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Old 12-24-2012, 04:40 AM   #1
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Default aging vs. drink it now!

Been brewin' off and on for many years... have made some ok beer and some absolutely fantastic ones- but...

every beer I make must sit for a while- like 4-6 months before it loses its weird flavors- they always come out with a little medicine/alcohol, slight off flavor- it dissapates over time but I find my best beers are the ones that are in the back of the fridge that get forgotten about for several months... am I alone? I hear of others drinking their beers after 6 weeks or even sooner if they keg... I know the breweries don't wait that long... not sure what I am missing- I use high quality ingredients, sanitize everything well... frustrating- don't mind enjoying beers 4-6 months out but would like to solve this and be able to drink them sooner- any thoughts?

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Old 12-24-2012, 04:48 AM   #2
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By what means do you control fermentation temps? A lot of off flavors start here. Any particular recipes or styles give you problems? Walking us through your process might help zero in on problems.

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Old 12-24-2012, 04:52 AM   #3
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By what means do you control fermentation temps? A lot of off flavors start here. Any particular recipes or styles give you problems? Walking us through your process might help zero in on problems.
Agreed. High fermentation temps could mean fusel alcohol production, which could lead to alcohol-y/"hot" flavors.
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Old 12-24-2012, 04:53 AM   #4
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A couple things come to mind:

1) what temperatures are you fermenting at? If too hot, you'll end up with fusel-type alcohols, which could be giving you the off flavor you describe.

2) what is your water source and is it free of chlorine and chloramine? Both of these will combine with polyphenols in the beer to give you chlorophenols, which have a medicinal/plasticy/band-aid flavor and can be tasted in minute quantities.

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Old 12-24-2012, 05:23 AM   #5
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Have you tried gelatin?? Will drop the yeast and make things delicious. I promise.

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Old 12-24-2012, 01:24 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JLem View Post
A couple things come to mind:

1) what temperatures are you fermenting at? If too hot, you'll end up with fusel-type alcohols, which could be giving you the off flavor you describe.

2) what is your water source and is it free of chlorine and chloramine? Both of these will combine with polyphenols in the beer to give you chlorophenols, which have a medicinal/plasticy/band-aid flavor and can be tasted in minute quantities.
I'll add one more to this list...

3) Are you pitching the proper amount of healthy yeast?
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Old 12-25-2012, 03:26 AM   #7
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yeah- haven't paid much attention to fermentation temps- usually out it in the garage in the summer/spring/fall and start it indoors in the winter- I live in the mild PacNW so I have never been to concerned about it- usually not to hot around here

I usually end up putting more than enough yeast in- often times I brew a three gallon batch (less bottles- more varieties of beer in the fridge...)

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Old 12-25-2012, 03:30 AM   #8
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sorry- didn't finish- I usually out a full pouch of yeast in a batch- enough yeast for 5 gallons rather than three- never thought that would harm it-

I usually transfer to secondary after 3-5 days to get it off the lees- thinking that that might be the cause of some of the weird flavors- I usually leave in secondary for a long time- sometimes I rack again... I hate bottling so I put it off for a while- sometimes a month or more- (I know... keg it! Someday...)

Thanks for all the comments! Merry Christmas!

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Old 12-25-2012, 03:31 AM   #9
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also- I have experimented with water- have used cheap- bottled drinking or spring water from Wal-Mart lately- figuring that it would be cleaner and clearer than tap ...

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Old 12-25-2012, 03:49 AM   #10
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What immediately came to mind is fermentation temps, and I still feel this almost definitely accounts for most or all of the problems.

I live in Canada and I still benefit greatly from temp control. Ambient temperatures even in the low 60's can be bad for many beers.

A used chest freezer off of Craigslist plus a temperature controller from eBay will net you a top-notch fermentation chamber for between $20 to $70 (depending how cheaply you can score a freezer). That's a pretty minimal investment for something that can so greatly improve your beer - dollar for dollar it's probably the best investment you can make for your brewery.

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