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Old 04-20-2013, 03:49 AM   #1
arringtonbp
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Default Caribou Slobber Kit - Harsh Bitterness

I kegged my caribou slobber after 10 days in primary and 3 weeks in secondary. I racked it into the keg ontop of some star san foam. I have noticed that my beer tastes great but then has a very harsh bitter bite to it on the end. I am wondering if the star san may have affected the flavor or if it's possible the beer is over-carbed and is harsh because of that. Or, perhaps it's the recipe? Anybody run into similar issues?

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Old 04-20-2013, 06:22 AM   #2
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It's not star san. Star san leaves no taste

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Old 04-20-2013, 06:29 PM   #3
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Look at the reviews of this beer on youtube etc.
You are not alone. I made this beer also, and I found the same thing. The beer taste good...and I think most people will not be bothered by that "bite" at the end - but I too noticed this with mind.
I am hoping further conditioning in the bottles clears this out - but I doubt it.
I will make this beer again - only this time, since I now know the active fermentation for this beer is early and wild - I will make sure the temperature does not get above 70 max. ANND - I will not secondary. I have to wonder if leaving it in the primary longer is what this complex beer needs.

P.S.--> The bite in mine sounds less harsh than yours...but it is there.

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Old 04-20-2013, 08:29 PM   #4
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I actually tried one today and it seems that the bite is settling down a bit. Its nice and chocolatey with some earthy hops on the end. Also I stand by your term temp idea. I ferment my ales around 65 F. I used to live in an apartment where it was harder to do this. Since I started controlling the temp and keeping my yeast happy my beer has gotten significantly better.

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Old 04-20-2013, 08:31 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arringtonbp View Post
I actually tried one today and it seems that the bite is settling down a bit. Its nice and chocolatey with some earthy hops on the end. Also I stand by your term temp idea. I ferment my ales around 65 F. I used to live in an apartment where it was harder to do this. Since I started controlling the temp and keeping my yeast happy my beer has gotten significantly better.
I wonder if it wasn't just some "carbonic acid bite" that I get sometimes when I carb up a keg. It gets better in a few days, but it sometimes seems more pronounced in beers with darker (roasted) grains at first, at least to me. I noticed a "bite" almost metallic in flavor when I carbed up a stout recently. But within about 5 days, it totally went away.
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Old 04-20-2013, 08:34 PM   #6
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That is entirely possible. I can describe the bitterness as sharp and maybe soapy or bitter in the same way as bitter greens. Its hard to describe, but it seems to be settling slightly.

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Old 04-20-2013, 08:34 PM   #7
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You're not alone, it is a very harsh and bitter beer. Especially when young. Sometimes even when aged.

Some things that I found to help:

1.) Control your fermentation temperature. Both in the primary and in the secondary. That means it has to be on the low end of the yeast temp range around 64F - 65F for the DanStar Windsor Ale during active fermentation. That's the temp of the wort not the outside of the container.

2.) Cold steep your dark grains. (Not sure this is possible with an extract kit; or even all grain; you probably have to buy all of the grains separately.) http://hbd.org/clubs/cascade/public_...ing/index.html

3.) Hot steep your crystal malts w/ a little base malt to eliminate residual starches (hold at 150-155 for 30 min.). http://www.homebrewersassociation.or...hp?topic=378.0

4.) Properly rehydrate your yeast. http://www.danstaryeast.com/sites/de..._datasheet.pdf

5.) Your wort/beer should be held at 64F-65F for a minimum of 8 weeks. Cold crash for 2 days; Now keg and wait 4 weeks; holding it @64-65F; sampling once a week until the flavors have mellowed.

6.) Add your DME at the start of the boil (preferably to cool water while heating the water) and the LME about 10 - 15 min before the end of the boil (I think they've updated their instructions to include this.)

7.) If your finished beer is darker brown/black instead of a lighter brown then you've caramelized or burnt sugars and probably won't like the result. The color should be light brown, not dark brown or black.

8.) Cut your water with distilled water. Use half distilled (or RO) and half tap water.

I've successfully made Caribou Slobber; but I had to buy all of the ingredients myself and put the kit together such that I could do all of the above.

It is a good beer when properly made and aged (mellowed); however, Northern Brewer marketing will make you believe that you can just "make the kit" per their lacking directions and the beer will turn out great in a short period of time! Unfortunately I was also mislead by this and the amount of work and knowledge to make a good Caribou Slobber is simply beyond that of a first time homebrewer.

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Old 04-20-2013, 08:43 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShootsNRoots View Post
You're not alone, it is a very harsh and bitter beer. Especially when young. Sometimes even when aged.

Some things that I found to help:

1.) Control your fermentation temperature. Both in the primary and in the secondary. That means it has to be on the low end of the yeast temp range around 64F - 65F for the DanStar Windsor Ale during active fermentation. That's the temp of the wort not the outside of the container.

2.) Cold steep your dark grains. (Not sure this is possible with an extract kit; or even all grain; you probably have to buy all of the grains separately.) http://hbd.org/clubs/cascade/public_...ing/index.html

3.) Hot steep your crystal malts w/ a little base malt to eliminate residual starches (hold at 150-155 for 30 min.). http://www.homebrewersassociation.or...hp?topic=378.0

4.) Properly rehydrate your yeast. http://www.danstaryeast.com/sites/de..._datasheet.pdf

5.) Your wort/beer should be held at 64F-65F for a minimum of 8 weeks. Cold crash for 2 days; Now keg and wait 4 weeks; holding it @64-65F; sampling once a week until the flavors have mellowed.

6.) Add your DME at the start of the boil (preferably to cool water while heating the water) and the LME about 10 - 15 min before the end of the boil (I think they've updated their instructions to include this.)

7.) If your finished beer is darker brown/black instead of a lighter brown then you've caramelized or burnt sugars and probably won't like the result. The color should be light brown, not dark brown or black.

8.) Cut your water with distilled water. Use half distilled (or RO) and half tap water.

I've successfully made Caribou Slobber; but I had to buy all of the ingredients myself and put the kit together such that I could do all of the above.

It is a good beer when properly made and aged (mellowed); however, Northern Brewer marketing will make you believe that you can just "make the kit" per their lacking directions and the beer will turn out great in a short period of time! Unfortunately I was also mislead by this and the amount of work and knowledge to make a good Caribou Slobber is simply beyond that of a first time homebrewer.
Wow, excellent suggestions. This beer fermented in the low 60s for about 4-5 weeks. I need to try steeping the grains the way you suggested. I've heard of this but haven't tried it yet. I used wyeast for this batch, but can't remember which. I want to say it was the american ale yeast. I do think I'm getting some kettle caramelization because it is a dark brown. Will have to try moving back to using some distilled or ro water.
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Old 04-20-2013, 08:47 PM   #9
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Also, I am curious. Why is this beer so bitter? The hops in it are low as and there aren't a lot of them

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Old 04-20-2013, 09:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
Also, I am curious. Why is this beer so bitter? The hops in it are low as and there aren't a lot of them
1.) It has a BU:GU close to an IPA (0.68)
2.) It uses darker malts (I think they've modified the recipe to use pale chocolate instead of chocolate)
3.) The recommended yeasts have a tart finish to them
4.) The burning/caramelizing of the wort sugars during the boil adds to the bitter effect (may or may not be applicable to your case)
5.) The hardness of the water you use can vary the bitterness/perceived bitterness

There's probably more but that's all I can think of right now.
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