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Old 08-06-2007, 11:32 PM   #1
Jul 2007
Somerville, MA
Posts: 9

Hey guys,
I brewed a brown last month and was extremely disappointed with the results. The beer was completely undrinkable. It ended up with a strong dark burned taste that wasn't at all pleasant.
It was an extract beer with 5 pounds of Amber DME as well as about a pound of specialty grains (.5lb of Crystal 65, .5lbs of Wheat and 2oz of Chocolate Malt). I hopped with 1.5 oz of Kent Goldings for 1 hour and 1 additional oz for the last 15 minutes. To ferment I used White Labs WLP005 British Ale yeast.

Anyways, I had a few questions before I had a try at it again. First - I was an idiot and pitched it too hot (85-90 degrees.) This was after I had the wort open to the air for about 1.5 hours cooling. Could this have contributed significantly to the negative factor? After no activity in the fermeter for 24 hours I ended up repitching with a fresh vial of WLP005. The second question I had was about water that I used. I only have enough room in my boil kettle for about 3 gallons of boiling liquid. I mixed the wort with about 2 gallons of fresh tap water before transferring to the fermenter. Is this considered bad? I could go run and get some spring water before I start my next batch.

Finally, I was just wondering if anyone had any decent Brown ale recipes that I could try. I'm going to be stopping by the HBS tomorrow on the way home from work so that I can try again.

Thanks very much guys and sorry for all the questions.

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Old 08-06-2007, 11:37 PM   #2
...My Junk is Ugly...
BierMuncher's Avatar
Jan 2007
St. Louis, MO
Posts: 12,420
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Yooper Chick has a pretty tasty looking Extract Recipe:

Check it out.

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Old 08-07-2007, 01:33 AM   #3
Bearcat Brewmeister
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Feb 2006
Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 696
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Is the strong burnt taste the only thing that made it undrinkable? Did you steep the specialty grains above 170F? Did you use a grain bag and squeeze it to extract the last bit of liquid? Both of these will extract tannins which will make it more astringent. The only ingredient that would contribute burnt taste would be the chocolate malt and most people wouldn't describe it as burnt, more like nutty or roasty, and especially with only 2 ounces (my current porter has 12 ounces plus 8 more of black patent). Taste is a matter of opinion and you may just find that flavor to be adverse. Are there some commercial beer examples you would also describe this way?

If the use of chocolate malt is the cause of your dislike, Yooper's recipe does not contain it, so it may be more to your liking. Other than that you are dead on with your analysis. Don't keep the wort exposed to air that long - cover while cooling if it takes that long. Soak kettle in an ice bath or better yet, invest in an immersion chiller. Stay patient and don't pitch yeast above 75F. Mixing in tap water is ok IMHO. Some people say boil it first and then cover and chill, but I never had an issue with water right from the tap as long as the vessel I was using to transfer it was sanitized.
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Old 08-07-2007, 02:26 AM   #4
McTarnamins's Avatar
Feb 2007
St. Louis
Posts: 197
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My recipe for an American Brown. I brewed this and it was friggn awesome.

7 lbs Amber Malt Extract
2 lb 2-row Pale
1 lb Munich
1 lb Crystal 60
1 lb CaraFoam

1 oz Centennial 9AA 60 min
.5 oz Centennial 9AA 15 min
.75 oz Cascade 6AA Flame Out
.5 oz Cascase Dry in Secondary or Keg

Mix grains in grain bag and soak at 152° for 15 min. in 2 gallons
Boil and add hops at schedule
Add extract at 30 min. (with flame off)
Irish Moss at 15 min

London Ale Yeast - Wyeast at 65° for one week
Secondary for 2 weeks

Let me know if you brew this.
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Keg 2 : Oktoberfest Lager (currently lagering)
Keg 3 : Tap Cleaning Fluid
Keg 4 :
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Old 08-07-2007, 11:38 AM   #5
Georgian Novice2
Jun 2007
Posts: 34

I made a Nut Brown Ale extract kit from my LHBS and it was fine. Can't remember all the details of it but it was basically 2 cans of LME, light, one hopped, and some brown sugar. Very easy and tasty. I also start with the kit first and make a few and then strike out on my own later.

I also have been learning the value of writing everything down. I just purchased ProMash and am slowly learning how to enter everything. You can use it quite well if you are an extract brewer although it does tend to favor you more if you are All-Grain (hence the title "Pro - MASH"!!! OMG!!!! I AM SO FREAKING FUNNY!!!! )

Burnt Taste - I would be careful with two things - Steep those grains at 150 degrees. I basically use a digital meat thermometer but if you just turn your water on for a while and it starts to steam well and maybe even a few bubbles at the bottom of the pot, turn off the water, remove the pot, and then put the grains in for steeping. Then I leave them for 20-30 minutes, take the out, let them just normally drain, then throw them away. I use to squeeze a bit but not anymore. Too many acidic or burnt flavors coming out.

The other thing was that I was frankly scorching the extract. I had added it when I took the pot off the heat, thoroughly dissolved it, and then did the full boil time. My pot doesn't do the whole "vigorous" boil thing unless it is on high (electric stove) and it was carmelizing my wort just a hair. However, that little bit seemed to give me a slightly burnt taste on everything I brewed.

I have now started to add the extract at the last 20-30 minutes of the boil. I have eliminated the burnt taste and my brews are coming out light in color. I would reccommend this as an experiment to you to see how you like it.

I have also read some people adding half or more of their DME after they turn off their flame/burner/knockout and just dissolving it and then moving to the cool down phase without doing a full boil for any extended time. I have never done this. I always that you needed to boil the extract for 20 minutes or so for sanitizing. I posted this question before but received no answer to it so it appears that it is probably not a common practice.

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Old 08-07-2007, 11:48 AM   #6
Ale's What Cures You!
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Jun 2006
UP of Michigan, Winter Texan
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All good suggestions! The brown ale biermuncher referred to is actually quite good, and it was my first (and about my fifth) beer.

I'd suggest keeping it simple until you get the process down, and do your best to control the temperature better this time. I used dry yeast in most of my first few beers to help keep things simple for me. I'd follow a recipe as written and not do the late extract addition yet that georgian novive mentioned, though, because that also changes your bittering. That does work well for lighter colored beers and is a good practice for later on.

I don't see anything in your recipe that would give a "burnt" taste (unless it could be the chocolate malt) so I suspect you burnt a bit of the wort. I'd suggest taking the pot off the heat while you add the extract and stir like a madman until it's totally dissolved before placing it back on the burner and heat. Then bring it to a boil.

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Old 08-07-2007, 12:59 PM   #7
Mar 2007
Posts: 625
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Bell's Best Brown is in the 150 clone recipe magazines, I dont have mine on hand right now but someone on here might have it and can get the recipe out of there for you

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Old 08-07-2007, 01:34 PM   #8
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Aug 2006
People's Republic of Cambridge
Posts: 3,316
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In addition to some of the thoughts posted by others; you mentioned that you used 3 gallons for your boil, did you steep your specialty grains in all 3 gallons? Using too much water for the steep can be another source of tannin extraction and astringency. I always steep in 1.5 gallons, then add more water after the steep is completed if I want a larger boil volume.

Also, did you adjust your hops to account for the greater utilization you will achieve with the larger boil or were you following a recipe designed for a 1.5 gallon boil?
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Old 08-07-2007, 02:27 PM   #9
Jul 2007
Somerville, MA
Posts: 9

Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I am beginning to think that I may have scorched the malt extract when I added it. I just sampled a bit of my second batch (a honey wheat) and it has the same characteristic flavor. It is a lot less noticeable, though, so maybe I will be able to drink it. My technique for this one was a bit better but I did add the DME with the burner on. I'll try again later this week and add the DME with the flame out. I made a yeast starter this morning so I'll be ready to brew tomorrow evening.

I couldn't name a commercial beer that tastes this way. It really is unpleasant. I did steep the grains in all 3 gallons and I added the extract as soon as the boil began. If I wanted to late-add the extract, where would I go to read about adjusting the hop content?

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Old 08-07-2007, 03:02 PM   #10
Jan 2007
Posts: 35

try this link, i think it will help..........

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