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Old 10-06-2013, 07:04 PM   #1
Oct 2013
Colorado Springs, CO
Posts: 1

I could use some beginners advice on how to save my current brew. I have a Red Ale that I brewed a few weeks ago, and I think I may have hurt my chances of saving it.

After a 2 weeks in the primary, I decided to go ahead and rack my beer into a keg, as fermentation looked like it quit after about 4 days in. I let it sit in the primary for another 10 days, and I figured that would be long enough. The instructions on the brew kit certainly led me to believe that. Once I took FG and tasted the product, it had a fairly strong alcohol flavor to it, but being new to this I figured that those flavors might calm down once it carbonates. After doing some reading I learned that the flavor is probably due to high fermentation temps (I estimate that it averaged around 75F). Unfortunately I had already racked and began cooling the beer in a keg and set it at about 8 PSI.

From what I read the best cure for these off flavors is letting it sit in the primary and give it some time for those flavors to settle out. That ship has sailed though. Can I just leave it in the keg at cool temps and hope that the off flavors eventually subside?

So I just discovered this forum last night as a resource, by the way. I wish I had found it months ago. Oh well. I will say that I have learned about fermentation temperatures and I'm picking up a tub to keep my primary bathing in cool water to keep my temps down in the 60s from now on.

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Old 10-06-2013, 07:17 PM   #2
WoodlandBrew's Avatar
Oct 2012
Malden, MA
Posts: 2,191
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You might try a hop tea. Bring an ounce of hops in a couple of cups of water to 170°F and then cool. Try adding 1/4 tsp of this tea to a shot glass size sample. If you like it better then add all the tea to the keg.

More details about this type of thing in my book. Also this blog post might spark some ideas:
The 2nd edition is now available: Brewing Engineering
Woodland Brewing Research Blog Applied Science for Better Beer.

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Old 10-06-2013, 07:20 PM   #3
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Apr 2013
Atlanta, Georgia
Posts: 362
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First welcome to this forum, and to our obsession called homebrewing. Yes leaving it to age and condition will help to round out its flavor, could take a few months. My advice to a new home brewer would be to drink as much as you can stomach while working on building the capability to control fermentation temperature. Then brew a new batch and when it's ready to keg have friends over to finish off old beer, I have an aversion to dumping unless absolutely unpalatable. Then move new batch fermented at correct temperature to keg, set it at serving pressure and wait two weeks. In short I would chalk this one up to experience, live and learn.
Give a man a beer and he wastes an hour, teach a man to brew and he wastes a lifetime.

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Old 10-07-2013, 05:26 AM   #4
Denny's Evil Concoctions
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Oct 2005
West Kelowna BC, Canada
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Carbonic acid (disolved Co2) will also change your beers flavour over time.

Also, never judge a beer till it is carbonated and at least a week old (a week in the keg that is).
I may not be an expert, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express........ 6 months ago.

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Old 10-07-2013, 11:40 AM   #5
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Feb 2011
Sheffield, Ohio
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Well,at 4 days in,the bubbling stops or slows down because initial fermentation is done. It'll then slowly,uneventfully creep down to a stable FG. So in two weeks,the FG could be stable or a couple points off yet. Those off flavors could've calmed down with another 3-7 days in primary to clean up & settle out clear or slightly misty. Now you'll just have to wait for that to happen in the keg. Let it sit a week or two. you might get a glass or two of settle gunk on the first pull or two. Should be clear after that.
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Old 10-07-2013, 12:20 PM   #6
Feb 2013
Posts: 68
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I had this happen on a beer before. I bottle however. When I went to transfer to my bottling bucket I tried it and it had that definite hot alcohol burn. I just let them sit for a while in the bottles and it cleared that flavor out a lot. I got the advice from these forums too.

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Old 10-07-2013, 12:44 PM   #7
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Apr 2010
Damascus, MD
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Not be the negative responder, but if it really does have that harsh and solventy alcohol flavor it may never go away. I had a cream ale which I unfortunately had fermented in the upper 70s, I held onto it for a year and tried a bottle here and there and it never got better. I will agree Denny that CO2 can help - I often taste my beer flat when sending it to the keg and the alcohol can be a little more pronounced, but once its carbed up its fine. I would recommend holding onto the beer until you have to use that keg for something else.

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Old 10-07-2013, 12:54 PM   #8
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Oct 2012
Sterling, VA
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OP - another vote for learn from it, let it ride, brew some more

good luck with future brews & welcome to the obsession!


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drinking: Otto M. Gourd Pumpkin Barleywine, Jewel Thieves Apple Wine, Fresh Squee Zed IPA - bottle conditioning: LoCo Foot Barleywine, Basque cider - lagering : Schwarzbier - fermenting: apple wine, Skeeter Pee - on deck: Grodziskie

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Old 10-07-2013, 01:26 PM   #9
Oct 2009
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
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I agree with brettwasbtd. In my experience, fusel alcohols never really diminish appreciably, no matter how long you wait. Take it as a lesson learned, dump it to free up the keg, and try again. We've all been there and made similar mistakes. Keep those fermentation temperatures in the low-to-mid 60's and you'll taste a world of difference.

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