 100% true, carapils would not exist, and breweries would not pay the premium for it.

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