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Alcoholic taste prior to bottling

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JamieGalea

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Hi everyone,

I am new to brewing. This is my first batch and I'm using a kit, liquid extract. The extract is wheat beer. Left it in my fermenter for 16 days today. The initial reading was 1040 and on the 14th day it went down to 1010 and now on the 16th went down to 1008. On the 14th day it tasted a bit too sweet so I left it there for an extra 2 days. but now while the sweetness decreased, the alcoholic taste increased (that taste of a cheap beer) Temperature is stable at around 64-68 F.

Should I worry about the alcoholic taste or after bottling it will go away through the aging process?

Thank you in advance to anyone replying and assisting me in this matter :)
 

VikeMan

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Your ABV is about 4.2%. At that level, alcohol (ethanol) taste shouldn't be dominant. It may be that you are tasting excessive esters or fusel alcohols. Either/both of these can result from high fermentation temperatures. How high did your fermentation temps get during the first few days? If you don't know that, what was the ambient temperature where the fermenter was?
 

McKnuckle

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@VikeMan points out some good stuff for you - definitely review your fermentation temps.

You can always worry, but there is nothing you can do except follow good procedure and wait. Patience is essential to brewing! All beer at that young age is considered "green" or unrefined, a bit rough, and not yet conditioned.

While fermentation itself may be done, the beer is not really ready to drink. Since I assume you are bottling, you will also need to wait for carbonation to fully complete, which takes about 2 more weeks. Only then you can condition cold for another 2-3 weeks and expect to drink conditioned beer.

This is roughly 6 weeks from starting to popping that first cap. Forget what the kit says.

Of course, many brewers are not this patient, particularly brand new ones, who typically are keen to poke, prod, peek, test, taste, and so on at every available opportunity. :) But that is not the ideal thing to do, and with time if you keep at this, you will resist it. You'll start another brew instead to distract yourself!
 

D.B.Moody

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If the gravity is still dropping, it is not time to bottle. Sixteen days seems a fairly long time for an ordinary beer to not be finished, but I don't use liquid yeasts. (Bear in mind that I haven't taken a gravity reading since 2009, over a hundred brews ago.)
 
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JamieGalea

JamieGalea

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Your ABV is about 4.2%. At that level, alcohol (ethanol) taste shouldn't be dominant. It may be that you are tasting excessive esters or fusel alcohols. Either/both of these can result from high fermentation temperatures. How high did your fermentation temps get during the first few days? If you don't know that, what was the ambient temperature where the fermenter was?

Ambient temperature was between 62 - 71, in that region. I placed it in a wardbrobe and left it in the dark. My only concern is that i think when i put the dry yeast sachet to the wort the temperature was reading 78 - 79 F on the fermenter. Maybe fermentation started off at a high temperature ?
 

NGD

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Ambient temperature was between 62 - 71, in that region. I placed it in a wardbrobe and left it in the dark. My only concern is that i think when i put the dry yeast sachet to the wort the temperature was reading 78 - 79 F on the fermenter. Maybe fermentation started off at a high temperature ?
I think Vike nailed it. If you started your fermentation off in the mid to high 70’s, then the temp could have rise to the low 80’s and thrown fusel alcohols i.e. “cheap beer taste”. Had the same problem with my first beer but luckily it was so oxidized after bottling you could barely taste them over the flavor of stale beer, lol.

It would help to know what yeast you went with as different yeast are designed to work best in different temperature ranges.
 
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JamieGalea

JamieGalea

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I think Vike nailed it. If you started your fermentation off in the mid to high 70’s, then the temp could have rise to the low 80’s and thrown fusel alcohols i.e. “cheap beer taste”. Had the same problem with my first beer but luckily it was so oxidized after bottling you could barely taste them over the flavor of stale beer, lol.

It would help to know what yeast you went with as different yeast are designed to work best in different temperature ranges.
Honestly the sachet was provided along with the liquid extract as part of the kit. I dont know specifically what yeast it is but looks like the dry instant one in a sachet, similar to the one i use to make pizza lol

If the case is as you say, at this moment before i bottle it, is there anything thay can be done to minimise the alcoholic taste at all ?
 

VikeMan

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If the case is as you say, at this moment before i bottle it, is there anything thay can be done to minimise the alcoholic taste at all ?
If you have excess fusel alcohols, the yeast might reduce some of them to esters (the lesser of two evils) over time, particularly if you keep the beer warm. Unfortunately, that will also accelerate staling reactions.

At this point, I'd be inclined to leave it in the fermenter and see what happens.
 

jrgtr42

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I would say to give it a few more days in fermenter. At that point, if the gravity has stabilized, you're ready to bottle.
THe sweetness will defintely be countered by carbonation. As far as the alcoholic taste, Being that you started fermentation a bit high, you're likely looking at the fusels. It won't go completely away, but if may fade over time. Of course, a wheat is a beer you don't want to age too long.
THat said, ths is your first brew, so overall it sounds sucessful. Stuff like this is how we learn and get better.
Likely you won't pitch (add yeast) that high again, no? (except a couple styles, like saison, and yeast strains lke Kveik that lke it warmer...)
 

Beenym88

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Ambient temperature was between 62 - 71, in that region. I placed it in a wardbrobe and left it in the dark. My only concern is that i think when i put the dry yeast sachet to the wort the temperature was reading 78 - 79 F on the fermenter. Maybe fermentation started off at a high temperature ?
You fermented to warm which is the reason for the alcohol taste sorry to be the bearer of bad news but this will not go away. This happened on my very first brew because I just followed the direction and put it in a room temperature closet but that really doesn’t work. You have to keep the beer itself in the 60s this is the original rabbit whole that I went down and started spending money in home brewing. To keep your fermenting beer cool after spending lots of money I have found that buying cool sticks and a pump keeping the pump in Ice water is the best most cost efficient way. Anvil sells a nice one for a decent price. If you YouTube it I’m sure you will see it. Also an immersion chiller to get your wort to the right temperature before you pitch the yeast.
 
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JamieGalea

JamieGalea

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You fermented to warm which is the reason for the alcohol taste sorry to be the bearer of bad news but this will not go away. This happened on my very first brew because I just followed the direction and put it in a room temperature closet but that really doesn’t work. You have to keep the beer itself in the 60s this is the original rabbit whole that I went down and started spending money in home brewing. To keep your fermenting beer cool after spending lots of money I have found that buying cool sticks and a pump keeping the pump in Ice water is the best most cost efficient way. Anvil sells a nice one for a decent price. If you YouTube it I’m sure you will see it. Also an immersion chiller to get your wort to the right temperature before you pitch the yeast.
Appreciate your input mate. This is my very first trial and i see bad news/feedback as a means of improving 🙂 Thank you
 

Beenym88

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Appreciate your input mate. This is my very first trial and i see bad news/feedback as a means of improving 🙂 Thank you
My very fist time was a complete disaster don’t be discouraged
 

bu_gee

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You fermented to warm which is the reason for the alcohol taste sorry to be the bearer of bad news but this will not go away.
I do agree that it won't go away completely, but whenever I have had this problem, I leave the beer on the yeast cake for an extra week and then put it in a secondary for another week or two and it seems to help some.

If you carb it a little more aggressively, the carbonic acid bite will help mask the flavor a bit, but you'll have to decide if that or the fusel alcohol flavor is more disagreeable.
 
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