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Old 06-25-2007, 02:47 PM   #21
Evan!'s Avatar
Aug 2006
Charlottesville, VA
Posts: 11,863
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My first brew, a basic extract w/ steeped grains and some fresh basil from our garden, was fan-freakin-tastic. I brought it to our extended family reunion party thing, and I got nothing but complements.

My 2nd brew was a steam Maibock. Really nice and malty. The 3rd was a mango-peach wit, and it turned out really good, except for the gushing.

Then I hit a streak where all my brews tasted weird...sourish, greenish, extracty. I think it was a combination of the dry yeast, not enough bitterness, and high fermentation temps.

Then I had a couple batches get infected in the bottle, and the guy who taught me how to brew got worried that I had some kind of problem in my brewhouse...but I've been making excellent stuff other than that, so I think it was a fluke.

I've made a couple REALLY harsh dark brews lately, and got pretty discouraged because I really had been craving a good stout. But I just revised my game plan WRT dark beers (I was using WAY too much dark roasted malts), and I'm back on track.

It's really a roller-coaster ride, this brewing thing, because you're always experimenting. I've made 37 batches since I started brewing 11 months ago...and it's a trial-and-error process, as it should be. As such, not every batch is gonna rock faces...especially when, like me, you craft all your own recipes (for the most part), rather than following tried-and-true recipes/kits from someone else. But the great part is that through this trial and error, I've come up with a handful of recipes that are awesome...and this process narrowing down the field is really fulfilling. What I really want to do is perfect 10 or 15 recipes for various styles, and always have some of whatever they are laying around. Doesn't mean I won't continue to experiment, though...
Aristocratic Ales, Lascivious Lagers

•Scottish 80/- •Sweet Stout •Roggenbier
.primary | bright:
98: Moss Hollow Soured '09 72: Oude Kriek 99: B-Weisse 102: Brett'd BDSA 104: Feat of Strength Helles Bock 105: Merkin Brown
.on tap | kegged:
XX: Moss Hollow Springs Sparkling Water 95: Gott Mit Uns German Pils 91b: Brown Willie's Oaked Abbey Ale 103: Merkin Stout
98: Yorkshire Special 100: Maple Porter 89: Cidre Saison 101: Steffiweizen '09 (#3)

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Old 06-25-2007, 03:26 PM   #22
Rook's Avatar
Jan 2007
Bothell, WA
Posts: 381
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Originally Posted by brewt00l
What do you attribute the problems too?
Batch 1 = Didn't account for boil off and picked a bad recipe, too malty. Burned extract
Batch 2 = Better recipe, not a bad beer, still burned the extract
Batch 3 = Burned the PISS out of the extract. Had to get a power sander to get it off the bottom of my brew kettle. Last time using LME. Also tried to do a partial mash on the stove without a mashtun.
Batch 4 = Only one I can't really say. Bad recipe? Beer doesnt taste funky, just doesn't taste good!
Batch 5 = my IPA, Yummy.
Batch 6 = my wife's pale ale, not a clone of manny's, but is still good.
Batch 7 / 8, Just bottled, we'll see. Fingers crossed.

I've been refining my process with every batch, but it takes a while for batches to be 'ready' so I can't always know if my process changes are helping. My most recent 'version' of my process (now using a mash tun), which started with batch #5, has so far produced one sub-par beer. A day before I wrote the thread, it had only produced one good beer, and 2 bad ones, when I posted, I was actually posting to say that I WAS getting discouraged, but my beer turned out and my 'process' was vindicated as actually working.

Its great to hear more of your guys's stories, makes me feel better that I didn't come out of the gate making good beer

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Old 06-25-2007, 06:46 PM   #23
CBBaron's Avatar
Feb 2007
Posts: 2,786
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Batch 1 and 2: extract + grain kits - pretty good, not great but good
Batch 3: Partial mash Batch 4: first AG - both really good, 4 is my favorite so far
Batch 5 and 6: AG session beers - good, 6 a wit is very popular with friends and family
Batch 7: AG porter - This one the judgment is still out. It hasn't carbonated after a month in the bottle and has some harsh graininess to it. However I have hope that with time both problems will be corrected. This was an experiment where I used equal parts, Brown, Amber and Pale Malt. I think I'll stick to more traditional recipes for a while. Ofcourse I already have an Imperial Stout planned using Trappist yeast and Belgian grains


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Old 06-25-2007, 07:10 PM   #24
Brewing Clamper
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Apr 2006
Union City, CA
Posts: 2,846
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I've been lucky in that I've made mostly good beer. I have however, hit a slump before where 3 brews in a row were bad. That blew donkey, but I didn't feel like I would give up, I just went back to a recipe that I knew was good and brewed that. That gave me the confidence to experiment again. So now, I make one tried & true good brew, then one experimental... that's my pattern now... works for me!

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Old 06-25-2007, 07:26 PM   #25
Maniacally Malty
DeathBrewer's Avatar
Apr 2007
Oakland, CA
Posts: 21,790
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i've only ran into my first wall recently with three wheat batches taking forever to carbonate using Briess DME...first batch is finally drinkable though so i think they'll come around. Other than that, i've thrown out only one batch because i couldn't get it to finish fermentation...stopped at like 1.040. All the other's have been pretty good and a few fantastic ones.

Jury's still out on my Gulden Draak.
Easy Partial Mash Brewing - Stovetop All-Grain Brewing

"Death is always with us." - Brewpastor

We will remember...

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Old 06-25-2007, 07:36 PM   #26
10th-Level Beer Nerd
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May 2006
Adams, MA
Posts: 20,922
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I've had a couple of batches that disappointed (ESB most recently), but I've never been close to giving up. Lots of good beer, lots of good feedback, and such a supportive community as this? Nah, I ain't quitting, never thought about quitting.
Come join Yankee Ingenuity!

"I'm kind of toasted. But I looked at my watch and it's only 6:30 so I can't stop drinking yet." - Yooper's Bob
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Old 06-25-2007, 08:14 PM   #27
Monster Mash
Apr 2006
Castaic, CA
Posts: 1,323
Liked 93 Times on 72 Posts

I quit brewing for 2 years because I had a run of 4 bad batches. I found out the problem was due to using bleach for a sanitizer. I switched to iodophor and my beer was good again.
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Old 06-25-2007, 08:40 PM   #28
Turkeyfoot Jr.
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May 2007
Toledo, Ohio
Posts: 361
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I have 14 batches under my belt. I can't say that all of them have been spectacular but all have at least been drinkable and some, like the honey wheat that's ready right now, have been very good. And I'm still on simple extract with steeped grain recipes, I can't wait to get into PM and AG.
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