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Old 09-28-2013, 09:47 PM   #1
creepozoid
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Default Strong alcohol taste?

Hey! I've been readings these forums a lot to help with my first brews, but it's my first time posting.

I am at my second brew (all-grain, I never did extracts), and I tried a stout. My original gravity was 1.066.

After a week and a half, my gravity was down to 1.012, and after tasting the sample, I thought it was really sweet, moka-chocolate like, with a hint of alcohol. I was content.

3-4 days later (today), I took a gravity reading at 1.020, which seems impossible (I don't think gravity can go up during fermentation). I think I had slightly more beer in the vial where I take my reading the first time, and maybe the second time the hydrometer was too close to the bottom...? I spin it everytime I take a reading...

I will try another reading tomorrow to make sure I am not off, but there is something else that disturbs me. When I tasted that second sample, all the sweetness had gone away and the only thing that remained was a strong alcohol taste. It was completely overwhelming the dark chocolate taste I had at first.

It is normal that a stout goes from sweet to alcoholic like that? Should I wait the extra week (the 3rd week of fermentation), then put it in bottle for two weeks, and then judge it again? Can it get smoother with time?

My first batch was a total disaster and I had to pour it down the sink, so I am starting to get worried... Any input would be appreciated.


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Old 09-28-2013, 10:06 PM   #2
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Yeah gravity doesn't really go up. Are you adjusting hydrometer reading for temperature? (This probably won't that big of a difference though). My best guess is a problem with the reading itself (touching bottom or something). Generally alcohol tastes will mellow with time as long as it is ethanol taste and not fusel taste.

What happened with batch #1?


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Old 09-28-2013, 10:17 PM   #3
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Also spin the hydrometer so it's not sitting on a bubble or something

The temp correction calculators are handy as mentioned and easy to access on a smart phone temp does make a difference in accuracy
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Old 09-28-2013, 10:21 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tinhorn
Also spin the hydrometer so it's not sitting on a bubble or something The temp correction calculators are handy as mentioned and easy to access on a smart phone temp does make a difference in accuracy
whoops sorry missed that you spin in it original post

If you had to dump first batch I would suspect it was fermentation temps or some sanitation issue not hydrometer reading as that's just a measurement tool not a process related to quality
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Old 09-29-2013, 04:00 AM   #5
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What was your fermentation temp? The taste will change quite a bit once it's carbonated. You can also leave it on the yeast for a couple weeks to help with by-product cleanup. Sounds like your ferm temps might have been too high.
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Old 10-08-2013, 06:11 PM   #6
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Thank you for the feedback!

I tried a new gravity reading shortly after and was back at 0.012. Seems like the volume of liquid was just a tad too low and the hydrometer must have touched the bottom of the vial...

The taste is still a little bit strong and does overwhelm the chocolate. I bottled yesterday and will try the beer in 2 or 3 weeks and see if the carbonation and time can help get the taste a bit smoother!
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Old 10-08-2013, 07:18 PM   #7
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Do you know what your ferment temps were?
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Old 10-08-2013, 07:25 PM   #8
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I agree with the other posters here: Your ferm temps were probably too high. When I was a noob, fermenting in a bucket that I stashed in the guest bathroom, my beers were terrible in the summer. It was too hot, everything came out with a hot alcohol flavor. Blech.
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Old 10-08-2013, 07:44 PM   #9
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It will likely be fine. A 1.066 stout will not taste all that great at 2 or 3 weeks. Even after it carbonates, you will likely notice it improves after an additional 4-6 weeks in the bottle. Just smoothes out a little. The alcohol hotness can subside as well.
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Old 10-08-2013, 09:31 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by solbes View Post
It will likely be fine. A 1.066 stout will not taste all that great at 2 or 3 weeks. Even after it carbonates, you will likely notice it improves after an additional 4-6 weeks in the bottle. Just smoothes out a little. The alcohol hotness can subside as well.
+1 on stouts taking an extra long time to mature. I brewed a chocolate stout back in February that became delicious after 3 months at room temp. Sampling it young (with low expectations) at three weeks, it tasted like it had a touch of soy sauce. Yuk.

Unfortunately, if your hot alcohol taste is due to fusels generated from fermenting too high, it's not likely to resolve with age.


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