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Old 11-27-2009, 12:00 AM   #1
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Default Using mountain spring water = "bland" beer?

I have made 11 batches of beer so far using spring water directly from a pipe in the mountains. One batch turned out not so great because of poor rookie sanitization (I think). Every other batch has been awesome, except for my Oktoberfest. The Oktoberfest tasted bland and watered down and had a slight bannana or fruity taste and aroma. It doesn't really taste like any Oktoberfest I've ever had. I was expecting an explosion of malt flavor.

The guy at the brew shop said using water from the mountain contains microorginisms that could make the beer bland. Is this true? Should I spend the money on bottled water or continue using free mountain spring water?

I also used White Labs Oktoberfest/Marzwn Lager yeast and fermented it at around 65 degrees because I didn't have a lager fridge at the time. I also completely skipped the lagering stage because of the lack of fridge. Could this be to blame or is it my mountain water?

The beer is drinkable and overall not bad...but it wasn't at all what I was expecting.

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Old 11-27-2009, 12:07 AM   #2
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The lager has those esters because it was fermented about 15 degrees too high. One of the results of fermentation temperatures being too high is off flavors such as esters.

As far as bland, it could be the recipe or it could be the lack of lagering to bring out the crispness of a lager. What was the recipe?

As far as water, without a water report it's impossible to say what's in it. Not just microorganisms which would be killed by boiling, but you don't know the mineral content. It would just be a guess to tell you the properties of the water you're using. I had my tap water tested to see the profile, so I can adjust it for my recipes. Many people sucessfully use bottled spring water or tap water, so the choice is really up to you.

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Old 11-27-2009, 12:09 AM   #3
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I think its because you didnt lager it.
I did the same thing with my Oktoberfest beer and I got the same off flavors, slight bannana or fruity taste. It almost tasted like a hefe. It has become the worst beer I have brewed.

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Old 11-27-2009, 03:30 AM   #4
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The recipe for this is as follows:

7lbs Light Malt Extract
2 ozs Hallertauer hops (50 min boil)
1/2 oz Hallertauer hops (5 min boil)
1/2 lb Crystal malt
1/2 cup Chocolate malt
1/2 lb toasted malt
White Labs WLP 820 Oktoberfest/Marzen liquid yeast

I should also mention when I tasted the brew it had been bottled for 3 weeks. I'm gonna wait another 3 weeks and try another bottle.

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Old 11-27-2009, 08:03 AM   #5
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Optimum Fermentation Temperature: 52-58°F
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Old 11-27-2009, 09:14 AM   #6
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Yeah I knew I was fermenting too high...but I didn't have a fridge at the time and wanted to try an "altbier" style. I have a fridge now, now I need a wort chiller and fridge thermostat.

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Old 11-27-2009, 09:50 AM   #7
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You're doing extract brews, so your water profile shouldn't matter much as long as the water tastes good and there isn't any chlorine or chlorimine in there, as it wouldn't be with spring water.
High tempertutres will cause off flavours.
What was the OG ?

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Old 11-27-2009, 10:15 AM   #8
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OG = 1.050
FG = 1.006

Pitched the yeast at 69 degrees F...strip thermometer dropped to 66 degrees F and remained steady. Fermenting took 25 days. Water is delicious. Don't know mineral content but it may have slight iron in it from the iron pipe the water comes out of?

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Old 11-28-2009, 05:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ziggy13 View Post
The guy at the brew shop said using water from the mountain contains microorginisms that could make the beer bland. Is this true?

I think this could be forwarded over to the 'Bad Advice From a Homebrew Shop' thread.

It helps a great deal to understand the composition and chemistry of the brewing water at hand. Get an analysis done for your tap water by Ward Labs and post the results. There are lots of knowledgeable people here on the subject of water chemistry and water modifications.
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Old 11-28-2009, 05:43 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boo boo View Post
You're doing extract brews, so your water profile shouldn't matter much as long as the water tastes good and there isn't any chlorine or chlorimine in there, as it wouldn't be with spring water.
High tempertutres will cause off flavours.
What was the OG ?
True. And, I am sure we both know this, but it is worth mentioning for the sake of the discussion.

Here's the catch. If water employed has high mineral content to begin with, then the supplemental mineral content stored within the dry or liquid malt extract will perform an unpredictable water modification.

In the case of our local water which is ridiculously soft but has a chloride:sulfate ratio of 27:8, my extract brews always came out very malty. The end result was that for the life of us, we couldn't figure out what was going on to make the beer so malty regardless of style; that is, until we discovered this wonderful online forum.

Having benefitted from the information picked-up here, I only hope to pass it along in order that such information may be of continual benefit for others.
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