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Old 09-03-2012, 02:14 PM   #1
cycling8r
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Sep 2012
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Hi all,
I've been pouring over this awesome website and need some help. My first two batches of beer have been horrible. I'm planning on attempting my third batch today and am looking for advice on how to avoid a dumper.
My first batch was an all extract Irish Stout (Coopers). I know a few things I did wrong: I boiled with the lid on, my husband in a vain attempt to help me start a siphon when racking to secondary blew backwards through the hose (cringe). I used diluted bleach for my first sterilization process, and then switched to iodophor for sanitization during my transfer to secondary and bottling.
My OG started out 1.053, dropped to 1.016 at secondary and then increased to 1.028 when racking to bottles. (I'm guessing EXTREME infection).
Friends reported a 'wine' like taste, saying it was very fruity.

My second batch was a milk stout kit with a grain steep. I overshot my OG and F.G. was over as well, with my ABV sitting almost a full 1% low. I took extra care with sanitation, and replaced my husband as a siphoner with an auto-siphon
Unfortunately, it came out horrible again (worse, if it is possible). It smelled like the first one when bottling, but it tasted ok (not great, but drinkable). After bottling though it was rancid. I replaced my hoses and my bucket prior to the second batch out of fear it was a lacto infection.

Through this site, I realized that I needed to put water/vodka in my airlock, which I was not aware of during the first two batches. I have a mini fridge that I use for temperature controlled fermentation (68F).Could the airlock be the cause of my awful beer?

Any suggestions would be great. I just want to make good beer

 
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Old 09-03-2012, 03:04 PM   #2
Slainte-brew
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Describe the bad taste. Metallic? Plastic? Astringent? Wet musty cardboard? Tart? Bitter? The airlock isn't a huge deal, unless you are noticing a obvious infection, there is enough CO2 in the bucket to keep it ok. How fast are you cooling the wort? How hot are you fermenting? Boiling with the lid on may have attributed, but if you are doing extract it shouldn't be too bad.

 
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Old 09-03-2012, 03:51 PM   #3
Bithead
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Doesn't sound like your mistakes were enough to cause two batches to be undrinkable. I would try different water, like bottled spring water. See if that fixes the problem.

 
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Old 09-03-2012, 04:00 PM   #4
sethcros
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Jul 2012
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How long did you wait? Patience is key...

 
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Old 09-03-2012, 07:59 PM   #5
cycling8r
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The best way I can describe the taste is fruity, but a VERY bad fruity flavor. A friend even mentioned that it reminded him of wine in a way.
I try to cool the wort pretty quickly, maybe 1.5 hours tops, though now I have the swing of it and can get it to pitching temp in less than an hour. I have been using bottled spring/drinking water. I did ~1.5 weeks in primary fermentation and then another 3 weeks in secondary (all between 66-70F), and a couple of weeks in the bottle (tasted it again at about a month and there was no improvement). I noticed little white specks floating in it during secondary, but assumed that was spent yeast that hadn't dropped yet.
Could aeration during the transfers cause an issue like this? I've read you don't want to aerate once you pitch the yeast, but I don't know what happens if you do...

Thanks for all of your help so far!

 
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Old 09-03-2012, 08:26 PM   #6
Bobby_M
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Sounds like sanitation issues. What kind of sanitizer are you using? Certainly not putting liquid in the airlock exposed it to oxygen and any acetobactor that got in there would make some vinegar with all that oxygen.
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Old 09-03-2012, 08:43 PM   #7
mikemet
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also what is the purpose of racking into a secondary. Its best to let that thing sit in the primary for at least 3 weeks (your first few beers IMO at least) so you get the process down of PATIENCE! Never a rush.

Unless you need to rack a beer on POUNDS OF FRUIT or something like that- relax! No need to worry-

If you need your primary to make more beer- and therefore wanted to rack in a secondary - get this- BUY A NEW FERMENTER BUCKET! YAY! Well- thats a good suggestion- or even another carboy-

And use that "secondary- haha" as a primary -something else- like Apfelwein. Yea you will like that idea down the line.
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Old 09-03-2012, 08:54 PM   #8
sethcros
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikemet
also what is the purpose of racking into a secondary. Its best to let that thing sit in the primary for at least 3 weeks (your first few beers IMO at least) so you get the process down of PATIENCE! Never a rush.

Unless you need to rack a beer on POUNDS OF FRUIT or something like that- relax! No need to worry-

If you need your primary to make more beer- and therefore wanted to rack in a secondary - get this- BUY A NEW FERMENTER BUCKET! YAY! Well- thats a good suggestion- or even another carboy-

And use that "secondary- haha" as a primary -something else- like Apfelwein. Yea you will like that idea down the line.
That's exactly what I did. I used the carboy once and now it has Edworts appfelwein in it. Probably won't ever hold beer again. This batch of appfelwein will be done and it will be time to start another!

 
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Old 09-04-2012, 02:43 AM   #9
cycling8r
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Thanks. I use iodophor right now.
Everything I've read on here and in books has made the suggestion of a little more than 1 week in primary and then rack to secondary. I know you can go longer than 1 week in primary, but I've read it's not necessary and down to personal preference. I'm planning on just doing the entire fermentation in the glass carboy to simplify things and to limit introduction of infection.

 
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Old 09-04-2012, 04:19 AM   #10
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1 week in primary really is not enough, 2 weeks can barely be enough, and 3 weeks is probably what most around here see. Forget the secondary until you get the first successful batch under your belt.
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