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Old 04-04-2010, 03:27 PM   #1
tcbratto
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Default I think I bottled my big beer WAY too soon...

I posted on here a few weeks ago about an Imperial IPA I brewed. When I added to the carboy after boiling, I couldn't get an OG because the wort was so thick, it wouldn't mix with the water for a few days (despite vigorous shaking). So, I have no OG. The recipe I used had 10 pounds of LME, a pound of crystal grains and a pound of maris otter grains, so I know this is one huge mutha of an IPA. I used one vial of White labs california ale yeast. I don't think the hops are relevant to my current question.

At any rate, being only my second batch, I realize now after reading on here that I did not leave it in the fermenter long enough. (My first batch fermented for 7 days and conditioned in the bottle for 2 weeks and was great, but it was a much smaller beer). Not knowing any better until now, this beer was only in the primary for 2 weeks before I bottled. While the airlock had stopped bubbling, I'm still worried I bottled too soon.

After a week in the bottle, I tried one and it was horrible. The carbonation wasn't all the way there, so I'm not worried about bottle bombs, but the beer tasted like jet fuel or like it was mixed with vodka or something. I think I hopped adequately for this beast because the bitterness was nice, but the alcohol aftertaste was just nasty.

I know that one week in the bottle is way too soon for any ale to taste good, but I want to try one every week so I can learn hoe beer improves with age. This one was so bad though, I'm worried.

Will this insanely high alcohol taste mellow out after a month or so in the bottles, or is this batch just ruined because I didn't leave it in the primary long enough?

Sorry I don't have hydrometer readings. I'm still really knew at this and realize now that this was my second major mistake.

Thank you guys so much; this forum is awesome.

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Old 04-04-2010, 03:31 PM   #2
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Just wait it out. Two weeks is WAY too soon to try a big beer, and too soon to bottle. keep checking the pressure on those bottles, and deep six 'em for about three months.

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Old 04-04-2010, 03:51 PM   #3
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did you just pitch the vial of yeast w/o any starter? for a big beer (my estimate gives about a 1.086 if you did a mini mash), you absolutely need a starter, otherwise you are stressing the yeast out definitely contributing to the production of fusel alcohols, which produces the 'jet fuel' taste. also, what temp did you ferment at? that can also have an major impact on fusel production. like said above, this is way too early to make any inference on how the final product will taste. if i were you, i'd wait at least another month before trying one again, you'll just be disappointed. it will mellow with age, but if too many fusels were produced, it might not fully go away. but just wait it out, i'm sure it'll be plenty drinkable with time.

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Old 04-04-2010, 04:05 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by android View Post
did you just pitch the vial of yeast w/o any starter? for a big beer (my estimate gives about a 1.086 if you did a mini mash), you absolutely need a starter, otherwise you are stressing the yeast out definitely contributing to the production of fusel alcohols, which produces the 'jet fuel' taste. also, what temp did you ferment at? that can also have an major impact on fusel production. like said above, this is way too early to make any inference on how the final product will taste. if i were you, i'd wait at least another month before trying one again, you'll just be disappointed. it will mellow with age, but if too many fusels were produced, it might not fully go away. but just wait it out, i'm sure it'll be plenty drinkable with time.
Thanks. This is reassuring. I think I'll take your advice and wait a month before trying another one. They're in bombers so it's quite waste of beer to open one and not even be able to drink it. The first one took me about 4 hours.

I did not use a starter; just pitched out of the vial.

I fermented at 70-72 degrees for 15 days.
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Old 04-04-2010, 05:16 PM   #5
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If you bottled the entire batch in bombers, it will take a few months before it even starts carbonating properly. A beer that big will age for a couple of years, so I would hide it in a cool corner of your basement/cellar (IF you have one) and forget about it.
I did a big Saison (a little bigger than your IPA) two years ago this July, and it is just now aging to the point of palatability, although I can still detect a bit of the alcohol bite. Like you, I also neglected to use a starter. Lesson learned! It also fermented for a few weeks, BTW.

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Old 04-04-2010, 07:28 PM   #6
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My first Barley wine was pitched without a starter. Needless to say, it did not ferment out fully and is a little on the thick side.

The next large beer (1.130) I did was started with a very large starter and it fermented down to 1.040 within the first five days. It was racked to secondary at 10 days to fully ferment and age.

A good healthy starter is the key to a good large beer.

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Old 04-05-2010, 02:44 PM   #7
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Thank you all for your responses. I'm just gonna put it in a corner of the basement and try to forget about it until at least June.

I think I'll stick to the more normal gravity beers until I gain some experience with this whole thing.

Got a nice pale ale in the fermenter now. I won't even touch the IIPA until the pale is gone.

Thanks again!

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Old 04-05-2010, 03:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tcbratto View Post
Thank you all for your responses. I'm just gonna put it in a corner of the basement and try to forget about it until at least June.

I think I'll stick to the more normal gravity beers until I gain some experience with this whole thing.

Got a nice pale ale in the fermenter now. I won't even touch the IIPA until the pale is gone.

Thanks again!
all of this could've been avoided with a hydrometer. :P

they're cheap too. look em up on amazon.
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Old 04-05-2010, 03:37 PM   #9
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tcbratto,
Anytime you bottle beer without knowing if fermentation is complete, you have the potential for bottle bombs. Go ahead and store it in a corner of the basement, but make sure you have it enclosed behind something strong. An exploding bottle is no joke. It can kill you.

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Old 04-05-2010, 07:13 PM   #10
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An exploding bottle is no joke. It can kill you.

I agree that bottle bombs are a very bad thing, but KILL YOU? Come on. Unless your holding it up to your ear like a phone, or wearing them as a necklace, you might get cut, but death by homebrew, thats no good


(btw all meant in fun, Minky)
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