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Old 02-27-2006, 03:33 AM   #1
Makita
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Default Well...time to get back on the horse

First off...Hi! I wish I had thought of looking for this kind of forum earlier. This is just what I need.

I haven't brewed anything in almost 2 years. It's sort of like those romantic comedies where the protagonists want to fall in love but they refuse to because they have been hurt too many times. I need help.

I've only made about 6 or 7 beers in my life (ales, mostly Papazian recipes), but haven't had a lot of success. One was great, one was not consumable, and the others were "drinkable" but not worth the effort to get them down.

Let's skip the two outliers and talk about the recurring problem with the others:
They all seem to be overly carbonated and have an astringent taste to them.

The carbonation is not "foamy" like beer, but more "fizzy" like cola. I have decided that, carbonation-wise, the beer is much better if it has been allowed to sit open for a few hours and I mix it around alot to release the fizz. Also, my beers tend to have very little head, and what is there goes away quickly - again, somewhat like cola.

Then there is that funny taste. I can only describe it as astringent. Very bitter, but not a good bitter. It's a bitter that you can smell and can taste at the front of the tongue. Drinkable, but not worth giving to somebody else. Even the one great beer I made had a tiny hint of this, but it was probably only noticable to me.

For now, I will intentionally leave out the details of how I made these beers because I want to see if anyone recognizes these specific characteristics rather than reacts to my procedures (which are normal as far as I can tell).

Please help. I can't go any longer without making a good beer.



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Old 02-27-2006, 03:56 AM   #2
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Sounds like an infection issue to me, for the most part. Overcarbonation, or "funny" carbonation will happen if you use too much priming sugar, if you bottle before fermentation is finished, or if your beer is contaminated with foreign nasties.

Given that you have a yucky taste in your beer, I'm guessing foreign nasties. So.... quick sanitation lesson? What are you using for sanitizer? That's maybe the most important thing to sort out. Then we can give you a method for whatever you are using. I'm a chlorine and TSP man, but many here are iodophor users.

You can make perfectly decent beer out of totally mediocre ingredients if you are super super picky on sanitation.

I'm a fan of buying the "wort in a bag" kind of kits.... Baron's, Brewhouse, or Festa, to determine if one's methodology is good enough. If you get bad beer out of those kits... it's your fault, plain and simple.



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Secondary: Sangiovese, Honey Nut Brown, some Pilsner/ale kinda thing that just won't quit...

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Tar Sands Porter, Special Dark Bitter,Oaky Red ale, Hammer & Tongs Black Ale, Black Draught, Cooper's Bitter, Baron's Pilsner
Super Saazy Saaz Pilsner Saaz (It's a little green, yet)

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Old 02-27-2006, 03:59 AM   #3
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Sounds just like my first batch of beer. Wish I could offer more than commiseration but seeing as I just tasted my first batch yesterday, I don't have any more ideas than you. I'm going to watch this thread for ideas. Did you notice a lack of flavor too? I'll grant that mine was a kit and I have no idea what it was supposed to taste like, but I can't imagine it was supposed to taste like that.

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Old 02-27-2006, 04:01 AM   #4
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What kind of kit, St. L? It SHOULD have been the best beer you ever tasted.

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Primary: Lager

Secondary: Sangiovese, Honey Nut Brown, some Pilsner/ale kinda thing that just won't quit...

Bottled:
Tar Sands Porter, Special Dark Bitter,Oaky Red ale, Hammer & Tongs Black Ale, Black Draught, Cooper's Bitter, Baron's Pilsner
Super Saazy Saaz Pilsner Saaz (It's a little green, yet)

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Old 02-27-2006, 04:08 AM   #5
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Not sure other than to say it was $30 and a brown box the size of a big briefcase and the only thing that seemed to be it's name is "Brew your own beer" Featured a "cubitainer" and a caning tip if that helps.

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Old 02-27-2006, 04:12 AM   #6
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What did you brew in? Was it a carboy, bucket, or some other setup sold to you with the kit? If it was like a Mr.Beer setup, I'd be leery of that, because those can easily cause sanitation issues. However, if not, then it could be your sanitation method. Again, it would be helpful to know more about your sanitation method.

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Up next: Big Brew Off competition between me and Kaptain Karma as one team, and my two roommates as another--We'll be brewing Pale Ales with specifications on malts, hops, and total yeild to see who's version is better (and to end up with ten total gallons of great beer).
Also up soon: Belgian Dubbel
Primary: Grampa's Woodshed Apple Smoked Porter
Secondary: Zombiefoot California Common, Chocolate Strong Porter
Drinking: Seamus O'Drunkagan Irish Red, Humble Pie Imperial Stout, Capricorn IPA
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Old 02-27-2006, 04:28 AM   #7
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Sorry, didn't mean to not give enough info. Little shy about hijacking someone else's thread. The container that came with the kit is a semi-firm cube shaped plastic container called a cubitainer. The kit also came with a powder for sanitizing. Not sure what's in it. I just did with it what the directions told me to do. I don't know what doing it right is like, so I couldn't guess where I came up short. Sanitizing sounds like the common cause in a lot of threads I've perused on this forum, but I did sanitize. I just don't know if there is a right way and a wrong way. If there is I wouldn't know if I did it right or wrong. If, by your observation, brewing kits tend to make very good beer if done right, I would tend to volunteer that I did something wrong. I just don't know what that might be.

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Old 02-27-2006, 04:33 AM   #8
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Your cubitainer might be the cause. Did it come with an airlock?

Other than that, the sanitizer that came with it sounds like it was bleach based, which can cause similar problems if it isn't rinsed. What happens is the chlorine kind of kills the yeast, causing it to not ferment all the way out, and it will still be somewhat active, but mostly injured, causing it to have a soda like fizz to it, and taste kind of nasty. But if you rinsed it properly that wouldn't be so much of an issue.

I would recomend buying a carboy (25-40$), and getting some iodophor, both of which you should be able to get at a homebrewshop. You should also be able to find liquid yeast, which will be more active and more tolerant of conditions than dry yeast.

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Up next: Big Brew Off competition between me and Kaptain Karma as one team, and my two roommates as another--We'll be brewing Pale Ales with specifications on malts, hops, and total yeild to see who's version is better (and to end up with ten total gallons of great beer).
Also up soon: Belgian Dubbel
Primary: Grampa's Woodshed Apple Smoked Porter
Secondary: Zombiefoot California Common, Chocolate Strong Porter
Drinking: Seamus O'Drunkagan Irish Red, Humble Pie Imperial Stout, Capricorn IPA
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Old 02-27-2006, 04:42 AM   #9
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Thanks for the tip(s). Yes to answer the question, the cubitainer did come with an air lock. But, like it or not, it sounds like I'm going to have to invest in some real equipment. I caught the bug to do this some more, but I'm worried about the results not being up to my hopes. Don't know if it's shooting too high, but if I can't brew something as flavorful as Sam Adams or Sierra Nevada Pale Ale I'm better off buying it.

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Old 02-27-2006, 04:47 AM   #10
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You'll be happy buying the equipment, and if you treat it right, it'll last a long time, which means in the longrun you'll be saving a lot of money by drinking homebrews instead of buying Sierra Nevada...even though that is a very good beer. But you can make five gallons of possibly better beer for less than fifty bucks, which is quite a bargain. But the most important thing is is the satisfaction in knowing that you made it.

Relax, have a homebrew... or in your case, maybe a decent store-bought, and that bug of yours will have you making the beer you love in no time at all.



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Up next: Big Brew Off competition between me and Kaptain Karma as one team, and my two roommates as another--We'll be brewing Pale Ales with specifications on malts, hops, and total yeild to see who's version is better (and to end up with ten total gallons of great beer).
Also up soon: Belgian Dubbel
Primary: Grampa's Woodshed Apple Smoked Porter
Secondary: Zombiefoot California Common, Chocolate Strong Porter
Drinking: Seamus O'Drunkagan Irish Red, Humble Pie Imperial Stout, Capricorn IPA
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