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Old 02-21-2012, 01:54 PM   #1
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Default Under-carbed and Apple Taste

I know, another newb, under-carbed thread.

I just joined this forum after lurking on it for a few weeks. I started brewing my first batch a little over 6 weeks ago, an extract kit for an amber ale. I ignored the instructions and let it sit in the primary for a bout 17 days (OG was ~1.040, FG before I bottled was ~1.008), then I bottled it and it has currently been in bottles for 4 weeks. used kit instructions, it was a homebrewers.com kit.

I first tried the beer from what was left in the bottom of the bottling bucket after we bottled the beer. At this point, I did not detect any green apple taste. It just tasted like flat beer.

After 2 weeks in a bottle (I know it was early), I tried it and suddenly it had a strong green apple taste to it and very little carbonation. After 3 weeks, it had less of a green apple taste and very weak carbonation. I tried it again yesterday (4 weeks) and it still has a green apple taste, although less so and is still incredibly under-carbed. No head retention whatsoever.

From what I have read, the only thing I think I can do for the carbonation is shake up the bottles and get the yeast back in suspension, assuming there is enough sugar. Is this a good idea.

What is causing the apple taste? Why was it not detected after primary fermentation but suddenly popped up now?

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Old 02-21-2012, 02:01 PM   #2
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What did you use to carb?

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Old 02-21-2012, 02:19 PM   #3
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I'm new to brewing as well but I too tried my 1st brew early and noticed a sweet taste. Come to find out it was because of the priming sugar not fully converting. After another week a nice foamy head and a completely different taste. Now I'm at week 8 and the beer tastes great. Keep the bottles stored in a cool relatively constant temp and have patience.

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Old 02-21-2012, 02:28 PM   #4
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I brought a pint of water to a boil, added 5oz of dextrose, let it dissolve into solution, then added it to my bottling bucket. I let it cool a bit then I siphoned the beer over into the bottling bucket.

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Old 02-21-2012, 02:32 PM   #5
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txaggie, what temp did you ferment your beer at?

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Old 02-21-2012, 02:47 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stauffbier View Post
txaggie, what temp did you ferment your beer at?
I tried to keep it in the coolest spot in my house, which stays around 70F. Its hard to get it much cooler than that b/c we are currently stationed in the Caribbean. I looked at the temperature strip on the fermentation bucket several times and it was lower than 75F each time I looked at it. Warmest I remember seeing it was 73F.
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Old 02-21-2012, 02:53 PM   #7
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That is a pretty warm temp for most ales. You will likely get some noted, obvious flavors from a fermentation temp that high. You should do a search on this website for "making a swamp cooler".. It's cheap and easy, and it will help you control the temperature of your fermentation. You'll notice a drastic improvement in the taste of your beer!

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Old 02-21-2012, 03:06 PM   #8
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I have ordered 3 kits from Homebrewers.com and all of them have had this slight cider/apple taste, with very little carbonation. My first 2 batches were fermented in the garage, where it is pretty cool. My last batch was brewed upstairs, where the temps range from about 67-71.

I currently have another batch in the same conditions but from Austin Homebrew, I also brewed this batch with bottled water to try and determine the cause of the apple taste.

I could have sworn I heard some experts on a homebrew podcast saying that they believed old ingredients could cause this taste too.

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Old 02-21-2012, 03:13 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schuey102000 View Post
I have ordered 3 kits from Homebrewers.com and all of them have had this slight cider/apple taste, with very little carbonation. My first 2 batches were fermented in the garage, where it is pretty cool. My last batch was brewed upstairs, where the temps range from about 67-71.

I currently have another batch in the same conditions but from Austin Homebrew, I also brewed this batch with bottled water to try and determine the cause of the apple taste.

I could have sworn I heard some experts on a homebrew podcast saying that they believed old ingredients could cause this taste too.
A temp swing of 10 degrees could cause off flavors, and yes old extract can too!
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Old 02-21-2012, 03:35 PM   #10
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What your describing is called Acetaldehyde, which is usually a characteristic of young beer. Acetaldehyde is a natural fermentation product that will decrease as its converted to ethanol via the anaerobic cycle. You could give it some time as it might go away.

The other possibility is that you converted ethanol to acetaldehyde through oxidation. This is usually where those acetic-cider notes come from. If your beer was splashed around a lot or left open for an extended period of time that could be your issue. This can also be sometimes caused by bacteria as well.

The last possibility is your fermentation conditions as stauffbier pointed out. However, its not so much fermentation temperature as the much as a lack of extended cold storage. Although I should add this usually only for lagers or hybrids.

From what you're describing it sounds like it's probably oxidation or a bacteria. After fermentation keep splashing to a minimum and make sure you clean sanitize all you equipment.

hope this helps.

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