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Old 10-07-2008, 08:20 PM   #1
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Default Come Back Brew - Terrible

I haven't homebrewed for more than a year and a half due to a pregnant wife who couldn't stand the smells. However, now I have a 9 month old son and a wife who is fine with it again. So, a month ago I brewed a kit I purchased from a local home brew store (Beer Necessities is the store, the kit is Bob's Rye Ale). The kit had a fair amount of grains as well as a can of LME. I Followed the instructions that came with the kit to the letter. The O.G. was 1.048.

After one week I transferred from the primary (6 gallon glass carboy) to a secondary (5 gallon glass carboy) by siphon and added some hops "dry hopping" as called for in the instructions with the kit. I took a sample and the specific gravity at the one week mark was 1.012. I also tasted the sample and it was actually pretty good (of course it was warm and not carbonated). It did not have any discernable bad tastes, so I was excited. After transferring I observed the airlock and it was bubbling, but very slowly...maybe once every minute.

After another week, I tested the specific gravity and it still read 1.012. I figured the fermentation was complete and decided to bottle. I dissolved the priming sugar in a small amount of boiling water and added it to the beer in the bottling bucket. I bottled using the spout, tubing and bottle filler and filled 48 12 oz. bottles that I capped using Brewers Best bottle caps.

After two weeks in the bottle, I opened one of the three clear bottles (I always bottle three clears so I can observe the color, clairity and sediment). Got the nice hiss sound on cap removal and poured into a glass. The head bubbles were fairly large and the head retention was all of about 15 seconds. After that, there was no head at all. Not even a film, just clear beer. The weird thing is that the beer was bubbling more than any champagne I've ever seen. I took a sip and it is horrible. No mouth feel, no body. Not good, not bad, just blah. It is quite possibly the driest beer I've ever tasted. The aftertaste was actually closer to drinking a typical dark soda than beer.

Any ideas on what went wrong between racking to the secondary and now? Is there any chance the beer will improve with more bottle conditioning?

Other information:

I'm obsessive about sanitation and used starsan on anything that came into contact with the beer at each step. The temperature of fermentation and bottle conditioning has been very steady between 72 and 74 degrees.

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Old 10-07-2008, 08:24 PM   #2
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Give it some time.
I usually let the bottles carb for 3 weeks at room temp and then let them sit in the fridge for a week after that to let it all settle. Except for one batch that was infected, every batch I've ever made the last bottle was better than the first.

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only the $500,000 strippers can handle the load.
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Old 10-07-2008, 08:39 PM   #3
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How much Rye was there in the kit? give it about 3 more weeks or so. It will give you enough time to brew another batch of something else.
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Old 10-07-2008, 09:05 PM   #4
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If push comes to shove, take a bottle or two back to Beer Necessities and talk with Bob. He's a super nice guy to chat with or to bounce questions off. And, as he's the designer of the particular beer in question, he might be able to give you some insight as to what's what with your brew. Just make sure you allow yourself enough time...SWMBO always waits in the car and I always get the stinkeye when I come out.

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Old 10-07-2008, 11:32 PM   #5
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My comeback batch (after 4+ years out of brewing) was last March and it too came out less than desirable. Every bottle got better batch after batch. I bottled batch 12 of the year last week and have done at least one thing to improve my process with each batch. It took me three not-so-perfect batches and two more good ones while I waited for the fourth to finish to get back to RDWHAHB.

That being said, I second Jaybird's advice. Keep brewing. I've yet to brew a beer with rye, but I've heard that they have a "dryness" to them. Maybe that's it.

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Old 10-08-2008, 01:34 AM   #6
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Things that jumped out:

Leave your next brew in the fermenter for more than 1 week.
Don't transfer to a clearing tank sooner than 2 weeks.
Allow your bottles to condition for 3 weeks before making judgment.
If it tastes bad, put it in the closet and forget about it. Remember its there in a few months. I bet it will taste great.


The biggest learning curve for me was time. Every kit and instruction booklet seem to shorten times to entice new brewers. Making quality beer takes time. The first question I get when I say I homebrew is, "how long does it take". I am in college though. I tell them about 2 months (give or take).

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Old 10-08-2008, 02:10 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edcculus View Post
Things that jumped out:

Leave your next brew in the fermenter for more than 1 week.
Don't transfer to a clearing tank sooner than 2 weeks.
Allow your bottles to condition for 3 weeks before making judgment.
If it tastes bad, put it in the closet and forget about it. Remember its there in a few months. I bet it will taste great.


The biggest learning curve for me was time. Every kit and instruction booklet seem to shorten times to entice new brewers. Making quality beer takes time. The first question I get when I say I homebrew is, "how long does it take". I am in college though. I tell them about 2 months (give or take).
Yep!!! THis hits the nail on the head...

Also read this... http://www.homebrewtalk.com/558191-post101.html
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Old 10-08-2008, 12:25 PM   #8
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You live near Alpharetta then?

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Old 10-08-2008, 02:10 PM   #9
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I live in Decatur, but Alpharetta is not too far of a drive. I have family that live in North Georgia, so when I go to visit, I usually make a stop at the Brew Store.

Thanks for all the advice. I guess at this point it's just wait and see. If the beer doesn't improve with time, I'll definately take a bottle by and let Bob give his advice on what went wrong. I've always had really good luck with his kits in the past and think they are a good product. His kits generally have a good quantity of grain that make them appealing to me. I'm not quite ready to go all grain, so brewing his kits is somewhat satisfying.

I'll let everyone know how the next bottle turns out.

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Old 10-08-2008, 02:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keelanfish View Post
I live in Decatur...
I used to live there as well and absolutely love Decatur! I need to get back there, I am seriously "jonesing" for some Flying Biscuit Cafe!
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