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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > It's too bitter!
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Old 12-17-2006, 07:24 PM   #1
Rich_B
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Default It's too bitter!

Hi all,

I've brewed quite a beers from kits before, and the odd one from extract, but having moved into a new house a little over a year ago I'm encountering a frustrating problem... all the beers come out really quite bitter.

The latest is a Muntons Old Conkerwood, which has been conditioning for about 10 days now. I sampled a small amount, and it's really quite sharp- almost as much so as an IPA might be.

I suspect that it's an issue with the water here, as even straight from the tap there's a distinct tang to it. It's not especially hard, which is what I normally associate with 'tangy' water.

Aside from finding a new water supply, does anyone have any suggestions of how I might soften the beers flavour a little?

Thanks

Rich

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Old 12-17-2006, 07:35 PM   #2
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Ask your city or water department for an analysis of the water.

Start from there.

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Old 12-17-2006, 08:20 PM   #3
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I would try making a batch using bottled water or water obtained from another source. That will eliminate any question of it being your water. If so, possibly a carbon type water filter or ph balance additive will correct the problem. Sulfur in water source will really spoil the taste, but usually has smell to go with it.

Other causes might be boiling your grains and too AA potent hops.

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Old 12-17-2006, 10:42 PM   #4
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Finding out what is in the water is the first step. It might be something simple to deal with, but until you get an analysis, is all guess work and more bitterness.

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Old 12-17-2006, 11:01 PM   #5
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Howdy from Texas Rich B,
In the states all the muncipalities are by law required to provide the water reports. My city reports monthly so those of us that want to know can see how our water is changing over the course of the year. I'm not sure in Chesire England what the cities are required to do but that water report can be of great benefit. John Palmer's online book has quite a bit of information about water and how pH, different ions and such can influence everything.

I think the only people in the states that actually look over the water reports on a regular basis are brewers and bakers.........maybe a few pizza shops that take pride in their dough.

Welcome to the board,
Jeffrey
runhard, trainhard, and raceEZ....It's the Kenyan way.

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Old 12-17-2006, 11:08 PM   #6
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I'm having a tough time locating reports for Chesire that are similar to the reports we can access online here in the states. Here is about all I could find. http://www.unitedutilities.com/corporate/?OBH=2820

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Old 12-17-2006, 11:13 PM   #7
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My apologies for the typos...Cheshire. Now I've got it. Cheshire, yes sir now I've got it. Good luck with the water and a cheap activated carbon filter might be the way to go and save a lot of money on the bottled water. If you're unfamiliar with John Palmer's book he has some recommendations for beer styles depending on your water.

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Old 12-18-2006, 02:59 PM   #8
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One thing I've noticed with my kits from Brewers Best, the ones that used Muntons yeast have ALL been bitter than kits using Nottinghams, dry yeast, that is. Another observation that they all have in common is that the ones I considered to be bitter to me, all used strictly LME. The previous kits that use both LME and DME came out perfect with the right amount of balance between hops and sweetness.

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Old 12-18-2006, 03:32 PM   #9
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Thanks for the help fellas. With this brew I think I'm gonna just let it condition for a good length of time, and hope. I'm a little optimistic, as the first flavour from the tasting the other day was a nice roast malt, but it was quickly overcome by the bitterness.

My current idea regarding the water is to bring a few gallons of spring water down from my in-laws farm in Cumbria. It's easier than filtering 40 pints of water at a time, or spending a fortune on bottled!

I'll also try a different yeast. I hadn't even thought of trying another type!

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Old 12-19-2006, 12:29 AM   #10
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Try making another batch of what you already have using distilled water. You'll know for sure if it's your water causing the off flavors. Think of extracts a condensed wort... you're water just makes up the volume.

I have a serious problem using my water (well) that can't be corrected by filtering. The water taste very sweet and affects the flavor of my brews. I'm moving into all grain soon (working on brew stand) and will still plan on using distilled water. I've tried filtering, boiling and correcting the water, it really isn't chemically "wrong" so not much to correct for. But the sweet taste doesn't go away.

You may just be stuck using distilled water or bottled spring water like me.

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