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Old 11-09-2006, 03:12 AM   #1
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Default First batch

Hey everybody,

I brewed my first batch about a month ago. It was intended to be a trappist. I let it ferment for 11 days around 73 degrees, then I bottled it after racking to a bottling bucket. It has been conditioning for 21 days.

I tried my first bottle after one week of conditioning, knowing that it wasn't ready but still curious to see how it was progressing. It smelled really sweet like honey, and had a really sweet honey-like front, but it finished really harshly, with a strong alcohol taste. I wasn't concerned.

I tried another bottle a few days ago, and it seemed much improved for the wait. However, when I poured that bottle, in my excitement I got some yeast in there, and it was a bit funky. I thought I could distinguish the yeasty flavor from the rest of the beer, though, and it seemed to be coming along nicely.

I tried another bottle today, and took pains to avoid getting any yeast in the glass. The aroma is pretty nice, but the beer itself seems not quite right. It's decent, but it has a mild sourness to it that isn't so great.

So my question is, do I still need to wait a few more weeks for this beer to condition? Is it just in another transition phase before it gets where it needs to be? Or is this a sign that something has gone wrong? I used Lallemand Nottingham yeast, which I read pretty good things about, but someone on another forum told me that he thought Nottingham gave a sour flavor to the beer, and recommended moving on to liquid yeast ASAP. Any help, advice, or information would be greatly appreciated!



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Old 11-09-2006, 03:18 AM   #2
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I can't speak too much to the sourness problem other that to say I would be very surprised if the Nottingham was the root cause. I've been using Nottingham on most of my brews with great results (it's generally considered a very clean-fermenting yeast). Your ferment temps might be a touch on the high side, which might result in a little bit of the harshness; I had some issues on an early brew where temps were probably averaging 75 or so.



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Old 11-09-2006, 03:23 AM   #3
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Yeah, the other piece of advice this person gave me, besides going with liquid yeast, was getting my ferment temps into the 60s. Unfortunately, I don't really have any way of doing that, outside of cranking the air conditioner to ridiculously low temps, which will get me kicked out of the apartment by my girlfriend! I did move the first two batches I made from my extra bathroom, where it was averaging around 72 degrees, into a closet, where the temps were probably closer to 76 on average, about halfway through the primary. Any advice on how to create a cooler fermentation zone? I plan on leaving my current batch in the cooler bathroom for the duration this time.

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Old 11-09-2006, 03:32 AM   #4
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Get yourself a big Rubbermaid container and do a water bath. Keep your fermenter in that. Get a bunch of bottles, like 1 liter soda bottles, or eveb gallon water bottles, and freeze them. One or twice a day, add some frozen bottles to the water bath to keep the temps down (and re-freeze the one that has melted). This will both keep your temps down and, almost as important, minimize the fluctuations that will occur throughout the day.

You may have to experiment a little (I have a nice, cool basement - plus I live pretty significantly to the north of you!), but this should work. Keep a themometer handy so you can dial in how much ice you need. I'd bet that's more your culprit (for the harshness, not necessarily the sourness) rather than the yeast.

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Old 11-09-2006, 04:10 AM   #5
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That's a good idea. Whether or not I can get away with it remains to be seen.

As for the harshness, I just figured that was a symptom of a green beer. At this point, the sourness is my primary concern, no pun intended.

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Old 11-09-2006, 04:12 AM   #6
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Harshness could be the green-ness, or the high temps. The sourness, I don't know what to tell you except I doubt highly it's the yeast.

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Old 11-09-2006, 04:58 AM   #7
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I suppose my only recourse for now is to wait an taste it again in a week or so. I tried my second batch today as well, and it was definitely not conditioned enough. So I'll try both and compare them. Hopefully everything will be better by then.

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Old 11-09-2006, 01:01 PM   #8
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Some of my early batches turned out to be slightly sour, not in a pleasant, lambic-y way either. Still not sure what it was, except that I brewed them during the summer, and I used dry yeast. However, since it's gotten cooler, and since I started doing partial-mash, and since i started using mostly liquid yeast, I haven't had the same problem as I did with those two batches (Amber and Irish Red). My laundry room/beer HQ has been averaging about 62-64F for the last month or so...which is excellent!

Bird is right, though, you'd do well to get yourself one of those big circular tubs, you know the kind that they use to put horsefeed into, with the rope handles? They work great, because they're plenty strong. Before I bought my lagerator, that's what I was using to keep my carboys cold.

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.planned:
•Scottish 80/- •Sweet Stout •Roggenbier
.primary | bright:
98: Moss Hollow Soured '09 72: Oude Kriek 99: B-Weisse 102: Brett'd BDSA 104: Feat of Strength Helles Bock 105: Merkin Brown
.on tap | kegged:
XX: Moss Hollow Springs Sparkling Water 95: Gott Mit Uns German Pils 91b: Brown Willie's Oaked Abbey Ale 103: Merkin Stout
98: Yorkshire Special 100: Maple Porter 89: Cidre Saison 101: Steffiweizen '09 (#3)
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Old 11-09-2006, 02:02 PM   #9
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Yeah, until we move into a house (which I'm chomping at the bit for now!), I'm in a pinch on space. I'd like to get a used fridge that I can set on a low setting for my ales, but the rubbermaid container thing is appealing. I just don't know if it can fit something like that in my bathroom without catching a lot of grief.

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Old 11-09-2006, 02:27 PM   #10
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Yeah, I feel you. I have 9 fermenting vessels, cases and cases of bottled beer, cases more of empties, 3 big rubbermaid containers full of ingredients and equipment, another rubbermaid container filled with bleachwater and soaking bottles to remove labels, a big chest freezer for lagering, and one of those big buckets full of star-san solution. Plus I just got 2 turkey fryers. Quite an operation...and from what I see on these boards, my setup is minimal compared to most of these freakazoids. But nonetheless, SWMBO doesn't like how much space I take up. She does like the turkey fryers, though...keeps my operation out of the kitchen, doesn't stink up the house, and takes 4 minutes to reach boiling.

Yeah, if I didn't have a house with an expansive basement, there's no chance in hell she'd let me do all this stuff. Good luck finding space for a cooling vessel...



__________________
MOSS HOLLOW BREWING CO.
Aristocratic Ales, Lascivious Lagers


.planned:
•Scottish 80/- •Sweet Stout •Roggenbier
.primary | bright:
98: Moss Hollow Soured '09 72: Oude Kriek 99: B-Weisse 102: Brett'd BDSA 104: Feat of Strength Helles Bock 105: Merkin Brown
.on tap | kegged:
XX: Moss Hollow Springs Sparkling Water 95: Gott Mit Uns German Pils 91b: Brown Willie's Oaked Abbey Ale 103: Merkin Stout
98: Yorkshire Special 100: Maple Porter 89: Cidre Saison 101: Steffiweizen '09 (#3)
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