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Old 07-12-2008, 05:41 AM   #1
Tankard
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Default Just tried first AG... same "extract" off-flavor?

Brewed Biermuncher's Centennial Blonde on 6/18. Bottled it on 7/2. Drank one on 7/11. I know it's still early, but I am detecting the same "flavor" I had on my last brew, which was an extact red ale.

Overall, I'm impressed by the beer. It is CLEAR! I've never had a clear beer yet, but this one looks like a Budweiser. It is light, but it has a nice sweet/spicy balance to it, which is what I expected thanks to Biermuncher's description. For a first AG attempt, I am definitely happy.

However, I can't pin down this off-flavor. I had it previously tagged as "extract twang" but obviously it can't be that now that I've gone to AG. I don't think it's cardboard, since I never aerated the beer while it was hot. I was very careful with placing the tubing toward the bottom so that splashing would not occur.

I placed the carboy in a bucket of ice water with a wet towel placed over it on the second day of fermentation (which I realize was a day late). After fermentation is complete, I put the bottles under a towel with a fan running under the towel 24/7 for the 9 days since bottling day.

If this flavor is caused by high fermentation temperatures, what should I look out for? What is the common flavor that occurs when fermentation is too hot? It's hard to describe this flavor, but it is very heavy in the aftertaste. If I HAD to pick one of the common off-flavors listed on this site, it would be cardboard, but it really doesn't taste like cardboard to me. I'm really trying to get a homebrew that doesn't have that "homebrewed" taste. If it wasn't for this subtle aftertaste, this would have been a 100% success.

I know I will get many "it's not ready" posts, but I doubt this flavor is going to go away in the matter of a week or two. I had the same thing happen with my last batch and the flavor never went away.

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Old 07-12-2008, 07:37 AM   #2
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Well like you said, It might be an off flavor from too high of a fermentation temperature. Thats my guess(although certainly not an expert). What east did you use and what temperature did you ferment at?

Just curious why you put the bottles under the towel with the fan?

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Old 07-12-2008, 11:42 AM   #3
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Just sounds like its time to make a fermationation box. I don't know if this is your problem, but a constant controlled temp can only help your beer.

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Old 07-12-2008, 01:53 PM   #4
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Could be diacetyl. I had a lager with diacetyl, when it was green it tasted to me like a cardboard box but later it was more like a tub of butter. Could be pitching too warm, or not enough time on the primary cake to cleanup. My ales are always clean even when fermented on the warm side because I give them 10-14 days in the primary.

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Old 07-12-2008, 02:15 PM   #5
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There could be a lot of reasons why you are getting an off flavor. What kind of commonalities do you have between your extract method and your AG method? What kind of equipment are you using? What is your sparging and mashing technique and temps?

I would start with looking at the commonalities between your two methods and work on them one at a time until you find what it is.

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Old 07-12-2008, 02:26 PM   #6
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Might have something to do with your water; how does it taste coming out of the faucet... what was your efficiency?

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Old 07-12-2008, 05:29 PM   #7
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The only commonalities between my AG and extract batches have been the water (Crystal Geyser mountain spring water, my personal favorite), and my lack of temperature control. I am just going to assume that is what I'm tasting.

I'm going to let it age... hopefully the flavor will subside. Otherwise, like I said earlier, for a first try I'm just happy to have a drinkable beer. It's way better than my last batch, so I'll have no trouble drinking this. I hope it will only get better with time.

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Old 07-12-2008, 05:35 PM   #8
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I would bet the farm on fermentation temps. I had the same issues you had, even when just doing partial mashes...better in the winter, worse in the summer. Once I got a handle on my fermentation temps, everything was good as gold.

Take my word for it, it's that. Few things are as important as fermentation temps!

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Old 07-12-2008, 05:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brew Dude View Post
I'm going to let it age... hopefully the flavor will subside. Otherwise, like I said earlier, for a first try I'm just happy to have a drinkable beer. It's way better than my last batch, so I'll have no trouble drinking this. I hope it will only get better with time.
It almost certainly will, you've definitely got the right mindset. Have you checked out this page of Palmer? It's a great guide for recognizing and preventing off-flavors.

Common Off-Flavors
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Old 07-12-2008, 07:02 PM   #10
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Could it possibly be that the beers you have been brewing just simply have flavor, and you are mistaking the natural flavor of the beer as a flaw because most of the commercial beers simply don't have much flavor.

-a.

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