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Old 09-05-2009, 05:23 PM   #21
eschatz
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Using starters helped alot. Ferm temp helped alot. Hop utilization was a big one. I had to learn how to drop certain additions in certain beers. For instance I wont do a 30 min addition in an American Pale. Maybe 20 10 5 flame out. It took a long time to find the sweet spot with hops.



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Old 09-05-2009, 05:30 PM   #22
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when I went all grain my beer went down in quality... Only when I realized my water was the culprit did I start to recover my confidence by making decent beer again...



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Old 09-05-2009, 05:42 PM   #23
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When I really started paying attention to everything in the brewing process. The biggest factors were proper yeast handing practices, fermentation temp control, and better sanitization procedures.

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Old 09-05-2009, 06:09 PM   #24
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Come to think of it. I think my beer got dramatically better when I stopped drinking during the brewing.

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Old 09-05-2009, 07:13 PM   #25
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Depends on my recipe. My very first recipe (3rd batch ever counting the Gluten Free Extract) was my Foreign Extra Stout, and I was blown away at how great it was. I was expecting OK at best. Some of my recipes have just been ok, some have been awesome. My IIPA was pretty good, but after it aged a few months, it's awesome. This guy I know who has had tons of rare beers even thought so. He loved that and my KY Common. Sucks I only had a couple bottles left when I figured this out. I thought it would be better more fresh. So yea, for me, it has depended on the recipe itself.

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Old 09-05-2009, 08:17 PM   #26
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when I started to let it age out and not drinking it up before it was ready.

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Old 09-05-2009, 10:02 PM   #27
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In my case, it was about my 10th brew, sometime in the early 1970's.
My first several brews were OK, but nothing special, and with each brew, I ended up with a few extra ounces of various specialty grains, and I wanted to brew a dry stout. Well, I didn't have quite enough flaked barley or roasted malt, so I used some of my leftovers to make up for the shortage, and pitched a starter grown from a bottle og Guinness. (In those days, it was naturally conditioned in England.)
8 weeks later, it was ready to drink. It didn't taste much like Guinness. It was much better. It wasn't just me that thought this. Everybody who tried it agreed, and many of them kept pestering me to make a repeat. Of course, I didn't take any notes, and couldn't remember what went into the brew. I tried to duplicate it many many times, and never got close.
The moral of this story is: Always take notes!

-a.

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Old 09-06-2009, 01:54 AM   #28
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Thanks for all of the replies. I wanted to get a good idea of where I need to improve in my brewing, and I believe now it is in fermentation temperature control, water profile, and recipes. I'm still learning how to read recipes and see if they will be really good, but I've had a share of batches that when I look back at that recipe, I know why it didn't have the sort of taste I was anticipating. I have to say using brewing software is a huge help, that takes out a lot of guesswork on technical questions, etc. The LHBS is having a 3 night advanced brewing class going in depth of many of the parts of brewing such as recipe formulation and fermentation, and I thought I might attend this to see where I need to improve as well. Does anyone have good experiences with taking classes at the lhbs?

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Old 09-06-2009, 04:36 AM   #29
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water, temp control and realizing that yeast is what is making my beer taste good.

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Old 09-06-2009, 06:22 AM   #30
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Temperature

Yeast -oddly enough switching back to dry helped me be better.

Crusher - allows me to brew when I have the time & desire, not with the clock ticking on pre crushed grains.

All Grain was important but I think it was more of the switch to keggles which gave me the room to get a proper boil going.


Steinbarts people know which end is up, but you should be able to brew a great beer by now without the instruction. What about the guy/gal who got you started, why are you not getting some help from them?



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