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Old 01-23-2009, 06:28 AM   #1
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Default first beer tastes like crap! (so far)

I know, I know, wait and good things will happen.


So I bottled my first brew, which was mostly experimental, and I tasted it in all of its green, flat, warm, glory. Ick! It was sweet, tasted of apples, bananas and a hint of bubble gum. Not exactly what I was expecting.

The brew was a cooper's kit of dark ale (perhaps my first mistake) where I exercised restraint and followed the instructions against my will. On day 5 or so of fermentation I once spiked the temp to 90 deg in the fermentation room for about 30 minutes. I doubt that did anything too drastic though yeast activity stopped after that. Total time in the primary was 2.5 weeks.

I had some issues getting my bottling process down and much yeast was disturbed while bottling. It was quite sludgy and didn't instantly poof up and cloud the beer but I suspect that there is quite a bit of yeast in each bottle. Once I was done the leftover yeast sludge smelled of all the nasty things I tasted in the beer. Hopefully the abundance of yeast in the bottle won't contribute to ick taste and will instead facilitate quick cleanup of ick tastes and refinement of the proper flavors.

We shall see how this one ages.

BTW I boiled about a gallon of the beer at 180deg for 40 minutes or so. I then (with a sanitized spoon) scooped up some yeast sludge and added it back to the now NA gallon once it was at 80 deg. I added carb drops and bottled the NA beer.

Also a couple of plastic bottles which were 2/3 filled and capped were sitting precariously on top of the freezer. I think they fell in, though I'm not sure.... We'll see what happens with those.

Regardless of how the beer turns out, I learned a lot about the process and there's some changes in the pipe and, of course, more money to be spent at the LHBS....


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Old 01-23-2009, 06:48 AM   #2
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I've been very curious how your on board brewing was going to turn out. Was this batch actually on board, or is this a dry run before you leave on the boat? Either way, I'm glad to see you finally have something resembling beer!

I don't have any personal experience with the bubble gum flavor, but I do believe that I remember reading that it is often a product of a fermentation at very high temps. If there's anything you can do to get the fermentation temp down, even a wet shirt over the fermenter, I'd suggest that. But the good news is that with enough aging it should improve.

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Old 01-23-2009, 07:07 AM   #3
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This was a "dry" run at the house I'm staying at. Good thing too. I made a HUGE mess! I can fix that next time with some changes to my setup and process.

In a week though I'll be back on board and I now have an empty primary.... Of course next month I'll be learning how to do surgery on people, so I suspect I might be busy.

Last week I ran across a sale on local fresh cider. So I stuck #6.5 stoppers on my tap a draft bottles (which I bought for storing beer) and now I have 2 bottles of cider and one bottle of alcoholic ginger beer. The two ciders have the same base juice and sugar but one is champagne yeast and the other is sweet mead yeast as an experiment in sweetness. I'll age them while I'm in Australia and see how the compare when I get back.

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Old 01-24-2009, 02:13 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kungpaodog View Post
I don't have any personal experience with the bubble gum flavor, but I do believe that I remember reading that it is often a product of a fermentation at very high temps. If there's anything you can do to get the fermentation temp down, even a wet shirt over the fermenter, I'd suggest that.
I think the swamp cooler thing descrbed by Kung would help keep the off-flavors away.
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Old 02-09-2009, 05:27 AM   #5
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Default beer is tasting better....

The beer is getting much better. Time heals all wounds eh? It still has some weird estery aromas, almost no hop aroma, and is kind of cidery and watery.

With all that said, my drinking companion and I pronounce it drinkable. Better than macrobrew, not as good as microbrew (or any of my previous homebrews). Still, I consider that a success for a "just add water" kit, and not only will the beer probably continue to improve, but from here on our it's recipes and better beer!

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Old 02-09-2009, 06:24 AM   #6
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Man, I dont know about those coopers kits. Last summer me and a friend made 3 or 4 of them (one of which was the dark ale) and they all had a weird taste. They are made in Australia so maybe they were old when I got them? I dunno.

I have moved on to "the brew house" kits, and they are wayyyyyyy better.

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Old 02-09-2009, 10:49 AM   #7
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Quote:
BTW I boiled about a gallon of the beer at 180deg for 40 minutes or so. I then (with a sanitized spoon) scooped up some yeast sludge and added it back to the now NA gallon once it was at 80 deg. I added carb drops and bottled the NA beer.
What was the point of this step? I see no reason to add more yeast to the bottles than what is in suspension. There is more to the sludge than just yeast, unless you washed it why would you want to add it back?
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Old 02-11-2009, 04:45 AM   #8
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What was the point of this step? I see no reason to add more yeast to the bottles than what is in suspension. There is more to the sludge than just yeast, unless you washed it why would you want to add it back?
I was worried that the 180deg boil (to boil off the ETOH) would kill the yeasties. So I added back some at pitching temp to make sure there were some live ones to eat the bottling sugar and bottle carb the beer.

What temp does yeast die at anyway?

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Old 02-11-2009, 05:39 AM   #9
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Curious, what was the point of boiling the fermented beer? Are you trying to make non alcoholic beer?

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Old 02-11-2009, 11:03 AM   #10
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So .. . . . . what did you do right? LOL

I'd say this was a good learning project and don't expect much. Relax and by some micro brews LOL

HOWEVER - perhaps you have found a new and wonderful technique

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