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Old 03-19-2007, 11:37 PM   #1
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Default Heavy malt taste/sweetness

First off, I would like to say how helpful these forums have been and, in spite of my less than stellar results, I am eager to keep practicing and keeping up to date with HomeBrewTalk until I get it right!
I completed my third batch recently and opened a bottle yesterday. Much to my chagrin, this batch has come out like my previous two attempts - overly malty with a definite sweetness. While I cannot really pick up any off flavors - it just seems that the extract is completely overpowering the hops. My recipe and bew process is below. Note: if you see any terminology problems - please let me know. I would like to be as accurate as possible when I document these things.
February 16, 2007
6.6lbs – Briess CBW Golden Light Malt Extract
2oz – Hallertau Pellet Hops (bittering)
1oz – Cascade Pellet Hops (aroma)
11g (1 packet) – Nottingham Brewing Yeast

11:15 – Boil 3 gallons of water
11:52 – Malt extract added
12:03 – Bittering hops added
12:57 – Aroma hops added
13:03 – Boil stopped
13:33 – Wort moved to primary (+2 gallons of water)
13:25 – Yeast pitched

February 24, 2007
19:00 – Wort moved to secondary
March 4, 2007
12:15 – Priming sugar added to bottling bucket
12:20 – Beer moved to bottling bucket
13:15 – All beer bottled

Original Gravity – 1.039 (5.2)
Final Gravity – 1.010 (1.3)
ABV – 3.9%

At first glance - that OG looks really low. My guess is I am just not retaining enough sugars during the boil (low OG) and am therefore having an abbreviated fermentation period. Both fermentation periods were held at a temperature ranging from 64 - 68 degrees F.
Should I use more water (4G instead of 3G)? Less boil time?
Any thoughts?

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Old 03-19-2007, 11:41 PM   #2
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The simple answer is more hops.

What you could do is only use some of the extract, maybe less than half, during the first 45 min if the boil and then add the rest of the extract in the last 15 min. The lower gravity of the boil will give you better hop utilization.

What recipe are you using?
What are the hop AA%?
Is the recipe for a full 5 gallon boil?

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Old 03-20-2007, 12:42 AM   #3
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Was it liquid of dry extract?

While this may not be your exact problem, I have recently switched to using only DME as I found the LME was giving me a distinct off flavor often referred to as extract "twang". While some have suggested that fresh LME can reduce this problem, I noticed it even with LME that was not in a can.
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Old 03-20-2007, 12:53 PM   #4
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Dude, 2 ounces of Hallertau will NOT give you a sweet taste, period. It could be your extract has more non-fermentables in it rather than fermentables. I've never used that particular extract before. To also go along with my thinking is that 3.9% is kind of low for this ale.
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Old 03-20-2007, 01:26 PM   #5
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You may have had a measurement issue with the OG reading; it's essentially impossible to "lose sugars" when using extract (there's nowhere for it to go). It's pretty common, though, for the wort to not be stirred enough after adding top-off water, so that your sample is light. Not sure if you made any temperature adjustments, either. Besides, even if you DID lose sugars, that wouldn't result in a sweet beer...

I'd try a couple things. I'd second Brewsmith's suggestion to do a late-extract addition, which will increase your hops utilization. I'm wondering if possibly the hops aren't all that fresh - have they been kept in the fridge, do they have a fairly strong aroma, etc?

I'd also try using DME next time. It's a bit more expensive, but LME, especially if it is older, is known for having a bit of a "twang" that could possibly be what you're picking up (you'll need about 20% less than an LME recipe calls for, since it has had the water removed; in this recipe, you'd use about 5.25 - 5.50 lbs of DME).

Other than that, I'm not sure. If you're finishing at 1.010, that's pretty good, that would actually indicate a beer that might be considered a little on the dry side. Your basic procedures sound good.
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Old 03-27-2007, 09:42 PM   #6
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jeff I have had the same problem. My first 2 batches were LME and they turned out sweet and malty. My 3rd batch i did a partial mash with DME. I will let you know the results in about a week. Anyways, I switched to DME for the very reason you are talking about.
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Old 03-28-2007, 12:11 AM   #7
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Possibly you didn't stir enough before taking your sample. As was mentioned, you can't boil off sugars. You can caramelize them so they won't ferment, but what goes in the pot, goes in the fermenter with extract.

Hallertau is a low AA aroma hop & you had a concentrated boil. Both mean you didn't get much in the way of bittering. I don't know exactly what you were trying to make (looks like a Pale), but using a bittering hop like Nuggett or a high AA Mt. Hood would give you more of a balance.

Also making a flavor add around 20-15 minutes would be useful.
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Old 03-28-2007, 04:15 AM   #8
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Cascade and Hallertau are both kind of low in AA. But you would probably get more bittering if you used 2oz. of cascade for bittering and used 1oz. of hallertau for flavoring.

Hallertau typically has a range of 4%-6% AA. However, I recently bought some for my pLambic that was only 3.2% AA.

Cascade typically has a range of 4% - 7%, and what I bought for my Red Ale was 7.6% AA.

Also, a longer boil (boils over 60 minutes) will caramelize more sugars in the malt, which might result in a sweeter taste.
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Old 03-28-2007, 12:30 PM   #9
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According to the recipe posted above you added 2 oz of bittering hops at boil time and 1 oz five minutes before flame out. Would it help to do 3 additions instead of 2 add 1 oz at boil and 1 oz 30 min(flavoring hops) into the boil for flavoring hops and then 1 oz 5 min before flame out? I'm still new myself and don't know much about hops utilization, but I would think that if you used the Cascade at 30 min and the Hallertau for bittering at the beginning of the boil and aroma at the end of the boil you might get a decent hop flavor.

PS like I said before I am very new and probably don't know what the hell I am talking about, so take my advice at your own risk
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Old 03-28-2007, 02:36 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by feedthebear
Also, a longer boil (boils over 60 minutes) will caramelize more sugars in the malt, which might result in a sweeter taste.
But won't a longer boil also release more of the AAs in the hops-making it more bitter?

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