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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Pre-bottling beer tastes watered-down, is this normal?
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Old 11-03-2009, 07:40 PM   #1
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Default Pre-bottling beer tastes watered-down, is this normal?

Prior to bottling my first homebrew (badger amber ale extract kit from Wine and Hop Shop), I took a taste of the beer and it tasted very watered down. Is this normal prior to bottling since there is no carbonation and it was warm? The beer itself has a pretty amber color, so it doesn't look watered down. Will two more weeks of aging in the bottle add more flavor?

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Old 11-03-2009, 07:42 PM   #2
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The thing to remember though is that if you are smelling or tasting this during fermentation not to worry. During fermentation all manner of stinky stuff is given off (ask lager brewers about rotten egg/sulphur smells, or Apfelwein makers about "rhino farts,") like we often say, fermentation is often ugly AND stinky and PERFECTLY NORMAL.

The same goes for bottling day.

It's really only down the line, AFTER the beer has been fermented (and often after it has bottle conditioned even,) that you concern yourself with any flavor issues if they are still there.

I think too many new brewers focus to much on this stuff too early in the beer's journey. And they panic unnecessarily.

A lot of the stuff you smell/taste initially more than likely ends up disappearing either during a long primary/primary & secondary combo, Diacetyl rests and even during bottle conditioning.

If I find a flavor/smell, I usually wait til it's been in the bottle 6 weeks before I try to "diagnose" what went wrong, that way I am sure the beer has passed any window of greenness.

Fementation is often ugly, smelly and crappy tasting in the beginning and perfectly normal. The various conditioning phases, be it long primary, secondarying, D-rests, bottle conditioning, AND LAGERING, are all part of the process where the yeast, and co2 correct a lot of the normal production of the byproducts of fermentation.

Lagering is a prime example of this. Lager yeast are prone to the production of a lot of byproducts, the most familiar one is sulphur compounds (rhino farts) but in the dark cold of the lagering process, which is at the minimum of a month (I think many homebrewers don't lager long enough) the yeast slowly consumes all those compounds which results in extremely clean tasting beers if done skillfully.

Ales have their own version of this, but it's all the same.

If you are sampling your beer before you have passed a 'window of greeness" which my experience is about 3-6 weeks in the bottle, then you are more than likely just experiencing an "off flavor" due to the presence of those byproducts (that's what we mean when we say the beer is "green" it's still young and unconditioned.) but once the process is done, over 90% of the time the flavors/smells are gone.

Of the remaining 10%, half of those may still be salvageable through the long time storage that I mention in the Never dump your beer!!! Patience IS a virtue!!! Time heals all things, even beer:

And the remaining 50% of the last 10% are where these tables and lists come into play. To understand what you did wrong, so you can avoid it in the future.

Long story short....I betcha that smell/flavor will be long gone when the beer is carbed and conditioned.

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Old 11-03-2009, 07:44 PM   #3
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I always taste a sample when bottling and have on occasion had one that tasted watery. Usually a few weeks (2-4) in the bottles helps condition as well as carbonate the brew.

Try one of the bottles at the end of each week to see how the beer is progressing. And if it ends up not to your liking, try again with the next batch.

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Old 11-03-2009, 07:59 PM   #4
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In my opinion, carbonation changes the mouthfeel tremendously. Also, a little aging helps, too.

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Old 11-03-2009, 08:17 PM   #5
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lol, was that a copy-paste answer by the rev?

I too tasted my first brew going into the secondary, and it was watery. it was also a bitter, 1.005 FG, so I kind of expected it to be light on the mouth.

but, i think time in the bottle will fix everything.

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