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-   -   Sour/Bitter taste (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/sour-bitter-taste-220859/)

RickyandJulian 01-27-2011 03:58 AM

Sour/Bitter taste
So I recently got into brewing (three weeks before xmas). My first beer, an irish red, has a very distinct bitter taste. I used tap water for the water I boiled (2.5 gal). But spring water to fill to five in my primary bucket. Could the tap water cause that sour bitter taste? Also I am using plastic buckets from midwest supplies. Anyone else get funny tastes from the plastic buckets?

My second beer is a honey bee ale and so far after two weeks in the bottle it seems to have the same bitter first taste. Although it should still take another two weeks before it is ready.

msarro 01-27-2011 04:01 AM

Time heals all things. Let it sit a bit longer and see... and that could mean months. The plastic buckets shouldn't give any off tastes.

BeerBDrew 01-27-2011 04:34 AM

1) no, the bucket is not the culprit.
2) why are you supplementing tap water with spring water? Do you know the mineral content of your tap water?
3) what is the recipe? (could be the amount/timing of hop additions)
4) what yeast strain did you pitch? Dry or liquid? If dry, did you rehydrate? If liquid. did you make a starter?
5) how long did you leave the beer in primary?
6) Sour flavors usually are the result of lactic acid that is a byproduct of bacteria, but these tend to show after months or years, not days

In short, need more info - please oblige

BenjaminBier 01-27-2011 04:38 AM

Welcome to HBT!
First, agree with Msarro, time will improve your beer. Leave your beer in the primary for 3-4 weeks before you consider bottling. Once bottled, leave it bottled for 3 weeks before drinking.

When you taste your tap water next to your spring water, do you notice any strong flavors in the tap water like chlorine or salt?

Could you share your recipe as well as your cleaning methods? Maybe the bitter taste is a cleanser residue?

RickyandJulian 01-27-2011 01:26 PM

I think you guys should be firefighters...The response time here is incredible. Thank you for the welcome and the quick responses!

So to answer some of the posed questions:

2) I don't know the mineral content of my water but it has to be fairly high in iron since it will spot red in sinks and toilets. I was supplementing because I didn't have enough spring water at the time. Then on the second batch I wasn't thinking when I was out at the store and only bought three gallons again. I usually put three in the fridge so that I can bring the wort down to around 75-80 degrees without taking forever.

3)The irish red ale had a hop schedule of 1 oz cascade for 60 min and 1 oz fuggle for the last 2 min.

The honey bee ale had a hop schedule of 1 oz fuggle for the last two min.

4)Both were dry yeast, and I rehydrated both before pitching. The Irish red used Muntons, the Honey Bee used Safale (04 or 05) can't remember right now.

5)The Irish red ale was in the primary for 4 days. The bubbling had stopped and I took a hydro reading at 1.012. So I racked it to the secondary where it sat for an additional 2 weeks.

The Honey bee ale was in the primary for 8 days and then went to the secondary for an addition 7 days.


For the Irish red ale I was using the no rinse powder cleanser that came with my kit. I made a five gallon batch in my primary bucket so I could rinse things and clean them as needed up until I was ready to pour the wort in. Then I dumped almost all of it out leaving a little in the primary so I could put the lid on and shake it up for a bit to get everything sanitized. Then I opened it and dumped all the sanitizer out. Put in the wort, pitched the yeast and lidded her up. After this point I had star-san and when I racked the red ale to the secondary I had a 2.5 gallon batch of sanitizer to clean my autosiphon and secondary. I cleaned the tubing and the siphon thoroughly then dumped all the sanitizer out and racked the beer to the secondary. For bottling I made a five gallon batch of the star-san and loaded bottles into it 12 at a time. Then after a min or so moved to my bottling tree to hang out until I needed them. All the bottle caps were in a bowl of the sanitizer as well up until the moment they were put on the bottle. I would do a quick shake to knock off the extra sanitizer and then use the red baron to snap it on.

I also realize now that the primary bucket I have leaks when the pressure from fermentation starts to die off. That means the airlock stops bubbling and the air is seeping out of the rim of the lid somewhere. When it first starts up fermentation the pressure is great enough that it is able to push the airlock up. But once the vigor is over the slow seep of gas isn't enough and it just leaks elsewhere. They should really put a rubber gasket on the lid. I really need to get the 6.5 glass carboy.

Sorry for the long post I just figured I would give as much info as possible to help try to get to the bottom of this.

Bigjuicy 01-27-2011 01:40 PM

TIME!!!! <---- its what the beer needs. For the most part beers will taste completely different from 1 week into primary to 3 weeks in primary. Taste a small amount every other day or so and you will see how the harsh flavors mellow out and all the flavors meld together

Torg 01-27-2011 04:17 PM

Bitter tastes are usually from tannins. It can actually be desired (as in a decoction). Time will make these less noticeable. Or more like mellow them out. It can also be from using iodine cleaners and not getting all of it off. Iodine is very bitter, even in very small amounts.

If you infected the beer it would be blatant. Almost everything that infects beer creates acids. It is those acids that make it smell and taste off. The most common, lactobacillus is actually desired in some beers. And lactobacillus grows and creates acid at about the same pace you brew (look up Sour wheat and lambics)

Bacon 01-27-2011 07:16 PM

it is possible that if you are using any specialty grains in either recipe that you let them get to too high a temperature and, as Torg pointed out, that can leech undesirable chemicals from the grains into the wort, such as tannins. Were there grains, and if so how hot/long did you steep them?

RickyandJulian 01-27-2011 11:01 PM

Both kits had specialty grains. I steeped both at 165 degrees for 30 min. I had my dial thermometer in the pot the whole time. Then I pulled the bag and started my boil.

BenjaminBier 01-28-2011 09:27 PM

It seems like our consensus is to leave your beer in the primary longer and in the bottle longer to let it mature. You may want to slightly reduce your steeping temps to 155ish.

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