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Old 08-03-2011, 12:23 AM   #1
LeverTime
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Default Beer getting worse over time!

I brewed my first beer, a Brewer's Best IPA kit a few weeks ago. I let it sit in the primary bucket for seven days. On day six and day seven it had the same specific gravity, so I assumed it was done. I racked it to the bottling bucket and bottled it. Two weeks later I opened the first one. It wasn't very carbonated, and it tasted slighly watery. It was not the best IPA ever, but it was definitely drinkable. I drank a few and decided to wait another week to let the rest carbonate. Now it tastes bad. I think "sour" is the right description. Basically, it tastes like an IPA at first, but the aftertaste is horrible, and it leaves your mouth feeling dry.

I did a number of things wrong making this. First, I used about 5.5 gallons of liquid instead of 5 gallons. Next, when I racked it into the bottling bucket I held the siphon near the top of the bucket, rather than putting the siphon on the bottom of the bucket, which probably aerated it. Then, I bottled it using the spigot on the bucket directly, rather than using the bottling cane, which probably aerated it some more. Finally, I turned the AC off during the day once it was in the bottles, and it may have gotten up to 80-90 degrees during that time. (I kept the room at ~70 when it was in the primary.)

Is there any hope for this beer? I've got two cases left in my basement, and I don't want to throw them away!

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Old 08-03-2011, 12:36 AM   #2
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Well there's a few things I'll touch on here:

-Leave your beer in the fermenter longer, let the yeast clean up. 3 weeks minimum. Yeah the fermentation is done after 7 days but a few more weeks and the yeast will clean up after themselves.

-Temp control. You said the ambient temps were around 70~, your ferm temps might have been 75+, depending on the yeast that may have been too high. Plus 80-90 degrees even after bottling isnt really too good on it either, but you knew that.

-Using more water might have "watered" it down some but wouldnt cause off flavors.

-Oxidation: holding the siphon near the top, you mean letting it splash against the bottom? That's a no-no but you know that now, same with bottling without a wand. However, your flavors don't sound like oxidation. Oxidation is kind of a big bad wolf around here, it causes your beer to stale faster but not necessarily THAT fast. Yeah we want to avoid it, but don't get incredibly paranoid about it. Yes, you've identified some problems that might cause oxidation and you know to fix them. Like I said though, I don't think thats the issue here.

Fermenting too warm can cause some phenols that might be described as a sour or green flavor. Sanitation issues might be a problem too, what sanitizer were you using and do you want to go over some of your sanitation practices?

All in all, yes there is hope for this beer. Read Revvy's thread (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/never-dump-your-beer-patience-virtue-time-heals-all-things-even-beer-73254/) about his bubblegum beer that he tasted months later that ended up great. I think your beer is still fairly young and may need awhile. We've got some topics to cover above but I think this beer may end up ok over time.

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Old 08-03-2011, 12:50 AM   #3
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Give the beer some time to see if it is going to settle.

The above post (jaycount) said it pretty well. Oxidation and young beer is probably what you have.

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Old 08-03-2011, 01:01 AM   #4
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Thanks for the reply.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaycount View Post
-Leave your beer in the fermenter longer, let the yeast clean up. 3 weeks minimum. Yeah the fermentation is done after 7 days but a few more weeks and the yeast will clean up after themselves.
On my second brew (currently fermenting), I put it in primary for seven days again. Then, I put it in secondary, where I plan to keep it for at least two weeks. Hopefully it will turn out better than this one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaycount View Post
-Temp control. You said the ambient temps were around 70~, your ferm temps might have been 75+, depending on the yeast that may have been too high. Plus 80-90 degrees even after bottling isnt really too good on it either, but you knew that.
Unfortunately I live in a really old house (~125 years) full of cracks, drafts, etc and no central air. My only source of cooling is a window unit, and when the outside temp was over 100 degrees and my AC was on full blast, 70 was the best I could do. I'm not at the point where I want to buy a fridge or something for brewing. Should I not try brewing at all in the summer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaycount View Post
-Oxidation: holding the siphon near the top, you mean letting it splash against the bottom? That's a no-no but you know that now, same with bottling without a wand. However, your flavors don't sound like oxidation. Oxidation is kind of a big bad wolf around here, it causes your beer to stale faster but not necessarily THAT fast. Yeah we want to avoid it, but don't get incredibly paranoid about it. Yes, you've identified some problems that might cause oxidation and you know to fix them. Like I said though, I don't think thats the issue here.
Yeah, I know now that this was stupid, but I basically held the tube above the top of the bottling bucket, and let everything splash into it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaycount View Post
Fermenting too warm can cause some phenols that might be described as a sour or green flavor. Sanitation issues might be a problem too, what sanitizer were you using and do you want to go over some of your sanitation practices?
I mixed the sanitizer that came with the starter kit with five gallons of water as directed. It was some kind of powder, but I forgot the brand and don't have the package it came in. I soaked all the equipment (siphon tubing, racking cane, hydrometer) in the primary bucket. I repeatedly dipped a paper towel in there, and rubbed it over the lid while holding it over the bucket to sanitize that.

To bottle the beer, I mixed 1 tsp of bleach with 5 gallons of water, put it in a water pitcher, and poured it into the bottle. Then, I emptied it, and filled it with water three times before putting beer in.

I have now bought some Star San, and am planning to use that for everything in the future.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaycount View Post
All in all, yes there is hope for this beer. Read Revvy's thread about his bubblegum beer that he tasted months later that ended up great. I think your beer is still fairly young and may need awhile. We've got some topics to cover above but I think this beer may end up ok over time.
Thanks, I think I found that thread and it's encouraging. I guess I'll try one every week and see if it's getting better or worse.
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Old 08-03-2011, 04:18 AM   #5
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Glad that you seem to know what is wrong, and what you need to do next time to fix it! Means your next brew should be grand.

Low 70's should still be fine. However, I understand not being able to control temps in the heat. Look into swamp coolers, lots of info here on the forums. The bucket o' water and a t-shirt (fan preferred) seems to be the common way. Cheap, easy, means you don't have to buy a fridge and temp controller for brewing.

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Old 08-03-2011, 05:59 AM   #6
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Looks like you're on the right track. Swamp coolers or SoF chillers are good inexpensive (free if you have spare parts?) ways to keep the heat in check during the Summer. A fridge fermentation chamber was one of the first things I invested in but I understand not wanting to bite the bullet quite yet.

Good luck!

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