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Old 03-17-2010, 03:33 PM   #1
Byrdbrewer
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Hello all, cheers !! I have a question concerning extract brewing –

I currently brew Midwest kits that include a grain steep. My finished beers still tend to have a sweet taste on the front end and a kind of thick mouth feel. They are fully carbonated but seem to lack a crispness and a noticeable bitterness. My fermenting temps do tend to get a bit high, around 75 f at times, but the hydrometer reading always indicate a finished beer. – my question is this – am I just expecting too much from an extract kit, maybe I just need to suck it up and move to all grain. On a side note, my Sorghum beer comes out amazingly crisp and hoppy, so I’m wondering if maybe I need to upgrade the yeast from the standard dry yeast to a starter (or maybe use more yeast than called for), or lower the fermenting temp some how, or just condition the crap out of it –



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Old 03-17-2010, 03:55 PM   #2
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your right those temps are a good 7F to high. especially if thats room temp and not the actual wort temp which can be several degrees higher than room temp. look into building a swamp cooler. allot of people put their carboy in a small tub of water then put a wet t-shirt over it. make sure the bottom of the shirt is in the water. as the water evaporates from the shirt more is wicked up from the tub. this will cool your carboy.

how long after brew day do you bottle? it should be somewhere around 3 weeks. how long after bottling are you sampling your beer? again it should be about 3 weeks. it sounds like your beer might be green. if its not what you want just wait longer and it will probably improve.

the hop bitterness issue may be due to an overly high boil gravity. make sure you only add the amount of extract and the amount of water the recipe is calling for at that point in the boil. the math for the kit has already been done for you and assumes you follow the instructions.



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Old 03-17-2010, 04:52 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by TipsyDragon View Post
your right those temps are a good 7F to high. especially if thats room temp and not the actual wort temp which can be several degrees higher than room temp. look into building a swamp cooler. allot of people put their carboy in a small tub of water then put a wet t-shirt over it. make sure the bottom of the shirt is in the water. as the water evaporates from the shirt more is wicked up from the tub. this will cool your carboy.

how long after brew day do you bottle? it should be somewhere around 3 weeks. how long after bottling are you sampling your beer? again it should be about 3 weeks. it sounds like your beer might be green. if its not what you want just wait longer and it will probably improve.

the hop bitterness issue may be due to an overly high boil gravity. make sure you only add the amount of extract and the amount of water the recipe is calling for at that point in the boil. the math for the kit has already been done for you and assumes you follow the instructions.

WOW, Thanks . I think that is the most helpful post I have received on this forum yet. I am guilty of most of what you just mentioned
From brew to bottle is generally 2 weeks – my first taste is about a week in to conditioning, which I know is too early, and I start to drink my beer 2 weeks after conditioning. I suspected as much, and I have since bought 2 extra fermenting buckets in an attempt to kind of get ahead of myself so I’m not tempted to drink the beer too early, I just wasn’t sure how much that extra week in the bottle would really do, but I’ll give the rest of the batch another week before I taste again and see what that does. As for the boil, I have a 6.5 gal kettle so I brew 4 gal and add the 5th gal to the fermenting bucket to help cool down the wort (as I have yet to invest in a wort chiller) BUT…I have added fermentables to just about every kit I have used, to boost gravity, usually ½ -1 lb rice syrup solids, or a cup or so of brown sugar. Do you think that could be the culprit? If so, what would be the best way to increase the gravity? – and would those 7 degrees in temperature (fermenting bucket, not room temp) make that significant of a difference? -
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Old 03-17-2010, 05:07 PM   #4
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you can add the extra fermentables any time you want just so long as you adjust the hop additions that come after you add the extra stuff to compensate for the increase in boil gravity. go here and figure out what the IBUs where supposed to be for the recipe. then adjust the gravity to match your new gravity and see what happens to the IBUs. then play with the values till they are back up to where they should be. if you don't want to do all that then i would suggest waiting till the last 10-15 minutes of the boil before adding the extra stuff.

the 7 degrees can make a big difference in beer flavor. the yeast produce different amounts of different compounds at higher temps then at lower temps. these compounds will affect the taste. ask anyone who brews a heffewizen. low temps produce a clove taste while high temps produce a banana taste.

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Old 03-17-2010, 05:30 PM   #5
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you can add the extra fermentables any time you want just so long as you adjust the hop additions that come after you add the extra stuff to compensate for the increase in boil gravity. go here and figure out what the IBUs where supposed to be for the recipe. then adjust the gravity to match your new gravity and see what happens to the IBUs. then play with the values till they are back up to where they should be. if you don't want to do all that then i would suggest waiting till the last 10-15 minutes of the boil before adding the extra stuff.

the 7 degrees can make a big difference in beer flavor. the yeast produce different amounts of different compounds at higher temps then at lower temps. these compounds will affect the taste. ask anyone who brews a heffewizen. low temps produce a clove taste while high temps produce a banana taste.
do you think I can condition out this batch, or did those high temps leave a permanent mark on my beer
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Old 03-17-2010, 05:44 PM   #6
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Many of the LHBS extract/steeping grain kits that I've brewed have also been consistently sweet. I took a couple of samples to a BJCP judge and he confirmed what I had suspected- not enough bittering hops. So next time you order a kit order some additional bittering hops and hopefully that will help.

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Old 03-17-2010, 05:46 PM   #7
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do you think I can condition out this batch, or did those high temps leave a permanent mark on my beer
My first beer fermented at about those temps and at first it tasted way too estery. However, its been a month and the beer is completely different. The esters have faded substantially.
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Old 03-17-2010, 06:35 PM   #8
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My first beer fermented at about those temps and at first it tasted way too estery. However, its been a month and the beer is completely different. The esters have faded substantially.
I have 3 more 5 gal fermenting buckets that are probably in the same situation right now I'm thinking of maybe adding a hop tea to them to cover some of teh sweetness also. any thoughts ... anyone?
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Old 03-17-2010, 06:44 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by hibbleton View Post
Many of the LHBS extract/steeping grain kits that I've brewed have also been consistently sweet. I took a couple of samples to a BJCP judge and he confirmed what I had suspected- not enough bittering hops. So next time you order a kit order some additional bittering hops and hopefully that will help.
Would this be affected by adding all of the extract at the beginning of the boil? I.e. is one ounce of bittering hops the same when added to a five gallon boil that is close the the right OG instead of a 2.5-3 gallon boil whose gravity might be almost 2x the right OG until you water it down in the fermenter?


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