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Old 12-16-2013, 03:58 AM   #1
Bdbrown
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Default First beer - kind of weak and tasteless

Hi guys. Need some advice. I brewed a West Coast pale ale recipe from Mr. Beer. Got the kit for free, don't judge me. I wanted to alter it and really hop the crap out of it. At the beginning boil I added and .5 oz Centennial pellet hops. Boiled that for 10 minutes. Pulled it off the burner and added the malt extract (can) and another .5 oz of citra. I let that boil for 10 minutes. Took it off the boil and added another .5 oz of cascade. Cooled it. Pitched a dry yeast and threw in roughly .5 oz of all three pellet hops for aroma.

I let it sit for 2 weeks and bottled. Had a great hoppy aroma. I used the Coopers carbonation drops. After a week the beer was surprisingly pretty carbonated. Had a nice head. But I was kind of disappointed with it. The aroma is great but the flavor doesn't really back it up. Very faint hop flavor that finishes caramel and sweet. I was HOPING for a very bitter hoppy flavor up front that finishes crisp and citrus.

So what did I do wrong?
- should I have boiled the hops longer?
- is it just the crappy Mr. Beer malt extract?
- does it need to sit longer in the fermenter?
- do I need to use a grain boil?


First time brewer. Any advice helps.
Cheers.

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Old 12-16-2013, 04:07 AM   #2
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Boil your first hop addition for 60 minutes to make the beer bitter, 10 minutes will mostly give it aroma

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Old 12-16-2013, 04:10 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by brettg20 View Post
Boil your first hop addition for 60 minutes to make the beer bitter, 10 minutes will mostly give it aroma
Ya, I was thinking that's why I don't have much flavor. Didn't boil long enough. Thanks for the response!
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Old 12-16-2013, 04:14 AM   #4
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I've never done kits. All I can say is dont do kits. Do full 60 minute boils. Read a lot about beer brewing and formulate recipes. Use calculation tools to figure out stuff like gravity and IBUs.

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Old 12-16-2013, 04:15 AM   #5
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Boiling hops for 10 and 20 minutes will contribute very little bittering, but should add flavor and aroma. Sounds like you got plenty of aroma, so my suggestion would be if you do this type of brew again:

A) Move away from Mr. Beer, maybe try using extract + steeping grains

B) Use brewing software to help with recipe formulation & estimate IBUs, and stick with one program to help maintain consistency (Beersmith, Brewtarget, etc)

C) Go heavy on hop additions with 20 or less minutes left in the boil, plus dry hop, for more intense flavor and aroma.

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Old 12-16-2013, 04:15 AM   #6
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The longer you boil hops, the more bitterness you will get from it but will lose the aroma. Certain hops are great for bittering, while others are great for aroma and a lot are great for both. You mentioned citra, I personally wouldn't use that as a bittering hop.

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Old 12-16-2013, 04:16 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bdbrown
Ya, I was thinking that's why I don't have much flavor. Didn't boil long enough. Thanks for the response!
Boiling longer makes it more bitter from the hops. Adding hops near the end of the boil add flavor. Having good extract or grains give good malt flavor.
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Old 12-16-2013, 04:37 AM   #8
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Not trying to beat a dead horse but longer boil times will take more alpha acids out of the hops. To really learn what is going on when you brew and how to make good beers I suggest spending the money on "The New Complete Joy of Home Brewing" by Charlie Papazian. Before I brewed my first batch I read this book cover to cover. It really helped me learn reasoning behind why you do certain things while brewing rather than someone just telling you to boil for 60 minutes. I'm not saying it made me a genius but the more you know the better beer you will make.

On another note, this is your first beer. You can always make adjustments to future batches just don't give up on it! If you want a kit that will give you a decent beer go with one from Norther Brewer. Also upgrading from the Mr.Beer equipment will help you produce a better quality brew. livingsocial.com recently had an entire brew supply kit (fermentation bucket, racking cane, autosiphon, malt extract etc.) basically everything but the bottles for under $60. I would definitely check it out

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Old 12-16-2013, 04:49 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by werndog View Post
Not trying to beat a dead horse but longer boil times will take more alpha acids out of the hops. To really learn what is going on when you brew and how to make good beers I suggest spending the money on "The New Complete Joy of Home Brewing" by Charlie Papazian. Before I brewed my first batch I read this book cover to cover. It really helped me learn reasoning behind why you do certain things while brewing rather than someone just telling you to boil for 60 minutes. I'm not saying it made me a genius but the more you know the better beer you will make.

On another note, this is your first beer. You can always make adjustments to future batches just don't give up on it! If you want a kit that will give you a decent beer go with one from Norther Brewer. Also upgrading from the Mr.Beer equipment will help you produce a better quality brew. livingsocial.com recently had an entire brew supply kit (fermentation bucket, racking cane, autosiphon, malt extract etc.) basically everything but the bottles for under $60. I would definitely check it out

Very helpful. Thank you!

So I assume it's just the malt that has lacking the flavor. I'm gonna do another run. This time with a kit from a local home brew place. Contains grains and better malts. Then just add more hops to my liking. Thanks guys! One brew at a time. I already have learned a lot!
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Old 12-16-2013, 05:02 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bdbrown
Very helpful. Thank you! So I assume it's just the malt that has lacking the flavor. I'm gonna do another run. This time with a kit from a local home brew place. Contains grains and better malts. Then just add more hops to my liking. Thanks guys! One brew at a time. I already have learned a lot!
Sounds like a great plan! Good luck in your future brewing!
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