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Old 12-28-2010, 08:06 AM   #1
Brasco20
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Default Why does my extract brew suck?

Ive been brewing for around 8 months now and my brews havent been the best. The first batch was infected, so i switched to star san and fixed the sour problem. The rest of my brews, some better than others, have all been just ok, or just plain suck, dont taste infected, just like not very good beer.
I use a yeast starter, and just recently started using a stir plate. Do a 60 min boil and just add the hops and lme when the kit says to. I boil 2.5 gallons of bottled spring water, and put the other 2.5 in the freezer to help get the temp down when im finished with the boil. My pitching temps are always good. My house is set at 67 so i figure that my ferm temps are ok.

When i sanitize my carboy and my kegs there is always an excessive amount of foam left from the star san, could this be a problem?
Also i primary 4 weeks then keg, set the keg to 30 psi for 3 or 4 days, then back it off to 10, once its carbed i start to drink it. Am i drinking it too soon? I dont strain the wort or use a hop bag, could this be a problem?

Any ideas for me, let me know if you need more info.

Thanks for any help!

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Old 12-28-2010, 09:43 AM   #2
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For a long time I couldn't understand why my beer wasn't up to par.
I finally discovered it was my water. I got a water filter and also use brewing salts to adjust my Chloride/Sulfate ratio.
Have you looked at your cities water report?
Use this to find out if your water is good for brewing.
http://www.brewersfriend.com/water-chemistry/

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Old 12-28-2010, 09:50 AM   #3
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Possibly too high of fermentation temps.. ambient of your house is 67, but generally the actually temp of the beer is 5-10 degrees higher than ambient. Fermentation produces heat. I know that when I built a fermentation chamber (mother of fermentation chamber) and kept the ambient temp at 60 degrees my beers turned from okay/bad to fan-f!@#in-tastic.

You say your pitching temps are "good;" what is your definition of "good?" The next thing I started doing after the ferm. chamber is to lower the wort to about 60-65 (the temp of fermentation chamber) before pitching the yeast. This improved my beer even further, IMO.

The only other thing I can say about your process has to do with kegging. This area I'm not familiar with, but it generally takes at least three weeks in the bottle to properly age a standard ale and get it carbed up before drinking. Now, I understand kegging is quicker for carbing, but maybe you are drinking it too young, and getting a "green" taste to it. That is just a guess; again, I'm not familiar with kegging.

That's all my opinion.

Good luck, and keep going... you'll get it.

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Old 12-28-2010, 10:00 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brasco20 View Post
Ive been brewing for around 8 months now and my brews havent been the best. The first batch was infected, so i switched to star san and fixed the sour problem. The rest of my brews, some better than others, have all been just ok, or just plain suck, dont taste infected, just like not very good beer.
I use a yeast starter, and just recently started using a stir plate. Do a 60 min boil and just add the hops and lme when the kit says to. I boil 2.5 gallons of bottled spring water, and put the other 2.5 in the freezer to help get the temp down when im finished with the boil. My pitching temps are always good. My house is set at 67 so i figure that my ferm temps are ok.

When i sanitize my carboy and my kegs there is always an excessive amount of foam left from the star san, could this be a problem?
Also i primary 4 weeks then keg, set the keg to 30 psi for 3 or 4 days, then back it off to 10, once its carbed i start to drink it. Am i drinking it too soon? I dont strain the wort or use a hop bag, could this be a problem?

Any ideas for me, let me know if you need more info.

Thanks for any help!
First I would stop doing a starter (for now) lots of fairly new brewers have problems at this stage.... So... take it out of the process, like I said for now. The yeast your using, dry or liquid is probably good enough as is straight out of the package to make great beer and it might be a process problem on your end.

What is the brand of LME?? Age of the LME??? I am personally not a big fan of LME myself. Briess DME is a KILLER product and for most of my customers the DME has made consistantly better beers than the LME. IMHO! (not trying to start a LME vs. DME war here)

From Boil to glass, how long are you waiting?? 4 weeks in primary is about the best thing you can do for your beer. good job to you for waiting! But it does seem like you may be drinking it GREEN. 4 weeks in primary yes, then let it rest for another 2-3 week in the keg before you gas it with 30 PSI might help.
DO they ever seem to get any better the longer they sit??
I do agree water is a problem with a lot of brewers. If in doubt, part it out! Buy your water from the store, or start with distilled and salt it properly.
Are these tried and true recipes?
Cheers
Jay
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Old 12-28-2010, 10:14 AM   #5
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The dme i use for my starter is carlson briess, and the lme is northern brewers and i use it within a month of having it, i usually get my kits from them. The water i am using is bottled spring water from walmart. Between the ice bath for my boil and the cooled top off water im always at room temp when i pitch. So for fermenting at cooler temps, do i need to get a fridge with a controllable thermostat, and ferment in that?

Thanks alot for the help guys!

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Old 12-28-2010, 10:20 AM   #6
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if your using bottled spring water I doubt that is your problem. As mentioned above maybe skip a starter on your next batch and let it age a bit longer. I'd try small changes and figure it out by process of ellimanation

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Old 12-28-2010, 10:20 AM   #7
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Not saying that water is the problem for sure, but you have to take into account that extract was produced from water with an unknown ion profile plus you are using spring water. I'm assuming you're not aware of it's ion profile.
These two items could be compounding your problem.
My advise is to use distilled water, or use your tap water, and filter it.
If you have chloramines in your tap water treat with campden tablets. If it contains chlorine, simply fill your kettle and let it sit out overnight to let the chlorine evaporate.

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Old 12-28-2010, 10:31 AM   #8
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For my next batch ill try using distilled water and skipping the starter and see where that gets me. Where could i be going wrong with the starter? I boil 650ml with half cup of dme, cool in an ice bath, then pitch.

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Old 12-28-2010, 10:33 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brasco20 View Post
Ive been brewing for around 8 months now and my brews havent been the best. The first batch was infected, so i switched to star san and fixed the sour problem. The rest of my brews, some better than others, have all been just ok, or just plain suck, dont taste infected, just like not very good beer.
I use a yeast starter, and just recently started using a stir plate. Do a 60 min boil and just add the hops and lme when the kit says to. I boil 2.5 gallons of bottled spring water, and put the other 2.5 in the freezer to help get the temp down when im finished with the boil. My pitching temps are always good. My house is set at 67 so i figure that my ferm temps are ok.

When i sanitize my carboy and my kegs there is always an excessive amount of foam left from the star san, could this be a problem?
Also i primary 4 weeks then keg, set the keg to 30 psi for 3 or 4 days, then back it off to 10, once its carbed i start to drink it. Am i drinking it too soon? I dont strain the wort or use a hop bag, could this be a problem?

Any ideas for me, let me know if you need more info.

Thanks for any help!
What kind of kits are you making? Are they a Can of LME and 2 lbs of sugar or DME? Or are they Partials using some grains and LME and DME?

Its really hard to understand what you don't like about your beer. Everyones taste is different.

I've only been brewing since September. I started using the Coopers kits. My first one was a Coopers can and a kg of sugar per instructions. That one tasted like ass and I eventually threw it out after 2 months.

I started reading and began doing Partials using the Coopers kits and steeping grains with a touch of DME to hit the proper SG. They were allot better, but still had that certain taste you get with LME or DME. Its always there unless you go with darker beers and then it appears to be less noticable.

I started reading again. Everything I could find. Bought books etc. I now do all grains and the Extract taste of course is gone and now I'm enjoying my beer much more.

I still do Extract kits to keep my pipeline full but focus on the All Grains. I still do a coopers lager frequently with some steeping grains and very little DME for SG.

If you want to stay with extracts, I would look at some of the Partials that distributer has. They have quite a few if you are not already doing that.
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Old 12-28-2010, 10:33 AM   #10
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what is the defenition of "dont taste so good or just plain suck"? I mean, is it too thin? aftertastes? smells?

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