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Old 12-20-2008, 10:15 PM   #1
DtownRiot
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Default A Few Questions for Someone With Knowledge

Hi and thanks for reading, even more thanks for replying. So I just bottled my first batch of Munton's IPA last night. This is my first attempt at home brewing.
First things first. I did not follow the recipe. I was told by my supplier to boost the alcohol content by adding more sugar. So I did. I added six cups of confectioner's sugar (the powdery stuff) to my batch. This ultimately resulted in cidery tasting samples. Then I added five ounces of dextrose to my bottling bucket to give the beer carbonation at bottling time. This was not on the recipe either but my supplier recommended it.
Out of curiosity I chilled one of the beers I had bottled and decided to try it out. It looked like piss. It was the exact color of pee and was so cloudy that I couldn't see the Yuengling label through the liquid that was printed on my glass. Now the taste. I realized that my beer was not yet carbonated nor aged, but I wanted to get a feel for what it may turn out to be in a couple of weeks. It tasted very cidery and nothing like any IPA I've ever had. Not to mention that I've never seen an IPA have a color like my brew.
*** QUESTION TIME *** What kind of sugar do you add to your wort that will boost alcohol and not taste cidery? Why is my beer so cloudy? What kind of sugar are you supposed to add to aide in carbonating and how much? And lastly, Why was my beer that dreadful color?
Hopefully the aging and carbonating will help the taste and color.
Any help is greatly appreciated guys and gals.
Cheers! Ethan

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Old 12-20-2008, 10:51 PM   #2
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Hi and thanks for reading, even more thanks for replying. So I just bottled my first batch of Munton's IPA last night. This is my first attempt at home brewing.
First things first. I did not follow the recipe. I was told by my supplier to boost the alcohol content by adding more sugar. So I did. I added six cups of confectioner's sugar (the powdery stuff) to my batch. This ultimately resulted in cidery tasting samples. Then I added five ounces of dextrose to my bottling bucket to give the beer carbonation at bottling time. This was not on the recipe either but my supplier recommended it.
Out of curiosity I chilled one of the beers I had bottled and decided to try it out. It looked like piss. It was the exact color of pee and was so cloudy that I couldn't see the Yuengling label through the liquid that was printed on my glass. Now the taste. I realized that my beer was not yet carbonated nor aged, but I wanted to get a feel for what it may turn out to be in a couple of weeks. It tasted very cidery and nothing like any IPA I've ever had. Not to mention that I've never seen an IPA have a color like my brew.
*** QUESTION TIME *** What kind of sugar do you add to your wort that will boost alcohol and not taste cidery? Why is my beer so cloudy? What kind of sugar are you supposed to add to aide in carbonating and how much? And lastly, Why was my beer that dreadful color?
Hopefully the aging and carbonating will help the taste and color.
Any help is greatly appreciated guys and gals.
Cheers! Ethan
Wow- lots of questions! I'll try answer most of them as best as I can. First of all, it will improve in the bottle. Carbonation and a little time makes a huge difference in the beer.

Now, some of the things I see as problems- first is the confectioner's sugar. If someone told you to do that, that was bad advice. If you did it on your own, then don't do that again! Some brewing kits do use sugar in them, but those are usually canned kits that use corn sugar to boost the fermentables. Some people like the results, but when I tried it, it wasn't very good. Confectioner's sugar is not a good choice for brewing- it's finely ground table sugar mixed with things such as corn starch. If you feel that you must use sugar, use corn sugar (dextrose).

My thoughts on why it's so cloudy- well, a couple of reasons. I bet it's not 5-6 weeks old, which is a good time to start drinking. Also, the powdered sugar probably has some starches in it (like cornstarch) that will be hazy in beer.

You did fine with the dextrose (corn sugar) for priming- that's what most of us use. That's about right- 5 ounces by weight for 5 gallons of beer.

Do you have and use a hydrometer? I find that they are very helpful in determining when fermentation is finished and to help decide when to bottle.

I'd recommend reading some recipes here on the site, and to see howtobrew.com, an online book that explains the ingredients better than I can. I would say though that the better extract beers I've had use NO sugar at all, except for the priming sugar. I like to use malt, hops, water and yeast for everyday beers. There may be a place for other ingredients in some styles, but for a beginner it's helpful to not get too fancy.

Where are you located? If you're in the US, there are many online retailers that sell beer kits. A "Brewer's Best" kit is a good place to start. I'm not familiar with the Munton's kit- what were their instructions like?

I'd also recommend austinhomebrew.com for kits, as well as northernbrewer.com. They have excellent instructions, and fresh (not canned) ingredients to make good beginner beers.
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Old 12-21-2008, 07:19 PM   #3
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Default Wow Im an Idiot! Please Help

thanks yooper. Im located in the Philadelphia area. Home Sweet Homebrew is where I've been getting supplies but the Munton's can was a gift. I did use a hydrometer and it read 1.000 for three days straight. The Munton's directions are posted on their website.

Have a good one!

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Old 12-21-2008, 07:33 PM   #4
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well, i'm far from an expert, but one thing I have learned from my local brew store and from reading this forum is that adding sugar to the wort is unnecessary and makes the beer watery and cidery, as you've already discovered. you want to get all your sugar from the malt extract. if you got a kit, it should have come w/ enough malt extract to make five gallons of beer without additional sugar. if it didn't, in the future, you should make sure you have enough malt extract to do so.
the only time sugar should be used is for priming. and this step comes after fermentation is complete and is for the sole purpose of carbonating your bottles. corn sugar is ideal for this step and requires about 3/4 cup in 2 cups of water (for a five gallon batch). you pour that solution into a bottling bucket and then rack your fully fermented beer (you'll want to have had the beer in the primary fermenter for at least 3 weeks) into the bucket and then bottle.

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Old 12-21-2008, 07:37 PM   #5
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The cook in me is screaming, confectioner's sugar has corn starch added as to not stick. I don't know what corn starch does to beer. But, I love corn chips and beer so maybe everything will be fine.

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Old 12-21-2008, 07:55 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by DtownRiot View Post
thanks yooper. Im located in the Philadelphia area. Home Sweet Homebrew is where I've been getting supplies but the Munton's can was a gift. I did use a hydrometer and it read 1.000 for three days straight. The Munton's directions are posted on their website.

Have a good one!
Would you try your hydrometer in water, to see if it reads 1.000 in plain water? 1.000 is not a typical FG for a beer. Also, don't forget to adjust it for temperature- that is, if the hydrometer is calibrated for 60 degrees (it should say on the hydometer somewhere), then make sure that your sample is taken at 60 degrees, or you use a chart to correct for temperature.
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Old 12-21-2008, 08:09 PM   #7
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There's only one thing I would add to what Yooper said, and that is NEVER DO ANYTHING YOUR SUPPLIER TELLS YOU TO DO EVER AGAIN! If what you're telling us is true, then that's some of the worst homebrew advice I've ever heard. Stick with HBT.com for all of your questions. Lot's of real smart brewers on here.

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Old 12-21-2008, 08:28 PM   #8
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The one thing you will hear from people at sites like this is, "the beer is young, give it time and you should be ok."

With that said, there is a lot of very good advice to be garnered at this place by very well respected people. Read what they have to say, begin putting what they say into practice and you will soon develop confidence and experience along with very good beer.

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Old 12-22-2008, 03:02 PM   #9
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I agree with Kayabrew. This place sounds like they are giving out some bad advice. Everything you need to know is here for the asking.

We've also got some great recipes, so look in the recipe section. Adding a certain amount of sugar to your beer is ok, but it's also totally unnecessary, as you can get all the proper fermentables from extract, without the off-flavors.

Try brewing another batch, from a recipe from here, or order a kit from online. The big names (norther brewer, midwest, and austin homebrew) have pre-built recipe kits and will give the beer they describe garunteed.

Also, please don't throw out your beer. It will taste better in a few weeks or a couple of months, even if it never gets perfect.

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