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Old 08-14-2012, 06:08 PM   #1
Mikey_Dawg
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Default Will switching to AG alleviate that "homebrew" taste?

I've been brewing for almost 7 years now and have gotten pretty decent at it but I have never moved past partial mash brews. Even still, at times I still get that "homebrew" taste that reminds me that I am not producing commerical quality beers just yet.

The "homebrew" taste is more evident in some beers than others and IMO seems to get worse the longer I keep my beer stays in the keg.

Will going to AG minimize that taste I am referring to? I plan to do it very soon, but am trying to wrap up a huge basement /bar project I've been working on all year first. Thoughts?

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Old 08-14-2012, 06:21 PM   #2
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You could start pasteurizing and filtering your homebrew, that would make it taste much much more like commercial beer as a lot of it is filtered (obvious exceptions are hefs and belgian ales, and some others).

Personally I LOVE the 'homebrew' taste, it's super fresh, it's got zero additives or preservatives, and it's chock full of vitamins.

Can you describe what "homebrew taste" you're referring to, specifically what it is that you don't like? Perhaps there is a common ingredient or part of your process that contributes to a specific taste, that could be eliminated or at least compensated for, this could be anything from the water you use to the sanitization practices, or the yeast strains you favor. It could be that the LHBS you get ingredients from has stale malt extracts, or perhaps just a brand of malt extract that you don't care for (Breiss tastes different than Munson, for example).

Give us some more info and we'll try to help you figure it out!

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Old 08-14-2012, 06:25 PM   #3
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Im guessing, but the "homebrew" taste he might be referring to is either oxidation, stale malt extracts, high ferm temps, or sanitation issues. Being a brewer for 7 years Im assuming you can cross off sanitation (and possibly high fermtemps? what is your process for regulating temps?). imo yes you can get rid of that taste, or at least eliminate a few variables.

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Old 08-14-2012, 06:29 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fastenova View Post
You could start pasteurizing and filtering your homebrew, that would make it taste much much more like commercial beer as a lot of it is filtered (obvious exceptions are hefs and belgian ales, and some others).

Personally I LOVE the 'homebrew' taste, it's super fresh, it's got zero additives or preservatives, and it's chock full of vitamins.

Can you describe what "homebrew taste" you're referring to, specifically what it is that you don't like? Perhaps there is a common ingredient or part of your process that contributes to a specific taste, that could be eliminated or at least compensated for, this could be anything from the water you use to the sanitization practices, or the yeast strains you favor. It could be that the LHBS you get ingredients from has stale malt extracts, or perhaps just a brand of malt extract that you don't care for (Breiss tastes different than Munson, for example).

Give us some more info and we'll try to help you figure it out!
I don't know that I could really describe the taste other than, I know when I taste it that it was homemade, not a commercial beer. It inst necessarily a bad thing and isn't always super noticeable.. but I guess it could be considered a flaw when comparing to commercial beers.

I am very thorough with sanitization and always use starsan....I always clean everything before and after use. I never pull anything off the shelf and assume it is still clean..always re-sanitize before use.

I buy all ingredients from Austin Homebrew and they are usually fresh from what I gather. Water could be a contributing factor, I've never had my water tested.
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Old 08-14-2012, 06:44 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coff View Post
Im guessing, but the "homebrew" taste he might be referring to is either oxidation, stale malt extracts, high ferm temps, or sanitation issues. Being a brewer for 7 years Im assuming you can cross off sanitation (and possibly high fermtemps? what is your process for regulating temps?). imo yes you can get rid of that taste, or at least eliminate a few variables.
I always ferment in my basement which never gets any higher than 72, but usually stays around 70. Like mentioned above, I don't believe it is sanitization or ingredients.

I really wonder if the taste is just from using an extract vs. all grains for the ingredients.

I suppose it could also be something that develops when my beer stays in the keg for longer than 2 or 3 months?

FWIW, my family and friends (even other brewers) all think I make great beer.... I guess I am just overly critical and when I notice what I consider a flaw, I want to address it. But part of my wonders if simply going to AG will alleviate the taste I experience at times.
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Old 08-14-2012, 06:51 PM   #6
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Quote:
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Water could be a contributing factor, I've never had my water tested.
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I always ferment in my basement which never gets any higher than 72, but usually stays around 70.
I'd look to these two things first. Water can play a role, and if your ambient basement temperatures are 70-72, you're wort is probably closer to 75-77 during active fermentation, which can create some different flavors.

Even something as simple as a water bath and a couple frozen bottles of water can get your fermentation temps a little more manageable.
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Old 08-14-2012, 06:52 PM   #7
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I'm guessing its due to fermentation. I was in your shoes. Once I started making starters, using pure O2, and controlling fermentation temps, my beers started tasting as good as commercial beers (once and a while, better). If ambient temp is 70, then the fermentation is likely going higher than that (it produces heat) which could cause flavor issues. Switching to all-grain won't fix that.

I've had some really good beers made with extract. It is possible. I'd get your fermentation processes in check before you switch to all-grain (but then I'd switch to all grain - its super fun).

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Old 08-14-2012, 06:54 PM   #8
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A few things to consider, because there is no reason for any of your beer to taste different than commercial beer.
- Your water, if you are using tap water, go buy spring water from Walmart and see if it is better
- Your yeast and their health, unhappy yeasts do bad things to beer. Make sure you are pitching enough at a proper temperature
- Fermentation temperature. This goes hand in hand with happy, healthy yeast. Usually, the cooler the better for a "clean" tasting beer.
- Sanitation. It seems like you have this covered, but it's very important. Keep in mind, this means all of your kegging equipment, too.
- Clean and proper beer lines. You're not using hoses from the hardware store, are you? If your lines are old, try buying some new ones and see if that helps.
- LME VS DME. I have heard a lot of people complain about this taste when using old LME. What kind of extract are you using?
Hopefully you get this squared away.

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Old 08-14-2012, 07:07 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bknifefight View Post
A few things to consider, because there is no reason for any of your beer to taste different than commercial beer.
- Your water, if you are using tap water, go buy spring water from Walmart and see if it is better
- Your yeast and their health, unhappy yeasts do bad things to beer. Make sure you are pitching enough at a proper temperature
- Fermentation temperature. This goes hand in hand with happy, healthy yeast. Usually, the cooler the better for a "clean" tasting beer.
- Sanitation. It seems like you have this covered, but it's very important. Keep in mind, this means all of your kegging equipment, too.
- Clean and proper beer lines. You're not using hoses from the hardware store, are you? If your lines are old, try buying some new ones and see if that helps.
- LME VS DME. I have heard a lot of people complain about this taste when using old LME. What kind of extract are you using?
Hopefully you get this squared away.
Using LME from Austin Home Brew solely.

I always pitch yeast after the wort goes through an ice bath and is at or below 80 degrees. I am only doing partial boils though at this point.

Use proper beverage lines and will run starsan through them between kegs.... and kegs are always thorough clean. Usually I have a new batch of beer to put in them as soon as they go dry so I pull them from kegerator, clean them, all the new beer, and carbonate...so I dont have kegs sitting around at room temps or higher growing funk in them.

I think the likely candidates are water and/or fermentation temps as well. I honestly have always thought that going to AG/full boil would produce a better beer than a partial boil extract beer.

I have probably suggested that there is more of a flaw in my beer than their actually is, but what exactly I am describing is really hard to convey on a message board. Thanks for the responses regardless.
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Old 08-14-2012, 07:09 PM   #10
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Pitching at 80f is too high, you really want to get it down to ~70 if not ~60f.

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