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Old 08-22-2012, 05:31 AM   #1
nymtber
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Default Beer going stale fast?

I have been brewing a year and a half now and have noticed a few things. My homebrew taste GREAT when its fresh, I get compliments, family loves it. However I have noticed that my beer starts to degrade quickly after the 6 week in bottle mark. I keep it in our basement, but that is 70 degrees in summer, and fluctuating in the winter, I can only assume that is killing the beer

I'm drinking my American Amber that I brewed back in late may. When it was fresh (4th of july week) my dad and brothers and I all loved it, taste amazing and was just a good beer. Was good through most of July, but now its developed a stale, kinda sweet tangy taste to it that was not present at all when it was fresh. Ive noticed this mostly with the hoppier beers (this beer and sierra madre pale ale) while my kolsch is still OK, not as good as when it was fresh but not as off-flavored as this one.

If its the heat I will have to figure something out, or store some at my dads, his basement remains 60ish all year. Maybe I gotta drink them faster?

I want to preserve that fresh taste, because man...they have been GOOD this year! The American Amber was absolutely delicious when it was fresh. Now...not so much. The Kolsch was my first attempt with both liquid yeast and lagering (well 40F is as cold as I could get my ferment chamber) and it also came out quite nice, and is still pretty decent.

Thanks for any tips, I just have a feeling the 70F storage temp is what is to blame here. My sanitation is always spot on, I keep track of my Star San solution with PH strips and toss after so many weeks/batches of beer, and I make it with only distilled water. Caps are sealed tight, and I even use O2 absorbing caps (only a few cents more at a "local" shop)

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Old 08-22-2012, 10:40 AM   #2
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Are you brewing with extract? Is it liquid or dry?

I have found that LME beers go stale faster than DME, so I brew exclusively with light DME as my base sugar and then adjust flavor as needed with steeping grains.

Also, what are you fermenting in and for how long? Beer losing freshness is largely an oxidation issue, so you're getting oxygen into your beers somewhere. Do you do long ferments (4-5 weeks) in Ale Pales? They're oxygen permeable and it becomes a noticeable issue after 3 weeks or so. Are you careful about oxygen when you syphon into your bottling bucket? Excessive splashing will oxegenate the beer.

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Old 08-22-2012, 10:43 AM   #3
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Hops flavor and aroma degrade over time. I know American hop forward beers are meant to be drank fresh.
Does the sweet taste you are getting taste like sherry? If so you could have oxidation issues. Maybe try using oxygen absorbing caps.
I've stored bottles of my ipa for 3 or 4 months and not had any issues and have similar temps as you do.

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Old 08-22-2012, 03:26 PM   #4
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Plastic fermenters aren't that permiable to o2. Not at 3 weeks anyway. That's all I use & it's not an issue so far as primary & short secondary are concerned. O2 caps have to be primed by a dunkin starsan or tipping the capped bottle to wet the inside to my understanding.
But hop flavors will start to degrade over time. Beer,unlike wine,doesn't have a long shelf life unless it's a big one. Average gravity beers don't celler well for long periods.
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Old 08-22-2012, 03:44 PM   #5
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When you did you Kolsch did you “re-yeast”? I add a packet of Dry Yeast (hefeweisen) to it at the same time I do my priming.

For your AM-IPA… I have not a clue as it should age nicely in the environment you have described. It should have enough Alcohol and Hops to stay good for months...

  1. Maybe old extract?
  2. Not boiled long enough? (how long have your boils been?)
  3. Not cooled down fast enough when finished? (how do you cool your wort?)
  4. Maybe oxidized while Hot? (how do you cool your wort?)


I always associate "stale" with O2 or sanitation problems.

For O2:
  • Make sure when adding the priming sugar you do it gently.
  • When filling you bottles get the beer flowing fast so the end of the wand is under the beer fast.

Sanitation:

Double check you tubing and your faucets… I have found deposits of old yeast in a couple faucets and off sweet tastes can come from "little beasties".
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Old 08-22-2012, 03:52 PM   #6
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It'd have to be an imperial ipa or strong ale sort of thing to keep or get better after months on end. Average gravity ales are not able to keep that long. Much less hop flavors.
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Old 08-22-2012, 04:05 PM   #7
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Well I do use LME, and its from northern brewer so it should be pretty fresh! I wish they had a DME option for their kits. I have nothing local that is what I consider fresh, so I buy online from NB.

I ferment in well sanitized GLASS carboys, and clean them religiously. I have a digitally controlled fermentation chamber, keeping temps within +/- 1C once it cools and stabilizes. Boils are a full hour boil, I generally follow directions but have been doing late addition of half the extract to keep colors lighter (15+ minutes left in boil). I have a homemade wort chiller, 20' of 3/8" od copper. Should have made bigger but it does work good. I use bottled water, although I don't think I need to.

I avoid any aggressive stirring while chilling (just a GENTLE stir to keep the chiller working) and I am super careful to gently mix in the priming sugar, as well as not aerate the beer when siphoning from carboy into bottling bucket. I get plenty of flow through my bottling wand!

Ive read most of "how to brew" I pay close attention to a lot of the "Sunday Session" from the BN, and I spent a lot of last year learning all the things NOT to do.

Beer is WONDERFUL for the first month or two. Just seems to go downhill faster and faster. Seems beer I brew in spring/fall last a bit longer if the basement is cool...

Who sells kits that already come with DME? I can't brew all-grain, I have neither the patience, time, money (equipment), space, or desire.

Maybe I should buy a 3gallon carboy and start doing half-batches using DME.

The only other thing I have noticed, since I started using a wort chiller, the amount of Trub I get (in the fermenter) is far more. Next batch I will let the chilled wort sit in the pot longer to settle and siphon instead of pour out. MAYBE that has some effect on the longevity of the finished product?

I'm really at a loss. I have the last 3 bottles of Kolsch in the fridge but I have a bit of Amber left. The Kolsch seems to not have been affect as much. Can't believe it would be a hop issue, the hops have been vaccum sealed in mylar Hop Union hop pellets...

And I never re-introduce yeast into my beers for bottling. There should be absolutely no need, the Kolsch primed up fine even after 3 weeks at 40F...and I have not done an IPA? Just an APA and AAA!

Just weird that the St. Paul Porter was fine after all that time, that batch was NOT chilled with a wort chiller, just ice water bath (which takes 2x the time to cool). Of course, the dark grain likely hides any off flavor.

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Old 08-22-2012, 05:16 PM   #8
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What I'm trying to say is,that's pretty normal for average gravity beers. They will not cellar anything like big beers for 3,4,5,6,7 months+. Not gunna happen,since there's not enough alcohol in average ales to make it keep longer.
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Old 08-22-2012, 06:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nymtber View Post

Beer is WONDERFUL for the first month or two. Just seems to go downhill faster and faster. Seems beer I brew in spring/fall last a bit longer if the basement is cool...

DPBISME ---> Try a bit more hops...

The only other thing I have noticed, since I started using a wort chiller, the amount of Trub I get (in the fermenter) is far more. Next batch I will let the chilled wort sit in the pot longer to settle and siphon instead of pour out. MAYBE that has some effect on the longevity of the finished product?
DPBISME --->
I assume the wort chiller sits in the boiling wort for 20 minutes?
Remove the wort chiller and do a "whirlpool" to get the trub in the center or I have used a large spice ball to catch it on the way to the Fermentor.
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Old 08-23-2012, 05:18 AM   #10
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Now I'm just really confused. My Kolsch (enjoying one right now) still taste great. It was brewed 2 months before the Amber. I mean, its not as fresh as when it was...um fresh, but it still taste like a good beer in comparison to the Amber (which started out great).

I guess hoppy bears and me are not working out well for brewing and aging. Biggest problem is that I just don't drink enough quickly enough. Next batch I am going to give my brother a 12 pack right off the bat, and store extras at dads for now.

On a positive side, I have noticed a LOT less yeast in the bottle since doing at least a few days as cold as I can get the beer (cold crashing, in a sense). And my beers are getting better, but aging is going to be reserved for big beers/dark beers. I have a 14 month old Porter that was still tasting great last bottle I had...I have something like 6-8 12oz bottles at dad's still (I know they are safe(r) there )

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