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Old 03-17-2010, 02:01 PM   #1
patrickw
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Default Some general questions on my third batch...

Hi everybody,

I consider myself a brewing beginner. I just completed my third batch. The first two batches I made were extract brews, and went really well, then I got a little cocky and started to experiment a bit more when brewing my third batch. And now I have many, many questions...

My goal was to make an all-grain light, German style beer. Since I didn't want to buy all the equipment required for all grain brewing, I followed a procedure I found on the web which describes how to make the wort by using a bit more grain than usual and sparging less thoroughly.

For three gallons of wort, I used 8 lbs German pilsner malt and 0.5 lbs dextrine malt. I did not intend to use dextrine malt, but the people in the homebrewing store recommended it. I used Hallertau hops (5/8 ounces at the beginning, 5/8 ounces at 30 minutes and 1/8 ounces at 55 minutes into the boil). Finally, I used Wyeast 1338 Euro Ale yeast.

My first question is: Does anybody find anything strange or unusual in that recipe?

I bottled the beer after approximately 1 week of fermentation (and used priming sugar). Things went pretty bad during bottling (I really screwed up), and I got a lot of trub into the bottles. Next time I want to do a secondary fermentation to help with that problem, but it's too late for that for that batch...

I noticed that the bottles with a lot of trub in them seem to carbonate much, much more than the bottles with less trub. Can anybody tell me why that is? I thought that the amount of carbonation depends on the amount of priming sugar added to the beer. Why does it make a difference if trub is present or not?

Last, and that's the worst thing, the beer doesn't taste very well (after one month of aging). It has a very malty taste to it, I would call it an unpleasant sweetness, followed by blandness. It is hardly bitter or hoppy. Can that be due to the trub? Does anybody notice anything funny in the recipe?

I'd appreciate any suggestion you may have. Thanks in advance for your help!

Happy brewing,
Patrick

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Old 03-17-2010, 03:03 PM   #2
Gristulin
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Patrick, bottling after only 1 week is pretty quick. Do you have a hydrometer? If you don't, get 1. Your brew may have a sweetness from residual sugars that didnt ferment out. This could have happened for multiple reasons. What was your mash temp and time?
As for the bottles that carbonated better, it would be because of that trub. Trub isnt all crap. There are dormant yeast cells in there that will get suspended when you bottle, and they will eat that corn sugar you put in and cause your those bottles to carbonate more than the ones with less yeast. Another question. How did some get more than others? Are you using a bottling bucket? There is more than enough yeast in suspension after only 1 week of fermentation that you would not need to suck up any trub from your fermentation vessel.
I would guess that cloying sweetness is what is preventing you from tasting your hops.
Hope this helps you.
Zac
Gristulin Brewing

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Old 03-17-2010, 03:06 PM   #3
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1 week fermenting, lots of carbonation and unpleasant sweetness all scream that you didn't let it ferment enough. You need to let the yeast cells finish their job and convert the sugars.

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Old 03-17-2010, 03:10 PM   #4
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Recipe looks fine to me, the dextrine will help with head retention. My first thought is that your beer is probably still young/green, give it another month. The bottles with more trub also have more yeast in them, so it makes sense that they would carb a little faster. Now I have a few questions for you...

1. I would do an extended primary (I don't usually use a secondary), I usually leave my beer in the primary for 3+ weeks. This gives the yeast time to clean up after themselves and lets the trub settle to the bottom of the fermenter.

2. How did you siphon in to your bottling bucket? My autosiphon has this little cap on it to keep it from sucking trub in to the siphon.

3. How did you prime? Did you bulk prime in your bottling bucket?

4. Did you make a yeast starter? At 75% efficiency your OG is around 1.079 so the yeast will need more time to clean up off-flavors if you didn't make a proper starter.

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Old 03-17-2010, 03:14 PM   #5
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The recipe isn't bad, but you'd have to calculate the bitterness with the OG of the beer. If it's underhopped, for example, that could explain why it's sweet.

I won't keep hammering at you about bottling after only a week, (I think you've got the idea from the others) but that would explain all the trub in the bottles.

Instead of doing a secondary next time, you could simply leave the beer in the fermenter for 2 weeks or longer. That will give the yeast time to finish up and fall out and give you better, "cleaner" beer.

A hydrometer is critical. Without those readings, you don't know how many IBUs you have from the hops, if your mash fully converted, if you used enough grain, etc. So, commenting on why the recipe may be too sweet is just impossible for us, really. We'd only be guessing.

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Old 03-17-2010, 11:58 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickw View Post
Since I didn't want to buy all the equipment required for all grain brewing, I followed a procedure I found on the web which describes how to make the wort by using a bit more grain than usual and sparging less thoroughly.
What equipment did you cut out? Half the fun of all grain is buying new gear!!!
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Old 03-18-2010, 12:36 PM   #7
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Hi,

thanks for all the answers! Wow, this is a great forum.

The mash temperature was 155 F, for one hour and 15 minutes. After mashing, I mixed some a the sweet liquid with a drop of iodine to see if there is any starch left, and there wasn't.

Yes, I got the idea that I bottled too early. I guess I lacked patience. I will wait longer next time. Essentially, I waited until no bubbles rose from the airlock any more, and then I figured I was ok to start bottling.

And yes, I have a hydrometer. Since I was only making a three gallon batch, I couldn't use it, though. The liquid level in the fermenter was so low that the hydrometer would hit the bottom of the fermenter and not float. Of course I did not realize that until after I threw the hydrometer into the wort... Are there shorter hydrometers with less "draft"?

As for the trub in the bottles, that was a very stupid mistake. I transferred some of the beer into the bottling bucket, then added the water with the priming sugar. Before I could transfer the rest of the beer into the bottling bucket, I accidentally stirred the trub in the fermenter. I tried to filter the beer for the remaining part of the transfer, but still, a lot of trub made it into the bottling bucket. Since I had already added the priming sugar, I figured I couldn't wait another few days to let the trub settle again.

I didn't make a yeast starter, I just pitched directly into the wort. I used these Wyeast packages which have some yeast nutrient in them (and you smack them to mix the nutrient with the yeast cells), though, and I thought that was equivalent to making a starter.

Thanks again for all your help! I will keep the beer for a few more weeks to see if it improves at all and head back to the store to get the same stuff again and start over...

Best Regards,
Patrick

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