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Old 07-27-2009, 01:39 AM   #1
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Default Beer tastes same - help find good recipe

All my batches taste very similar...watery, not very yeasty, not very hoppy, not very grainy, not very anything

Is there a recipe that I just can't get wrong and that will taste great? Nothing darker than 20 srm please.

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Old 07-27-2009, 01:56 AM   #2
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I would try some of EdWorts Haus Pale Ale if you have not already. It is pretty easy to make beer, that tastes very good.

Ed

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Old 07-27-2009, 02:00 AM   #3
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i think it'd help if you posted some numbers, type of recipe, ingredients, gravities, bottling or kegging? How are you carbing them?

A lot of my early beers tasted similarly, but after carbing them they tasted more like i wanted them to. I'm still having trouble making hoppy beers myself. It just takes practice.

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Old 07-27-2009, 04:31 AM   #4
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Here's a beer I really like, it's a little similar to Fat Tire. 18 srm.

Jamil's Amber

Just make sure you only use half the amount of chocolate malt if you can't find the pale chocolate it calls for. I did it once without the reduction and the beer wasn't as good.

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Old 07-29-2009, 01:28 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donner View Post
i think it'd help if you posted some numbers, type of recipe, ingredients, gravities, bottling or kegging? How are you carbing them?

A lot of my early beers tasted similarly, but after carbing them they tasted more like i wanted them to. I'm still having trouble making hoppy beers myself. It just takes practice.
For example, the last one I did was an amber ale...
~50% 2-row
~40% munich 10
~10% crystal 40
Wyeast 1318 London Ale 3 (spec says its good for maltiness, which I like)
Cascade at 60, 15, and 5 min to make about 28 IBU.
OG ~ 1.055
FG ~ 1.011

This was a 2-gallon batch. I like making smaller batches since it means I get to brew more often and have more of a variety of my homebrews sitting around. I mash in my brew kettle which is an aluminum 6 gallon stock pot with strainer, and a grain bag in the strainer for easy grain removal. I mash in at 1.35 qt/lb with ph 5.2 stabilizer and 1/4 Campden tablet, conversion at 152 or as close as I can get, then batch sparge. I get 70-85% efficiency.

For the amber ale, I kept the fermentation between 60F and 70F for the first week, then let it sit for another 2 weeks at room temp (about 72-75F). Bottle carb by racking into a sanitized plastic jug with the appropriate amount of boiled corn sugar & water, let sit for 30 min to properly mix, then used a sanitized funnel to pour the beer from the jug into each bottle (I find it easier this way with small batches).

The bottles carb for 2 weeks, and then I start testing them once or twice a week by putting them in the fridge for 1-2 days and drinking. They seem bubbly enough, but don't have more than 0.5 inches of head that disappears within 15 seconds.

I also think it's interesting that they hydrometer samples tasted a lot more like hops than the beer now tastes.

Anyway, this is the process for most of my beers other than the fact that I tried a high protein rest at 132F for 10 min once to see if it had any affect on the head (nope).

I'll ship someone one of these to try if you want (especially if you're close to chicago or evanston), and if you think it'll help. Just PM me.
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Old 07-29-2009, 01:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rocketman768 View Post
For example, the last one I did was an amber ale...
~50% 2-row
~40% munich 10
~10% crystal 40
Wyeast 1318 London Ale 3 (spec says its good for maltiness, which I like)
Cascade at 60, 15, and 5 min to make about 28 IBU.
OG ~ 1.055
FG ~ 1.011

This was a 2-gallon batch. I like making smaller batches since it means I get to brew more often and have more of a variety of my homebrews sitting around. I mash in my brew kettle which is an aluminum 6 gallon stock pot with strainer, and a grain bag in the strainer for easy grain removal. I mash in at 1.35 qt/lb with ph 5.2 stabilizer and 1/4 Campden tablet, conversion at 152 or as close as I can get, then batch sparge. I get 70-85% efficiency.

For the amber ale, I kept the fermentation between 60F and 70F for the first week, then let it sit for another 2 weeks at room temp (about 72-75F). Bottle carb by racking into a sanitized plastic jug with the appropriate amount of boiled corn sugar & water, let sit for 30 min to properly mix, then used a sanitized funnel to pour the beer from the jug into each bottle (I find it easier this way with small batches).

The bottles carb for 2 weeks, and then I start testing them once or twice a week by putting them in the fridge for 1-2 days and drinking. They seem bubbly enough, but don't have more than 0.5 inches of head that disappears within 15 seconds.

I also think it's interesting that they hydrometer samples tasted a lot more like hops than the beer now tastes.

Anyway, this is the process for most of my beers other than the fact that I tried a high protein rest at 132F for 10 min once to see if it had any affect on the head (nope).

I'll ship someone one of these to try if you want (especially if you're close to chicago or evanston), and if you think it'll help. Just PM me.

When you say, "the same", do you mean not hoppy enough, or what?

A couple of things I see here- you're using campden in the water. I assume that's to get rid of chloramines? I wouldn't use that in the mash. Use it the day before, in your water, still well, and let it sit out overnight. Then, use the water the next day.

Also, at only two weeks in the bottle, that beer is very young. Put 6 away for two months, then chill for 48 hours and try one. See if it's improved. I think the head will be much improved, certainly.

I'd buy a couple of gallons of spring water from the store if you're unsure of your water chemistry, to just see if your issues are water related. If you've got soft water, the hops bittering will not be accentuated and you could have a "flat" (not uncarbonated, but non-flavorfull) tasting beer.
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Old 07-29-2009, 01:41 PM   #7
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My first batch tasted that way too (watery, not very yeasty, etc) at first, but again I tried a couple bottles after 2 weeks so they were still young. The longer I waited, the better the beer tasted. It taught me patience, if nothing else.

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Old 07-29-2009, 02:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YooperBrew View Post
When you say, "the same", do you mean not hoppy enough, or what?
I mean, if you were to take all my beers (minus the vanilla one and the christmas one and the hefe), and taste them at the same sitting, you wouldn't notice much of a difference between them despite the different ingredients being used (except for the stout since you could taste the chocolate malt, but the basic flavor was the same). The basic flavor is: watery, slightly roasty, kind of strange aftertaste (a slight flavor like alcohol, but not really off-putting). Basic aroma is: not really anything. When it's poured, you get a little bit of hops, no yeast or bread aroma. I'm always thinking while drinking these "it could use some salt" because if my food tasted like that, I would immediately add salt.

Quote:
Originally Posted by YooperBrew View Post
A couple of things I see here- you're using campden in the water. I assume that's to get rid of chloramines? I wouldn't use that in the mash. Use it the day before, in your water, still well, and let it sit out overnight. Then, use the water the next day.
Yes, we have chloramines. I always add it while heating the water up for the first infusion. What makes it bad in the mash?

Quote:
Originally Posted by YooperBrew View Post
Also, at only two weeks in the bottle, that beer is very young. Put 6 away for two months, then chill for 48 hours and try one. See if it's improved. I think the head will be much improved, certainly.
This is what I did with my stout brewed at the beginning of the year. It's head has improved a tiny bit, and also its flavor. But really, the flavor has only improved because I got a lot off flavors (fusels I think) from way underpitching. Basic flavor is still the same.

Quote:
Originally Posted by YooperBrew View Post
I'd buy a couple of gallons of spring water from the store if you're unsure of your water chemistry, to just see if your issues are water related. If you've got soft water, the hops bittering will not be accentuated and you could have a "flat" (not uncarbonated, but non-flavorfull) tasting beer.
Good suggestion I think. Chicago water doesn't have many minerals. I've never added anything to it because I haven't delved in to water chemistry yet.

Calcium(Ca): 34.0 ppm
Magnesium(Mg): 11.0 ppm
Sodium(Na): 6.0 ppm
Sulfate(SO4): 25.0 ppm
Bicarbonate(HCO3): 106.0 ppm
PH: 8.1 PH
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Old 07-29-2009, 05:59 PM   #9
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+1 for time... I made a 10 gallon batch of Amarillo IPA, with about 70 IBU's. 2 months after brew day (2 weeks primary and 3 weeks secondary), it immediately came out thin, crappy head, watery and hoppy, but not real hoppy. 2 months later, it has more developed mouth feel, malty backbone, head retention and the hops really jump out at you.

Beer + time = good beer
Beer = 2 x time = better beer

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Old 07-30-2009, 07:43 PM   #10
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Something just occurred to me. During my batch sparge, I usually let the sparge sit for 15-30 minutes while the first wort is sitting in the kettle not being heated. Do you think it's possible that the temp of the first wort is dipping down into the 140F range and that's what's causing the watery feel/taste?

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