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Old 10-13-2008, 02:46 PM   #1
Dennis1979
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Default Need Some Real Expert Advice

I'm hoping some of you guys that have been home brewing a while can help me get on the right track. Here's the deal: I'm on my first batch right now. To get started I went to the HBS and got my equipment. I told the guy there I wasn't sure what recipe and was worried about brewing 5 gallons of beer I don't like. He asked what beer do I like so I told him Svytury's Ekstra. This is a beer brewed in Lithuania. It gets average reviews but I really like it. He said this was a style of Dortmunder and he said he thought he could duplicate it. He put together the ingredients. The grain was either Belgium Pilsner or German Pilsner. The extract he called Dutch Light Lager. The hops used were Hallertau Tradition hops ( bittering), Czech Saazhops (flavoring) and Czech Saazhops (finishing). The yeast was Safale 5 with something called BruVigor added on top of the yeast.

Now, I made the wort and left it in the primary for a week then siphoned it into the secondary. I left it there for 2 weeks and then bottled it. It’s been in bottles for 2 weeks. Yesterday I cooled a couple of bottles down for several hours and then poured me a glass. It's beer alright but I am not impressed with the flavor. I know it probably needs more time in the bottle but what I'm talking about is the basic flavor. This isn't an issue of anything going wrong with the batch, it is simply the recipe. Don't get me wrong, the beer is drinkable and I will drink it, but it’s not what I was shooting for at all. It has a kind of bitter and overly sweet flavor at the same time that hits you right away. There is a slight metallic flavor after you swallow which I am attributing to the fact that it needs to condition more.

So my question is. How can I get the beer I want without having to make 5 gallons and waiting 2 months to find out I don't like it? The beer I want doesn't have to be exactly like the Svytury's, that is just the store bought beer I like and I would like to make my own brew that comes close to that flavor. Is anyone familiar with the Svytury's beer? I'm sure that an expert can taste a beer and know what ingredients are needed to make it, however I am far, far from an expert.

Any thoughts and advice is appreciated.

Dennis

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Old 10-13-2008, 02:56 PM   #2
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Not an expert by any means...but if size and time is what you're after...perhaps you are THE guy that a Mr. Beer is for? I mean that with all due respect...but from what I have read, they do produce a small batch in a relatively Short amount of time...and For me, 2 months is just the beginning of some beer. I've got stuff in the cellar that I won't even taste for another year.

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Old 10-13-2008, 03:01 PM   #3
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As above, not an expert, but experienced...

The style you are going for is difficult to recreate without lagering capabilities, and in my opinion, the sweet flavor you are tasting is from the malt extract. It is more evident in lighter beers, like this one.

In my non expert opinion; you will need to brew all grain and truly lager the beer if you want to recreate this specific brew. Lagering is a process where the beer is fermented for a longer period of time using lager yeast, at low fermentation temps. Primary is the typical few weeks, but the 'lagering' stage can be up to a few months and needs to be done at a low temp, 40-ish. You would need to convert a fridge to a lagering chamber to do this, or come up with some other DYI lagering method.

It might be more worth your while to just buy this beer, and perhaps try brewing some simple ales to begin. Then you can see if you like this hobby without going to the trouble and expense of obtaining all of the equipment necessary to lager.

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Old 10-13-2008, 03:13 PM   #4
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Yep, you need to lager this, and trial and error is pretty much the way to go.

Might be the wrong hobby for you

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Old 10-13-2008, 03:18 PM   #5
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If your not willing to be patient (one week in the primary is not sufficient) and try different things, homebrewing probably isn't for you. You'd be better off buying some Svyturys Ekstra and drinking that.
Nothing wrong with that.

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Old 10-13-2008, 03:21 PM   #6
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Lots of us 'non experts' here, and I am definately one of them... Having said that, trying to brew a clone of something you reeeeaaalllyyy like can drive yo nutso. I think blacklab has it right. Buy yourself some of the beer you like to drink, and take a chance on another well established recipe that you might like. For me at least, I've learned a few really important lessons over my 20 years of brewing (quick math...subtract 13 year hiatus and 6 years of really BS brewing in my college apartment using all the wrong techniques, ingredients and know how and I come up with the fact that I'm really just a beginner with 30 or so batches under by ever expanding belt) and they are as follows;

1. Whatever comes out of at the end of the brewing process will be great in it's own right. The tasing and discovery of what I made is always the best part for me. It is truly about the journey. Don't look for the destination.

2. I am just learning the second lesson, which I can't stress enough. Patience is really the most important part of the brew process. Time will change the taste, body and really every aspect of your brew. Let time do it's magic.

Enjoy the journey, sanitize everything, use quality ingredients and you'll have a great time. I have even started keeping a journal with a lot of notes so that if I brew the same recipe again, I can make minor changes that will affect the outcome. I really enjoy that part of the process. If you are trying to replicate a commercial brew, you will almost certainly be let down, especially if you aren't recapturing their yeast, or using the same exact ingredients as the commercial brewery used. Do you think that they use water from Houston to make the beer? . If it's your first brew, that just exascerbates the situation.

And as everyone here (and they're all really helpful and much brighter than I am) will tell you...Relax, Don't Worry, Have A Home Brew!

Welcome to the addiction. When you find your goal (fun or replication) you just may find that you've stumbled on a really great hobby that you can share with your friends.

Welcome aboard, relax!
-E

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Old 10-13-2008, 03:23 PM   #7
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Patience is the most important skill a homebrewer needs. No batch will be at its peak until it has conditioned for 1-2 months (or more in the case of high gravity brews). Most likely your brew is just green, and it will be much better after another 4-6 weeks in the bottles. The best solution is to take solid recipes others like that are in styles you know you will drink, brew up a bunch, and keep your pipeline full so you are drinking every batch at its peak. Once you get to that point, it's a lot more enjoyable.

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Old 10-13-2008, 03:25 PM   #8
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Quote:
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The best solution is to take solid recipes others like that are in styles you know you will drink
Where's the Recipe for the OE800 Clone again?
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Old 10-13-2008, 03:31 PM   #9
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Patience is a big part of it, it will taste better in a few weeks, though it might not be the beer you wanted...

But regardless of the recipe, unless you keg, nearly all beers require at least 5-6 weeks before they are drinkable.

As to the 5 gallons deal, you can do small test batches of a recipe....get yourself either a mr beer keg or a 3 gallon water bottle, then scale any recipe down to 2.5 gallons...the nice thing about this is that you can do all grain recipes on your stovetop with a 5 gallon brewpot.

You will still need 5 weeks or so for the process to unfold.

But I gaurentee that once you hit a recipe you like as a 2.5 gallon batch, you will instantly regret the fact that you don't have 5 gallons of it....

When you get into this obsession you find out quickly that 5 gallons (2-cases) of excellent beer is reaally not alot.

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Old 10-13-2008, 03:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
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you find out quickly that 5 gallons (2-cases) of excellent beer is reaally not alot.
That's not even 2 beers per night for a month.
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