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Old 03-15-2009, 11:44 PM   #1
cscade's Avatar
Feb 2009
Wooster, Ohio
Posts: 450
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I have a lot of friends who home brew, and I don't want to ask them this for fear of them taking it the wrong way;

What part of the process gives beer that distinct "home brewed" taste? I'd describe it as a "soft sweetness", as in a malty sweet flavor that blankets the tongue. Is this incomplete fermentation? Live yeast in solution?

I have recently started home brewing as well, and I am a very detail oriented person. I don't expect to approach commercial beer "quality" if you measure quality as repeatability, but it is very important to me to reach commercial beer quality in terms of taste and mouth feel.

The taste I am describing, I find to be a serious detraction from the final beer. It is not at all present in production beers, seemingly regardless of scale. What am I tasting here?

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Old 03-15-2009, 11:47 PM   #2
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Aug 2008
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I would have to say that I am not familiar, at all, with an unexpected "soft sweetness" in any of my home brewed beers
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Old 03-15-2009, 11:47 PM   #3
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Jan 2009
Rapid City, South Dakota
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Same here. OP, check your process and your ingredients. Something's not adding up here.
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Old 03-15-2009, 11:50 PM   #4
Jan 2009
Wyoming, Michigan
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What is your FG on these brews? Is it esters from the yeast? What fermentables are you using? These could help answer your question.
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Old 03-15-2009, 11:52 PM   #5
Sep 2008
Farmington, MI
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That Extract "twang"?
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Old 03-15-2009, 11:53 PM   #6
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Dec 2008
virginia beach
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i know exactly what you are talking about. i have not had taste that since switching to all grain. i also have not noticed it when using the syrup extract as opposed to DME. It may be a result of incorrect ferment temp/time or unclean practices. if you are maticulous with the details (as you mentioned ) it shouldn't be a problem. that is an annoying flavor if it is what i am thinking of.

also, check your water source. may need to be adjusted.
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Old 03-15-2009, 11:53 PM   #7
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Jun 2006
UP of Michigan, Winter Texan
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I wonder if you're tasting the "extract twang" that others describe. I think it's most common among those who use canned ingredients, and do smaller sized boils and top up with water.

Some extract just doesn't ferment as fully as partial mash or all-grain beers do. I've had some extract beers that just won't go below 1.020, for example. That leaves quite a bit of residual sweetness, and if you also carmelize the wort a bit, you might taste that "homebrew flavor" you're talking about.

I would suggest boiling the largest amount of wort you can, buy the freshest ingredients possible, and using fresh grains for steeping. Also, no Munton's yeast, but a clean well-attenuating ale yeast (like SO5 or Nottingham, if using dry) will help. Another important factor is the temperature during fermentation. check the yeast manufacturer's website for optimal temperatures and follow them. A too-warm fermenation can cause some off-flavors, and a too-cool fermentation can cause incomplete fermentation. I think temperature control is underrated among newer brewers.
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Old 03-15-2009, 11:56 PM   #8
Nov 2004
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It's hard to pin it down exactly without knowing precisely what is being brewed and how. However, what you describe as "soft sweetness" is more than likely an excess of crystal malt, unfermentables in malt extract and/or low attenuation. Other common "homebrew" flavors are often phenolics, fusels and excess esters generally caused by less than ideal sanitation and lack of control during fermentation. Homebrewed beer doesn't have to have that "homebrew" taste. It can taste as good or better than commercial beer so don't let those beers discourage you.

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Old 03-16-2009, 12:00 AM   #9
Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc
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"Detroitish" Michigan
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I have no clue what you are reffering to except maybe that the beer you are drinking is green...My beers taste no different .or ant least have no distinctive characteristic that is different from, commercial beers....some of my clone recipes taste dead on if not better than the originals...And many of the clone recipes are made with extract....many argue that extract twang is a myth anyway...that it is an excuse people use for bad brewing processes....not letting beer condition, poorly designed recipes, etc....
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Old 03-16-2009, 12:00 AM   #10
Feb 2009
Mount Clemens, MI
Posts: 43

I notice it only when using LME, doing an incomplete boil, or finishing short. It's a cloying sweetness.
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