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Old 11-17-2012, 12:35 AM   #1
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Just tasted my British style pale ale, which is the 8-9th batch I have ever made, which sat in primary for 3 weeks, then bottled for 2 weeks. It was midwests Big Ben pale ale extract kit.

It tastes weird. Something is off about it. I'm not good at pinpointing tastes or flavors, unless its a smack in the face. The smell is unappealing too. It's just not good. I'm starting to lose faith. Some of my batches have been good, most moderate ie drinkable, but none have tasted close to commercial quality.
How long until you get it right? I tried a lot of things differently according to what I have read on here, but it seems worse. I'm starting to think my equipment might be tainted. Although this batch i used a bunch of starsan thinking I'd be safer.

About the only thing I tasted tonight was disappointment

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Old 11-17-2012, 12:48 AM   #2
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I'm on batch 8, and I'm still going for drinkable... Never mind awesome

Interested to see where this goes... And yes, it is a little annoying

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Old 11-17-2012, 12:51 AM   #3
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My first 3 batches were decent beer. My 4th was a RyePA, dry hopped, from an extract kit, and was amazing.

If you're getting weird off-flavours that you just can't figure out, I would suspect your kit was old and had some stale extract. Try to get some fresher stuff if you can next time. Could be something else though.
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Old 11-17-2012, 12:57 AM   #4
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Start with extract brewing. It eliminates a large portion of the potential problems. When fermenting, control your temps. This eliminates a lot of off flavors that the yeast could create. If there is a brew club or local homebrew shop you can take your beer to, maybe they can tell you what is going on. I have made 50+ batches (And yes a few of them were huge failures). But I learned from my mistakes took notes so I could reproduce the good as well as eliminate the bad. Keep the faith, you will get there from here.
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Old 11-17-2012, 12:59 AM   #5
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Hmm.... Well post your recipe and your process, temps, and equipment. We'll see if we can point you in the right direction.

Personally, I haven't really compared much that I've brewed to commercial standards, rather I compare to the BJCP style standards. As long as my beer fits in, and tastes good, I'll consider it a success. There is a reason why there are a million different commercial Pale Ales out there, and they all taste different. If your beer doesn't taste commercial don't worry about it.

But, most importantly, all of us on here are learning all the time; and, good batches or bad, we enjoy the brewing process and brewing as a hobby. If you do too, then who cares if you get an off flavor in your beer every now and then. Chances are, that it might mellow with age anyways.

Lastly, extract kits are a gamble anyways. Some kits are great, others are stale, and for the most part, the quality of your ingredients are out of your hands. So don't worry about it, and if you really like brewing as a hobby, consider moving to all grain or partial mashes in the near future.
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Old 11-17-2012, 01:01 AM   #6
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My first extract was Northern Brewer's Irish Red Ale. I fermented a little warm for a day. It was good.

My second was Northern Brewer's Patersbier. It was awesome!

All 28 (except for one experiment) since them have ranged from quite good to excellent.

4 extract, partial mash, 2 BIAB and the rest all grain batch sparged.
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Old 11-17-2012, 01:01 AM   #7
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Give us an idea of what the off flavor tastes like or is it the aroma? What is the ferment temp and do you control it? Give us an idea of your process?
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Old 11-17-2012, 01:04 AM   #8
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It took exactly 7 batches of extract. The magic bullet? FILTERING WATER. Minneapolis tap water apparently sucks for beer straight up, every single batch had a slightly metallic taste. I carefully changed one thing at a time until I decided to use spring water in batch 7. Bingo. Now I use a carbon block filter.
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Old 11-17-2012, 01:05 AM   #9
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I would suggest you closely monitor your fermentation temps. Remember, ambient air temp is not the same as fermentation temp. Your fermentation will be warmer 3-10 degrees than ambient air. Speaking for myself, I always tend to be overly critical of my brews which takes away from the enjoyment...try not to fall in that trap. One more stupid question, are you sure you're brewing a style you like?
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Old 11-17-2012, 01:06 AM   #10
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My first two were "meh". Very first one I had no desire to drink but was told it was an easy brew to learn from. It was a Mid Western Red IIRC, not a fan of the style but it was an add extract, boil-> carboy -> keg beer. Second one was an cascade extra pale that was good but not great, I was a little confused with the whole steeping grain aspect of extract brewing and never heard of dry hopping. The third, fourth and fifth was a repeat since I discovered I really like cascade... I like cascade a lot. And those were very very good. I didn't really hit great till about 8 batches in when I decided to give AG a try. My first was the Bells two hearted clone that is floating around this forum, never had a real Bell's but god damn was that batch good!!

I really enjoyed the jump to AG even though I probably didn't give extract a decent try. Not to sound too full of pride, but I enjoy my AG home brew much better than a lot of stuff I spend money on. Biggest impact since I've been homebrewing is freshness and carbonation. A lot of bar's beer do not taste fresh to me anymore, and they all seem over carbed and too cold.

My beer kicks ass!! Props to this forum!

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