New Giveaway - Wort Monster Conical Fermenter!

Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Diagnosing my first batch




Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 08-08-2007, 04:12 AM   #1
radicalsubversiv
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 24
Likes Given: 2

Default Diagnosing my first batch

Howdy all,

After years of dreaming about it, I finally decided to give brewing a try, with the help of some friends and some borrowed equipment.

The bad news is that I've just tried some, three weeks after bottling, and the taste's off -- tastes a little too much like champagne, only not as sweet. Over-carbonated, with a bit too much of a bite (perhaps too alcoholic?). Not completely undrinkable, but pretty unsatisfactory, so I'm trying to figure out whether it needs more time or whether it's spoiled.

The story in brief:

Bought a Brewer's Best English Pale Ale kit, replacing the dried yeast with a White Labs 005 British Ale liquid yeast.

Brewing went well, right until I unthinkingly dumped the wort straight into the fermenter without cooling first. It took forever (a couple hours) to cool, even in an ice bath, and of course we were stuck with the break left in the fermenter.

Undeterred, we stuck in the airlock and let it sit, checking on it 48 hours later and a couple other times throughout the week. At no point did anyone notice bubbling in the airlock. (N.B., though it was in a basement, the temperature was probably fluctuating from about 74-80 degrees, this being Washington, DC in the summer.)
Fearing the worst, I decided to take a hydrometer reading 7 days later. I was surprised to find that it had definitely fermented, and had exactly the right final gravity reading.

With no secondary fermenter available, we decided to bottle. Things went pretty well -- we even managed to leave the vast majority of the trub in the fermenter when racking to the bottling bucket -- except that without a bottle-filler we may have introduced too much oxygen into the bottles while filling.

Fast forward three weeks, and we open two bottles. The first gradually bubbles over somewhat before being poured, and clearly has a LOT of sediment suspended in the beer. The second doesn't bubble over (though still has some pretty serious head), and the appearance is much better. But both have the same basic problem described above.

Are we just tasting too early? If not, any thoughts on the likely culprit? I've taken a look over some common problems and this doesn't seem to quite fit any of them (esp. tasting too alcoholic even with the right final gravity reading).

Thanks in advance for any advice you might be able to offer!

-- Michael



__________________
radicalsubversiv is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-08-2007, 07:56 AM   #2
Dark_Ale
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Liberty, Texas
Posts: 647
Liked 2 Times on 2 Posts
Likes Given: 6

Default

You have what could be many causes of your problem.
You dumped hot wort, possible hot side aeration
Your ferment temp was way to high, which could be giving you your alcohol taste, (not sure what the ferment temps are for that strain but check that also white labs has a great site) long lag time between fermentation. Also when you yeast begin to ferment the sugars it generates heat and can get quite warm especially with higher gravity beers. So if you were experiencing temps in the 80's its quite possible that your brew got hotter than that.....If you never seen any airlock activity then you probably (most likely had a leak someplace which was probably fine while it was fermenting but after it stoped fermenting it could allow nasties in. When you took the lid off you should have seen a krausen leval just above the liquid. What are you using for a fermenter? At that temp you should have seen all kind of action. What was your beginning gravity? You could let the brew sit longer and see if your champagne flavor goes away. Sounds like mabe you did not get your priming sugar stirred in well. You may have bottled a little to early was was your final gravity? You could have had some residual sugar and when you adding priming sugar it had too much? So many variables...I wish I could help, but I would brew it again and eliminate the mistakes and I bet its much better, but it will probably be good, give it some time and see what happens. And dont get discouraged we have all made those mistakes in the beginning or at least I did, but now 7 years later and ton's of money spend on grain and equipment upgrades my beer is pretty good now. Good luck!



__________________
Dark_Ale is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-08-2007, 10:22 AM   #3
brewt00l
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Doylestown, PA
Posts: 3,739
Liked 8 Times on 8 Posts
Likes Given: 2

Default

From the sounds of things it was just fermented hot (sharp alcoholic off flavor), it's over/unevenly carb'd, prb bottle conditioned a tad warm and needs more time in the bottle to smooth out some of those problems. Course if you did oxidize during bottling the beer may develop another off flavor over time.

In lieu of a secondary on your next batch, just let the brew hang out in the primary for three weeks or so before bottling to allow clearing & conditioning.

__________________
brewt00l is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-08-2007, 10:22 AM   #4
brewt00l
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Doylestown, PA
Posts: 3,739
Liked 8 Times on 8 Posts
Likes Given: 2

Default

From the sounds of things it was just fermented hot (sharp alcoholic off flavor), it's over/unevenly carb'd, prb bottle conditioned a tad warm and needs more time in the bottle to smooth out some of those problems. Course if you did oxidize during bottling the beer may develop another off flavor over time.

In lieu of a secondary on your next batch, just let the brew hang out in the primary for three weeks or so before bottling to allow clearing & conditioning.

__________________
brewt00l is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-08-2007, 12:48 PM   #5
Jekster
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Bloomington, IN
Posts: 406
Liked 2 Times on 2 Posts

Default

I don't have anything else to add to your potential problems list. However, I do know that in your message alone you are already acknowledging things that you know are "problems" in brew making. You are refining your technique, and understanding the process. Failure is not a bad thing, as long as we learn and you definitely learned. My first beer was a Mr. Beer kit and it came out cidery and with the same funny champagne bubbly problem. I read up a lot more, understand the process better, bought real gear and have started on my next two batches.

All in all, keep up the work, get the ingredients and keep working hard and make some great beer! You definitely have the right attitude to succeed!

__________________
Primary:IPA, Belgian Dark Strong Ale
Keg Conditioning:
Enjoying: Gumball Head, Belgian Wit
In the Works:
Jekster is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-08-2007, 02:30 PM   #6
radicalsubversiv
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 24
Likes Given: 2

Default

Thanks for the tips and encouragement everyone. In response to Dark_Ale's questions:

* I'm pretty sure the fermenter was airtight, as opening the lid slowly resulted in bubbling and wheezing through the airlock (which we didn't otherwise observe).
* The starting gravity was 1.044 and the finishing gravity was 1.011 (both temperature-adjusted). The recipe gave an OG range of 1.044-1.048 and FG range of 1.012-1.015.
*Definitely saw a Krausen level in the fermenter.

Two questions from my end on what to do now:

1) Is it better for it to have some time in a fridge (given that it's clearly already carbonated) or continue sitting in the slightly-warm basement?
2) Is there anything to be done about the overcarbonation at this stage (besides opening bottles carefully)?

__________________
radicalsubversiv is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-08-2007, 02:33 PM   #7
david_42
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
david_42's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Willamina & Oak Grove, Oregon, USA
Posts: 25,650
Liked 130 Times on 124 Posts

Default

Once it is carbonated, refrigeration is your best option. Chilling it will also reduce the out-gassing when opened.



__________________

Remember one unassailable statistic, as explained by the late, great George Carlin: "Just think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of them are even stupider!"

"I would like to die on Mars, just not on impact." Elon Musk

david_42 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply


Quick Reply
Message:
Options
Thread Tools
Display Modes


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Diagnosing a cidery beer gyllstromk General Techniques 22 04-21-2011 09:48 PM
Help diagnosing an off flavor mikfire General Beer Discussion 3 03-23-2009 01:48 AM
Diagnosing poor efficiency? mangine77 All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing 10 03-03-2009 04:07 AM
Need help diagnosing my beer DD2000GT Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 6 12-01-2008 03:30 AM
Diagnosing Bad Beer ryser2k General Beer Discussion 12 09-01-2006 01:42 PM