Well, it is month form my first batch and we had tasting party yesterday. I have to say, that it was successful. All friends were excited about beer quality and they like it. So my 5 gal batch is almost gone
I can say I am happy with that and can't wait for another brewing, but even the beer was good and drinkable, it wasn't as I expected.
I brewed IPA (I love them!) from John Palmer's book, called Victory and Chaos. Here is the original recipe:
9 lbs. 9,8 oz. Pale Malt (2 Row) UK (3,0 SRM)
1 lbs. 3,2 oz. Munich Malt (9,0 SRM)
1 lbs. 3,2 oz. Caramel/Crystal Malt - 20L (20,0 SRM)
1,04 oz. Nugget [12,00 %] - Boil 60,0 min Hop 4 39,4 IBUs
2,08 oz. Goldings, East Kent [5,00 %] - Boil 15,0 min Hop 5 16,3 IBUs
1,04 oz. Goldings, East Kent [5,00 %] - Boil 5,0 min Hop 6 3,3 IBUs
London Ale (White Labs #WLP013)
Single infusion, batch sparge, 2 weeks in fermenter, 2 weeks in bottles
Target OG: 1,062 / FG: 1,016 / 59 IBU
Because I had some difficulty with exact ingredients, I needed to substitute some of them (I used BeerSmith to help me with this):
9 lbs. 2,4 oz. Pale Malt (2 Row) UK (3,5 SRM)
2,2 oz. Munich Malt (12,0 SRM)
1 lbs. 2,2 oz. Caraamber (40,0 SRM)
2,76 oz. Saaz [4,45 %] - Boil 60,0 min Hop 4 39,7 IBUs
1,79 oz. Cascade [5,50 %] - Boil 15,0 min Hop 5 15,8 IBUs
0,94 oz. Willamette [5,50 %] - Boil 5,0 min Hop 6 3,3 IBUs
Target: OG: 1,059 / FG 1,014 / 59 IBU
Whole process was fine, and I finished with measured: OG: 1,052 and FG 1,014. But I probably did some mistakes and now I am trying to find out which ones. I want to make sure my next batch will taste as planned. I hope you guys will help me find what was wrong.
And what is the problem? The beer tastes like wort before boiling with hops. Which means no hop flavor!
Here is what I did and where I made possible mistakes:
1. Single infusion in mash tun cooler
I drowned my thermometer probe and it went crazy, so I started to panic and lost track of time. So only thing I know is water temperature before dough-in. After that I don't know how long and in which temp my mash was. I am guessing it was about 1,5 hour (I was searching for another thermometer all the time).
I used hop bags and removed all of them right after the boil ended. Then I chilled the wort outside in the snow for 4 hours (I made immersion chiller before yesterday ... yippee
I also have to say that I tasted chilled wort before pitching the yeast and it tasted good - nice malt sweetness and great fruity hop bitterness!
As I read in the book, I should have wort colder than storage room, and rehydrated yeast colder than the wort. But I think I had everything in opposite order - yeast warmer than wort and wort warmer than room. The fermentation started after 12 hours and bubbled very crazy for about 2 days, then it bubbled slowly during whole 2 weeks.
When I took my fermenter for bottling, I noticed that it is still bubbling. About one bubble every 2 min. But measured FG was saying it is ready to bottle. I bottled with priming solution made from corn sugar to target carbonation about 2.0. I mixed it slowly and let it settle for 30 min. I also ended up with a thick layer of yeas in each bottle, because I didn't use bottling bucket.
First, because of thick yeast layer, I had to leave a lot of beer behind in the bottle. Shame, next time I will try to use bottling bucket and hope it will help.
Second, I am not sure about temperature. My fridge isn't large enough, so I was chilling the beer on the terrace in 28.4 F. During our party, we started with warmer beer and ended with colder ones. Here I noticed that hop flavor was getting better with lower temp, but it was still too little for 59 IBU IPA.
Ok, I know there are probably a lot of possible reasons why my beer doesn't taste like planned IPA. I hope I will go through second batch much better. But maybe you can see specific reason, which my beer lost hop flavor. I think that the problem was somewhere during the fermentation, because before it, it had great IPA taste.
So what could be a reason? Wrong mash? Hop bags? Higher starting fermentation temperature? Too young beer? Or anything different?
Thank you all for your help.