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Old 07-12-2010, 10:34 PM   #11
malkore's Avatar
Jun 2007
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Originally Posted by YooperBrew View Post
Sweetness can come from being underhopped, or underattenuated. Can you give a sample OG/FG and a sample recipe where the sweetness is there?
beat me to it... need recipe and gravity's because I'm thinking out of the fermenter you're just not tasting the sweetness that's always there.
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Old 07-12-2010, 11:34 PM   #12
Apr 2010
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Thanks for all the great replies. I appreciate it.

I'll certainly let the Blue Moon brew sit.

As an example, I did a cream ale on 4/26/10 OG was 1.055 / FG 1.011.

It's been sitting since 4/26/10. I popped a bottle yesterday (7/10/10) -- it's got the same exact sweetness that 1/3 of my brews have. (Whereas the other 2/3 are great -- or at least very good.)

Another example: I bottled an Irish Red on 9/17/09. Popped it open about a month ago -- 6/10 -- and it's got the same exact sweetness that my recent cream ale has. No malt character, no graininess, no hops -- all sweetness. (But straight out of the fermenter both the cream ale and Irish Red were fantastic -- dry, a little hoppy in the case of the Irish Red -- very drinkable.)

If the 9 month old brews had mellowed a bit, I'd say it was green. But it can't be green Irish red if it was bottled nearly a year ago (cap was intact, stored in my basement). The taste, though, *exactly* the same. The only similarity between the two is the carb tabs (one was brewed on a cooler setup, the other was brewed on a HERMS setup.)

However, as I say, other brews turn out great. I've got a Black IPA I brewed in May that's very good -- very hoppy, definite malt, a bit of alchohol bite but not too much. A hefeweizen I did during the first week of April was fantastic -- a near clone of Sierra Nevada's Kellerweiss.

Interestingly, both of those good brews were bottled with Cooper's Carb tabs (which is why I didn't immediate zero in on those -- but now I think those things are culprit.)

It's the variability that's driving me crazy -- the inability to say, okay, every single brew I did with the carb tabs was bad. Some are, some aren't. It's like Russian Roulette.

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Old 07-12-2010, 11:59 PM   #14
Apr 2010
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Water -- yes. That's one area I've not explored at all.

I use a single campden tablet in 15+ gallons. I crush it up in the HLT before I start heating with my 5500W heating element. It's straight Chicago/Lake Michigan tap water.

Is it possible for water to directly impact the beer that quickly in the bottle? Wouldn't I see that out of the fermenter? (I'll call my village water department this week to get the H20 composition readout.)

Thanks for the that tip. I'm going to explore that over the next few months.

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Old 07-13-2010, 09:00 AM   #15
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Apr 2010
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The residual alkalinity of water has a major impact on the flavor profile of a beer. The impact is so dramatic that once you understand how to manipulate it you can create two totally different beers with the same grain/hop bill.

I use only RO water and build from there. The results amazed me when I started and I realized that years ago, when I was using mystery water it was likely the culprit for all of the inconsistencies in my beer.

I would not trust the samples given by the water company. They can change dramatically, unless you are always getting you water from the same source, which is unlikely in a large city.
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Old 07-13-2010, 04:55 PM   #16
Feb 2007
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I like the experiment idea to bottle up one batch four different ways and see if it makes a difference. Rather than leave six bottles unprimed, you could try bulk priming those with corn sugar.

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Old 01-18-2012, 09:36 PM   #17
Feb 2009
Greenpoint -Brooklyn, NY
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Originally Posted by bobbytuck View Post
I've had this problem on and off for the past two years: straight out of the fermenter, my beer tastes fine. I just brewed the blue moon clone here (for example) -- and out of the fermenter it was dry with a mild grainy taste. To me, this was fine, and I went ahead and bottled it. Two weeks later, it's got a weird, sweet "homebrew flavor." It carb'd up fine -- but the sweet taste is there -- and over the top prominent. It's not cidery -- and not even "hot" from alcohol -- it's straight up sweet and "homebrewy."

What's driving me crazy is that not every batch I bottle has this flavor. Only one out of every two or three batches. But it's not consistently consistent -- I can go three batches, and I don't get the taste. The only thing that's consistent is the sweet taste. I've made batches that don't have the taste -- and are superb (at least to me and beer drinking buddies). But every two batches or so I get the sweet taste -- and then I know all the bottles are ruined.

So, a few additional details:

- Mashed with my HERMS at 150F. Temp was stable for 90 mins. Mash-out @ 170F. I've checked my thermometers in my system, and all calibrate fine.

- Boiled wort for 90 mins. Cooled to 62F with cleaned and sanitized therminator.

- Pitch yeast @ 62F. For the batches that tend to be sweet, I'm using Safale-04 but for this blue moon clone, I used Safale-05. The packages are in date, but I've noted this as a possible culprit -- dry yeast. But wait -- there's more.

- Fermented @ 60F for 21 days with water in cooler and ice bottles. In dark basement. Swap out ice bottles morning and evening. Temp never gets above 61.5. Never below 59F.

- I've been using Cooper's carb tabs. This *might* be the culprit. However, I've had two recent batches with Cooper's carb tabs (2 tabs per 22oz. bottle) that are fine (with Safale-04!) (Date on carb tab bag -- all the bags I have -- are listed as Date of manufacture: 11/09) I store the carb tabs in my cool basement -- unopened bags.

- All equipment is cleaned and sanitized at bottling. (Cleaning day before in OxyClean free then santizing for 15 mins in StarSan. Bottles soaked the week before in OxyClean, sanitized the day of bottling with StarSan. I never use the same tubing twice.)

Anyway, I'm vexed. Could it be that the Safale-04 yeast is pooped out in the bottle and all I'm tasting is the sugar from the Coopers Carb Tabs? The sweet taste over the past two years is always the same. The beer out of fermenter is always fine -- I always pour myself a half-pint to sip after I've finished bottling. I'm avoiding bulk priming due to the possibility of moving beer from fermenter (Better Bottle) to bottling bucket -- but I think this is what I'm going to do from here on out.

I don't think it's an infection because the sweet taste usually shows up after three or four days. (And it's always the exact same taste. No cider, no butter -- just weirdly sweet.) Doesn't an infection usually take a while to develop? Is it possible to develop immediately in the bottle?

Next batch I plan to split up the batch with carb tabs in 6 bottles/Munson's tabs in 6 bottles/pouring a teaspoon of sugar in each of 6 bottles and leaving six bottles without any added sugar or carbonation whatsoever.

Any ideas? Would popping the caps and adding a grain or two of yeast (Safale-05, for example) help eat away that sugar?

Initially, I thought it was from mashing too high. Then I got a HERMs, and my mash temp has been exactly stable since dialing it in.

Then I thought it was from too high fermentation, so I got the 60 quart coolers and did the whole ice bottle thing.

I've had the taste with brand new bottles (22oz) and from washed bottles. Taste is always the same. Taste never goes away once it's in the bottle. I've tried a few I bottled last year with the taste -- and it's right there. Not stronger -- not weaker. It's exactly the same.


PS -- I bottle condition in a basement at 64F and in a closet at 75F. The only difference I've noticed is that the sweetness takes 2-3 days to develop in the closet and maybe 6-7 days in the basement. (Don't want to keg until I figure this out.)

WTF? !

PPS -- Are Cooper Carb tabs just plain crappy?
Hey Bobbytuck, did you ever figure out what was the culprit? I have the same issue and it's been frustrating me for years! Very inconsistent when it pops up, but consistently that same sweet flavor and aroma. I keg my beer and do starters and it's definitely fully attenuating and not a bottle conditioning issue (at least in my case). It's something that develops only after carbonating the beer though. They taste excellent out of the fermentor, but once kegged and carbed sometimes this weird sweetness develops. I thought perhaps it was my CO2 lines (potential vector for contamination) and changed them out, but it's still happens occasionally. Drives me crazy! One thing I've noticed is that when I brew at a friend's house I never have this problem. The beers always turn out clean and delicious. Been considering maybe it's an issue with my apartment. I do have two large cats and wonder if they might be part of the problem - it's hard to maintain a relatively "sanitary" environment with them two and all their fur about. Do you have cats, by chance??
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Old 01-19-2012, 03:20 PM   #18
Apr 2010
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Yes -- I solved it. The problem was patience -- or lack thereof. Seriously. We hear that beer is "ready in two weeks." For some beers, that's true. For other's it's not. What I did -- and what I will continue to do when I start back brewing in the spring -- is to bottle, condition for two weeks, then move the conditioned bottles to my basement for another two weeks -- and then, after four weeks, taste.

This is nothing new -- the idea of being patient and letting things happen -- but it really works. Now, out of the 30+ batches I brewed last summer and fall, I did have a couple of bad batches -- infected -- so what I started doing was to sample a single bottle after two weeks to see if there were any potential concerns -- overcarb'd, cloudy, too much of a vinegar smell, etc. -- the standard things pointing to an infection. But the sweet smell alone -- which is most likely the yeast in the bottle metabolizing the bottling sugar and carbonating -- is no longer a concern for me. If it's there after 1 week, it's gone after four. Problem solved!

I also upgraded -- and double-checked -- my sanitation procedures post-boil. Nothing fancy -- just made sure that I sanitized my chiller with boiling wort for at least three minutes (thanks to a pump recirc'ing the boiling wort through the chiller and then back into the BK) and made sure my fermenters (Better Bottles) were clean and completely Star San'd from bottom to top before filling with wort. Both of my infected batches were (I'm 99% sure) infected due to blowoffs during the fermentation. I use blowoff tubes, but both times the fermentation was so vigorous that it managed to pop the stopper completely out of the fermenter and gusher up and over the sides .

I still use the carb tabs -- simply because they're easy to control, easy to use, and make bottling super quick. I thought these were the cause, and I know folks like to badmouth tabs, but they're great -- and once you realize how many you need to get a specific level of carbonation, it becomes really, really easy to fully control the carbonation by adding or subtracting tabs. (Even at the individual bottle level -- allowing me to zero in on an optimal level of carbonation by examining several bottles with different levels.)

I use Munton's and Cooper's tabs. No worries -- no problems. No weird floaties post-bottling, either. Just crystal clear, tasty brew!

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Old 01-19-2012, 03:32 PM   #19
Dec 2011
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Yeah, my first time using those carb drops carbed up a batch in one week with no sweet taste as described. The drops are just corn sugar. People have been spooning corn sugar straight into bottles for decades.

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Old 01-19-2012, 07:51 PM   #20
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The cooper's carb drops are sucrose (table sugar). The Munton's carb drops are dextrose & DME. I got that from there brew tech on the cooper's forums.
And as for bottleing beers,I find I have to let average gravity ales condition (not just carb) for 4-5 weeks before they're aged properly,which takes a bit longer than carbonating from my observations. And I've used the cooper's carb drops before. Besides dextrose,sucrose,demerara sugar. Bulk priming is all too easy,& I prefer that so I can prime to style with more accuracy. But that's me. Do what suits you.
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