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Old 10-05-2011, 12:27 PM   #1
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Default Suggestions, Input appreciated

Hey guy, long time lurker, lots of great advice I've gotten over the last year or so. But now I'm hoping I can get some thoughts/input on my last two batches.

A little over a month ago I brewed up an AHS Pumpkin Ale and an AHS Northland Ale kit. Both partial mash recipes. Everything went according to plan, have brewed both many times before, Northland being one of my favorites. Got my wort down to around 72-74ish pitched my yeast, then moved the fermenters (Ale Pails) to the basement where it stays pretty consistant at 67-68.

Typically I start to see activity in the airlock within a day and know things have taken off. This time though, I didn't see anything. First couple of days nothing was going on, on the third day I took a reading, no change to OG. I checked on here, lots of threads say to give it time, be patient, so I did. On the fourth day, still no change. I hit the local LHBS and the owner there advised I repitch and everything should be fine. So I came home with new yeast (White Labs Liquid) and repitched. By the morning of day 5 there was activity and things were moving along.

I left the beer in the primary for 2 weeks, then moved to a secondary for a week and a half. After that I kegged the beer, hooked up the CO2 and let it sit for a couple of days before it was moved into the Kegerator. It's been in there 5 days chilling.

Had my first couple of glasses last night from each, and neither one tastes right. The pumpkin has great pumpkin smell, and looks good, but when you drink it, it's really thin in body with a really yeasty taste, and a hint of pumpkin after taste. The Northland, which is an amber ale and should have a touch of hops, tastes like stale water and yeast. No hop smell or flavors. Both are pretty horrible to drink. The yeast is just way to over powering.

So I'm hoping there might be some suggestions I could try to see if these beers can be saved. I thought about pulling them out of the kegerator, let them warm up a bit and age longer, see if that would clear it up. But I'm open to any other advice or suggestions. I've been brewing the last couple of years, but this is the first time I've had two batches do this. Only difference this time around in my process was I didn't make a starter. Ran out of time, and read enough threads that had me thinking just pitching the liquid yeast from the vial would be sufficient.

Thanks in advance. Appreciate any feedback.



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Old 10-05-2011, 12:53 PM   #2
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What was the starting and final gravity for each beer? Did they finish fermenting?

My guess is you didn't let these condition long enough and you are drinking them too soon. It also sounds like your fermentation temps may have been on the high side. If ambient temps are 67-68 then the beer in the fermentor will be 5-10 degrees higher during peak fermentation. This can produce yeasty and other off flavors.

I'd say give these more time to condition... maybe leave the kegs at room temp. for a couple of weeks then try them again. And next time try to keep your fermentation temps towards the lower end of the range for the yeast type you are using. You can find recommended temperature ranges for each yeast on the manufacturer's website. Finally, make a yeast starter for every batch that uses liquid yeast!



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Old 10-05-2011, 12:54 PM   #3
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i just brewed their pumpkin and feel as though it fails in the spice category, and it does feel thin to me as well. i caught that before secondary so i added more cinnamon soaked in whiskey and a teaspoon of vanilla, as well as priming with brown sugar. i'm waiting on carbonation now, but am not too hopeful. a lot of the reviews on their site say that they would double the spice next time. their clone kits have been great, this was my first attempt at one of their kits. i have always used white labs liquid and have never made a starter.

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Old 10-05-2011, 01:52 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seven View Post
What was the starting and final gravity for each beer? Did they finish fermenting?

My guess is you didn't let these condition long enough and you are drinking them too soon. It also sounds like your fermentation temps may have been on the high side. If ambient temps are 67-68 then the beer in the fermentor will be 5-10 degrees higher during peak fermentation. This can produce yeasty and other off flavors.

I'd say give these more time to condition... maybe leave the kegs at room temp. for a couple of weeks then try them again. And next time try to keep your fermentation temps towards the lower end of the range for the yeast type you are using. You can find recommended temperature ranges for each yeast on the manufacturer's website. Finally, make a yeast starter for every batch that uses liquid yeast!
The Pumpkin started at 1.048 and ended at 1.015, the northland ale started at 1.050 and ended at 1.012. As for temp, the basement is the lowest I can get it for this time of year. I can get lower as we get closer to December where it'll level off around 60-62. My hands are tied on the options I have right now for getting lower.

Appreciate the input. I'll pull the kegs aside today and see if some time will help.
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Old 10-05-2011, 01:54 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akimbo78 View Post
i just brewed their pumpkin and feel as though it fails in the spice category, and it does feel thin to me as well. i caught that before secondary so i added more cinnamon soaked in whiskey and a teaspoon of vanilla, as well as priming with brown sugar. i'm waiting on carbonation now, but am not too hopeful. a lot of the reviews on their site say that they would double the spice next time. their clone kits have been great, this was my first attempt at one of their kits. i have always used white labs liquid and have never made a starter.
It's definitely light on the spice, but thats one thing I do like about it. I'm not a huge fan of the spices, but I do love the mellow pumpkin flavor. As for the rest of their kits I'm a big fan. They have several that I keep rotating through.

Usually I do make a starter. Kicking myself that I didn't this time.
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Old 10-05-2011, 02:09 PM   #6
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My opinion is repitching added even more yeast to the mix. Typically, most will give it about 4 weeks in primary for the yeast to finish eating the byproducts they give off. You'll plenty of posts about that, and even more about newbs wondering if fermentation is happening again after it stopped as the yeast eating the byproducts they give gases off and you see the airlock move.

Anyway, I second the letting it age longer idea. Other than that, I just don't know what you can do.

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Old 10-05-2011, 04:09 PM   #7
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Appreciate the feedback. I pulled the kegs out of the kegerator. I'll give em a couple more weeks and see if they become drinkable. Thanks again!

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Old 10-05-2011, 04:14 PM   #8
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You may get some sediment on the bottom of the kegs during the conditioning process. The first couple of pours may be cloudy after conditioning but then it should clear up after that.

Good luck!

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Old 10-05-2011, 06:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
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You may get some sediment on the bottom of the kegs during the conditioning process. The first couple of pours may be cloudy after conditioning but then it should clear up after that.

Good luck!
Yeah that I won't mind at all if they end up being drinkable.
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Old 10-06-2011, 02:08 PM   #10
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Just had a thought, since the beer is already in cornies, and if the yeast takes off and finishes the beer, do I need to vent the CO2 occasionally?



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