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jbsg02 06-15-2012 02:37 AM

Never been so discouraged about homebrew (need some encouragement)
I have been brewing for over a year and a half now and have probably made 20 or so brews, always thinking the next one will be the one where it will all turnaround. I have turned out sub-par beer again and again and it's really beginning to discourage me. Only 2 of my brews have I considered decent (a 60 min IPA clone and a Kolsch), and nothing I have brewed comes close to rivaling my favorite craft brews.

I have read so much information, watched countless youtube videos, listened to brewing network casts, and am still baffled how I can know so much about a topic and yet cannot produce something I enjoy drinking. What keeps me going is that I have poured way too much money into this hobby to quit now. I have dumped batch after batch and still have to grab 6 packs from the beer store for decent beer to drink.

I filter my water though a culligan filter. Measure out brewing salts based on my recipe (using EZ water calculator). Correct mash pH with lactic acid. Correct my sparge water pH with lactic. Measure temps with a CDN digital thermometer. I use a round, 10 gallon cooler with a false bottom as a mash tun. I recently got a 15 gallon Blichmann boilermaker as well as a Blichmann burner. Been making starters with liquid yeast using a stir plate. Cool my wort down to pitching temps before pitching yeast. Keep my fermentation temps cool either using the swamp cooler or in my kegerator. Keg my beers and force carb for a few days. I don't know where I am going wrong and I refuse to lower my standards of what I think is drinkable beer.

I can't continue to pour money into this if something doesn't change soon. I need help!

petep1980 06-15-2012 02:49 AM

What do you beers taste like?

michaelsnayd 06-15-2012 02:53 AM

What is it about your beer that you consider to be inadequate?

passedpawn 06-15-2012 02:53 AM

You probably need someone to drink some of your beer and advise you. Join a club, or at least visit one with some of your suspect brews.

shoreman 06-15-2012 02:56 AM

What styles are you making? Maybe go back to basic apa Sierra Nevada style - cant be that bad man

D0ug 06-15-2012 02:57 AM

Is there a consistent flavor that is bothering you, or is it a "lack" of something that puts it up with there with your preferred commercial beers?

Have you tried paring way back and going with something basic? Maybe even just getting a fresh extract kit and giving that a shot?

ArcticBear 06-15-2012 02:57 AM

Agreed, share it with people and get some real reactions, you never think its as good as it should be

D0ug 06-15-2012 02:59 AM


Originally Posted by passedpawn (Post 4173009)
You probably need someone to drink some of your beer and advise you. Join a club, or at least visit one with some of your suspect brews.

what he said.

kellzey 06-15-2012 02:59 AM

Yeah, we need some more info on what you think is wrong?

I'd recommend seeing if there is a local brew club and have an experienced person come brew with you. Or you brew with them. It could be one step in the process that's throwing things off, or a combination of things...

Sounds like you have really done your homework, so it's either a technique, or an assumption you've made that you are doing a part of the process correctly, but something is way off.

But first, tell us what you think is wrong with your beer.

Pie_Man 06-15-2012 03:02 AM

Do you think your beers are infected with something, or just not good?

You might want to try simplifying the process. Do you have bad tasting water where you live? I know you said you filter it, but maybe that's not enough. I think you need to devise a plan to change one variable at a time and try troubleshooting from there. Being that water makes up the bulk of a beer, I would start there. Using all store bought RO water, brew a beer you're comfortable with and see if there's any improvement.

Also, do you have someone that will give you honest feedback on your brews? Is it possible you're being overly critical of your own beer? Maybe enter a local competition with a beer, or two, and see what an unbiased person thinks.

I hope this helps. If you enjoy brewing, keep at it. I think you'll pinpoint the issue.

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