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Old 06-24-2010, 05:50 PM   #1
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Default Why do I keep getting a somewhat "sour" taste to my beers?

Okay, I've brewed 5 batches of beer now and my most recent was a partial mash, everything before was extract with some speciality grains. I just kegged a Blueberry Belgian Wit on Monday and it was finally properly carbed last night and it has somewhat of a sour taste to it. 2 beers before this, which are bottled also had a sour taste. My Weizen Bier was so sour that I couldn't finish a glass but as time has gone on, it has become more mild. My raspberry Wheat, although pretty tasty also is somewhat sour.

I'm confident that I'm not getting infection. My guesses are that I'm rushing them through secondary (2 weeks in secondary) or it's because I've brewed 2 fruit beers that may just naturally taste "sour?" If thats the case, I don't know why my Weizen Bier tastes the way it does. Any ideas or suggestions or similar experiences? I've got an IPA and Stout coming up through the pipeline very soon, so I guess that will be the true test.

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Old 06-24-2010, 06:06 PM   #2
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Okay, I've brewed 5 batches of beer now and my most recent was a partial mash, everything before was extract with some speciality grains. I just kegged a Blueberry Belgian Wit on Monday and it was finally properly carbed last night and it has somewhat of a sour taste to it. 2 beers before this, which are bottled also had a sour taste. My Weizen Bier was so sour that I couldn't finish a glass but as time has gone on, it has become more mild. My raspberry Wheat, although pretty tasty also is somewhat sour.

I'm confident that I'm not getting infection. My guesses are that I'm rushing them through secondary (2 weeks in secondary) or it's because I've brewed 2 fruit beers that may just naturally taste "sour?" If thats the case, I don't know why my Weizen Bier tastes the way it does. Any ideas or suggestions or similar experiences? I've got an IPA and Stout coming up through the pipeline very soon, so I guess that will be the true test.
Sour can come from lots of things. If you ruled out infection, then the next most obvious thing is fermentation temperature. You should aim for a brew temp of 68-72 for most kinds of beer, though a witbier should be okay at a bit higher temp.

Blueberries are a very sour fruit. People forget that sometimes, but often they are sour.

Another thing you can switch out is to get a different yeast. Some breeds of yeast leave more sugars behind than others, so maybe you would prefer the taste of a different type.

Finally, what did you use for carbing sugar, if you carbed in the bottle? (You didn't say whether you kegged or not.) Some people think that cane sugar like you get from the store can leave a sour taste after the bottles carb up.

The most likely culprit, however, is your fermentation temperatures, I'd bet.
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Old 06-24-2010, 06:08 PM   #3
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Fermentation temp is definitely a possibility because the temps have really fluctuated in my apartment over the past month. I recently built a fermentation chiller but wont use it until my next brew. You only need to control temps during primary fermentation correct?

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Old 06-24-2010, 06:18 PM   #4
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I don't know anyone who would attribute fermentation temps to a sour flavor. All of those beers you mentioned have a sour or tart aspect to them. While they are still green this may be more apparent than at a later time.

High fermentation temps can and will cause other off-flavors and fusel alcohols. Most yeast will prefer to be in the 68 F area (but check the package or website for most accurate information). You'll want to make sure that the beer is kept at this temp during the initial strong fermentation. After the krausen has dropped, it's less critical.

Your IPA and Stout will likely tell you more. My best guess at this point is that your beer is just green, and styles that may be a bit tart to begin with.

But I have to ask.. You aren't sucking on the siphon hose are you??

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Old 06-24-2010, 06:26 PM   #5
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No, I have an autosiphon. I think my next 2 beers will tell me a lot. Just disappointed to take that first sip every time and get a sour taste.

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Old 06-24-2010, 06:33 PM   #6
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I vote fermentation temps.
I used to get a strange "twang" to my brews before I started doing controlled temp ferments. Once you get that temp fixed, you won;t go back! It makes a world of difference.

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Old 06-24-2010, 06:37 PM   #7
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Also, try brewing some non fruit beers and control your fermentation temperatures. I agree with Homer that this may be hard to decipher since you have so many fruit recipes.

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Old 06-24-2010, 07:25 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by sfrice80 View Post
Okay, I've brewed 5 batches of beer now and my most recent was a partial mash, everything before was extract with some speciality grains. I just kegged a Blueberry Belgian Wit on Monday and it was finally properly carbed last night and it has somewhat of a sour taste to it. 2 beers before this, which are bottled also had a sour taste. My Weizen Bier was so sour that I couldn't finish a glass but as time has gone on, it has become more mild. My raspberry Wheat, although pretty tasty also is somewhat sour.

I'm confident that I'm not getting infection. My guesses are that I'm rushing them through secondary (2 weeks in secondary) or it's because I've brewed 2 fruit beers that may just naturally taste "sour?" If thats the case, I don't know why my Weizen Bier tastes the way it does. Any ideas or suggestions or similar experiences? I've got an IPA and Stout coming up through the pipeline very soon, so I guess that will be the true test.
do you leave the lid on your pot when boiling?
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Old 06-24-2010, 07:30 PM   #9
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do you leave the lid on your pot when boiling?
Another thread title made me think of this right after I posted my original response. You def want to keep the lid OFF during the boil. But I don't know how much tart DMS gives to a beer.

I've noted a certain flavor in my beers before I got to really controlling my temps, but I would not describe it as tart in any way.

If you are sure your thermometer is reading 68-70 then I just don't think that that's high enough to cause much of a flavor problem.

Some yeasts and some hops can give flavors that are close to tart though. We just won't be able to help much until you find out how the non-fruit beers turn out.
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Old 06-24-2010, 07:32 PM   #10
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do you leave the lid on your pot when boiling?
No
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