Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Beer Discussion > Brew Quality -- I'm not quite there yet
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Old 11-18-2011, 01:28 PM   #1
baron
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Default Brew Quality -- I'm not quite there yet

I've been brewing for 10 years --
Of those 10 years -- 10 years extract and 2 years All Grain.

I always thought my extract brews were pretty good but not exactly what I was looking for in taste -- I always thought I could improve.

So -- I stepped up to All Grain thinking this was going to make all of the difference in making a better beer.

Slight difference.

Next step -- Yeast Starter. Slight difference again.

I've added a few new equipment items to hopefully make a better beer.
I purchased a compact fridge, johnson temperature controller, and a refractometer (to help better hit my target o.g.).

I'm going to use the fridge as a fermentation chamber -- because I think this is one of my main problems -- fluctuation in temperature during fermentation which is giving an off taste.

I'm brewing an extract kit from NB soon. I'll keep you advised on this thread.

Cheers, Rick


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Old 11-18-2011, 01:32 PM   #2
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You will notice quite a change when you start monitoring ferm. temps... that was a big jump for me.


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Old 11-18-2011, 01:33 PM   #3
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I went through the same thing. The extract beers I made were good- sometimes really good, but never perfect. I made some changes that really helped. I would say that the two biggest improvements came from temperature control and from pitching the correct amount of healthy yeast.
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Old 11-18-2011, 01:48 PM   #4
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Yep - as I've gotten better at Ferm Temps, and better at pitching rates with yeast starters, the beer quality has gone up.

Its dramatic too, and lets me expirement. The same 10 gallon batch I had split into 2 different carboys. Both the same temp, but one under pitched, one pitched properly. You could easily taste the difference.
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Old 11-18-2011, 02:03 PM   #5
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Thanks got the comments -- definitely sounds like temp control and pitching rates are the big difference in quality.

My next batch is an ipa-- which probably isn't the best style to check for taste quality improvement. I imagine the increased ibu's might mask some off flavors. But -- I got a really cool 1/2 gallon growler with the kit. Lol
Next batch will be something a little tamer than an ipa.
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Old 11-18-2011, 02:29 PM   #6
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The big 3 for great beer seem to be ferm. temp, healthy pitch of yeast in the right amount, and sanitization. I made a quantum leap in my beer quality by filtering my tap water with a plain jane carbon filter, which namely removes the chlorine. Also, not hustling beers to keg or bottling really helps with the depth of character my beers can achieve.
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Old 11-18-2011, 02:50 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maffewl View Post
You will notice quite a change when you start monitoring ferm. temps... that was a big jump for me.
Same here. Once I was able to get my ferm temps to the low to mid 60s on most of my beers that 'homebrew' taste pretty much went away. Honestly, I was shocked how low the ambient temp in the fridge has to be to keep a rip roaring fermentation down in the mid 60s.
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Old 11-18-2011, 04:53 PM   #8
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OP, how is your sanitation? That has a lot of impact.
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Old 11-18-2011, 06:21 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DannPM
OP, how is your sanitation? That has a lot of impact.
I've been using Star San for quite a long time and try to be very thorough about it.

The reason I think it may have something to with ferm temps is because the off flavor is a strong alcohol taste -- not a pleasant alcohol. More like burning.
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Old 11-18-2011, 07:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by baron View Post
I've been using Star San for quite a long time and try to be very thorough about it.

The reason I think it may have something to with ferm temps is because the off flavor is a strong alcohol taste -- not a pleasant alcohol. More like burning.
Sounds like fermentation temps to me. You are definitely headed in the right direction. Your beers from now on are going to be awesome.


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