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Old 02-20-2013, 04:59 PM   #1
Dybz
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Default First beer - gone wrong?

Hi all,

I have a concern about my first batch being off and wondering if I should dump and try again or wait it out. Basically I brewed following the online version of the John Palmer guide about 2 weeks ago. My beer has been fermenting for the past 2 weeks in 68-69*F area of the house and all seemed to be going well. Yesterday was bottling day and I sampled the bit that I used with the hydrometer. The beer had a weird flavor... not sure how to describe it. The hop/bitterness came through quite well, but not much other flavor. Does this just mean that the beer has to still condition in the bottles or will not additional flavor develop? The beer itself smells great and is clear.

I did have a craving for more of it after sampling so I guess that's a good sign? I was a little worried about fermentation dying early so I tried swirling the bucket (I know, I know! leave the bucket alone! blame it on newbie eagerness). I also did not do a yeast starter, but just let the WYEAST baggy expand with the nutrient packet for a few hours - will definitely do a starter for the next round.

As for the beer/brewing itself, details below:

Lady Liberty Ale - American Pale Ale w/specialty grains

Recipe Form For: pale ale

Recipe Volume: 3 gallons

Yeast: american ale 1 packet from WYEAST

Malts: Amount Type
3.6 lbs pale malt extract (syrup)
4.8 oz crystal malt 60L

Calculated Original Gravity: 1.045

Hops: Amount (oz) Time (Minutes) Type % Alpha Acid
0.4 60 pellet 10.6
0.4 30 pellet 8.2
0.4 15 pellet 8.2

Calculated IBUs: 37

Procedure: boiled 1 gallon of water, put in fermenter, boiled 2 gallons, let cool to 160F, steeped crystal malt 60L for 30 minutes at 160F, brought to boil, mixed in LME, resumed boil (might have needed to wait longer, was only 195F when began time), began hop addition, cooled wort to 70F, pitched yeast into bucket (just 3 hrs in packet with nutrients), poured wort into fermentation bucket

Fermentation: after 24 hrs - very little activity, some bubbling, airlock shows higher pressure inside
26 hrs - crazy bubbling, until about 40 hrs, then stopped… tried to swirl bucket, started up again for about 10 hrs, then died down,
FG = 1.013, smells good, tastes hoppy and something off?

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Old 02-20-2013, 05:03 PM   #2
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Everything looks good - don't dump your beer! You were tasting it uncarbonated, which may affect the flavor. It's also still "green". Give it another 3 weeks in the bottle and the flavors should meld a bit more.

This is a great resource: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/neve...en-beer-73254/

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Old 02-20-2013, 05:04 PM   #3
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When you see rapid bubbling slow or stop,that just means initial fermentation is over. It'll then slowly,uneventfully creep down to FG. Then another 3-7 days to clean up & settle out clear or slightly misty before racking to bottling bucket.
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Old 02-20-2013, 05:12 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by webby45wr View Post
Everything looks good - don't dump your beer! You were tasting it uncarbonated, which may affect the flavor. It's also still "green". Give it another 3 weeks in the bottle and the flavors should meld a bit more.

This is a great resource: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/neve...en-beer-73254/
I had a good laugh at #2 in that link webby, thanks. I figured it was just not quite ready yet, but good to get another opinion as this is my first batch.
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Old 02-20-2013, 05:17 PM   #5
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The advise above is good, so I will just add on to boost your confidence.

CONGRATULATIONS! YOU MADE BEER (and it probably wasn't as hard at it initially seemed).

It is hard to tell what green/un-carbonated beer will taste like after it carbonates for a few weeks, even with practice.

Give the bottles about 3 weeks to carbonate, then pop a few into the fridge for a few days. Once the are cold, and the yeast has had a chance to settle out from moving the bottles around, carefully open one, pour into a glass leaving the yeasty stuff behind, and enjoy your beer.

If you still have some off flavors after they are carbonated, try to come up with the best description you can for what you are tasting and let us know. There could be some issues, but it is too soon to tell with your first batch and the description you gave us.

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Old 02-20-2013, 05:33 PM   #6
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Just for clarification, did you remove the crystal malt after steeping it or leave it in during the boil also?

Also, if it's a twangy taste, maybe slightly metallic/astringent, one quick way to get rid of it is to add the LME towards the end of the boil, 15 min or less, or even at flameout. LME is subject to malliard reactions which can give a weird taste. Just something to think about for next time.

Congrats on your first beer and it'll only get better from here!

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Old 02-20-2013, 06:31 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twistr25 View Post
Just for clarification, did you remove the crystal malt after steeping it or leave it in during the boil also?

Also, if it's a twangy taste, maybe slightly metallic/astringent, one quick way to get rid of it is to add the LME towards the end of the boil, 15 min or less, or even at flameout. LME is subject to malliard reactions which can give a weird taste. Just something to think about for next time.

Congrats on your first beer and it'll only get better from here!
Sorry for not including that, but yeah I removed the crystal malt after steeping. I was reading through the various off-flavors described online, a bit astringent might be a good way to describe it. Hard for me to judge as I haven't had much experience obviously.

I have been reading John Palmer's "How to Brew" book and saw that he now recommends to put only ~1/2 the LME in at the beginning and the rest toward the end of the boil (in addition to a few other changes). Plan to follow the newer methods in the current edition of the book next time around.
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Old 02-20-2013, 10:09 PM   #8
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One very important rule is NEVER dump a batch. They will get better over time. Plus, don't judge a beer by a pre-carbonation sample. Sometimes they taste good at that point, but they can also taste sort of soapy.

I would also suggest three weeks in the fermenter, at least, but I've gotten away with two weeks once or twice. It can sit in their for three, four or five weeks and it only makes it better. You have to be able to stand the wait is all.

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Old 02-20-2013, 10:19 PM   #9
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Do not dump. Beer changes as it ages. If, after your beer has aged in the bottle for a few weeks, you still think it has an off flavor, How to Brew has a section on off flavors that will let you make adjustments.

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Old 02-20-2013, 10:25 PM   #10
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Beer changes quite a bit as it ages. Also as was already posted carbonation will considerably alter the taste.

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