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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > 1st brew - Irish Red Ale - flavor change from delicious to skunky?
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Old 11-27-2012, 07:40 AM   #1
nikesandman
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Default 1st brew - Irish Red Ale - flavor change from delicious to skunky?

I made my first batch of home brew (irish red ale) and after 1.5 weeks in the bottle I tried the first one and it was delicious. I had 3 more after that and they all tasted the same with almost a caramel flavor at the end (very pleasant). Tonight we tried another one and it seems like there is a skunky flavor in place of what was evident before. No idea why the flavor would seem to change with a few more days.

The first few bottles tasted were in the fridge for only a few hours or up to a day but the latest ones that I tried were in the fridge for 4 days. Could this make any difference?

The bottles that I am using are brown so I don't see how any UV light could have caused this. All the bottles have been stored in my closet closed up in a cardboard case with no temperature fluctuations.

I have also noticed that the two latest beers seemed to have more sediment at the bottom of the bottle as opposed to the initial beers tasted. I have looked at other bottles and there is about the same amount of sediment apparent on those as well.

Could it be that the good tasting beer that I had at first was "green" and not finished and could produce a beer that tastes worse?

I'm planning to try another tomorrow with less soak time in the fridge but am not hopeful. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!

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Old 11-27-2012, 01:01 PM   #2
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Some off flavors from fermentation don't show up till carbonation,even conditioning start to mellow sharp hop flavors,etc to where they're more noticable. That's why good initial ferment temps are important. That's when off flavors are made. Not to mention,giving the beer 3-7 days after FG to clean up said off flavors while settling out clear or slightly misty.
Less fridge time just means less co2 getting into solution,making it more noticable.
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Old 11-27-2012, 05:10 PM   #3
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My fermentation was in a controlled freezer at ~68F for 16 days, went from 1.044 OG to 1.008 FG, bottled and then tasted 9 days after bottling and it tasted very good. Had about 4 bottles over the next few days and all tasted the same.

Left 4 bottles in the fridge over the weekend and tried one 14 days after bottling and it has the mild skunky aftertaste. Tried another beer and it tasted the same.

Is it possible that bottles can be this different from one to the other or does it seem like whatever is settling out in solution is now bringing out this less desirable flavor?

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Old 11-27-2012, 05:24 PM   #4
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Some off flavors aren't strong enough to be noticable till the beer is carbonated & brings it out.
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Old 11-27-2012, 05:57 PM   #5
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The carbonation of the first ones that I tried seemed to be the same as the latter ones so I didn't see a difference there.

I'm going to take one of the beers that is still in the case (outside the fridge) and chill it for a 1-1.5 hours and try it tonight to see if there is any difference and I'll let you know.

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Old 11-27-2012, 06:27 PM   #6
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Is the skunky flavor at all cardboard like? Oxidation is one thing that would get worse over time.

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Old 11-27-2012, 08:43 PM   #7
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I don't really get a cardboard taste from it but it does seem more "bitter and harsh" which also leans towards oxidation based on some explanations I've seen online.

We used a tube and bottle filling stick that you press in the bottom of the bottle. We had our bucket up pretty high (probably 3-4 ft above the bottles) and we were getting a lot of pressure and fast flow from the bucket during the bottle filling so it could have been splashing fairly significantly down at the bottom of the bottle. There were also a few fills that slightly overflowed and we noticed some bubbles when we pull the bottle filling stick out.

Should the fill height be close to the bottom of the filling bucket?

Are there better ways to fill the bottles?

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Old 11-27-2012, 09:01 PM   #8
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No better way at home to fill bottles. My bottling bucket sits maybe a foot above the bottle tops when filling. I get good flow but not crazy. Did you clean & sanitize all the bottling equipment?
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Old 11-27-2012, 09:02 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikesandman View Post
I don't really get a cardboard taste from it but it does seem more "bitter and harsh" which also leans towards oxidation based on some explanations I've seen online.

We used a tube and bottle filling stick that you press in the bottom of the bottle. We had our bucket up pretty high (probably 3-4 ft above the bottles) and we were getting a lot of pressure and fast flow from the bucket during the bottle filling so it could have been splashing fairly significantly down at the bottom of the bottle. There were also a few fills that slightly overflowed and we noticed some bubbles when we pull the bottle filling stick out.

Should the fill height be close to the bottom of the filling bucket?

Are there better ways to fill the bottles?
The bottling wand should be pressed against the bottom of the bottle, then released just as the beer reaches the top. When you withdraw the wand, you leave the perfect amount of headspace.

Since you are pressing against the bottom of the bottle, there really should be no splashing.
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Old 11-27-2012, 09:05 PM   #10
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I purchased new bottles from Northern Brewer. I didn't actually clean the bottles but did use Star San and soaked each of them for a few minutes each. I thought that because they were new and didn't see anything hiding down in there that it would be OK.

The head room in the bottles all appear to be about 1" rather than the 1/2" that is recommended, maybe too much oxygen left? We capped them right away after filling.

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