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Old 05-02-2005, 04:49 PM   #1
swampdog
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My situation: I bottled my first all-grain batch eight days ago. I've done extract for several years. Its an American-style Amber Ale (o.G. was 1.060). It spent seven days in the primary and eight in the secondary. I primed with corn sugar, as I always have. When I opened a bottle last night to check the progress, I was very disappointed. There is a fairly strong grassy smell and a corresponding taste. The bitterness was overwhelming also. I expected a malty sweetness at this point. I used pellet hops and thought that quite a bit made it into the primary from the kettle. Could this be the cause? I was very careful with the measurements and don't think I over did the hops. The recipe, which I got from Beer Tools, called for three ounces of Fuggles for the entire hour boil, and thats what I did. I may have boiled a little too long. I'm wondering if I did something wrong during the mashing or sparging processes. I used a single infusion at 148 to 150 for an hour, and the sparge seemed to go very well. I ended up with over six gallons of wort after sparging. Maybe I didn't boil enough wort? I did seem to lose alot during the boil, as I only had about four gallons left when I racked to the primary.

Anyone have any thoughts on the source of the problem or what can be done at this point? My "plan" is to just let it sit for a couple of weeks and see if it gets better.

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Old 05-02-2005, 06:17 PM   #2
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The flavors you describe definitely sound hop related, and the nice thing about those is they are likely to mellow well with age (how long has the batch been bottled?) What was the alpha acid % of your fuggles? I understand they are usually in the 4-5 range right? If so, I wouldn't think that 3 oz would totally overwhelm the flavor. hmmm.. Loosing over 2 gals durring the boil may have concentrated the flavors a bit. The general rule is the bigger the volume of wort, and more importantly the lower the gravity of the boil, the higher the utilization of your hops will be. If you were doing partial volume boils when you were doing extract brews, you probably were getting much lower utilizations, and much less hop bitterness. Perhaps this accounts for your experience a bit (i.e. you are used to your brews being under hopped?) I dunno, but definitely waiting will help a bit.

Oh, and one more thing, you described your mash temps in the 148-150 range -- If you want a maltier tasting beer, malting a bit higher, in the 155 range, will yeild more unfermentable sugars, which will lend more body and sweetness to the brew. Chances are the lower temp mash yeilded a highly fermentable wort, which fermented dryer than the style may have called for (but there is the other side of the coin - more fermentables means higher alcohol % )

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Old 05-02-2005, 08:26 PM   #3
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let it sit a bit longer.

i would have left it in secondary for three weeks to a month, then bottled and let is sit for a min. two weeks.

it just sounds young to me, and when the hops take a chill, i think you'll find the malt flavor comes out a little stronger.

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Old 05-02-2005, 08:43 PM   #4
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let it sit a little longer in the bottle before you chill any more (maybe another 7-10 days). try letting it sit in the secondary a little longer too. i try to let mine sit at least 14 days in the secondary (for average strength ale). brewmeister is right too. try a higher mash temp to get a maltier tasting beer. that's one of cool things about all-grain. you have more control and can tweak little things like that.

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Old 05-02-2005, 09:28 PM   #5
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Thanks everyone for the ideas, especially the suggestion about the hotter mash temp. I'll definately give that a try next time.

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