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Old 05-13-2010, 06:40 PM   #1
BeerNoob
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Default Beer tastes a little... off...

So I've now brewed about 5 batches. I haven't branched out much on the type because I want to at least get one right before I start experimenting. I'm doing a generic Pale Ale and I'm using a pre-packaged malt that is made locally by a homebrew store owner. Everything else is bought separately and it's a recipe written by the store owner to use specifically with his malt.

Batch #1 was Awesome. I actually was really happy with it and between my and my friends we finished it off in about 3 weeks. I really wanted to reproduce this success so I kept trying and that's when the problems started...

Every batch I've done since then has tasted a little off. Not quite sour but definitely doesn't taste good. If you can stomach it, it's actually got a pretty high alcohol content, a REALLY nice head and colour. At first glance the beer looks perfect when poured but when you taste it... that's another story.

Since I'm still a newbie, I don't know what information I need to give so you guys can help me solve the problem. I tried keeping the hops in the primary, i've tried filtering them, i've tried tweaking my ferment times by shortening/lengthening and doing taste tests etc.

My last batch tasted fantastic when I bottled it, after it fermented in the bottle and became carbonated it was terrible. I've been as thorough as possible with cleaning my bottles and gear but I'm still running into trouble. They're still bottled and I try one about every 2 weeks to see how it's going. It's been about 4 months and there's been no improvement. I fear I may have to dump this one too...

Any thoughts?

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Old 05-13-2010, 06:46 PM   #2
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What kind of off flavor? What does it taste like?

Try looking here:

http://www.howtobrew.com/section4/chapter21-2.html


My money is on poor fermentation temperature control, as the weather is warming up now.

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Old 05-13-2010, 06:56 PM   #3
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If I had to describe it I would say it's almost a moldy-sour taste. It's not completely undrinkable but I'm certain there's no mold in the batch because there was no evidence of spores growing at any point in the process.

It's been bottled for 4-6 months right now and hasn't improved. I's also unlikely that it was a high fermentation temp because it was done during the Winter(In Canada) and I keep the bottles stacked neatly in an opaque tupperware bin in my closet until I want to drink one at which point I move a couple to my fridge.

It's definitely sour tasting and also somewhat bitter. I can't figure out if the bitterness is from the dry-hopping or a bad batch.

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Old 05-13-2010, 07:05 PM   #4
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I'm a newb myself, but from what I've read, it sounds like a sanitation issue. Are you cleaning and then sanitizing everything that touches the beer?

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Old 05-13-2010, 07:17 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeerNoob View Post
If I had to describe it I would say it's almost a moldy-sour taste. It's not completely undrinkable but I'm certain there's no mold in the batch because there was no evidence of spores growing at any point in the process.

It's been bottled for 4-6 months right now and hasn't improved. I's also unlikely that it was a high fermentation temp because it was done during the Winter(In Canada) and I keep the bottles stacked neatly in an opaque tupperware bin in my closet until I want to drink one at which point I move a couple to my fridge.

It's definitely sour tasting and also somewhat bitter. I can't figure out if the bitterness is from the dry-hopping or a bad batch.
If it isn't an infection, the one thing that you need to look at is your water.

If you are using tap water then more than likely it has been treated with chlorine, or chloramine.

EDIT: Campden Tablets (sodium metabisulphite) or potassium metabisulphite. One Campden tablet treats 20 gallons of water, leave the cap off your water bottle to allow off-gassing, I usually prepare my brewing water the night before brewday.

If you are using well water, then depending on your mineral content then this could also be a contributing factor.

If you are using distilled or RO (reverse osmosis) water, then you will only have the mineral content of any extract that you are using.

So I repeat if it isn't actually an infection, (which many times sourness, might mean there is some type of infection, pedio, lacto, brett, etc...) check your water.
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Old 05-13-2010, 08:06 PM   #6
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What is your sanitation process? What temperatures are you fermenting? How are you controlling the temperature? What's your source for water?

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Old 05-13-2010, 08:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schnitzengiggle View Post

If you are using tap water then more than likely it has been treated with chlorine, or chloramine.
I second this. I was having the same taste as you describe. I did not have it when I brewed at my parents house using well water. Use metabisulfate to remove the chorine/chloramine. Search on HBT for more info.
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