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Old 06-14-2007, 01:38 PM   #11
Beerrific
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Originally Posted by Kayos
Try DME as well as the late extract method. Gets rid of the twang. O...and try using a fresh kit out together by your LHBS or online one instead of Coopers which may or may not have been sitting a while. My thoughts only....I know good beers have been made from Coopers, too.
I second the need to make sure your ingredients are as fresh as possible. LME has a limited life, once it starts getting old it can contribute off flavors. If your LHBS sells bulk LME, it might be a bit fresher than the Coopers extract.
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Old 06-14-2007, 02:03 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by bend140174
I am trying to brew beer that doesn't taste like home brew you know that distinct flavour. The beer can be very good however you always know its home brew. I have always used canned malts (most often Coopers). I have used filtered water, usually dextrose never cane sugar and I have used finings. I guess I have been reasonably thorough in trying to get a beer of "commercial" quality but have fallen short everytime. Is making my own malt the answer? I would appreciate any thoughts.

Thanks Ben
I had that same "extracty" taste to some of my early brews, too. Annoying, to be sure, but at that time, i was just thrilled to be drinking beer that I made.

Over the past 11 months, I've brewed 35 5-gal batches, and have made steady improvements for the most part (some, not so much, but such is the process of experimentation). Here, I believe, are the main things that have helped to improve my beer the most:
  1. Partial Mash. This is #1 for a reason. The higher my grain/extract ratio got, the better my beer got. There's just something about using alot of extract that gives it a weird twang...but partial mash can be done, to a point, without any extra equipment. For several months, I did partial mash batches using nothing but my kettle and a pasta strainer. Seriously. Now, using grains and mashing doesn't ensure success, but it sure helped my beers immensely. I recommend following Papazian's directions in CJOH. After a few batches, you won't even need to look at the directions, it'll be second nature.
  2. Temperature. I started my brewing career in the month of July. I didn't have any way to cool the fermenting carboys in any meaningful way, so my initial ale fermentation temps were in the mid to high 70's. This leads to alot of esters, which contribute to the "twang". But as the seasons changed and my basement got colder and colder, my beer got better and better. If you can keep your carboy temps in the 60's for most ales, you're much better off, and you'll have a cleaner tasting brew.
  3. Aeration. My old method of aerating the wort was just to shake the carboy. Works okay, but not optimal, and a pain in the ass. I was routinely getting low yeast attenuation, and nothing I did would ferment below 1.020. So I shelled out $30 for an aeration kit from AHS. Suddenly my average attenuation shot up by about 10 points. This will help your beer from turning out too sweet.
  4. Liquid Yeast. Don't get me wrong, I've made excellent beer with dry yeast, but on the whole, I added another dimension to my brews when the weather got colder and I felt comfortable mail-ordering liquid yeast. If you have a local HBS, unlike me, then this is not a problem at all.
  5. Yeast Starters. This helped with both lag time and attenuation, and makes for better beer IMHO. I make huge starters - 7oz of DME in 2L of water - and make them the day before I brew. Even with Wyeast Activator Smack Packs, it's essential. It also helps if you have some yeast nutrient, and you add that to the starter boil.
  6. Brewing Software. I use ProMash, but I also have Beersmith, and it's just as good. This will wean you off of using kits, and help you get creative...which is half the fun of this hobby. You may also want to pruchase Ray Daniels' book, Designing Great Beers. It helps you craft beer in the traditional styles.

Good luck...you'll get there!
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Old 06-15-2007, 12:56 AM   #13
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just me but,try a canned extract from defalcos,use the body builder kit ,and be very very very clean with every thing ,add 2 and 3 quarters cup of brown,sugar to the boil,at the first of the boil ,and leave it in the secondary ,for two full weeks and wait two full weeks after you bottle ,to try it out ,and you will swear it was made in the the beer wonderland , oh and you will most allways be able to tell it was home made ,,when you do it right ,,because it is ohohoohhhhhhhhhhh so good ,lmao ,bull

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