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Old 04-18-2012, 01:05 AM   #1
wgonfan
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Default Bland!

OK, So newbie here. I brewed my first brew (Red Hood esb) on saturday and took a sample today (day 3). The gravity was 1.014 and it tasted BLAND... there were very very light hints of hops and a little sweetness but other than that it was just water. I'm wondering if this is normally and if it will develop more flavors after bottling or if there is anything I can/should do to increase the flavor at this phase. I do have 1/4oz Willamette hops left over, would it increase the hoppiness if I threw the pellets into the bucket?

here is a link to the recipe - http://www.midwestsupplies.com/red-hood-esb-red-hook-w-american-ale-wyeast-activator-1056.html

the recipe is an extract kit with 4 lb. Alexanders Pale malt extract, 3 lb. Light dried malt extract, 16 oz. Caramel 60, 3 oz. Tettnang, .5 oz. Willamette pellet hops, 1 tsp. Irish moss.




I followed the recipe closely and as far as I know I didn't screw up during the boil. I boiled (& steeped) 4gals of distilled water and topped with 1gal of distilled ice to cool the wort, the wort cooled pretty quickly (also submersed in ice bath) to around 80f & I pitched the yeast, closed her up & walked away. I checked on the bucket 48hrs later & the temp was around 75-77 with 1.5 bubbles in the airlock per second. I used some frozen gallon jugs next to the fermenter to cool it to 68 were it has held at since. I'm still getting bubbles about ever 20secs. I didn't take an OG, but current gravity is 1.014 .

any suggestions?

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Old 04-18-2012, 04:56 PM   #2
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Forgot to mention that I did aerate with a whisk before adding the yeast.

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Old 04-18-2012, 05:15 PM   #3
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leave it alone and wait.

wort tasting is an long term acquired skill. it takes many batches to pick out anything useful, other than "oh, thats what wort tastes like, hmmm that can't be right".

the whisk is one of my favorite tricks

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Old 04-18-2012, 05:22 PM   #4
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It doesn't really matter what a beer tastes like halfway through fermentation, most of mine taste like ****...so I don't bother tasting them at that point. And I suggest to new brewers to do likewise, or else they start threads like this...because it's not halfway through fermentation that is a representation of the finished product....it's after the beer has been carbed and conditioned for about 6 weeks, that is an accurate representation of what a beer tastes like.

Carbonation and conditioning go a long way in a beer's final taste, including hoppiness, taste, aroma, etc. The CO2 lifts the flavors...And bitterness mellows with time.

Read this;

Quote:
Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
Singljohn hit the nail on the head...The only problem is that you aren't seeing the beer through it's complete process BEFORE calling what is probably just green beer, an off flavor.

It sounds like you are tasting it in the fermenter? If that is the case, do nothing. Because nothing is wrong.

It really is hard to judge a beer until it's been about 6 weeks in the bottle. Just because you taste (or smell) something in primary or secondary DOESN'T mean it will be there when the beer is fully conditioned (that's also the case with kegging too.)

The thing to remember though is that if you are smelling or tasting this during fermentation not to worry. During fermentation all manner of stinky stuff is given off (ask lager brewers about rotten egg/sulphur smells, or Apfelwein makers about "rhino farts,") like we often say, fermentation is often ugly AND stinky and PERFECTLY NORMAL.

It's really only down the line, AFTER the beer has been fermented (and often after it has bottle conditioned even,) that you concern yourself with any flavor issues if they are still there.

I think too many new brewers focus to much on this stuff too early in the beer's journey. And they panic unnecessarily.

A lot of the stuff you smell/taste initially more than likely ends up disappearing either during a long primary/primary & secondary combo, Diacetyl rests and even during bottle conditioning.

If I find a flavor/smell, I usually wait til it's been in the bottle 6 weeks before I try to "diagnose" what went wrong, that way I am sure the beer has passed any window of greenness.

Lagering is a prime example of this. Lager yeast are prone to the production of a lot of byproducts, the most familiar one is sulphur compounds (rhino farts) but in the dark cold of the lagering process, which is at the minimum of a month (I think many homebrewers don't lager long enough) the yeast slowly consumes all those compounds which results in extremely clean tasting beers if done skillfully.

Ales have their own version of this, but it's all the same. Time is your friend.

If you are sampling your beer before you have passed a 'window of greeness" which my experience is about 3-6 weeks in the bottle, then you are more than likely just experiencing an "off flavor" due to the presence of those byproducts (that's what we mean when we say the beer is "green" it's still young and unconditioned.) but once the process is done, over 90% of the time the flavors/smells are gone.

Of the remaining 10%, half of those may still be salvageable through the long time storage that I mention in the Never dump your beer!!! Patience IS a virtue!!! Time heals all things, even beer:

And the remaining 50% of the last 10% are where these tables and lists come into play. To understand what you did wrong, so you can avoid it in the future.

Long story short....I betcha that smell/flavor will be long gone when the beer is carbed and conditioned.

In other words, relax, your beer will be just fine, like 99.5%.

You can find more info on that in here;

Of Patience and Bottle Conditioning.

Just remember it will not be the same beer it is now, and you shouldn't stress what you are tasting right now.

Our beer is more resilient then most new brewers realize, and time can be a big healer. Just read the stories in this thread of mine, and see how many times a beer that someone thought was bad, turned out to be fine weeks later.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/never-dump-your-beer-patience-virtue-time-heals-all-things-even-beer-73254/
I would just relax, get the beer carbed and conditioned, and then see if you truly have an issue.
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Old 04-18-2012, 05:37 PM   #5
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Bland? Psh. Every time you taste the beer at a different stage, it is a bit different. Leave it alone. You don't have beer right now, you have partially fermented wort.

Until fermentation is done, carbonation is done, and (usually) some aging is done, you can't really tell what the finsihed beer will taste like.

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Old 04-18-2012, 05:59 PM   #6
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Thanks for the info. Why is home brewing such a stressful hobby in the beginning? I guess Its because of the time investment.. who wants to wait 6 weeks to find out you screwed up a batch. You guys basically told me exactly what I thought you would. "chill, relax, don't worry, let it be, wait and see" because that is the response to 90% of the post in the beginners section. Yet I still made the post. ha.

I wish the directions on the brew kit or recipe said something like: Your beer will be fine; just brew and don't worry. If you think something is wrong or off it probably is normal so just relax.

Thanks again.

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Old 04-18-2012, 06:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wgonfan View Post
Why is home brewing such a stressful hobby in the beginning?
Because new brewers let it be. They believe the beer is much weaker than it is, they don't trust the yeast (which rarely lets us down,) they sometimes through common sense out the window, and don't look at the obvious, and they don't think about the fact that for millions of years beer has been brewed without the benefit of things like, basic sanitization, and understanding about yeast, or the internet.

Here, read these threads instead of envisioning all those things that ARE going wrong with your beer. They'll show you how strong your beer really is.

Revvy's advice for the new brewer in terms of worry.

What are some of the mistakes you made...where your beer still turned out great?

And Never dump your beer!!! Patience IS a virtue!!! Time heals all things, even beer!

And most importantly...



New brewers seem to think the cure for everything is to fiddle with it...when in reality it's a natural process, that works best when we leave it the heck alone.
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wgonfan View Post
it tasted BLAND... there were very very light hints of hops and a little sweetness but other than that it was just water.
That is exactly what the esb i bottled a few days ago tasted like. Different recipe but its pretty normal at this stage. Much of the flavor and aroma will develop in the bottle, and be brought out by carbonation.
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:21 PM   #9
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You could dry hop it with the remaining 1/4 oz. That's a pretty small amount but it will give you a little more hop aroma and flavor. If you dry hop with pellets straight in your fermenter you are going to get hop matter in your finished beer unless you take special precautions when you rack and bottle. It's easier to dry hop in a hop bag.

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