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Old 02-27-2010, 10:42 PM   #1
ErikHoppy
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Default First Brew First Taste: Vinegar/Sharp/Turned Cider taste.

So I opened up my first brew. It was supposed to be an irish stout, but a few mistakes in the brewing process yielded more of a brown ale. Firstly, I didn't realize that steeping grains don't add fermentable sugars, and I also accidentally added an extra gallon of water. So it was a weak wort, then I watered it down even more.

I carbed about 30 bottles of it just in case it turned out okay. I used regular house sugar to carb.

11 days later, today, I stuck one in the fridge in the morn and just cracked it open. First of all, there was a very weak carb. Barely any noise when opening, no head, etc.

Upon first taste, the first thing that came to mind was a cider that was past it's prime and started to turn hard. It had some kind of fruity/sour sharpness to it that others described as a vinegar taste.

Any insight on why it tastes this way? Infection?

Thanks!

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Old 02-27-2010, 11:08 PM   #2
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Probably an infection (possible acetic acid bacteria, which turns alcohol to vinegar more or less). Did you try more than one bottle? It could be isolated to a bottle or two if your sanitization wasn't up to par.

The low carb level is probably due to not being in the bottle long enough. Lots of reasons there can be slow carbonation (temp, amount of yeast left in the beer at bottling time, priming sugar amount, etc.)

Give them a couple of weeks, and try another one.

Good luck!

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Old 02-27-2010, 11:32 PM   #3
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I tried 2 and they both tasted the same. I have a plastic bucket for fermenting, so I couldn't see if there were any signs of infection. I did try some warm when bottling and it tasted fine then.

I'll give it another week or two and try, then see if it's a total lose or not!

Any other ideas?

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Old 02-27-2010, 11:50 PM   #4
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Paging Revvy.

Your beer hasn't finished carbing yet. Give it another week or two and it will probably be a heckuva lot better. Partially sugar carbed beer can have a very cidery smell and taste.

Three weeks at 70 degrees is a good bench mark for opening the first bottle. You also want to leave the bottle in your fridge for 24 hours if possible. That will help the CO2 in the headspace dissolve properly in the beer.

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Old 03-13-2010, 04:37 AM   #5
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Okay, so we gave it another 2 weeks and tried one warm today to see if it was worth chilling the batch.

Most of the cider taste had gone, but it lingered a little. There was more carbonation, but the head was just like soda, only bubbles, no real head. I seem to recall that time in the fridge will help that a bit?

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Old 03-13-2010, 04:55 AM   #6
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If you're getting bubbles but no head, the problem could potentially be in your dishwasher. The anti-spotting agent in jet dry will prevent head formation as well.

And yes, leaving the bottles in the fridge for 24-48 hours can help with heading somewhat by getting the CO2 better dissolved and distributed in the beer.

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Old 03-13-2010, 04:57 AM   #7
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Nah man, stop drinking it. Wait another 2-3 weeks. That is a GREEN been

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Old 03-13-2010, 03:15 PM   #8
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My first couple beers had no head. Head retention will improve on future brews.

I think you are still tasting the table sugar you used to carb. That cider flavor will keep fading.

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Old 03-13-2010, 03:29 PM   #9
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Agree, I think I've read that infections are rare on new brewing equipment. Your beer is probably green. Give it 2 weeks, then sample another. Time does miraculous things for beer.

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Old 03-14-2010, 04:41 AM   #10
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So, how long on average do you let your beer condition or age in the bottle before chilling and drinking?

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