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Old 11-13-2012, 11:59 AM   #1
onerainmaker
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Default Home brew taste

Hello all, been "trolling" around for a few weeks stealing some tips here and there.

My basic question is around the 'homebrew taste' - that *insert techie name here* indefinable something that seems to divide pub/shop bottled beers against homebrews. My dads and mates homebrews have all had it.

I'm on my 2nd brew, and couldn't resist a quick taste from the fermenter last night. Like the first brew it has that *insert techie name here*.

I've started on kits, the first a Coopers English Bitter tin using granulated sugar, the second a Better Bitter IPA pack, using brewing sugar.

Neither are nasty, but they have that *insert techie name here*. Drank back to back with a shop bottled beer, the first batch is really quite nice.

Why? What is it? How do I get rid? When I eventually go solo and start with all raw materials, how do I avoid it?

I realise this question has probably been asked, but not knowing the *insert techie name here* it's difficult to find.

[and note, my place of work are internet nazi's and I can't spend hours browsing ]



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Old 11-13-2012, 12:19 PM   #2
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Pitching the proper amount of yeast is usually the first start. Most of us start off just tossing in the yeast from the kit, but that may not be the correct amount. http://www.mrmalty.com/ will help with that.

Next up is fermentation temp. If we ferment too hot we can get bad flavors we don't like in our beers.

The next is freshness of ingredients. Try to use good quality, fresh, malt extracts and only use things like table sugar when you absolutely need it for the style. It's even better if you can go all grain, but that can introduce it's own problems.

Then we have time. Letting the beer sit for the right amount of time before bottling/kegging will help it clarify which I believe has a direct effect on flavor. This is also where things like cold crashing or using clarifying agents comes into play.

The quest for great beer is as complex as you want to make it.



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Old 11-13-2012, 12:24 PM   #3
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I will add that change your process to adding the majority of the extract late in the boil, like the last 5 minutes or even at flame out. Take 1/3-1/2 and add at beginning and add balance at end. This will prevent a lot of the carmalization that occurs and maillard reaction that can create that taste when extract is boiled too long.

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Old 11-13-2012, 12:24 PM   #4
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Personally, I've never experienced the *insert techie name here* flavor in any of my beers.

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Old 11-13-2012, 12:30 PM   #5
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What kind of taste is it? Try to describe it?

And what exactly did the kits consist of and what is "brewing sugar"?

I don't have an odd home-brew flavor in any of my beers. While commercial beers are better, I will catch up to their standards eventually. I imagine something is going wrong here..

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Old 11-13-2012, 12:37 PM   #6
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The way to fix the *insert techie name here* taste is to *insert techie solution here*.

Seriously - you're probably just using old kits with old yeast and old extract. See if you can find a recipe you like using steeped grains and extract, and try to get all fresh ingredients. Add most of the extract super-late in the boil (like 10 minutes left) and ferment in a really cool spot (try your cold cellar or garage). You'll probably never taste that *insert techie name here* taste again. I can give you a cream ale recipe that pleases both BMC and craft enthusiasts alike.

Also more helpful than typing *insert techie name here* is an actual description of the taste. Like "banana", or "buttery", or "weird plasticy taste". If you described it you'd get way more specific advice.

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Old 11-13-2012, 12:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonMagee View Post
Pitching the proper amount of yeast is usually the first start. Most of us start off just tossing in the yeast from the kit, but that may not be the correct amount. http://www.mrmalty.com/ will help with that.
Ta!




Quote:
Originally Posted by DonMagee View Post
Next up is fermentation temp. If we ferment too hot we can get bad flavors we don't like in our beers.
First batch 'cooked' at bob on 25°C; this second batch is much lower at ~22.5°C

Quote:
Originally Posted by DonMagee View Post
The next is freshness of ingredients. Try to use good quality, fresh, malt extracts and only use things like table sugar when you absolutely need it for the style. It's even better if you can go all grain, but that can introduce it's own problems.
How do you know about freshness on a kit brew, barring the sell by date? I do intend to go from scratch next year (in fact, I intend to grow my own hops). As for the sugar, I intend different types.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DonMagee View Post
Then we have time. Letting the beer sit for the right amount of time before bottling/kegging will help it clarify which I believe has a direct effect on flavor. This is also where things like cold crashing or using clarifying agents comes into play.
Must resist.....


Note: the homebrew flavour is a tang on first tasting, not metallic as such, but 'homebrewish'; hell, it's even possible it's the actual real flavour - it's a fairly dark beer and fairly flavoursome. It's certainly not burned caramelisation, as I didn't boil (there were no instructions to, IIRC).

There's no unpleasant sour tastes (I don't believe that it's off in anyway), the priming seems to have gone just right, and fermentation was as I imagined it was meant ot be (from reading various web pages and browsing on here).

Maybe it just needs time to mature...?
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Old 11-13-2012, 12:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paulster2626 View Post
Also more helpful than typing *insert techie name here* is an actual description of the taste. Like "banana", or "buttery", or "weird plasticy taste". If you described it you'd get way more specific advice.
I realised after pressing submit that I may be in for a flaming! I thought it might be a fairly common tang, as I've tasted it in other homebrews - I've tried to explain a bit in the previous post
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Old 11-13-2012, 12:42 PM   #9
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Tang....you mean hop bitternes?

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Old 11-13-2012, 12:43 PM   #10
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Let it mature of course, but also I've found that those unexplainable weird tastes are most likely not-so-fresh extract. Instead of buying a kit, try first:
a) Finding a busy homebrew shop with lots of customers.
b) Using off-the-shelf extracts, yeasts, and ingredients to mimic the kit you're interested in making.

You're shooting for fresher extract. It'll make a difference. Check out the recipe section for some 5-star extract recipes and try that. Then come back and let us know how it went.



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