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Old 03-24-2009, 03:30 PM   #1
ThatGuyRyan
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Default Amazon.com Coleridge kit issues.

Anyone else try one of the kits from Amazon.com? I got both the Russian Imperial Stout and the American Wheat and both are funky! I brewed up the Russian first exactly per the instructions and let it sit in my basement in a cool corner about 66 for two 7 weeks. Then moved to the secondary where it has been for the past two weeks.

The American Wheat I followed the instructions but added an extra pound of wheat DME since the kit was a low alcohol kit and I just wanted it closer to a 5% than a 4%. Besides that I didn't change anything.

The thing is that I taste all of my beers when racking or taking a hydrometer reading and all of my past 12+ beers were flat yes but drinkable from the tester. These two however were both blah! A few sips and down the drain. And they both have a very similar cardboard taste with a vomit after taste! I am not kidding its like when you burp and a little extra comes up:-( that’s the nasty taste!

Now this cant be an infection not on two beers that were not made at the same time not to mention I never had an infection on any other beer. So I am thinking maybe its something in the kit but these kits don't list any of the ingredients besides the yeast and they both use the same yeast. Dry Coopers Ale.

The Russian started off at 1.091 and is at 1.023 now so it seemed to ferment pretty well, I did buy a second 15g pack of dry yeast and threw that it at the beginning just to be safe. The American said the OG should have been 1.046 but I added the extra pound of DME and I got 1.070 its now 17 days in and its holding at 1.018. I thought that it may have stuck since I added the extra DME but didn't add more yeast so I pitched another pack 4 days ago and moved it to a warmer spot but its still holding at 1.018. I forgot to pick up a second pack when I started this one so it was just a 15g pack at the start.

I know the American is still young and I am going to hold it until the end of the week before deciding to bottle or second it but they both taste almost identical and not in a good way! Could this be the yeast or a after taste of unfresh ingredients? Amazon seems to sell out of these kits every other week so you would think that they would be fresh but who knows how long the maker has them sitting for. The only things in the box that's dated is the yeast packs.

As for me no more Amazon kits until I see how these turn out but as of today its not looking good.

I was also considering flavoring the Wheat to try and help it out. I got a bottle of cherry flavoring from my local Brew Shop would you guys suggest using it? And as for the Russian how long would you suggest I hold it in the secondary and how long should this one take to condition? Would you suggest bottling this one or just throw in in a keg and forget about it for a while?

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Old 03-25-2009, 10:09 PM   #2
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not to sound like an ass...but this is why I don't buy beer kits from a book store.

yeah, I know they sell a lot more than just books, but making beer is a specialty/niche item and no big box store is going to do you right on ingredients (aside from cheap frozen fruit)

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Old 03-25-2009, 10:19 PM   #3
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Hmmmm, sorry to hear the kit didn't turn out well. Was the yeast old?

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not to sound like an ass...but this is why I don't buy beer kits from a book store.
Not to sound like an ass, but they sell *much* more than books. Take a few minutes and browse their website.

I bought several 10# bags of specialty grain (crystal, vienna, victory, & wheat) from them recently and all smelled and tasted great. It's Briess malt repackaged under the Coleridge brand name.
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Old 03-26-2009, 03:04 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by malkore View Post
not to sound like an ass...but this is why I don't buy beer kits from a book store.

yeah, I know they sell a lot more than just books, but making beer is a specialty/niche item and no big box store is going to do you right on ingredients (aside from cheap frozen fruit)
That's ok you don't sound like an ass:-) I had some amazon gift cards and figured if they turned out half way decent for the price you couldn't go wrong. I found out about them from this forum so I assumed that people have tried them before here but I guess not. Anyway what's done is done now I am trying to figure out a way to make them drinkable. I pitch another pack of yeast to the Wheat a week ago and moved it to a warmer location but yesterday it was still at the same FG so I picked up some cherry flavoring from my local HBS and racked it to a keg with the cherry flavor. I was worried that it would give it a worse flavor but it really helped it. And it smells really good. I am going to let it sit for a week or so then carb it. If its still funky I may try blending it with another wheat beer I already have on tap.

As for the Russian I am just going to hold it for a few more weeks then keg it and set it aside and hope for the best. Maybe in a few months it will mellow out.
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Old 03-26-2009, 03:24 PM   #5
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Hmmmm, sorry to hear the kit didn't turn out well. Was the yeast old?



Not to sound like an ass, but they sell *much* more than books. Take a few minutes and browse their website.

I bought several 10# bags of specialty grain (crystal, vienna, victory, & wheat) from them recently and all smelled and tasted great. It's Briess malt repackaged under the Coleridge brand name.
I thought that could be part of it. The trub in the Wheat that I racked yesterday was the smallest of any beer I had made so far. But I did pitch a new 2nd pack at the beginning for the Russian and it still had the same funky taste. So would old yeast give a funky flavor or just not grow? Another thing that concerns me is that it the pouch that had the DME it was mixed with a white powder. I don't know if that was sugar or dextrose or what but they both had it. The grains in both were pre crushed and smelled good but who knows how long they were in the shrink wrapped bags. Maybe they were in the bags way too long and absorbed some of the plastic flavor? I don't know its hard to tell when everything is just packaged with no list of what's in it or when it was packed. All in all if they have another kit go on sale for $20 or so I may try it again and just trash the packaged yeast all together and go with a fresh one.
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Old 03-26-2009, 03:36 PM   #6
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I thought that could be part of it. The trub in the Wheat that I racked yesterday was the smallest of any beer I had made so far. But I did pitch a new 2nd pack at the beginning for the Russian and it still had the same funky taste. So would old yeast give a funky flavor or just not grow?
Yes, old yeast will often contribute funky off flavors, exhibit a longer startup delay, and won't attenuate well. I experienced this on my second extract batch many years ago. Learned my lesson then.

When I was still doing partial mash batches a couple of years ago, I never used the yeast that came with the kit. It just wasn't worth the risk of ruining a batch for a $1.50 packet of yeast.
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Old 03-27-2009, 02:10 AM   #7
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In the saison kit I got from Amazon, the yeast was a few weeks old. Where as the Steam kit yeast had no expiration date. The FG on the saison was a little high, but that is a house curse here so normal by my stick. The only oddity I noticed was the steam beer let out a bit of funk on the first couple of days fermenting, but I attributed it to lager yeast at ale temperatures. All in all, this probably doesn't help but perhaps RDWHAHB?

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Old 03-27-2009, 04:34 PM   #8
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I don't think there's much helpful to say. I guess I wouldn't rule out infection if you use a plastic fermenter until you brew a batch that turns out good.

Other than that, I don't know how to help. How was the aroma? Maybe it's possible that these will mellow out????

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Old 03-31-2009, 12:19 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by malkore View Post
not to sound like an ass...but this is why I don't buy beer kits from a book store.

yeah, I know they sell a lot more than just books, but making beer is a specialty/niche item and no big box store is going to do you right on ingredients (aside from cheap frozen fruit)
Sorry, but I've bought 100+ lbs of grain from Amazon and it's just that, grain. No better or worse that the LHBS and free shipping.

Come to think of it I bought a bucket heater, a propane burner and a brewing kettle on Amazon as well.

THey also sell those "books" that deal with homebrewing.
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Old 03-31-2009, 12:43 AM   #10
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I'm inclined to agree with HSM here, that the ingredients from amazon are quite ordinary and are from the usual manufacturers (Breiss, Coopers, Muntons, Safale, etc.)

My "American IPA" kit from amazon just got put in the bottles 2 days ago. I didn't add anything extra, but I did use White Labs yeast (added to a yeast starter) instead of the packaged dry yeast (Safale US-05). And I reserved half of the aroma hops for dry-hopping. This was my first homebrew. Initial tastings are OK, but I can tell it's not going to be anything special. And since the hops were all unspecified, I don't know but I guess the aroma hops aren't cascade or centennial. They're just 'meh'. I know, I'll have to give it some conditioning time in the bottle before making a final judgement on it.

Almost brewed my amazon Barleywine kit this weekend, but since it has 10 lbs. of DME (no LME) it will keep a while. I think it's worth mentioning, this kit was only $30 total (free shipping). Pretty decent for a noob to experiment with, eh?


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Sorry, but I've bought 100+ lbs of grain from Amazon and it's just that, grain. No better or worse that the LHBS and free shipping.

Come to think of it I bought a bucket heater, a propane burner and a brewing kettle on Amazon as well.

THey also sell those "books" that deal with homebrewing.
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