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Old 01-20-2009, 01:27 AM   #1
zippyslug31
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Default 7 days (per instructions) or 3 weeks?

Hi everybody, brand new here and really eager to solve my massive frustration.

A helpful quick background: I've made 10 or so beers in as many years and never really "gotten it" as my beers have been semi-drinkable at best, but most are fairly odd with lots of off tastes. Lots of people assure me homebrewing is easy, they taste AT LEAST AS GOOD as over-the-counter beers, etc. I have NOT had this experience but rather just a lot of frustration.
So.... a couple of weeks ago I got my "annual itch" so I whipped up a batch of IPA a couple weeks ago. I just tapped the corny keg and.... once again.... it's pretty gross.

Now the question: very simply, am I just not waiting long enough? According to all the instructions I've ever seen on the extract cans they say anywhere from 4 to 10 days to ferment, then bottle/keg, then a week or so later VOILA!
From all the good info I've read here others are saying at least 2-3 weeks in the fermentor and then age it for a month or so (or longer). This may be the one silly thing that has escaped me all these years.

Side question: my recent batch fermented about 1 week, then sat kegged for a week at around 40-50 degrees, then I moved it into the fridge for a couple days. Is my only option at this point just removed it from the fridge and leave it for a "month or so" in the keg to see if it will somehow magically turn into a drinkable brew?

Don't ask me why I've stuck with it so long even with pretty terrible results.

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Old 01-20-2009, 01:32 AM   #2
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Being patient can definitely help your beer. Maybe give a synopsis of your brewing method and a recipe you use. That would help us help you. How diligent are you about sanitation?

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Old 01-20-2009, 01:34 AM   #3
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I think you have been drinking very green beer all this time without letting the yeast finish it's job in the primary. I go overboard with my aging but somewhere between what you do and what I do should make you much happier.

Leave it in the primary for 3 weeks and you'll be amazed how much better it is. Leave it a few weeks after kegging and you'll be doing back flips of joy.

Welcome to HBT!

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Old 01-20-2009, 01:42 AM   #4
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You answered your own question....you said you've been reading on here about how we recommend leaving our beers in the fermenter for weeks...then another 3 weeks in the bottle minimum.

There wouldn't be so many discussions on here, and so many people recommending it so much if we didn't think it was true.

It works whether you are brewing a cheap kit and kilo recipe, or an all grain....

You've probably even seen us quote John Palmer saying the same thing.

I don't know if you are asking a specific question, or looking for more confirmation...but it's spread throughout here. There's at least 2 threads a day asking about it, and 100's of posts a day where someone (other than me) recommends it....So I really don't know what more we can suggest.

Heck you don't even need to read anybody's further opinion on it, like Nurmey said, just try it for yourself and see....

You won't be disappointed.




There's some pretty dramatic tales in this thread....http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/neve...en-beer-73254/

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Old 01-20-2009, 01:51 AM   #5
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(wow, quick response!)

Well, I'm definitely a noob still. Have always done extracts; don't feel like I know what the heck I'm doing well enough to advance to real ingredients yet, though I'd love to some day.
In the past I've tried a variety of things like adding dry malt a few times, extra cans of extract, done the liquid yeast thing, made starters, etc etc etc. I'd say I've done many of the various "easy" things, mostly at the prodding of the place I get my extract from.
My cook pot is a stainless and have tried both my glass carb and plastic bucket (all single fermentation).

I'm pretty darn careful to make sure things are clean. In the past I've used Star Sanitizer and other times bleach, neither seemed to make a difference. Honestly can't imagine that I'm not being clean enough as the next level of cleanliness would involve damn near a clean room and I'm sure others aren't going to that extent. Pretty sure the odds are slim that all of my beers have failed due to sanitation.

This last batch was a can of IPA extract, 6.5 cups of sugar (too little or too much???), and the yeast the can came with. I had a lot of fermentation activity and waited until my air lock stopped burping. I did not bother with taking a reading since the hydrometer seems vague at best and I can't say I've seen very "clear" readings.
I believe after 8 days I siphoned it into my corny key which I filled a little with CO2 to prevent oxidization.
This then sat for a week and I then got into it and its, frankly, pretty bad. Not like any IPA I've ever had before!
Maybe it's just "green"?

If I really just didn't give it enough time, I wonder if I could get away with sticking it back into my fermentor, add some yeast, and leave it alone for a couple weeks? BTW, I did take a reading on it and I'm somewhere around 4.5% ABV so I know at least SOMETHING occurred during fermenation.

Thanks in advance!

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Old 01-20-2009, 02:09 AM   #6
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I just spotted another issue. 6.5 cups of sugar is a lot of sugar to add to your beer. Try changing the sugar to malt extract and I think you will find an great improvement to the flavor.

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Old 01-20-2009, 02:25 AM   #7
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Yikes 6 cups of sugar. Try going to the recipe section and finding a easy extract recipe that appeals to u and using that. It will be a bit more work but well worth it. They will probably involve steeping grains (easy... bring water to 150d, add crushed grain, hold for 30 minutes, remove grain) and hops (again easy.. add hops to the boil for specifide times). Ferment for 3 weeks, condition for 3 weeks. U'll love the results. Here is a easy fast maturing recipe out of The Complete Joy of Homebrewing:
Palace Bitter (5g)
5# Light Dme
12oz crystal (steep & remove)
Bring to boil & add roughly half the Dme
.5 oz fuggles hops, .75 oz kent Goldings hops (60 min boil)
.25 oz of both fuggles & golding (30 min)
.5oz goldings (15 min) & add rest of malt
.5 oz goldings (2 min)

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Old 01-20-2009, 03:09 AM   #8
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Here are some things I suspect will improve your beer, in order of difficulty (easiest at the top):

- Wait longer, at least three weeks in the primary.

- Replace the sugar with dry malt extract.

- Instead of pre-hopped extract kits, get unhopped extract plus some fresh hops. This will make a HUGE difference, and it isn't really any harder. You still pretty much just dump everything in the pan and boil it, just now you have some hops to dump in as well, and you typically put some in at the start of the boil, then some more right at the end.

- Use some steeping grains as well as the extract. eg. many simple pale ale recipes will call for 1 lb of crushed crystal malt, which you steep in your boil water for half an hour somewhere around 150 degrees, after which you remove the grains, add the malt extract, and boil as normal. A little real grain in addition to the extract can give you much more complex and fresher malty flavors.

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Old 01-20-2009, 03:46 AM   #9
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Ok guys, thanks for the encouraging input.
Given my very basic brew, instead of the excessive 6.5 cups of sugar what would you have hypothetically added?
Just keeping the answer very simple and I'm just trying to take baby steps, instead of 6.5 cups, what makes more sense.... 2, 4, or ???

Again, thanks for the help.

ps - Likely do some recipe research and will visit my supplier tomorrow. Have high hopes that I can put all these poor results far behind me by simply waiting longer.

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Old 01-20-2009, 03:47 AM   #10
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Regarding 3 weeks on the primary, what about threads such as the Aging beer facts/myths which state that you can be ready in a few weeks. Is that only for all grain + keg or with the right procedures (yeast starter, etc) does that work with extract + keg?

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