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Old 02-24-2014, 06:20 PM   #1
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hey just curious how many batches people have had to dump when first starting to brew. i had to dump my first batch, it tasted awful, undrinkable, it was a prehopped extract kit, my second brew which is in the secondary right now, is an oatmeal stout, it has a muddy color and has a lot of sediment in it, after a week of fermenting in the primary, OG was 163 FG was 133 out of the primary, i tasted it and it had an off taste, i am going to let it sit in the secondary for 2 weeks and taste it again to see if it gets better, if not i am going to dump it before i was the time and effort of bottling something that i am just going to dump.

i am really angry and frustrated i really want to get just one good product, so i bought a brewers best weisen beer extract kit because i read that it was really easy and tasted pretty good. if that one doesn't turn out i dont know if i will be able to keep going

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Old 02-24-2014, 06:30 PM   #2
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What was your first brew....the reason I ask is simple. Many beers take time to develop the flavors. Some brews that do not taste so good initially will be a completley different beer week after week....the flavors will meld and change over time. Sorry to be the informant...but you may have tossed an awesome beer! Your stout will fall into this category...it will take time for the flavor to fully develop. Without knowing all your kits and techniques it would be hard to diagnose...but the one thing I see is you need more patience. Dont beat yourself up over this...just give it time. I have had brews that tasted like camel pee (I am only using this as an analogy as I have not actually drank camel pee)...then after just two weeks that beer turned out totally different and awesome!

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Old 02-24-2014, 06:38 PM   #3
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my first beer was a muntons connoisseur wheat beer and i let it sit for about 2 months before i tried one on the bottles, i am going to let the oatmeal stout sit in the secondary for about 3 weeks try it and bottle, i did have a problem with the oatmeal stout while trying to brew, i could achieve a boil after steeping the specialty grains it took a really long time on my electric stove (like 3 hours), i am buying a propane set up for the next batch

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Old 02-24-2014, 06:41 PM   #4
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It's easy to get frustrated when starting out - it's a lot of time invested and some upfront money to hopefully see a good product 5 weeks away.

I've never used the pre-hopped extracts. In all honesty, I've never used any extracts - I started out with all grain (and you want to talk about frustrating and a learning curve! LOL). Give the choice of using a hopped vs unhopped extract I'd go UNHOPPED every time. That lets me decide what I want to do for hops, and not worry about what the manufacturer did for me.

If I could recommend something, I'd say start out with a simple American Pale Ale instead of something dark or complex with crazy hop additions. It's great to have those aspirations out of the gate, but why make your first couple batches an exercise in frustration? Brewing is supposed to be fun! Even with my first AG disaster, I did a SMASH (one grain, one hop) and it really helped. You can get simple kits from most online sellers, or make your own by looking at their recipes.

You can make a simple pale ale with a couple can's of LME and a couple bags of hops. Heat the water, add a can, put in the hops at 60/20/5/FO, add your top off water and be done. Pitch with a stable dry yeast (Fermentis US05) 2-3 weeks later you'll have a solid starter beer you can enjoy while you're planning on moving to the next.

Last thing, remember the beer's only as good as the water you're putting in. If you're using city tap water, try grabbing a couple gallons of spring water from the grocery store/wherever. If you're not filtering or treating your tap water it can have an effect on your final product - especially if you've got chloromine in it!

Keep it simple. Have fun! All else fails, go buy a six-pack and regroup!

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Old 02-24-2014, 06:42 PM   #5
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What I would do in the case of your first brew is google the kit...see what issues others have had with that particular kit. I would even start a thread here to see if anyone else has brewed that kit and see what kind of feedback you can get on what could have went wrong. It all comes down to sanitation and technique...I have not made that particular kit so in regards to that I cannot help.

Do you keep notes on ferm temps...and what you are doing with each beer? If not...I highly suggest it...it helps quite often in identifying problems. What was your ferm temps and time in primary and secondary on your first kit?

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Old 02-24-2014, 06:44 PM   #6
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You will be happy going to propane, vs fighting with an electric stove. Also, are you just dumping the whole pot, into your fermenter? If so, you could try dumping it into a strainer over the ferment, and strain it more. I have made a couple of beers, that didn't taste very well after a few weeks to a month. Then a couple of months later they were fantastic. When I first started brewing, I was always impatient, didn't ferment long enough, bottled too soon, and tasted too soon.

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Old 02-24-2014, 06:59 PM   #7
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I had to dump a lot of batches when I first started brewing. The first batch I made was a coopers ale kit....it tasted like apple cider when I was finished with it

What I suggest is obtaining more knowledge. Knowledge will help you understand the process, and why you get the results you do. I highly suggest HowTo Brew by John Palmer. It is a very very good book and an excellent read that you will enjoy going through if you are interested in the hobby, which it sounds like you are. After going through the book you will have an entirely new and educated outlook. You will also enjoy yourself a lot more. The instructions that you find in those kits can be greatly oversimplified. They do this to try and keep new brewers from being overwhelmed, but the result can be an underwhelming product. Here are the most important things for brewing a quality beer, in order from most important to least important:

Cleaning - Get it spotless, then you can sanitize it.
Sanitation - You can't sanitize what isn't clean. These two steps keep your beer from spoiling due to unwanted nasties
Fermentation temperature control - This is the single largest factor in the quality of the beer produced. Cover this base before you spend your money on fancy bits of equipment. It will yield the best results per dollar
Full wort boil - Topping up isn't the end of the world, but a full wort boil will produce a markedly better product.
Pitch Rate\Yeast health - Rehydrate your yeast, and pitch the proper amount.
Ingredient quality - Don't use old extract or stale hops.
Patience - Let it finish fermenting, let the yeast clean up after themselves. Dont rush to get the beer off the yeast, it's fine and will actually improve the beer for up to 4 weeks if left alone

Also, don't transfer to secondary. It isn't needed with most styles. It is an extra step that you don't need to do and you risk damaging your beer if you do it.

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Old 02-24-2014, 08:04 PM   #8
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First of all, don't give up. There are lots of pitfalls that can cause a problem with your beer, but they are generally VERY easy to fix.

The first thing I'd look at is your water. If you have ANY concern about Chlorine or chloramines in your water supply, buy some RO water from the store and try with that. It's not expensive.

Make sure you are fermenting at the proper temperature. Most ale yeast like 62-65 degrees. And that's not the ambient temperature, that the fermentation temperature. The fermentation process creates it's own heat, so to make sure it's down in the 62-65 degree range, you may need an ambient of around 58. Yeast can raise the temp in a fermentor by 5 degree or maybe more. This depends on the yeast. Some like it cooler (lager yeast) and some like it hotter (or at least don't throw so many off flavors at 70-75) such as Saison, which is often fermented at 80+

Also, you really need to get a burner that will do a good job of getting a rolling boil going.

Pitch 1-2 packets of yeast, depending on the original gravity of the beer you are making. And if this is a plain boxed kit, you might want to try a kit from an online retailer, like Austin Homebrew, Northern Brewer, Midwest Supplies, Morebeer!, etc. They are potentially fresher and often come with good instructions.

Most of all, read up all you can on beginning brewing.

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Old 02-25-2014, 12:19 AM   #9
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Dont get to down I made a stout, first it got stuck on fermentation, secondly it tasted horrible when i bottled metalic and green tasting. So I took everyones advice and left them in the bottles ended up burying them in the closet and brewed an IPA which I could drink sooner ( which was exceptional by the way) and 10 months later realized I had the stout, it was FABULOUS! Some things just take time only downside of the hobby ! Cheers

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Old 02-25-2014, 12:36 AM   #10
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Did you dump that first batch right out of the fermenter? Never judge a brew before it's been in the bottle for a while. Every one of my favorite batches tasted awful while I was bottling them, then tasted great after a few weeks of bottle conditioning.

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