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Old 02-07-2011, 02:50 PM   #1
DGag453
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Default Did I ruin my first beer?

I recently brewed my first batch. I used the Brewer's Best Holiday Ale kit, the recipe is here: http://www.brewersbestkits.com/pdf/1049_Holiday_Ale.pdf

I left it in the fermenter for two weeks before bottling. I tried one of the bottles two weeks later (yesterday). It tasted pretty good, but left a horrible lingering vinegar after-taste that rendered the beer nearly undrinkable. In fact, I poured the first bottle out.

I've read in these forums that with such a high OG beer it could take a few more weeks to bottle condition. However, I'm wondering if additional time in the bottles will clear up the vinegar taste, or if that is caused by something else?

Based on my reading, I've identified a few things that I may have one wrong: (1) my apartment where the beer fermented stays around 70-75 degrees; (2) After bottling there was ALOT of sediment at the bottom of the fermenter; (3) I may have accidently exposed the beer to a lot of air during the bottling process. Might any of these three sources contributed to the after-taste?

Thanks in advance for any advice.


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Old 02-07-2011, 03:27 PM   #2
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I'm pretty new to this myself with my very first batch coming up on the 3wk mark in bottles right now.. but heres my $0.02.

I think the bottles just need to sit longer. My apartment stays in the same temp range, i have several friends that brew and their temps are identical.. none have produced bad beer. I also think that you could have let it sit in the fermenter for a longer time period.. now that might just result in leaving it longer in bottles.

I aim to follow the 1-2-3 method on here... but being a noob, i am impatient lol. So far I have followed 1 wk in primary, 2 wks in secondary and 3+ wks (@ 70F in dark room) in bottles, but being my first batch, i am treating it as an experiment with a (tasty) sample drawn periodically. I dont expect you screwed up with the air exposure if you were as quick as you could be with it. I definately didnt have a streamlined process so there have been many opportunities to cut back on my air exposure. My results are based on the fact that my beer is in the first few days of week 3 right now and it already tastes good; keeps improving though. Mine is a wheat so that may contribute to the fast results. I'd say try one each week. Make sure you set it upright in the fridge for 48hrs prior to drinking.. seems like a solid day or two in the fridge prior to drinking makes a difference with clarity and taste.. helps the sediment drop out.


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Old 02-07-2011, 03:39 PM   #3
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Was there any vinegar aroma from the bottled beers or prior to bottling in the primary?
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Old 02-07-2011, 03:44 PM   #4
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Welcome to HBT!
Your temp was too high and could have caused some off flavors. Your biggest issue was probably rushing it to bottle. The yeast didn't have a chance finish its job and clean up its waste and off flavors.

Next time leave it in primary and/or secondary for a few more weeks, then bottle. For this batch, set it aside for a few more weeks and let it finish conditioning.
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Old 02-07-2011, 05:25 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DGag453 View Post

Based on my reading, I've identified a few things that I may have one wrong: (1) my apartment where the beer fermented stays around 70-75 degrees; (2) After bottling there was ALOT of sediment at the bottom of the fermenter; (3) I may have accidently exposed the beer to a lot of air during the bottling process. Might any of these three sources contributed to the after-taste?

.
1) If your apartment was 75 degrees, beer probably fermented at 80+. Fermenting beer will be 5-7 degrees warmer due to simple biological / chemical reactions. This might cause some harsh tastes, but probably not vinegar.

2) You are always going to have a lot of sediment / trub in your fermenter. Not an issue.

3) Exposure to Oxygen is to be avoided, but probably not a huge factor here.

If your beer has an astringent and definite vinegar taste, and is in every bottle, I would suspect a something went wrong. Everyone always says let it sit and improve, which 98% of the time is great advice. But a sour vinegar taste pretty much indicates there were some other critters in the bottles other than your intended beer yeast.
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Old 02-07-2011, 05:33 PM   #6
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The primary causes of sourness in beers are bacterial.

HERE is a good listing of where off flavors come from.

What did you use as a sanitizer and how did you use it?
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Old 02-07-2011, 08:22 PM   #7
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Let this one sit for another 2 weeks and try another bottle. If it isn't under high pressure and the vinegar flavor hasn't increased, leave the rest of the bottles alone for another month. This beer takes a long time to mature and it isn't a real easy drinker when it is still green.


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