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Old 08-03-2010, 03:14 PM   #1
SweetSounds
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Default Beer feedback in (around) DesMoines?

Not to pimp on another thread, but...

All of my lighter brews have a funny taste I can't describe. They aren't bad by any means, but I've never tasted it in other friends' homebrew, or the sample beer I've had at Beer Crazy. I'd love to know how it would be properly described so I can fix my process.

Anyone around DesMoines want to swap around, or come over for a tasting? I have a NB Twisted Enkle Blonde on tap, and some wheat bottled. Also NB IIPA and Imperial Stout coming in the next 4 weeks.

It's odd, and I'm getting ready to brew 10 gallons of extract Pliney the Elder clone... Don't wanna jack that up!

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Old 08-03-2010, 07:18 PM   #2
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i kinda know what you mean, i've had more difficulty with pale beers myself. have you gotten into water analysis yet? would you describe it as slightly astringent? are you using something like pH 5.2 or food grade acid (i forget what kind, lactic maybe) to correct for pH in the mash? i find that the hoppy beers do great with the hardness of our water, so that pliney shouldn't be bad at all, you might consider picking up a small container of the 5.2 from beer crazy though just for some insurance. are you dechlorinating your water with potassium/soidum metabisulphate or charcoal filtration? that can cause some weird flavors as well. or maybe you are extract/distilled, i'm not 100% sure. if i'm down in D-town sometime, i'd love to stop by and have a few. did you enter any beers in the state fair?

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Old 08-03-2010, 07:53 PM   #3
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i kinda know what you mean, i've had more difficulty with pale beers myself. have you gotten into water analysis yet? would you describe it as slightly astringent? are you using something like pH 5.2 or food grade acid (i forget what kind, lactic maybe) to correct for pH in the mash? i find that the hoppy beers do great with the hardness of our water, so that pliney shouldn't be bad at all, you might consider picking up a small container of the 5.2 from beer crazy though just for some insurance. are you dechlorinating your water with potassium/soidum metabisulphate or charcoal filtration? that can cause some weird flavors as well. or maybe you are extract/distilled, i'm not 100% sure. if i'm down in D-town sometime, i'd love to stop by and have a few. did you enter any beers in the state fair?
I haven't touched the water profile yet - I'm over by Merle Hay - I did look it up, and it didn't seem too bad to me IIRC.
I do have a dual stage filter - Sediment/Charcoal - But I haven't tasted any of the beer produced from it yet. The first 2 brews through that were the IIPA and the Imperial Stout, that are both aging away in the basement. 3 months is a long time to wait!
After I posted this I thought about taking some up to LHBS and see what they say. To be honest, I don't know what "Astringent" tastes like! That's my problem. If I knew what it was, I could make the appropriate adjustments. But my palette is not that educated, and verbal descriptions have meant nothing to me thus far...

FWIW I took 15 gallons with me to Florida on a trip earlier this year, and the folks down there liked it quite a lot. But I could still taste something off, and I don't like it. Those beers were made in Oskaloosa - Not to say it's not still a water issue, but they are 2 separate sources.

In the future, however, I do want to get into water alchemy - SWIMBO's dad has a artisan well in his back yard in Nebraska that I want to play with. But that's all going to wait until I get my AG E-Rig up and running.

I am still extract (Unapologetically, too ) but I'm working on the AG rig. I'm not going to enter an extract beer in a comp (If it's even possible?!?)

If you are in town, I'd certainly have a pint or 2 with you. Bring some of your own down, too, if you want, and we'll compare notes You can even see my (Pile of parts) AG rig in progress
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Old 08-03-2010, 08:21 PM   #4
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i think quite a few people enter extract beers and do quite well with them in competitions. yeah, i'll try to PM you next time I head down to beer crazy and we could meet up for a few.

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Old 08-03-2010, 08:28 PM   #5
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I wouldn't go the water route yet. I brew lots of 3-5 SRM beers with good ole DSM water. Though I always cut it with RO and shoot for a certian profile. Never had an issue with it even in my years of extract where I just used it as it came out of the tap. Are you getting the extract "twang"?

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Old 08-03-2010, 08:31 PM   #6
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I wouldn't go the water route yet. I brew lots of 3-5 SRM beers with good ole DSM water. Though I always cut it with RO and shoot for a certian profile. Never had an issue with it even in my years of extract where I just used it as it came out of the tap. Are you getting the extract "tang"?
If I was to give it a name, that would probably be it.

I thought maybe crap DME from The LHBS in Oskaloosa and DSM, but I got several NB kits with the same thing. Different kits, different brands, different ages...

It'll probably just be one of those things where someone who knows the taste will just say something like "Oh yea, that's your PH - Try this" and it'll be over, and I'll be happy

Thirsty?
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Old 08-03-2010, 10:38 PM   #7
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I'm not too far west of you, in Lincoln. Our water here is quite hard, alkaline, and high pH of 7.8

Granted Des Moines is a little different, but I suspect you might be too alkaline for those light beers (pils, kolsch, etc). One thing you can probably do is call the BEST local fish/aquarium store in town (NOT petsmart/co) and ask them about the local tap water. Your carbon filter won't touch hardness or pH, so if they tell you the city water is hard/bicarbonate...you'll probably be best off cutting your tap hardness down with distilled or RO water from the store.

Or, if all your darker beers are great and all the really light beers aren't...I'd put money on your tap water just being a little too hard.

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Old 08-04-2010, 04:06 AM   #8
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I'm not too far west of you, in Lincoln. Our water here is quite hard, alkaline, and high pH of 7.8

Granted Des Moines is a little different, but I suspect you might be too alkaline for those light beers (pils, kolsch, etc). One thing you can probably do is call the BEST local fish/aquarium store in town (NOT petsmart/co) and ask them about the local tap water. Your carbon filter won't touch hardness or pH, so if they tell you the city water is hard/bicarbonate...you'll probably be best off cutting your tap hardness down with distilled or RO water from the store.

Or, if all your darker beers are great and all the really light beers aren't...I'd put money on your tap water just being a little too hard.
That makes sense - And judging my just the looks of the artesian water from NE (Beaver Crossing ) it's really really hard.

If I have to, I'll go RO - But I'd like to avoid it.
In any event, I have no idea yet what's wrong...
I'm not going to change my process until someone can tell me definitely what is going on. I could very well be in my head! As could any remedy I could try at this point.
I want someone to taste my beer that can tell me what the taste is... Then I'll start playing with the process.

For all I know it's a DME thing and that's just the way it is!
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Old 08-04-2010, 12:50 PM   #9
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Do you add your DME in all at the beginning? Do you do full wort boils or partial? Reason I ask, I noticed that when I was doing extract with partial boils- I needed to add half the DME late to avoid much of that twang. When I moved to full boils it didn't matter. I also noticed that it was more prominent in lighter, less highly hopped styles. If I brewed anything like an IPA or even an Amber it never was there. Cream Ales, Blondes, etc was all noticable until I added late. Maybe you know all this already.


Another thing. If you want to go all grain, you don't need a stinking brewstand or a bunch of equipment! A 10 gal cylindrical drink cooler or other rectangle cooler with a hose braid and a shut off valve works awesome for batch sparging. I built mine for less than $50. I use a SP-!0 burner and have a 12 gallon brew pot. Maybe spent $150 on the whole set up to go from extract to all grain. Easy as heck.

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Old 08-04-2010, 01:12 PM   #10
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Thursdays at 6pm at El Bait Shop is Jimmy Carter Happy Hour. Stop by there with a couple of your brews and see if someone will taste it for you. You might even meet up with some other DM homebrewers.

If you haven't been to El Bait shop, you should really go. pic below. That's all I'm saying.


B

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