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Old 10-15-2013, 01:33 AM   #1
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Default First Batch...maybe a bit off

Hey all.

So I did my first batch of home brew about 4 1/2 weeks ago and just cracked open my first home-brew. I think it turned out good but definitely not great and I was looking for some feedback on what may be the cause. As far as I know everything went very smooth. Everything was cleaned and sanitized and all instructions were followed to a T. My issue is with the taste. It doesn't taste bad but the Brown Ale flavors almost seem muted. In my first glass I took a couple drinks and thought it had a great taste but then others that didn't taste like much at all. Beer is a little hazy.

The only thing I can think of that may be the cause is that I didn't rinse enough after cleaning and before sanitizing. I think after reading so much and just being ready to go I went straight from washing to sanitizing everything without rinsing in between and may be getting a subtle taste from the PBW that is masking the beer a bit. It doesn't taste bad just has a very slight harshness to the first taste that turns to a brown ale flavor with a dry after taste. Any thoughts would be much appreciated. Thanks!

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Old 10-15-2013, 01:44 PM   #2
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First Good job getting through the first batch! Having a drinkable beer is worth celebrating!

I'd like to know what kind of water you used, and if it might contain any chlorine or chloramine. They can lend an off flavor to a beer pretty easily.

As far as the sanitation, it's really only necessary once you're done boiling. After that, clean your equipment, rinse, and then spritz on some starsan or iodophor and just let it drip off the excess. Starsan won't contribute flavor if used properly. I'm not sure about iodophor.

Muted flavors can be hard to diagnose without knowing your recipe. Care to share it?

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Old 10-15-2013, 02:06 PM   #3
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Yeah, recipe and brew day procedure would help us narrow it down for you. Including temperatures at pitching and fermenting. Since you tried one after 4 1/2 weeks, how long did you primary and how long have they been in the bottles?

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Old 10-15-2013, 02:19 PM   #4
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My thought is that 4 1/2 weeks from brewing to drinking is too short for anything but a wheat beer. Darker beers take longer. Being a brown ale means it takes longer for the flavors to come together. Give this beer another month and then tell us what it is like.

I have a stout, black as can be. It took about 6 months to get good and at a year it is really smooth. Don't rush your beer and you'll be rewarded.

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Old 10-15-2013, 02:33 PM   #5
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Also green beer can have a watered down taste. So if it's only been in the bottle for a week or so, it's not done conditioning to meld those flavors together.

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Old 10-15-2013, 04:16 PM   #6
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Thanks All. It was a brewer's best Englsih Brown Ale Kit. Here was the recipe.

3.3 lb Maris Otter LME
2 lb Amber DME
8 oz. Caramel 60L
4 oz. Chocolate
6 oz. Carapils
1 oz Brewers Gold Hops
1.5 oz UK Golding Hops

Cleaned all brewing and fermenting equpiment with PBW. Used 2.5 gallons of filtered store bought water for top off and about 3 gallons of tap water in the boil.

- Heat water to 155 and steep specialty grains for 20 minutes.
- Added DME and LME while bringing to a boil.
- 60 minute boil with 1oz Brewer's Gold at 45min, 1oz UK Golding at 10min and .5 oz Golding at 5min.
- Cooled down in sink with ice bath. (1 cube accidently slipped into the pot).
- Sanitized bucket/lid/airlock/etc. with Iodophor.
- At 80 degrees I poured wort back and forth between kettle and bucket to aerate.
- Added room temp top-off water to 5 gallons.
- pitched 1 packet of dry sachet yeast.
- Placed Fermenter in swamp cooler in closet and temp ranged from 68-70.
- 1 week in primary (ferm done in about 3 days).
- 2 weeks secondary in glass carboy.
- OG = 1.045, FG = 1.010
- Used priming sugar as directed and bottled for 7 days. Left sample bottle in fridge for 24 hours then sampled.

Carbonation seemed good but I left all bottles out of fridge except the sample to let them go another week or so. I definitely messed up not rinsing after cleaning. Other than that I feel like sanitation and everything went pretty smooth. Thanks again for the help and hopefully a few more weeks in the bottles will do the trick!

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Old 10-15-2013, 04:42 PM   #7
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Most everything looks ok. Two things you can do, sometimes adding the LME at the end, after boiling, can help with some slight off flavors. Other thing is let the beer sit for a little longer in primary. Even if it hits FG, some extra time helps the yeast to clean up after themselves.

Also a smidge bit lower on the ferm temp may help too, into mid 60s.

Definitely give it a bit longer in the bottle to finish conditioning and it should be better.

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Kegs: Sunset Orange Kolsch Redux
Future: Black IPA Redux, possibly others
2013 Previous: Sunrise Honey Rye Pale Ale, Dark Skies Black IPA, Sunset Orange Kolsch, All Hallow's Eve Pumpkin Ale, Maple Vanilla Brown Ale, Raining Hops and Dogs IPA, Starry Night Vanilla Bourbon Porter

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Old 10-15-2013, 04:51 PM   #8
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IN general everything looks pretty good. Two things I noticed:
#1, a week and change in bottle may not be enough for everything to really balance off. You probably have decent carbonation, but as others have said, a bit more time and the beer will probably become the better for it.
#2. Secondary. I know that most instructions say to do it, but in general, unless you're bulk aging for some reason - souring, aging on wood or have a really high gravity brew, most recommendations are to not do it. Leave the beer in primary for the whole time. ALso, racking beer according to time isn't necessarily the best thing for it. Yeast can take longer or shorter time to do their thing, and even when active fermentation is over, they are still working to clean up compounds and off-flavors that are created.
I have a brew that theoretically should have been done in 2 weeks. I leave them be for 3 just to be on the safe side. I checked gravity and it's still dong things, coming up on 4 weeks after brew. I hope it's done this weekend, I do have a timetable I'm working with...

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Old 10-15-2013, 04:55 PM   #9
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Once bottled they should sit a minimum of 3 weeks...you will be amazed at the difference between 1 and 3 weeks. Let them sit longer.

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Old 10-15-2013, 04:59 PM   #10
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Give it some time like the others have suggested. A good analogy is a batch of chili. WhEn you first make it it is pretty good, but after a few days it just gets better as the flavors all come together.

I remember my first batch. I tasted one after about a week and a half. I remember commenting that it tasted pretty good but kind of thin. After three weeks it was good and at 4 weeks it was very good.

Time is your friend.

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