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Old 11-19-2012, 05:14 PM   #71
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I ordered a speckled pale ale, or at least that is what the menu said, not the brown ale...

Seems like there's a lot of beginners luck. My first one was good, second was better, then has gone downhill. i didn't really start researching anything till I found this website/app. Seems like I didn't start getting getting crazy off flavors until I started trying to improve my processes.

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Old 11-19-2012, 05:55 PM   #72
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Can't speak for others, but I think for me the "beginner's luck" was a combination of a couple of things:

- I didn't really have any baseline for what homebrewed beer would taste like, since I didn't know anyone who brewed and had never tried homebrew before. So when I tasted that first batch and it was honest-to-god beer, my expectations were more than met. After a couple of batches I kind of knew what I should expect, so I got better at detecting deviations from the "standard".

- For me, starting to brew my own beer was a doorway into drinking craft brew, not vice versa. I was a poor student, and then a poor enlisted person, so my expensive beer was miller high life instead of PBR. As I started brewing my own and as I started drinking better beer, my palate developed and I figured out what my preferences were. And I got better at detecting problems in my own product.

- I started out on relatively easy to produce styles--stouts, brown ales, esbs &c. As I tried out beers with less complex flavor profiles, the flaws (like ester production from improper fermentation temps) made themselves more readily apparent. You can get away with quite a bit when brewing a stout, since there's so much flavor going on there already it can mask some imperfections.

Also, I think the beer gods give a little extra help to most newbies, to encourage them to keep plugging away at it. If my first four batches had been undrinkable, I don't know that I would have kept going.

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Old 11-19-2012, 06:24 PM   #73
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I think that always learning more about the brewing process is the biggest part of how a home brewer pushes past that valley of crappy results. I made my first two batches after simply reading through "How to Brew" a couple of times, and they came out alright. Since then I've been poking around these forms a lot, reading a few other books, listening to podcasts, and simply searching Google for all kinds of beer knowledge I hear about. Even after almost a year hiatus from brewing, I feel like the batch I'm getting ready to bottle tomorrow, despite being a boring brown ale extract kit (that I'm turning into a gingerbread brown), is going to be much more exceptional than my first few batches. This is certainly due to things like: taking hydrometer readings and tasting the sample afterwards, controlling fermentation temperature (normal during primary, then warmed up a few days, and now cold crashing), better sanitation practices (Star San FTW), and more.

Fermenting: Group brews: ESB; Nut Brown; Strong Ale [8/22 brewday]
Bottled/Kegged: None
On Deck: Porter? I hardly know her [9/5 brewday]

Thinking about racking to a secondary? Read this first.
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Old 11-20-2012, 01:01 AM   #74
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My first batch was pretty good. It was an American Wheat. The second was NB's Nut Brown Ale. That one wasn't as good as the first, but still drinkable. The Nut Brown has a sharp bite in the after taste and seems to have a low mouth feel (if any of that makes sense). Both of those batches I used a swamp cooler.

My 4th batch was the Caribou Slobber. It seemed everything went wrong from start to finish with this beer. Glad it's just a one gallon kit. It tastes a bit flat too, but doesn't have as sharp of a bite in the aftertaste as the Nut Brown.

My 3rd batch is my home run batch. It's the Dead Ringer IPA. I'm not a big IPA lover, but this I would definitely buy at a store. Of the few IPAs I've sampled, I like Sweetwater's IPA the best. Mine's second best (to me anyways).

That batch put a smile on my face and gave me enough confidence to make the jump to all grain, which is batches 5 and 6 (Phat Tyre & Dawson's Multi Red). Hoping to start those Thanksgiving weekend.
"There is no right way to brew. The journey to finding out what works best for you is 99% of the hobby. Ethanol is the other 1%" - Bobby M

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Old 11-22-2012, 03:18 AM   #75
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Exactly 37 days. No more, no less.
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Old 11-22-2012, 07:38 AM   #76
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I have had a bunch. All Brewer's Best kits. Red Ale was good, Milk stout was good, Kolsch was good, Amber was good,m American Light was good, but the Whisky Barrerl Stout and the Summer Ale have been AMAZING!

My All-Grain Summer Ale was better then the BB(I might be biased) but not by much. SWMBO likes the extract better, but I like the AG.

All of my AG have been decent to goo so far and seem to get better with every batch.
Fermenting - Nothing.
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Secondary - Nothing.
Bottle-aging -Nothing.
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Old 11-22-2012, 12:26 PM   #77
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I didn't read all the replies, but the most obvious thing is that you have to wait longer than two weeks in the bottle sometimes. Maybe I just brew bad beer, but I find that mine has to sit for a month to taste the way I want.
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Old 11-22-2012, 12:52 PM   #78
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I'm am no expert by any stretch, but I was thinking that some time in a secondary fermentor will help mellow your beer out also give it more time to let all the solids settle to the bottom. And play with your priming sugars a bit.

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