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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Will switching to AG alleviate that "homebrew" taste?
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Old 08-17-2012, 03:24 PM   #71
Mikey_Dawg
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your "homebrew taste" could be from your water, the common base ingredient, or your yeast if you always use the same strain. If you always use dry nottingham or us05, buy a liquid culture and give it a try and try a different brand of extract. But since the problem gets worse its probably an infection. If you are topping up with unboiled tap water, that could easily be the source of the contamination. Give full boil a try if you have the equipment (you will need it for all grain), or preboil your top up water the day before. You could try bottling a few pints and store them warm and see how much worse the problem gets. Maybe you have a serious infection somewhere in your line or kegs and the refridgeration is suppressing it to some extent. All grain is super fun and I can't believe you've been brewing 7 years and haven't been tempted to give it a go yet ...so do it if it interests you...but....it probably won't eliminate your problems but rather add a bunch of new ones.
I've been tempted to go to AG, but my PM brews have continually improved since I first started so I havent felt the need until just recently.

I dont think the taste is related to kegging as I've noticed it before when I used to bottle and I've also noticed the taste in other homebrewer's beers that also use extract for their beers and only bottle.

Water could be the cause as we all live in Metro Atlanta and probably have similar water quality. Fermentation temps could be the cause as well b/c I think we all ferment at room temps in our homes without using a cooler/other cooling method. The funny thing is, I notice this taste in pretty much everyone of my friends homebrews (all styles) who has been brewing longer than me (he only bottles). I never perceived it as a bad taste but just thought it was something can came along with extract brewing.

I just need to try a few new things with my process and see if this random taste goes away. Thanks for all the advice.
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Old 08-17-2012, 03:43 PM   #72
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This probably isn't your problem but just thinking back to what my wife describes as "homebrew taste" which i still get - yeast still in suspension. If I hand her a young beer or a gravity sample that I see the awesome potential in, she says "yuk, homebrew". If its not settling out fast enough in the keg, I fine with gelatin and it cures it in a day or 2.

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Old 08-17-2012, 03:52 PM   #73
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This probably isn't your problem but just thinking back to what my wife describes as "homebrew taste" which i still get - yeast still in suspension. If I hand her a young beer or a gravity sample that I see the awesome potential in, she says "yuk, homebrew". If its not settling out fast enough in the keg, I fine with gelatin and it cures it in a day or 2.
This could totally be it...who knows at this point. I was at the end of my keg when I noticed it a good bit with the Pale Ale, could be that I was tasting alot more yeast as the final few pints were served from the keg.

I have never tried gelatin... only "fining agent" I use is moss to clear my brews.
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Old 08-17-2012, 06:05 PM   #74
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Off flavors can come from a number of things but it certainly won't be solved by going all-grain.

  1. Understand you are making ales, not lagers. So don't expect BMC.
  2. Demand fresh extract. Old extract will ruin a batch.
  3. Switch to 'mini-mashes' -- the few pounds of 'real' grain will help.
  4. Kill off the chlorine -- or chloramine. Both will result in off flavors.
  5. Control your fermentation temps! If you are in the upper 70's or higher, you need to regulate temps.
  6. Crash the yeast in suspension. Definitely cold crash. Irish moss/whirlfloc or gelatin is up to you.

While I've been brewing for only a year, I've produced great all-grain and mini-mash recipes. In fact, I still brew a few mini-mashes to this day since they are of such high quality. The above steps helped me get there.
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Old 08-18-2012, 03:58 PM   #75
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My thoughts are:

1.) Water can be ruled out pretty quick. Make some batches with your water side by side with some bottled water. I'm not saying either is good or bad, but if you have something coming from the water that is that noticeable, you would spot it right away.

2.) Sanitation issues are possible, but those are always hit or miss. You wouldn't have a consistent sanitation issue unless it was really bad, and then I think everyone who tasted it would know it. Either way, I think that is really not very probable for someone with years of brewing experience.

3.) Temperature -- I think this is the problem. I see where you ferment in a room that is between 70F to 72F ambient. Let's call it 71F. This puts you actively fermenting at what, 75F? I think that is more than hot enough to put off a consistent astringent alcohol taste. Probably would taste more like a goofy twang aftertaste.

4.) Underpitching -- Could you be pitching liquid yeast without a starter or could you be pitching just one pack of dry yeast into 5 gallons of higher gravity beer? In this goes aeration, too. If you at least stir the heck or shake the heck out of your fermenter, I would say this is a non-issue. I don't think additional O2 buys you much if you are pitching enough onto a shaken fermenter.

I noticed my beer batch become noticeably better as I cooled the batches. I'm now trying to push the envelope to see how cold I could go. I have one now at 61F, and it ripped through active fermentation in just 48 hours with a good starter.

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Old 08-18-2012, 04:24 PM   #76
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Here's a newbie's thoughts.

I started out doing two extract batches. They didn't turn out so well - but I was new. I wanted to brew better beer so I started hitting the books, podcasts, forums, etc to better my technique.

In doing so I switched to AG as I liked the low-cost/high investment style of brewing, and I knew I'd be in the hobby awhile.

7 batches down the road, my beer is tasting pretty good. However, I attribute more of that to all the knowledge I've gained over the process more so than switching to AG. I'm 100% confident I could go back to the same recipes I brewed at the outset of my start to the hobby and produce beer just as good as any AG batch I'm brewing. I brew AG because I like the complexity to it and options. Just got back to the homebrew shop with more bulk grain! Increased my specialty grains to about 14 on hand (found some awesome airtight containers at Ikea) as well as a new 50 lbs bag of 2-row.

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Old 08-19-2012, 05:25 PM   #77
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Originally Posted by Mikey_Dawg View Post
This could totally be it...who knows at this point. I was at the end of my keg when I noticed it a good bit with the Pale Ale, could be that I was tasting alot more yeast as the final few pints were served from the keg.

I have never tried gelatin... only "fining agent" I use is moss to clear my brews.
The more i think aobut it, "homebrew taste" is probably yeast...my wife and I were at a neighbours house last night and he gave us a beer he had made from a kit - all i could taste was acetadahyde with a bit of diacetyl but it was clear and yeast free so my wife didn't mind!

When you clean the keg at the end is there lots of yeast and crap sitting in the bottom?
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