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Old 04-13-2009, 09:13 PM   #1
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Default EUREKA! I'm totally stoked!!!!

i would call this batch my first real success. its my 5th since getting back into the hobby in december 08. its a Guinness clone from brewers best and i like it more than what i can buy ! my first 4 were lighter beers...amber, ipa, english ale, and nut brown. they all had off flavors that i considered almost undrinkable (i wont drink it just because i made it if it sucks). the only one that came close is the nut brown. i am wondering if darker beers tend to mask any off flavors or if i just finally got it right ? the crazy thing is on this 5th batch i was still doing things much like the first . i have since modified my proceedure to include a wort chiller, the right sanitizer, and waiting longer. this batch will be gone in days. i am expecting my robust porter and smoked porter to be f-ing great. the next three (all from austin home brew) are going to be a rolling rock clone(for the wife), samuel adams clone, and AHS amber.........

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Old 04-13-2009, 09:37 PM   #2
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i am wondering if darker beers tend to mask any off flavors
Bingo. Dark beers like porters and stouts are great for beginners because they are hard to screw up and can help you practice and get your technique down before moving on to tougher brews.

Usually off flavors are caused by yeast, although there are other sources. If you pitch a healthy amount of yeast (rehydrated dry yeast or a starter), ferment at the proper temps and give the yeast time to do their job your chances of having off flavors are slim. Add to that steeping the grains at the proper temp, thoroughly sanitizing all of your equipment, keeping your beer away from light and giving it time to mellow and your sure to make quality beer, regardless of the type.
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Old 04-13-2009, 09:39 PM   #3
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Bingo. Dark beers like porters and stouts are great for beginners because they are hard to screw up and can help you practice and get your technique down before moving on to tougher brews.
yeah, i am really worried about that rolling rock clone.....
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Old 04-13-2009, 09:42 PM   #4
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waiting longer seems to be a key

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Old 04-13-2009, 09:55 PM   #5
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waiting longer seems to be a key
Time is very important when brewing beer. Patience as an absolute must. The yeasties need time to do their job and the beer will only get better as it sits in the bottle. I'm enjoying an ESB right now that's been in bottles for about 6 months. I'm not sure how I've kept my paws off it but I'm glad I did!
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Old 04-13-2009, 09:57 PM   #6
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Congrats on the brew! Dark beers help hide off flavors but it sounds like your improvements to your system are helping with the quality of your brews. The factors that HOOTER mentioned make a huge difference on quality. Now that I've gotten control of ferment temp, yeast pitching rates and good sanitation, my beers are coming out real nice. Patience has probably helped me the most.

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Old 04-13-2009, 10:25 PM   #7
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Congrats on the brew! Dark beers help hide off flavors but it sounds like your improvements to your system are helping with the quality of your brews. The factors that HOOTER mentioned make a huge difference on quality. Now that I've gotten control of ferment temp, yeast pitching rates and good sanitation, my beers are coming out real nice. Patience has probably helped me the most.
enlighten me. yeast pitching rates. i just add what the kits come with. the AHS stuff has "liquid pitchable yeast" in a vial. dont i just add the whole thing ? also all my other brews came with dry packaged yeast. i just used the whole pack ????
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Old 04-14-2009, 12:07 AM   #8
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Hah, good for you! I started about the same time as you, brewed 4 batches, quit for the summer (I live in an antique house and it gets f-ing HOT here). One of those batches, a double bock, came out pretty good but the others are lackluster at best . . . and as you say, just because I made it doesn't mean I'm gonna suffer a brew that sucks (he types as he sips an Anchor Porter).

Once the weather cools off next fall I'll likely rejoin the battle, with partial mashes at least, maybe even all grain. But some sort of temp control for fermenting is definitely in the plan.

I really don't know what the deal is, but I suspect my brews suffer from extract twang. All were extract kits, two from LHBS and two from Midwest, so no reason to suspect ancient ingredients.

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Old 04-14-2009, 12:20 AM   #9
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Go to Mrmalty.com to read about pitching rates. He recommends that you generally do a starter with liquid yeast strains to increase cell count and health. For dry yeast, a 10 or 11 gram pack is usually enough for most beers.

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Old 04-14-2009, 12:36 AM   #10
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enlighten me. yeast pitching rates. i just add what the kits come with. the AHS stuff has "liquid pitchable yeast" in a vial. dont i just add the whole thing ? also all my other brews came with dry packaged yeast. i just used the whole pack ????
I would highly recommend using dry yeast because it's easy to handle and perfect for shipping. To rehydrate, just boil a couple cups of water, cool to around 80f, pour into a sanitized glass measuring cup and sprinkle the yeast on top. Cover and allow it to sit and rehydrate for around 1/2-1 hr. then swirl it around to get all the yeast off the bottom and pitch it into the wort. This will allow the yeast to rehydrate in water instead of sugary wort and reduce lag time. 1 pkg. of dry yeast is sufficient for an average gravity brew. Once you've pitched, make sure your fermentation temps don't exceed 70f, which means you need to keep it in an area that stays in the low to mid 60's. Keep it in primary for at least a week and a half, then rack to secondary for at least a couple weeks. Some even keep it in primary for a month and then bottle.
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