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Old 03-24-2007, 07:25 PM   #1
joespro
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Thanks in advance to anyone that answers. I'm sure these "first time brewer" things get old...

I cooked up my first homebrew about 6-7 weeks ago now. It is a California common from Austin Home Brew. 8 days in the primary bucket fermenter until there was no action in the airlock. The best action I noticed was a solidly large bubble expelled around every 10 seconds during the primary fermentation period. Hope that is reasonable. There was also a fairly strong sulfur odor, apparently as expected for a lager type brew, during two of the early days of the fermentation, but that went away (which was a relief).

Then 7 days in the glass carboy for secondary fermentation. Smelled like beer, looked like beer. No noticable action in the secondary, though it did clarify nicely.

Bottled after 15 total days fermenting. This Sunday will be 4 weeks bottled.

The beer tastes, well, interesting. It is not by any means undrinkable. Great dark color, good carbonation (maybe a little too carbonated, but just barely), and definitely a stronger taste and flavor than your typical big-house beer (Bud, Miller, whatever). From what my friends and I could tell, it tastes a little yeasty. I'm slightly confused by that since there was no action in the secondary so I would have thought all of the yeast had been used up in the fermentation process.

Would it be possible that the yeast actually used up the sugars and there was actually left over yeast? I used all the proper amounts and followed all directions explicitly (I'm an engineer, we pay attention to detail).

Until last night I hadn't had more than one of the beers in a sitting. I've done the pour it out in a glass thing without disturbing the sediment in the bottom of the bottles. I've also done something where I actually purposely disturb the sediment and pour all of that in the glass with the beer. Doesn't seem to change the taste at all, though I wonder if I'm risking getting ill at all.

Anyway (sorry this is dragging along), last night I had three of the beers while playing poker with some guys from work (shared two six-packs with them of my brewed stuff). I noticed that when I took a piss after getting home that night, my urine smelled a bit like it does when you eat asparagus. I'm sure some of you know what I'm talking about. It is a strong sulfur like smell. What I'm actually wondering (since I didn't eat anything to cause that smell) is if there was extra yeast in the beer, and it somehow started a rapid fermentation process after I drank it, producing a sulfur by-product that was excreted in the urine? Any brewers that are also doctors that might know? I'd find it hard to believe, but very funny, that I was fermenting alcohol in my stoumach because of the yeast. Or, is there some other explanation for this?

Thanks again for any help. Like I said, the beer is drinkable, and actually enjoyable, but has this weird after-affect.

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Old 03-24-2007, 08:32 PM   #2
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welcome to the forum

i have never brewed a common, but will attempt to help.

1) what temp did you brew at? from what i have read you should be in the low 60's as opposed to a real lager in the low 50's. high temps can lead to off flavours.

2) yeast isn't"used up" during ferment - it drops to the bottom of the fermenter as the sugars in the wort are used up.

3) yeast will not ferment inside you.

4) most brewers follow the 1,2,3, rule which is 1 week in primary fermenter, 2 weeks in secondary to let the yeast clear and 3 weeks in the bottle to carbonate.
it sounds like you bottled a little early which could account for the yeasty taste. you can try storing the bottles at a cold temp for a few weeks(cold conditioning) that will help yeast drop out more.


5) a very good read is palmers on line book www.howtobrew.com

good luck!

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Old 03-24-2007, 08:36 PM   #3
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There will be yeast sediment in the bottom of the bottles form the fermentation required to carbonate the beer.

Open a cold bottle and pour very carefully into a glass, trying not to get the sediment. With practise you'll be able to do this drunk, in the dark. (drunk from all that practise)

You'll lose and ounce or so since you will have to stop pouring at the end in order to keep the yeast from falling from the bottle into your glass.

Yeast is harmless and dies in your stomach. In fact it's actually extremely good for you, though it can cause gas (and not because it it fermenting inside you. That is impossible). It's loaded with B12. In fact some people actually take Brewers Yeast pills as a supplement.

EDIT: Sorry missed the part where you said you avoided the sediment. There is always yeast in beer. How clear was your beer? It could also be phenolics. WHat yeast and what fermentation temp?

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Old 03-25-2007, 05:15 AM   #4
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I am new to brewing too, but I got into it recently because my friend in the neighborhood brewed an Anhor Steam replica, which I believe is the same as a California Common. Anyway, his brew seemed 'yeasty', but I enjoy the yeast character/flavor.

I had also read that the sulfur smell is based on the type of yeast you use. I don't know if my friends fermentation resulted in any sulfur smells, but his beer sounds a lot like what you described.

IMO it seems like you made a nice brew, especially for your first batch. My first batch is still in the fermentor.

- Cormi3r

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Old 03-25-2007, 05:52 AM   #5
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I followed the timing directions and checked specific gravity while in the second fermenter before bottling. The kit was a Austin Home Brew kit and it stated 5-7 days in the primary and 5-7 in the secondary.

I didn't really think it was fermenting in my stomach, but I thought it was conceivable that the yeast combined with sugars could produce a sulfur product, which is apparently what happened.

When I poured without disturbing the sediment, it was a good, golden brown color with a lot of clarity. If I mix it all up first, it looks more like a wheat beer.

This was an Anchor Steam replica as well. Maybe it is supposed to have a little of that flavor.

Temperatures were definitely in the low 60s. It was stored in a closet indoors in February in Southern California. Definitely not low 50s temps, since I can't provide them without having air conditioning here, which I do not.

Thanks for the insight in the replies, though, good to hear advice any time.

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