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Old 01-09-2013, 11:18 PM   #1
dtwitty
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Default Questions from a new brewer.

Hi all! Been reading these forums for a year and using the advice through my first three brews, so thank you! My third brew is currently sitting in my carboy becoming my first drinkable beer (hopefully!). My palate has not become sophisticated enough to get into anything higher than the mid 20s for IBUs so I have attempted only wheat beers. The first was a Paulaner clone, second was a supposed simple hefe, and this current one is an American Wheat of no specific name.

With my previous two brews, both fermented as expected; but when all was said and done, they were very bitter and undrinkable. I did not use more than an ounce of hops each time so from my very limited knowledge I don't believe I used enough hops to bitter it that severely. The other noticeable trait that is a little concerning, which is the case with all three brews, is the color of my beer. Each time my brew has turned out significantly darker then expected. They could easily be mistaken for an amber. I decided on this third brew to do a half and half, wheat and light LME, hoping that the color would come out better, but alas, this is not the case. I guess I should mention with my first brew it was a combination of LME, DME and partial mash (I had help) and the second was all Wheat LME.

So to recap, my questions are concerned with why my brew might be coming out so bitter? And what am I to make of the color of my brew? I mentioned the color only because it may or may not be related to the taste, and the fact that every hefe or wheat I have had in my life has been multiple shades lighter and brighter then what I am producing.

Thank you in advance for any responses to my questions! And thank you for letting me join your community!

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Old 01-09-2013, 11:28 PM   #2
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the bitter flavor is probably a high concentration of undesirable minerals in your water i.e. iron oxide, magnesium, or sodium.
the darkness of your beer comes from early additions of malt extract to the boil-carmelized wort.

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Old 01-09-2013, 11:35 PM   #3
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When are you adding your extract to the boil? If you are adding it early in the boil, the color will darken due to the Maliard reactions of the extract. It may also make you more prone to scortching your wort, or burning the extract at the bottom of your kettle which can make the beer taste bitter. Try adding a small portion of your extract at the beginning of your boil, and adding the remainder with 10 min left in your boil. Remember to stir like crazy when adding!

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Old 01-09-2013, 11:41 PM   #4
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Thank you for your responses! I have used distilled water purchased from the store for all three brews. As for the malt, each recipe I have followed called for water to be brought to a boil, then add all of the extract, and finally to boil for 60 minutes. Would scorched wort leave a residue on the bottom? Each time I have made sure to stir it really well when adding and have not had any signs of scorching by way of the pan having a scorched layer on the bottom. Same goes for burning, is there any visible signs of this on the pot itself?

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Old 01-09-2013, 11:54 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtwitty View Post
Thank you for your responses! I have used distilled water purchased from the store for all three brews. As for the malt, each recipe I have followed called for water to be brought to a boil, then add all of the extract, and finally to boil for 60 minutes. Would scorched wort leave a residue on the bottom? Each time I have made sure to stir it really well when adding and have not had any signs of scorching by way of the pan having a scorched layer on the bottom. Same goes for burning, is there any visible signs of this on the pot itself?
No, It will just darken your wort.As far as the bitter taste how long are you conditioning your beer prior to drinking?
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Old 01-10-2013, 12:17 AM   #6
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The first brew was one week in primary and a second week in secondary before bottling. The second was a week and a half in one carboy before bottling.

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Old 01-10-2013, 12:27 AM   #7
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I've done three batches so far and from what I've learned from this forum is that a secondary is not always needed. That being said I've left my batches in the primary for three weeks and then bottle conditioned for three weeks. I've also had all three of my batches come out darker than expected and like you add the LME and DME at the beginning of the 60 min boil. My next batch I
Plan on adding it later in the boil as I also have read on this forum. Good luck
On your future brews...!!

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Old 01-10-2013, 12:41 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtwitty
Hi all! Been reading these forums for a year and using the advice through my first three brews, so thank you! My third brew is currently sitting in my carboy becoming my first drinkable beer (hopefully!). My palate has not become sophisticated enough to get into anything higher than the mid 20s for IBUs so I have attempted only wheat beers. The first was a Paulaner clone, second was a supposed simple hefe, and this current one is an American Wheat of no specific name.

With my previous two brews, both fermented as expected; but when all was said and done, they were very bitter and undrinkable. I did not use more than an ounce of hops each time so from my very limited knowledge I don't believe I used enough hops to bitter it that severely. The other noticeable trait that is a little concerning, which is the case with all three brews, is the color of my beer. Each time my brew has turned out significantly darker then expected. They could easily be mistaken for an amber. I decided on this third brew to do a half and half, wheat and light LME, hoping that the color would come out better, but alas, this is not the case. I guess I should mention with my first brew it was a combination of LME, DME and partial mash (I had help) and the second was all Wheat LME.

So to recap, my questions are concerned with why my brew might be coming out so bitter? And what am I to make of the color of my brew? I mentioned the color only because it may or may not be related to the taste, and the fact that every hefe or wheat I have had in my life has been multiple shades lighter and brighter then what I am producing.

Thank you in advance for any responses to my questions! And thank you for letting me join your community!
Try adding 1/2 the LME at the beginning and the other 1/2 at the 45 or 50 minute mark (assuming a 60 minute boil). That should take care of the color - the bitterness has me stumped, when are you adding your hops?

Another question are you using a kit or using an Internet recipe? A store bought kit (AHS, Midwest, Morebeer or Northern brewer) should address this issues.

The best of luck, and remember keep brewing, you get better with every additional brew.

-John
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Old 01-10-2013, 12:50 AM   #9
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As far as the conditioning time, I was going to allow three weeks in the primary without a secondary before bottling so hopefully that may help.

I will definitely take the suggestions for splitting up when I add the LME for my next brew, thank you!

And as for your questions John, my hops are added at the beginning of the 60 minute boil, after all of the extract has been added. The recipes I have been using have just been selected from the internet, no kits.

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Old 01-11-2013, 10:08 PM   #10
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you may be extracting tannins from the partial mash, please post a little more detail about that process.

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