My first batch, ever, was a paulaner hefeweizen clone. It turned out excellent. This was kegged straight out of the primary. All my attempts have used an immersion chiller which is added the last 10-15 minutes of the boil.
The second batch was a german helles bock. This was bottled after secondary fermentation in a 5 gallon carboy. It was barely drinkable. It wasn't sour and it wasn't contaminated but it had a really strange bitterness to it. I came to learn later on that I was doing full boils and not changing the hop schedule for the extra water volume. This could have attributed to the strange bitterness. It is hard to explain the flavor it had but even after a year of being bottled, I had one the other night and it was definitely not contaminated although maybe oxidized.
Third batch was an english brown. It spent a week in the primary, a week in the secondary, and was kegged. This came out very similar to the helles bock. It has this strange bitterness to it that a buddy of mine described as tasting like nickel. I think he meant it had a metallic taste. It is drinkable but still has the strong nasally bitterness/metallic taste to it. This brew was also brewed not accommodating for the hop schedule of a full boil.
I have an American ale in the secondary now. It will be bottled and I am quite eager to see how it turns out. I did accommodate for the full boil.
But in the meantime, I have another extract kit that I will be cooking Monday. I'm looking for ideas that may eliminate any issues from this next batch. I am doing full boils in a stainless turkey fryer. I am now taking the full boil into consideration and altering my hops schedule. I have been putting the specialty grains straight into the 5.5-6 gallons of water but I am going to use a smaller volume of water on the next batch since "How to Brew" says a smaller volume yields the best extraction. When steeping the grains, I am very careful to not exceed 170 F. I treat my water with campden tablets to remove chloride but don't do anything else to it. One thing I am going to change for this next batch is to add an aluminum plate to the turkey fryer. I noticed that there were burn marks on the bottom (inside) of the pot after my last cooking session.
Thanks for reading! Now that I am out of college I am eager to get back into the hobby. If I can figure out what is going on with this bitterness, I am going to full-grain after this next extract kit! Any ideas?