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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > "Homebrew" taste
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Old 10-04-2009, 09:42 PM   #1
brewer1222
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Default "Homebrew" taste

I have two friends that homebrew and I homebrew too. Each of the beers we've brewed taste sweet - what I've come to know as homebrew taste. I don't know how to describe it otherwise.

Someone suggested we're using too much priming sugar, but I've jsut been using kits from the store which come with 4oz of sugar for 5 gallons. The beer I just finished fermented for 3.5 weeks and I let it sit for 5 weeks before I tried it.

Any suggestions?

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Old 10-04-2009, 09:47 PM   #2
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What have your starting and finishing gravity readings been? What yeast have you been using?

Sounds like your yeast is not attenuating very well.

It's not likely anything to do with the priming sugar. If you use too much priming sugar, the yeast will just produce more carbon dioxide and the beer will be overcarbonated (and the bottles may even explode), but you shouldn't get any residual sweetness from the priming sugar; the yeast will use it all.

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Old 10-04-2009, 09:47 PM   #3
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Too much priming sugar would overcarb your beer, not leave it sweet.

Could be any number of things. Is this an all-grain, partial mash or all extract brew? What kinds of specialty grains are you using and in what amounts?

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Old 10-04-2009, 09:48 PM   #4
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Do a search for "attenuation". Start here. It can be lots of things (Mash temp, aeration, yeast pitch rate)

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Old 10-04-2009, 09:51 PM   #5
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The one I brewed was a Hefeweizen with DME only & one hop addition (the simplest kit). I used Wyeast liquid yeast.

Unfortunately I didn't do FG and OG, I was worried about contaminating/wasting beer. I'm going to start with the next batch I brew.

I left it in the fermenter for 3.5 weeks - how would the yeast fail to attenuate?

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Old 10-04-2009, 09:55 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brewer1222 View Post
Unfortunately I didn't do FG and OG, I was worried about contaminating/wasting beer. I'm going to start with the next batch I brew.

I left it in the fermenter for 3.5 weeks - how would the yeast fail to attenuate?
With proper sanitation, taking your SG is not a contamination risk. And it's far from wasting beer. Not taking an SG and overcarbing a batch and having bottle bombs is a waste of beer!

The yeast could fail to attentuate due to temperature or due to underpitching, just to name a few. Taking your FG would tell you if you reached the finish line or if you need to help it along.

Some extracts will leave a lot of unfermentables that can give you a sweeter taste as well.
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Old 10-04-2009, 09:56 PM   #7
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Does that mean if I leave the beer in the bottle longer it'll attenuate more & taste better? It's been in 5 weeks already

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Old 10-04-2009, 09:59 PM   #8
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The fermentation temperature was high, which is why I was brewing Hefeweizen. It's possible it was underpitched. I tried to do a starter but only for about 5 hours or so - not enough to make a difference.

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Old 10-04-2009, 09:59 PM   #9
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Gravity readings will help you to know for sure, but with plenty of time in the primary and assuming the yeast was healthy you should have gotten pretty reasonable attenuation.

A lot of people who brew with extract talk about tasting an "extract twang".

As a side note, while priming sugar is not the culprit of the sweet flavor, 4oz is almost always too much IMO. Hefeweizens should have a healthy dose of carbonation so I'm sure it is fine in your beer, but consider dialing in your carbonation a little more carefully when you start brewing other styles. http://www.franklinbrew.org/tools/carb.html

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Old 10-04-2009, 10:00 PM   #10
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Does that mean if I leave the beer in the bottle longer it'll attenuate more & taste better? It's been in 5 weeks already
Nope. The yeast are almost certainly done working by now. Try making a starter next time. You're yeast might be pooping out early if you're just pitching the vial while not aerating the wort enough.

Otherwise, try switching up the extracts. The yeast can't eat some of the longer sugars, and some extracts tend to have more of those, leading to sweet beer.
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