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Old 10-16-2006, 06:50 PM   #1
winter999
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I've brewed 3 batches now (Wheat, Brown Ale, and Heather Ale). All came out with a distinct sweet flavor. Is it the beers or my fermentation process?

I'm working on a Pilsner now and hoping for a different result.

Also, while I have your attention, all my brews have been very dark, even the Wheat. I just put the Pilsner wort in the fermentor and saw that it was dark as well. The picture on the extract was a light golden color. Will my wort change color? Are all homebrews on the dark side? Should I not care and drink?

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Old 10-16-2006, 06:55 PM   #2
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Sounds like you need to up the bittering hops a touch to balance out the sweetness.

As for the darkness, extracts tend to be a bit darker then all grains becaus the extract is a bit darker from carmelization. You could also be carmelizing your extracts a touch more when you add them as you brew. As for it being darker in the fermentor . . . thats a bad place to really see how dark your beer will be. The amount of beer the light has to go through before it is reflected back to your eye for you to actually "see" it has an effect on how dark it will appear. If you take a large enuff volume of water even it will appear to be dark. The appearance of color will lighten when you put it into bottles or even a glass.
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Old 10-16-2006, 06:56 PM   #3
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Yes and yes (to the color question - drink and don't care).

All beers look dark in the fermenter. However, you can further lighten your extract brews by holding back some of the extract to the last ten or fifteen minutes of the boil (boil it long enough to get the hot break, but you don't need to boil it for a full hour). This both reduces caramelization and bumps up your hops utilization (higher utilization when boiled in lower gravity wort).

So don't worry, but if you DO worry, there's something you can do about it!

Oh, and DME generally will result in a lighter brew, or so I'm told (I've only used LME a couple times, hard for me to compare).
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Old 10-16-2006, 06:59 PM   #4
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Here is a good article at BYO.com for Extract Brewing Methods

 
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Old 10-16-2006, 07:00 PM   #5
vasie
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Feb 2006
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The sweetness in your beer is likely a result of poor attinuation. Take special care to properly aerate your wort. The yeasties need lots of oxygen to increase their population before the fermentation begins. The proper time to aerate your wort is when you are topping off your primary fermeter AFTER the wort has dropped to pitching temperatures. When I finsih aerating, the top of the fermenter is so frothy that I can't actually see the wort.

As for the color of you beer, there are two things that come to mind. Extract wort will very easily brown during the boil; be sure to remove the wort from the heat while adding your extracts. After the extract has been incorporated, return it to the heat.

Secondly, you need to make sure that you buy fresh extract. There are browning reactions that take place in the extract containers as they age. You can read about these reactions in Charlie Daniels' book Designing Great Beers.

 
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Old 10-16-2006, 07:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vasie
Charlie Daniels' book Designing Great Beers.

Um, Ray Daniels


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Old 10-16-2006, 07:19 PM   #7
winter999
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How do you aerate your wort? I pour/splash my top-off water and get a nice foam on top that I sprinkle my yeast on. Should I shake/whisk more?
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Old 10-16-2006, 07:23 PM   #8
vasie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chairman Cheyco
Um, Ray Daniels



Sorry, yes, of course.

 
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Old 10-16-2006, 07:30 PM   #9
vasie
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That sounds like the proper aeration proceedure.

At what temperature are you fermenting? I believe that low attenuation could be attributed to colder than ideal fermenation temperatures. If that doesn't seem right to you, I would imagine the problem would have to be a hops utilization issue as Pumbaa suggested. To improve hops utilization, make your bittering additions earlier and increase the amount of water used in the boil. The greater the concentration of the wort is, the poorer the hops utilization.

 
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Old 10-17-2006, 12:33 AM   #10
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If you are using LME I would recommend switching to DME.

Do a search on "Late Boil" or adding extract late in the boil. I have gotten my brews to be very light...as in the proper color for the style, using that technique.

As for your sweet beer, all beer is sweet, you have to add the proper amount of bittering hops to balance it out...or overhop as many here like to do...the choice is yours.
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