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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Strong unpleasant bitterness
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Old 09-08-2014, 02:49 PM   #1
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Default Strong unpleasant bitterness

Hi all,

I'm new to home brewing. I started with a couple of kit batches with hopped extract that turned out really great so I thought I'd move on to doing my own hop boil with extract.

Unfortunately the beer has turned out almost undrinkable. The beer has a strong bitter aftertaste that lingers in the mouth for quite a while. It seems to be different to the normal beer bitternes I'm used to. The beer smells great and the initial taste is good, but the aftertaste is like what one might imagine cigarette butt water to taste like. It's not nice at all.

Here's the recipe I used for my first extract hop boil beer:

Fermentables

2 kg Liquid Malt Extract - Weyermann Oktober Beer
2 kg Liquid Malt Extract - Weyermann Pilsen (late addition)

Hops

Amount Variety Type AA Use Time IBU
15 g Amarillo Pellet 6 Boil 60 min 9.41
10 g Cascade Pellet 6 Boil 45 min 5.76
10 g Cascade Pellet 6 Boil 30 min 4.82
10 g Cascade Pellet 6 Boil 20 min 3.8
20 g Citra Pellet 9 Boil 15 min 9.34
25 g Amarillo Pellet 6 Boil 10 min 5.69
20 g Citra Pellet 9 Boil 5 min 3.75
15 g Citra Pellet 8.5 Boil 2 min 1.13
25 g Amarillo Pellet 6 Dry Hop 5 days
25 g Cascade Pellet 6 Dry Hop 5 days
25 g Simcoe Pellet 6 Dry Hop 5 days

Total IBUs: 43.7
Fermentis / Safale - American Ale Yeast US-05

I had the beer in the fermentor for about 2 weeks before bottling it, where it has aged for about two and a half weeks. I know that the beer is still young... might the bitterness subside with age?
The taste was already there before bottling.

I had put the problem down to my overly packed hop schedule, but I have recently done a partial mash brew which has the same unpleasant aftertaste. The brew has been in the fermentor for over two weeks now and the same bitter taste has developed.

Recipe for the partial mash brew:


Fermentables

1.4 kg Liquid Malt Extract - Weyermann Oktober Beer - (late addition)
300 g Brown Sugar - (late addition)
0.8 kg Liquid Malt Extract - Weyermann Wheat - (late addition)
2.5 kg Weyermann German Pale Ale (partial mash)
5.02 kg Total

Hops
Amount Variety Type AA Use Time IBU
15 g Northern Brewer Pellet 7.8 Boil 60 min 12.14
10 g Chinook Pellet 13 Boil 15 min 6.69
15 g Chinook Pellet 13 Boil 10 min 7.34
15 g Simcoe Pellet 11.7 Boil 7 min 4.89
15 g Centennial Pellet 9.7 Boil 5 min 3.01
15 g Simcoe Pellet 11.7 Boil 2 min 1.54
15 g Centennial Pellet 9.7 Aroma 1 min 0.65
45 g Centennial Pellet 9.7 Dry Hop 4 days
25 g Simcoe Pellet 11.7 Dry Hop 4 days

Total IBUs: 36.27
Fermentis / Safale - English Ale Yeast S-04

I'm really dissappointed because I though something decent would come out. The IBUs are lower than the last batch, but the same unpleasant bitterness is there.

What am I doing wrong? Could it be bad extract or bad hops? Perhaps an infection of some sort?
And may it subside with age or should I not bother even bottling my first partial mash brew?
Any help would be much appreciated.

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Old 09-08-2014, 03:00 PM   #2
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What were the FGs for each beer? What temperature was the wort at during fermentation?

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Old 09-08-2014, 03:20 PM   #3
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I'd love to know where you found Weyermann extracts?! The only place in the US I could find was NYC & they were out & didn't know when they'd get more?
Anyway, in the first batch you had a total of 30g of bittering @ 60 & 45. 1 ounce is 28g. So that might be it. Astringency from high steep/mash temps would also do it. Bittering on the PM beer looks OK @ 15g. I still am thinking astringency...

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Old 09-08-2014, 03:32 PM   #4
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Both beers were brewed at the top end of the acceptable range for S-05 and US-05, at about 22-23°C (73F). The couple of kit beers I did before turned out fine at these temps. I did let the beers come up to about 25° after the fermentation had subsided after about 4-5 days.

The yeast seems to have done it's work. The all extract batch had an OG of 1.055 and an FG of 1.014, while the partial mash had an OG of 1.053 and an FG of 1.014.

For both batches I did the boil in a 12L (3 Gallon) copper pot and topped it off in the fermentor to about 23L (6 Gallons).

These were the first batches that I cooled in the kitchen sink. I didn't bother cooling the kit brews as the water volume was so low.
I put the copper pot in cold water for about half an hour. Could an infection from the kitchen sink have somehow gotten into the brews?

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Old 09-08-2014, 03:43 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unionrdr View Post
I'd love to know where you found Weyermann extracts?! The only place in the US I could find was NYC & they were out & didn't know when they'd get more?
Anyway, in the first batch you had a total of 30g of bittering @ 60 & 45. 1 ounce is 28g. So that might be it. Astringency from high steep/mash temps would also do it. Bittering on the PM beer looks OK @ 15g. I still am thinking astringency...
One of the beers is all extract, so I don't think the problem has anything to do with the mashing.

What does astringency taste like? I've been reading up on it, but I can't get a clear description of it. And if it is astringent, what caused it?
The only comman factor between the brews that I can think of is that they were the first that I cooled in the kitchen sink.

As far as the Weyermann extract goes, I'm sorry I can't help you there unfortunately... I live in Germany so I'm right at the source.
Hence my preference for metric.
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Old 09-08-2014, 03:50 PM   #6
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Could water pH be the problem? I read that it has an impact on mashing, but what about the extract boil?

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Old 09-08-2014, 04:03 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cockfighter View Post
Could water pH be the problem? I read that it has an impact on mashing, but what about the extract boil?
Yeah sounds like you need to switch up your water. I had to start using RO water even after I made pH adjustments to my tap water. Theoretical values in Bru'n water just didnt add up to what the beer tasted like with tap. It was this throaty harsh bitterness that lingered forever. Once I used RO water and built my water with salts, beers improved. Check out the water primer on this forum.
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Old 09-08-2014, 04:08 PM   #8
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Water pH is not normally a problem with extracts as if is with mashing grains to achieve conversion.
The temperatures you gave in the previous post. Were those temperatures for the wort or room ambient temperature?

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Old 09-08-2014, 04:09 PM   #9
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My understanding is that pH doesn't have an impact, if much, on extract as they were mashed properly by the maltster.

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Old 09-08-2014, 04:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cockfighter View Post
One of the beers is all extract, so I don't think the problem has anything to do with the mashing.

What does astringency taste like? I've been reading up on it, but I can't get a clear description of it. And if it is astringent, what caused it?
The only comman factor between the brews that I can think of is that they were the first that I cooled in the kitchen sink.

As far as the Weyermann extract goes, I'm sorry I can't help you there unfortunately... I live in Germany so I'm right at the source.
Hence my preference for metric.
Ah. I should've guess you were in Germany. Anyway, the 30g of bittering hops could've made it more bittered than you prefer. Astringency is like sucking on a tea bag. A different quality of bitter. Maybe the copper adding something, as beer is a bit acidic? But I myself did switch to using spring water & my brews taste noticeably better.
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