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Old 11-17-2012, 01:12 AM   #11
ReverseApacheMaster
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I brewed a few decent extract kits early on. When I went into all grain I started off pretty much from the beginning with my own recipes and it took 3-4 beers before they reached a really great flavor. Some of that was recipe-related, some process.


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Old 11-17-2012, 01:14 AM   #12
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The ironic thing is, this was the first batch I incorporated a swamp cooler to control my ferm temps. Kept the swamp water in the mid sixties. First time I rehydrated the dry yeast, used distilled and or spring water, and first time using starsan.

I can't really describe the taste. A little Homebrewish, little yeasty, metallic?, harsh? I don't know. Just not good or wanting me to come back for more.

And yes I do enjoy pale ales very much.


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Old 11-17-2012, 01:21 AM   #13
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Sounds like you're down to the old "can't make chicken salad outta chicken poo". Maybe try an alternative source of ingredients if you haven't already. If you're doing extract kits, give northern brewer a try. I find their ingredients to be really fresh and the kits well designed.
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Old 11-17-2012, 01:25 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wilsojos View Post
"can't make chicken salad outta chicken poo".
HAHA I may be from the city, but I have never heard this phrase before in my life.
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Old 11-17-2012, 01:30 AM   #15
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I dunno about "awesome." But 4th batch I tasted and was like "ooooh, this is nice!"

My previous goal was drinkable & better than pabst/high life. 1st three brews hit that. 4th was actually "nice."

Obviously I want to get a lot better.

5th is fermenting now, a red IPA kit from austinhomebrew. I do believe these are better/fresher ingredients, and it will also be my 1st attempt dry hopping. As long as each brew is better than the last I'm happy and I have to say, I'm really getting to enjoy the process.

Different kits and recipes help. Simple stuff like the 4th kit basically said start w/ 3 gallons water for steep/boil and add 2 gallons top off. Previous kits/recipes said steep/boil 2.5 and add 2.5 top off water.

Probably obvious to experienced brewers but instead of each step in the process being kind of mysterious or clinging to the directions I put together from reading here and I guess personal experience it's better to steep/boil as much as possible but it doesn't really matter.... you steep/boil some and top off the rest and the grand total should be around 5 gallons or enough to get you to OG.

One small detail but my point is as you do it more you understand the process more and the point of each step more.

I also got better at aerating the wort, rehydrating the yeast, and general temp control. Which element was really critical to making better beer? I dunno but I like working on all those details. Hopefully they really add up and I hope to keep getting better at all of them, plus I have a feeling there's stuff that isn't even on my radar yet...
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Old 11-17-2012, 01:51 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chungking View Post
The ironic thing is, this was the first batch I incorporated a swamp cooler to control my ferm temps. Kept the swamp water in the mid sixties. First time I rehydrated the dry yeast, used distilled and or spring water, and first time using starsan.

I can't really describe the taste. A little Homebrewish, little yeasty, metallic?, harsh? I don't know. Just not good or wanting me to come back for more.

And yes I do enjoy pale ales very much.
Sounds like we are working on the same stuff, so I wonder what the problem is. I try to watch the temp all the time, while steeping, and then cooling the wort after boil (still takes me maybe 45 mins, would like to get it faster). I'm super anal about cleaning / sanitizing; I sanitize the counter so anything I set there hopefully stays clean, even the stirring paddle, between steps I'll basically rinse/wash/sanitize again. As people have said here; don't fear the starsan. Keep it in a bucket, keep the stuff you'll use (already clean) in that bucket, and shake it off as well as you can before using.
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Old 11-17-2012, 01:58 AM   #17
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All my previous batches were true brew kits with canned lme. I switched to midwest because it wad highly recommended on this forum for having fresher, better kits. This kit was from Midwest. I was actually really happy cause it was probably the smoothest, best job I have ever done brewing, yet results were still meh.

Some of the canned lme batches were better then this.

Ill post the recipe next...
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Old 11-17-2012, 02:06 AM   #18
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Link:

http://www.midwestsupplies.com/big-ben-pale-ale.html

3.3 lbs gold lme
3.3 lbs amber lme
8 oz carapils
8 oz crystal
1 oz williamette
1 oz fuggles
Safale s-04 yeast

Steeped grains at 155 for 30 minutes.

Lme, williamette @ 60
Fuggles @ 5

Cooled wort to 70, pitched yeast. Og was 1.050, fg was 1.016.
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Old 11-17-2012, 02:10 AM   #19
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4 extract brews here... each has gotten better, but all were at least good... #4 was great. High hopes for #5, our first batch with real temperature control.

Seattle has great tap water, which helps.
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Old 11-17-2012, 02:14 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chungking View Post
All my previous batches were true brew kits with canned lme. I switched to midwest because it wad highly recommended on this forum for having fresher, better kits. This kit was from Midwest. I was actually really happy cause it was probably the smoothest, best job I have ever done brewing, yet results were still meh.

Some of the canned lme batches were better then this.

Ill post the recipe next...
I know this may sound strange, but have you given any of your beer to friends/relatives to critique for you? I have found that I am a perfectionist when it comes to brewing, and this means that I almost always rate my beer lower than I probably should. All my friends/family rave about beer that I think is "just OK". I recently scored 35 in a local homebrew competition that was judged by BJCP certified judges with a Russian Imperial Stout that I almost did not enter because I thought it was not good enough.

It seems that I can pick out flaws in nearly every brew I make, yet I continue to get requests for more beer.

I am not saying this to sound egotistical or anything like that. The point I am trying to make is that I am almost never completely happy with my beer. There is almost always something I feel like I could have done better. I try to keep notes on what I do and do not like, and use that info to (hopefully) make each batch better than the last one.

Try not to get too discouraged. There are a lot of variables in brewing. Water quality, sanitation, fermentation temperature, freshness of ingredients, kettle size, boil size, and a million other factors contribute to the finished quality of the beer. If you are having a hard time pinpointing what you think is "off" with your brew, give it to a few trusted friends who will give you an honest review. Let them know that it is OK to tell you that the beer sucks (if it really does suck) and ask them what was good and what was bad.

Sometimes a fresh opinion will go a long way to figuring out where the process is breaking down.


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