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Old 11-18-2008, 04:56 PM   #1
luckylindy345
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Default First 2 brews taste awful...

I've brewed 3 batches now. The first was a True Brew IPA extract kit. It sat in primary for 2 weeks and has now been bottled for 4 weeks. Still tastes gross like cider, which I was somewhat expecting because of way too high fermentation temps (80s). Now, maybe I'm just getting discouraged because of my first batch, but my second batch (LHBS designed winter warmer to which I added a small amount of cinnamon and ginger, OG 1.060) tastes somewhat cidery, but more like bananas and strong alcohol. It also sat in primary for 2 weeks and has been bottled for almost 2 weeks. This one might still be green, but I'm getting worried that I suck at making beer! I haven't been able to finish a bottle from either of these batches (so far) . My sanitation is great, and my method is good...I have read How to Brew, Complete Joy of Homebrewing, Homebrewing for Dummies...

I don't want to stop brewing because I love beer and the process of brewing, but if some of this stuff doesn't start tasting good, I might have to throw in the towel. This week I will be brewing AHS Holiday Chocolate Stout with store bought water (any advice when buying bottled water to brew with?) and with liquid yeast for the first time. I'm pulling out all the stops this time and praying for a good batch!

Any suggestions as to how to make my beer better? Should I do more than a 3 gal boil? Use different water? Is it possible I'm just brewing low quality kits (with the exception of AHS of course)?

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Old 11-18-2008, 04:58 PM   #2
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It is your fermentation temps. One of the biggest n00b mistakes. Control your temps, and you'll be amazed at the difference in the beer.

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Old 11-18-2008, 05:00 PM   #3
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I'm no expert, but I would suggest that you take measures to ensure that your fementation takes place under better temp conditions (i.e. 68-70 degrees Farenheit). My understanding is that beer fermented at higher temps tends to get a "banana-y" flavor to it.

It sounds like you've done your research and you are comfortable with your sanitation practices. Are the Final Gravities consistent with what you were expecting?

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Old 11-18-2008, 05:03 PM   #4
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The four week ones sound like your recipe perhaps...Did they call for adding table sugar perhaps?

I can't recall what true brew kits are like....I'd try a different kit/


The ones at Two weeks is too soon in the bottle, they taste crappy because they are more than likely simply green...

Read this....http://www.homebrewtalk.com/558191-post101.html

Then read the story here, and see the benefit of patience and time on your bottled beer...

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/neve...en-beer-73254/

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Old 11-18-2008, 05:03 PM   #5
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Definetely use spring water from a decent source. From the grocery store is fine. My water in my municipality has chlorine and chlorimines in it and boiling won't get rid of the chlorimines. These can produce a medicinal taste.

I agree with smizak, the temps are too high. Most ale yeast is best between 60-70 degrees. I can't brew in the summer due to the temps in my basement. Oct- April is brew time for me here in PA. So wait till it gets cooler to try again and or find a cooler room. Keep the temps consistant, within 2-3 degrees and you'll get a good beer.

Liquid yeast is all I use, but probably is not your main problem.

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Old 11-18-2008, 05:11 PM   #6
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The trouble is that if you change too many variables @ once you won't be able to nail down what the problem is...

One thing to do is to brew one of the SAME true Brew kits over, but this time with spring water...if they taste the same then it's not your water...

Then brew another brand kit (which you are with the AHS kit anyway)

But if you want to get to the bottom of this, then you have to systematically change one variable at a time.

Another thing, is there an LHBS or a brew club, or even an experienced brewer or BJCP certified judge in your area? SOmeone who has more experience and can taste for off flavors and give you ideas? It's really hard to self diagnose our beers, especially if we haven't tasted "off flavors" before...for bjcp IIRC they actually taste doctored versions of beers so they can identify the cause of an off flavor...

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Old 11-18-2008, 05:16 PM   #7
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Yeah, the temperature is definitely the culprit for my first batch, but since then I've kept temps down between 60 and 64. Revvy, I swear I've read those two links you supplied at least twice before, but it seems there are so many people that say 2 weeks is enough before bottling. For my next batch (Irish Red already in primary for 3 weeks), I will transfer to secondary for a couple more weeks, then bottle to see if that helps.

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Old 11-18-2008, 05:17 PM   #8
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One thing to do before you get discouraged is brew a non-extreme beer like an amber or brown or something normal.

Any high alcohol brew will be a little trickier. Also do a dark beer (AHS Holiday Chocolate Stout - good choice) they are more forgiving and love high PH water.

As the others said - I think it's the high fermentation tamps causing a problem on the first one.

lx302 - buy a filter - costs about $30 at a local drugstore - works great!

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Old 11-18-2008, 05:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luckylindy345 View Post
Revvy, I swear I've read those two links you supplied at least twice before, but it seems there are so many people that say 2 weeks is enough before bottling..
Really, I've only seen ONE person who thinks that and he swears his beers are ready in one week....

Are you sure those "People who swear this" aren't talking about kegging? You can have beer kegged and drinkable in a week, but that doesn't take into consideration greeness at all either.

Most other people say 3 weeks at 70 degrees minimum, and longer for certain styles.....Don't forget it's not JUST carbonation we're dealing with...there's Bottle COnditioning as Well and that takes time AFTER carbonation occurs.....THere seems to be a hellova lot of people on the don't dump thread who back that up...

But hey, you can believe what ever the heck you want.....I don't care...If you want your beer not to be green, and eliminate any possiblilty that the off flavors do not stem from being young, then go ahead and do what you want. If you wait 6 weeks and rule that out then you can have an easier time figuring out what the problem is...but you gotta take the green factor out of it...
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Old 11-18-2008, 05:25 PM   #10
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I had a guy at a local place tell me 2 weeks also. It was at that point I stopped asking him questions.

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