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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > About to throw in the towel.....
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Old 08-26-2014, 04:15 PM   #31
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Dead Ringer is a Two Hearted clone. It's a good kit and people here have brewed a LOT of that beer using the recipe here. There are a few things that are basic to all brewing:

1) Sanitation. Sometimes overdone, but that's not a bad thing. Probably nothing going on here.
2) Fermentation Temps. The yeast produce their own heat, so 67 degree ambient could be 72 or a few more in a vigorous fermentation.
3) Water. Kind of a big deal for an IPA. You want a lot of sulfates to really bring out the hops. And of course for any beer, you MUST know if your water is treated with Chloramines or Chlorine or otherwise has a very unusual amount of something.

I'm not advocating a crash course in brewing water chemistry. You should be able to find out from your local water company what is in your water. If you have a well, you can have your water tested at Ward Labs for like $30. (Form is on their website, and you can simply send your sample inside a well -rinsed out soda bottle.)

OR, just buy some spring water from the store. There is a great chance it's suitable for brewing.

At this point I highly recommend adding some more dry hops to the keg. My method is to place some sanitized marbles (or any small stainless object, such as a butter knife) in a sanitized bag along with the hops and suspend that in the keg. I tie unflavored dental floss to the bag and tie it off on the keg handle. The floss is thin enough to not leak CO2 when it's run across the lid seal.

I dry hop all my hoppy beers in the keg (Although I have since soldered a tab to the underside of my keg lids to make it easier to tie off the bag) and the dry hops can stay in the keg for the 2 months it takes me to drink it. The cold will keep them from causing a grassy flavor. You may wish to pull them out after 2 weeks or so.

Don't give up on brewing! There are a LOT of different ways of doing things to improve your beers, but only a few basic things that will cause you to brew bad beer.

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Old 08-26-2014, 04:28 PM   #32
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You mentioned that these are kits. Is it all extract? Extract with some steeping grains? All grain? What kind of water are you using? How much is your total boil volume? Before we can help diagnose a problem, we need to know what you've done to get to where you are.

Fermentation temperature is hugely important. A few degrees to you and me is no big deal but to your yeast, and the flavor profile they give, it's huge. My beer quality improved immensely after I got the ability to control temperature. I used to ferment in whatever the house was at. This was typically mid 70's and could approach 80 in the summer. That's way too hot. In the winter the house might be around 70 which was usable but almost still too warm. Keep in mind that due to the activity in the fermenter, the beer will be warmer. Potentially by several degrees. I once tried to brew a Sam Adams Lager clone but had no choice but to ferment at room temperature. It was in the upper 70's. That beer came out tasting more like a Chimay Grand Reserve than Sam Adams. A good beer but hardly the same thing. Others also commented on how it was a good Belgian style beer.

On the surface IPA sounds like an easy beer to make. Just throw lots of hops into the kettle and viola, IPA! Not quite. IPA is actually quite difficult to brew well. It's easy to get a hoppy beer but making one taste really good isn't as easy as it sounds. Hope oils bind to yeast cells and hot break and settle out so it's easy to lose the aroma in the fermenter or even the bitterness in the kettle if hops are added during the hot break. Force carbonation can also blow aromas off. There are lots of ways to lose that wonderful taste, bitterness, and aroma!

As a beginner, I'd start with a different style. A brown or a porter to start. Get a couple of those under your belt and then move down the color scale. Don't give up. You'll get it. It's just not always an easy journey. If you decide to stick with it, get a way to control fermentation temperatures. Things will get better.

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Old 08-26-2014, 04:39 PM   #33
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Try a yeast starter to bring your cell count. It allows you to pitch more healthy cells into your wort.

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