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Old 02-12-2011, 02:24 AM   #1
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Default Less than satisfied with my first brew

5 weeks ago I brewed the witbier kit from northern brewer. 2 weeks later, when my gravity was a stable 1.010 I bottled. Today I cracked open my first bottle, and I was disappointed.

First, the carbonation didn't feel right. There was very little head retention and the bubbles were not quite right. The taste was also somewhat off. It tasted too bitter, and left a dry mouth feel.

The only problem I can think of was my fermentation temperatures. The warmest place in the house hovers between 66 and 62, which I this was less than ideas for my yeast.

I do plan to wait another week and crack open another bottle to see if the flavor improves. Is there anything else I can do at this point?

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Old 02-12-2011, 02:34 AM   #2
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I do plan to wait another week and crack open another bottle to see if the flavor improves. Is there anything else I can do at this point?
You got it. The carb level isn't likely to change, but the bitterness could changle a bit in time.

While you're waiting, you might as well practice brewing! What's your next beer going to be?
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Old 02-12-2011, 02:35 AM   #3
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At this point (already bottled) there isn't much you can do but wait. Give it more time in bottles to condition. It'll improve.

By all means, however, start another batch of the same recipe or something else. Just keep brewing!

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Old 02-12-2011, 03:06 AM   #4
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You're going to have some batches that just dont taste right, arent carbed enoough, are too sweet, are to bitter etc etc. It's your first! My first was infected. Second I screwed up the hopping. Third wasnt great either. Took me around 5 or 6 batches to get a beer that I thought was pretty decent. Im on batch 26 and I still have a few here and there that suck. Its all beer, though and the good ones are really good ones!

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Old 02-12-2011, 03:37 AM   #5
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While you're waiting, you might as well practice brewing! What's your next beer going to be?
I have a yeast starer chilling in the fridge a tripel kit ready to go. I am really worried about me fermentation temperature though.
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Old 02-12-2011, 03:50 AM   #6
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I think those fermentation temps will be fine for ales. The actual temp of your wort will be warmer than the ambient air temp, so if you keep the bucket in a room with air temp of 66, your actual fermentation temp will likely be more like 68-70. Then, as it cools off from fermentation slowing, you want it colder anyway to allow/cause everything to settle out.

My fermentation room is a steady 67 and my wort shows 69-70 during active fermntation, and then it cools down once fermentation slows.

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Old 02-12-2011, 04:04 AM   #7
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You're going to have some batches that just dont taste right, arent carbed enoough, are too sweet, are to bitter etc etc. It's your first! My first was infected. Second I screwed up the hopping. Third wasnt great either. Took me around 5 or 6 batches to get a beer that I thought was pretty decent. Im on batch 26 and I still have a few here and there that suck. Its all beer, though and the good ones are really good ones!
Agreed. i have had a couple that were less than par when i first started and have moved on to better, (with more knowledge) and have not lookied back. there are great recipes and mediocre recipes. what kind of beer do you like? Start with one that is within your area of expertice of taste and move out from there. homebrewing is fun but one thing that helped me was expanding my beer tastes. when i started to enjoy new and different beers by style, i could then hone down what i liked for homebrewing.

i hope you continue and best of luck..
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Old 02-12-2011, 04:05 AM   #8
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My brew closet appears to be around 64. And I guess my yeast is working. My gravity went from 1.050 to 1.011 in two weeks. If it was too cold, the yeast would just go dormant.

The problem is, I am not sure what I did wrong.

I looked over my notes, and I think I might have noticed two things:

First, i only steeped my specially grains in 1 gallon of water, because that's what the recipe called for. Since I had 2 pounds of grain, i couldn't submerge the whole bag, so I had to do all kinds of silly things. I don't think I extracted everything from the grain, which is why my beer is lacking in wheat flavor.

Second, my boil was kind of lazy. I am listening to a series of lectures about beer, and just today they guy was talking about needing a vigorous boil to achieve a proper hot break as well as isomerize (no idea what that means) hops. Maybe not enough gunk boiled out. I think I will focus on steeping my grains better and I will wrap my pot as suggested in the "Improved boiling on the stovetop!" post.

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Old 02-12-2011, 04:06 AM   #9
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@Hockeyhunter99, at the moment I am really digging Belgians, so I am going to attempt a tripel.

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Old 02-12-2011, 04:17 AM   #10
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What was the water you used? If you used tap water, is it kinda salty, or does it have a chlorine smell or flavor? R.E.M. sang "don't go back to Rockville" for a reason...but I don't know what that reason is

Anyway, it's possible that the water you used isn't really suited to the beer style and flavor you were shooting for. It would at least be worth your while to call your water treatment authority and request a water report (if you use tap water). They're typically free.

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