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Old 05-18-2012, 03:23 PM   #1
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Default First keg...tastes acidic

Guys I am really getting frustrated. I left the bottling scene behind due to inconsistent batches and was really looking forward to tapping my first keg. So I brewed an American Wheat and slow carbed for 2 weeks, while using the carbonation chart often seen here to input 11-12 psi over that timeframe.

Today is the 2 week mark and the beer tastes acidic/tinny. I really thought this was going to be the turning point for consistency so I am really down right now. I went ahead and reduced the psi to around 4-5 for tapping purposes and have left it there for now. Do you think it'll change over time or am I stuck with this? I followed the advice of "don't fear the bubbles" (starsan) when sanitizing the keg but I'm not so sure because that's pretty much what it's tasting like right now. And that's after running out like 4 glasses of it.

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Old 05-18-2012, 03:25 PM   #2
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How did you prepare the keg, and what water do you use for brewing?

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Old 05-18-2012, 03:35 PM   #3
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what water do you use for brewing?
That's my question.... if it's a consistent 'off' flavor from batch to batch, bottled or kegged, water is one of the most likely culprits.
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can i drink this? I mean. Im gunna. But is it fine?
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it's not a barley wine. it's an ale.
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Have you seen the price of ketchup lately? And I'm not talking Heinz.
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Old 05-18-2012, 03:37 PM   #4
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It was cleaned with pbw and slightly pressurized when I bought it from the LHBS so I rinsed it out with indoor tap water, then used starsan/water and shook it around for several minutes. Then ran that mixture through the lines for several minutes and poured out the rest. I then racked the beer into the keg.

For brewing, I used my indoor tap water. I won't rule out the tap water as the culprit but it's used by many a local brewer here. I've chalked up off flavors in the past as my fermenting at too high a temp so I made a fermentation chamber to alleviate that issue.

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Old 05-18-2012, 03:46 PM   #5
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Oftentimes, acidic or tinny flavors can come from overcarbonation - referred to as a "carbonic bite." 11 or 12 PSI shouldn't be enough to cause that, depending on the temperature you're storing the beer at - but you left that info out. So - what temp are you keeping the beer at?

Around 40F, 11-12 should be pretty much ideal for carbing and serving, given 8-10ft serving lines. Now, if this is what's going on, dropping the pressure back a bit, bleeding off the pressure in the keg, and waiting a few days, should improve things. Also, simply pouring a pint and letting it sit for about 5 minutes or so before drinking it should let it off-gas just enough that the bite should go away. If any of these work, you're probably just slightly over-carbed, and a little tweak of your pressure will likely go a long way.

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Old 05-18-2012, 03:48 PM   #6
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Try brewing your next batch with bottled spring water and see if the taste goes away. In the spring and summer my tap water is less that tasty, and it makes beer that reflects that, so I use spring water (for darker beers I just cut the tap water with 50% R/O) and that immediately took the funky water flavor away.

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Originally Posted by yeoitsmatt View Post
can i drink this? I mean. Im gunna. But is it fine?
Quote:
Originally Posted by yeoitsmatt View Post
it's not a barley wine. it's an ale.
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Originally Posted by bottlebomber View Post
Have you seen the price of ketchup lately? And I'm not talking Heinz.
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Old 05-18-2012, 04:00 PM   #7
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Oftentimes, acidic or tinny flavors can come from overcarbonation - referred to as a "carbonic bite." 11 or 12 PSI shouldn't be enough to cause that, depending on the temperature you're storing the beer at - but you left that info out. So - what temp are you keeping the beer at?

Around 40F, 11-12 should be pretty much ideal for carbing and serving, given 8-10ft serving lines. Now, if this is what's going on, dropping the pressure back a bit, bleeding off the pressure in the keg, and waiting a few days, should improve things. Also, simply pouring a pint and letting it sit for about 5 minutes or so before drinking it should let it off-gas just enough that the bite should go away. If any of these work, you're probably just slightly over-carbed, and a little tweak of your pressure will likely go a long way.
Good point. I tried to shoot for 40 F but my little fridge is a beast, I kept turning down the dial but I know I spent a lot of that 2 weeks at more like 33-34 degrees. And my service line is just a 5 ft picnic tapper, I have to open the fridge to gain access to it, don't have it set up as a keggerator yet. So you think if I turn it down to say 5 lbs for awhile, it may come back with time?
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Old 05-18-2012, 04:01 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by NordeastBrewer77 View Post
Try brewing your next batch with bottled spring water and see if the taste goes away. In the spring and summer my tap water is less that tasty, and it makes beer that reflects that, so I use spring water (for darker beers I just cut the tap water with 50% R/O) and that immediately took the funky water flavor away.
I will indeed try this in order to take it out of the equation. Thanks for the idea. And consequently, I work for a water treatment outfit and we have UF and RO units so I can pretty much get whatever I want in that regard.
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Old 05-18-2012, 04:20 PM   #9
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Before you go changing anything in your brewing process, pour a pint, let it sit for 5 minutes, and see if the acidic character is still there. It's definitely sounding like you could be a little overcarbed, and changing things about your brewing may be completely unnecessary.

With that picnic tap, yeah, I can see dropping to 4 or 5 PSI to serve. But keep in mind, if you leave it at 4 or 5 PSI, your beer will lose carbonation over time. It will not carbonate up to whatever PSI you carbonated it at and then just hang onto that amount of gas of its own volition. If the pressure in the system drops, the beer will off-gas until it reaches equilibrium. So, be prepared to drop pressure to serve, then increase pressure again to maintain carbonation. That, or invest in longer lines and save yourself the aggravation.

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Old 05-18-2012, 04:23 PM   #10
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With R/O, distilled, etc., you'll want to add minerals, or use it to cut tap or spring water.... by themselves 'purified' waters aren't always the best thing for brewing. Spring water, however, makes really nice beer IMO. Either way, your job gives you some great access and probably some good info about water. Another thing you could do is try to get a water report from the city you live in, it can be very helpful especially if you want to start making water from different brewing regions. Here, we get a yearly water report mailed out with the utilities bill every spring, lets ya know the mineral and additive concentrations, pollutants, turbidity, etc. It's also posted on the city's website. Very useful information to have.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by yeoitsmatt View Post
can i drink this? I mean. Im gunna. But is it fine?
Quote:
Originally Posted by yeoitsmatt View Post
it's not a barley wine. it's an ale.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bottlebomber View Post
Have you seen the price of ketchup lately? And I'm not talking Heinz.
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