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Old 08-14-2012, 08:53 PM   #21
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My bet is yeast health. The too-high pitching temperature, the too-high fermentation temperature, and maybe even underpitching(?) would cause some off-flavors that might not be bad, but not on par with similar commercial beers.

If that is the case, then going AG won't fix it.

There seem to be two things that made my beer better, and one was pitching at under 68 degrees for ales, and keeping fermentation temperatures on the low side of the yeast strain's "optimum fermentation temperature". For most ale yeast, that is around 64 degrees. You could get a super cheap stick-on thermometer to see the actual beer temperature, as I've seen an active fermentation get up to 10 degrees higher than ambient temperature.

The other thing that really makes a huge difference is making sure to not underpitch yeast. That usually means 2 or more packages of liquid yeast, or a starter.

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Old 08-14-2012, 08:58 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
My bet is yeast health. The too-high pitching temperature, the too-high fermentation temperature, and maybe even underpitching(?) would cause some off-flavors that might not be bad, but not on par with similar commercial beers.

If that is the case, then going AG won't fix it.

There seem to be two things that made my beer better, and one was pitching at under 68 degrees for ales, and keeping fermentation temperatures on the low side of the yeast strain's "optimum fermentation temperature". For most ale yeast, that is around 64 degrees. You could get a super cheap stick-on thermometer to see the actual beer temperature, as I've seen an active fermentation get up to 10 degrees higher than ambient temperature.

The other thing that really makes a huge difference is making sure to not underpitch yeast. That usually means 2 or more packages of liquid yeast, or a starter.
Why would all of Austins instruction sheets indicate to pitch once the temp reaches 80 degrees? I dont use kits much anymore but for years 80 degrees has been embedded in my head as the proper pitching temp. I have always used dry yeast though, never tried liquid yeast.

And if I do make something that is on the higher grav side, I will always pitch two packets.

I will work on lower temps though and see if this taste goes away.
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Old 08-14-2012, 09:07 PM   #23
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Why would all of Austins instruction sheets indicate to pitch once the temp reaches 80 degrees? I dont use kits much anymore but for years 80 degrees has been embedded in my head as the proper pitching temp. I have always used dry yeast though, never tried liquid yeast.

And if I do make something that is on the higher grav side, I will always pitch two packets.

I will work on lower temps though and see if this taste goes away.
I have no idea why their instructions state that- but try pitching at 62 and then letting it warm up to 65 degrees and hold it there. It will make a huge improvement.
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Old 08-14-2012, 09:10 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Mikey_Dawg View Post
Why would all of Austins instruction sheets indicate to pitch once the temp reaches 80 degrees? I dont use kits much anymore but for years 80 degrees has been embedded in my head as the proper pitching temp. I have always used dry yeast though, never tried liquid yeast.

And if I do make something that is on the higher grav side, I will always pitch two packets.

I will work on lower temps though and see if this taste goes away.
The 80F number is there as the high limit. It says 70-75F on vials of White Labs yeast, for example.

That doesn't mean that it's not better to pitch at lower temps. You absolutely want your fermentation to happen at around 68F for most ale yeasts. Farmhouse, Saison, and Hef yeasts like higher temps, but those are exceptions.

My first four batches of beer were extract, and the first two were not good. The second two were great. The difference? A chest freezer with a thermostat.
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Old 08-14-2012, 10:57 PM   #25
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With all due respect to the OP (sincerely), what is troubling you about the homebrew taste? We all make homebrew primarily, I think, to get away from the monotonous taste of commercial beers. It is one of the ways we express creativity and should be proud of what we create (I know you are). Home brew is different from commercial beer and we should revel in that fact. If I wanted my home brew to taste like a commercial brew, I would not be involved in this passion. The nuances in flavor, aroma, and mouthfeel are ours to develop and share. We are a unique breed that happens to create unique brew. Stand proud with your "homebrew taste". Off the soapbox now.
Susie

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Old 08-15-2012, 12:34 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikey_Dawg View Post
Why would all of Austins instruction sheets indicate to pitch once the temp reaches 80 degrees? I dont use kits much anymore but for years 80 degrees has been embedded in my head as the proper pitching temp. I have always used dry yeast though, never tried liquid yeast.

And if I do make something that is on the higher grav side, I will always pitch two packets.

I will work on lower temps though and see if this taste goes away.
I think we found the problem! I suggest you try White Labs or Wyeast, make a starter & pitch at 70-75F temps. Problem solved!
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Old 08-15-2012, 04:36 AM   #27
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I too used to have the indescribable "homebrew" taste. I used mainly liquid yeast and it made no difference between that and dry yeast. For me the homebrew taste went away when I started making yeast starters. I made no other changes to the brewing process. About 5 batches after I started making starters I made a batch on a whim one day without a starter and that good ole meh homebrew taste was back. All this being said was when I was only doing extract brews. My advice would be to try yeast starters on your next couple of batches and tell us how it goes.

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Old 08-15-2012, 04:47 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SusieBrew
With all due respect to the OP (sincerely), what is troubling you about the homebrew taste? We all make homebrew primarily, I think, to get away from the monotonous taste of commercial beers. It is one of the ways we express creativity and should be proud of what we create (I know you are). Home brew is different from commercial beer and we should revel in that fact. If I wanted my home brew to taste like a commercial brew, I would not be involved in this passion. The nuances in flavor, aroma, and mouthfeel are ours to develop and share. We are a unique breed that happens to create unique brew. Stand proud with your "homebrew taste". Off the soapbox now.
Susie
For me and think the OP as well I was trying to get away from the monotonous homebrew taste that was present in each batch I brewed. I think you are confusing what we are trying to describe with good quality craft beer. I was sick of having this same off flavor in every beer I made wether it was a pilsner, IPA, porter, etc. they all had this same common off flavor that wasn't present in the microbrews I was trying to mimic. I think it gets called the "homebrew" taste because you only find it in homebrew. Since I have started making starters I have had people try my beer and comment that it doesn't have that homebrew taste that they have always experienced with other people's homebrew.
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Old 08-15-2012, 05:21 AM   #29
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OP, I live in Austin and started out using LME from them since their kits come that way. I've since switched and can definitely tell the difference. Maybe it is just me, but I can't recall having a beer I made with AHB's LME that didn't have a twang to it. I still brew partial mash, but switching to DME has notably improved my output.

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Old 08-15-2012, 12:31 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crane View Post
For me and think the OP as well I was trying to get away from the monotonous homebrew taste that was present in each batch I brewed. I think you are confusing what we are trying to describe with good quality craft beer. I was sick of having this same off flavor in every beer I made wether it was a pilsner, IPA, porter, etc. they all had this same common off flavor that wasn't present in the microbrews I was trying to mimic. I think it gets called the "homebrew" taste because you only find it in homebrew. Since I have started making starters I have had people try my beer and comment that it doesn't have that homebrew taste that they have always experienced with other people's homebrew.
You are correct. I really am happy with 95% of the beers Ive made over the past 4 or 5 years when I really felt like I got past the learning curve of home brewing (at least in the partial mash style).

Last night I poured a couple strawberry blondes that I made a few months back and A) It was excellent B) I did not notice this taste.

I also have a Rye Pale Ale on draft that I had a week or so ago (that is even older than the SB) and when I poured one of those I did notice the taste we are discussing. I still drank the beer and enjoyed it very much but if I had any complaint about the beer, that would be it. I dont recall noticing it with a Cascade IPA I have on draft right now though.

Could this taste develop as the beer ages? That was my first thought when I tasted it as I simple dont recall the taste when the beer was more fresh.

At the end of the day, all I was really asking is will AG batches improve my homebrew vs. extract. This is the only complaint I have about my beer and like I've pointed out, I dont notice it more times than I do which really only makes it harder to pinpoint.

I've got some good info out of the discussion though. I am planning on moving to AG regardless sometime in the next year as it is long past due. Probably start with a simple BIAB setup to get the ball rolling. But right now, I am building my brewing domain in my basement so I want to get that done first.
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