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Am I tasting acetaldehyde? And how do I fix it?

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GuitarBob

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I bottled an Irish stout that I made from a kit 24 days ago, and it's fully carbed but it still has a nasty sweet flavor to it thats hard to describe, or maybe it's more of an apple flavor I'm not sure.

I realize I propably bottled it too soon (only 2 weeks in primary), and I won't be repeating that mistake in the future, but now I'm stuck with an applely (not sure if thats a word) tasting beer thats already bottled.

My questions are

1. How much longer should I wait before trying another one.
2. What temperture should I leave the bottles at? It's already carbed so would cooler temperture help fix the off-flavors or would warmer tempertures be better?
3. Is there any risk in producing more off-flavors if I left the bottles at a higher then recommended temperture? I doubt there is anymore sugar left I just want to clean up the acetaldehyde.
 
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GuitarBob

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Forgot to mention that this is an extract brew with steeping grains, and unfortuantly I don't remember the exact ingredients since it was brewed over a month ago. I should also mention that I used LME and not DME. I've heard of extract twang and was wondering how that tastes different then acetaldehyde since the two descriptions sound somewhat similar.

Also if it is extract twang does that ever condition out of the beer? And if so do you have a rough idea on how long?

Now that I've drunk a little more of it I would describe the taste has more tart then sweet. Man flavors are hard to describe.
 

Revvy

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Give it a few more weeks..Some beers still need more time to get rid of some of the nastyness....

Don't believe me? Read this....https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/ne...virtue-time-heals-all-things-even-beer-73254/

It's also really really hard for someone new to the hobby to self diagnose a beer...a book is no substitute for experience, or an experienced judge...if you know anyone in your area have them taste it..

And since you are dealing with living organisms...and every beer is different there is no way to know "How Long" in a situation like this I would try one beer a month until it got to the profile I wanted...then drink em....
 
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GuitarBob

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Yeah that makes sense I guess I'm just being impatient, part of me was hoping for a miracle cure. Oh well I guess it's back to drinking Guinness until the beer finally ready.

Should I keep it stored at 70F still even though it's already carbed or would 60F be better?
 

Revvy

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Yeah that makes sense I guess I'm just being impatient, I guess part of me was hoping for a miracle cure. Oh well I guess I'll be drinking Guinness until the beer finally ready.

Should I keep it stored at 70F still even though it's already carbed or would 60F be better?
I leave mine at the same temp all the time (until I fridge it)

Go brew more beer...it'll take you mind off this one.
 

peepfoot

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Seriously Revvy, you are the man.

The answer to all "Does my beer taste funny?" questions should be: "Brew more beer... it'll take your mind off of this one."

I love it.
 

Revvy

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Seriously Revvy, you are the man.

The answer to all "Does my beer taste funny?" questions should be: "Brew more beer... it'll take your mind off of this one."

I love it.
But it is the answer...if you give anybeer that taste "funny" some space (meaning time) and come back to it...at least 98% of the time it turns out ok....look at the never dump your beer thread for proof...

This always seems such a big deal to new brewers, but once you have a pipeline going, relaxing and letting a beer sit for awhile is no big deal...whether it's a longer primary period like many of us do...or longer bottle conditioning to let a beer clear itself up...Here's something I wrote awhile ago...but it's a good illustration;

Revvy said:
For Example, I brewed my Pumpkin Ale for Thanksgiving on Labor Day...figuring at 8 weeks, I MIGHT have some ready for Holloween...But they were still green, so I only brought a couple to my annuual Halloween thingy, along with a sampler of commercial pumpkins...BUT come Turkey Day the beer was fantastic, and was a hit at the holiday.

Right now this is my current inventory...

Drinking....IPA, various bottles of Oaked Smoked Brown Ale, Smoked brown ale, Poor Richard's Ale, Biermuncher's Centennial Blonde (but as a Lager,)
Avoiding....Marris Otter/Argentinian Cascade SMaSH (It sucks)
Bottle Conditioning..... Chocolate Mole Porter, Belgian Dark Strong Ale, Peach Mead
In Primary.....Schwartzbier, Vienna Lager
Bulk Aging....Mead
Lagering....Dead Guy Clone Lager (Which I am going to be bottling this weekend...
I also have year old apfelwein, that is smooth as pornstars genitals, and much more tasty (and potent.)

Pretty much anything still in Primary or Lagering I will not be drinking til the end of March, but more than likely April....The Mole Porter needs a minimum several more weeks as well....but the Belgian Strong is prolly going to need 3-6 months to be ready...

The Swartzbier has 3 weeks more in primary, then another month lagering, THEN 3 weeks at least in the bottles...

Some weeks I take a break from my own beers to drink a couple sixers of samplers, so I don't drink ALL my current and other ready beers before the others comes online....Plus I'm craving a couple of styles that I don't have ready (like Vienna Lager) so I will make a bottle run....I also get to try new styles to come up with new ones to brew down the line.

And I'm also probably going to brew something this weekend...don't know what yet...maybe a low abv mild that I would only leave in primary till fermentation is stopped then bottled..so hopefully in a month they will drinkable.....

But do you see...you too one day will have a pipleine....and the wait will be nothing...you will have things at various stages...

This quote from one of my friends sums it up....

The nice thing is to get to a point in your pipeline where you are glancing through your BeerSmith brew log and realize that you have a beer that you have not even tried yet and it has been in bottle over 6 weeks. This happened to me this weekend. The beer was farging delicious.
It always seems unfathomable to many new brewers..but it won't six months or a year from now to you...
 

RedIrocZ-28

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Give it 8 more weeks in the bottle and then let us know how it tastes. Don't have any between now and then. Stouts need time to mellow and meld the flavors together. My first Stout is very "green" and its been in bottles 2 weeks so far. I think it will be getting good in time for my birthday in May.
 

Revvy

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Give it 8 more weeks in the bottle and then let us know how it tastes. Don't have any between now and then. Stouts need time to mellow and meld the flavors together. My first Stout is very "green" and its been in bottles 2 weeks so far. I think it will be getting good in time for my birthday in May.
Yeah my stouts and porters usually take 6-8 weeks to come up to beery goodness as well.
 

malkore

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what was the gravity at bottling?

i once had a stout with a bit too high gravity, bottled it anyway. it was a bit sweet.

6 weeks later bottles began to explode.

I hope that's not the issue you're facing...but impatience is one of the things that'll bite you on the ass when brewing. Nothing you can do will make beer finish before its finished.
 
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GuitarBob

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what was the gravity at bottling?

i once had a stout with a bit too high gravity, bottled it anyway. it was a bit sweet.

6 weeks later bottles began to explode.

I hope that's not the issue you're facing...but impatience is one of the things that'll bite you on the ass when brewing. Nothing you can do will make beer finish before its finished.
I thought I wrote down the gravity but I can't seem to find it anywhere. I think it was a little less then 15 but now I'm not sure.

This is like when I type in a symptom on WebMD and possible causes range from a common cold to some horrible fatal disease. Maybe I'm being a beer hypochondriac.
 

Revvy

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Maybe I'm being a beer hypochondriac.
We have a name for it actually...Noobitus, it's the tendency to excessively woory, to believe that our beer is weaker than it actually is, and to forget the the yeasties have been doing this for at least 5,000 years, and they are experts.

It is the failure to RDWHAHB (or microbrew at least.)

:D

(we see this a hundred threads a day...you're not alone.)
 
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GuitarBob

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Well I waited a number of weeks before trying it again, and I have to say now that beer is pretty damn good. In fact I just drank 3 of them tonight very tasty, but not quite perfect.

They have this slight residual sweet taste that's barely noticable but it's there. I'm assuming this what you guys refer to has "extract twang". Regardless it doesn't matter because I switched to all-grain last week, which is a lot more fun then brewing with extract.

So thanks for the advice everybody. I learned a lot from this site, and yet there is still so much more to learn. Learning how to brew is like learning music each new bit of information only results in more questions.
 

Figbash

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You are being WAY to impatient for a stout. The last one I made peaked at around six months. Unless you fermented at a very high temperature, what you are tasting is green beer. Give it time, those Irish are a patient lot.

Tom
 

Revvy

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Well I waited a number of weeks before trying it again, and I have to say now that beer is pretty damn good. In fact I just drank 3 of them tonight very tasty, but not quite perfect.
Toldja so....the biggest problem with new brewers is Impatience, and Mis-self diagnosing green beer, based on something they read...

They have this slight residual sweet taste that's barely noticable but it's there. I'm assuming this what you guys refer to has "extract twang". Regardless it doesn't matter because I switched to all-grain last week, which is a lot more fun then brewing with extract.
You may have not realized it but you shouldn't attempt to diagnose a beer until you've brewed a few batches...and as you already know, your self diagnose skills suck :D (you'll learn)

You're doing it again..."residual sweetness" has nothing to do with extract tawng...and many argue that extract twang really doesn't exist anyway...it's usually self diagnosed by impatient brewers who again don't give their beer enough time....

Was there lactose in your stout? Unfermentable sugars is where you get residual sweetness from...

Stouts and Porters often need more time to bottle condition, like 6-8 weeks minimum before they come into their peak of flavor...

But seriously, taste is subjective, and a new brewer attempting to self diagnose a beer based on something they read is like performing brain surgery on your little brother after watching an episode of house....

It's better to find an experienced brewer, preferably a BJCP certified judge or somoene who has actually tasted control versions of the off flavors described. In the training, as well as some brewclubs, people use a kit where they add chemicals to a base beer, so people can taste what these flavors really are, NOT a description in a book...

I've been brewing a number of years, and even I don't try to self diagnose a beer....I haven't tasted every off flavor yet...so if I think something's off, then I find someone with more experience to do it for me...

BUT honestly I've rarely had a problem in a beer, that didn't dissappear if I was patient....even waiting up to a year...as described in here;

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/ne...virtue-time-heals-all-things-even-beer-73254/

But seriously, I don't wanna sound like a hard ass, but, quit trying to diagnose your own beers....you really don't know whether something you are tasting is just green or is a flaw...that takes experience which you do have yet.....you proved it with your acetaldehyde diagnosis....:D
 

JesseRC

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I added lactose on purpose once and had to throw out my stout. I just couldnt stomach it.
 
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I'm assuming this what you guys refer to has "extract twang".
Define "Extract Twang" slang
1) Term used by EAC all-grain brewers who feel that if you're not making all-grain you're not actually making beer. These are likely the same people who tell you that if it isn't a manual transmission car you're not really driving; you're just steering.

2) Excuse made by extract brewers for some flaw in their process that led to off-flavors.

3) Boogeyman (see also autolysis) that extract brewers are afraid of and attribute to the taste of their still green beers.
 
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GuitarBob

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You may have not realized it but you shouldn't attempt to diagnose a beer until you've brewed a few batches...and as you already know, your self diagnose skills suck :D (you'll learn)
I know I'm new at this but I have to humbly disagree. How on Earth is someone suppose to get good at diagnosing beer if they don't try and diagnose a beer?

That's like telling someone not to try riding a bike until they already know how to ride a bike. It doesn't work that way.



But seriously, I don't wanna sound like a hard ass, but, quit trying to diagnose your own beers....you really don't know whether something you are tasting is just green or is a flaw...that takes experience which you do have yet.....you proved it with your acetaldehyde diagnosis....:D

You're right I don't have much experiance, and I hope you don't think I'm being a smartass punk trying to go for one of those "gotcha" moments, but according to John Palmer's book

Acetaldehyde
"A flavor of green apples or freshly cut pumpkin; it is an intermediate compound in the formation of alcohol. Some yeast strains produce more than others, but generally it's presence indicates that the beer is too young and needs more time to condition."

If the presence of acetaldehyde indicates a "green" beer then wasn't I correct in my diagnosis? After all a "green" taste has to be something, some chemical, some by-product, something thats has a certain taste.

I know I must sound like some ungratiful punk, or some newbie who thinks he's a know-it-all, but unless I ask questions and discuss the answers to those questions then I'm not going to learn anything. Most importantly if I have two different sources with conflicting information then I have to compare the two, and try to find out where the truth lies, odds are there is truth in both, but they are refering to two slightly different things.

Again I'm not going for some sort of "gotcha", but I really want know so I can improve my method.
 
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GuitarBob

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Define "Extract Twang" slang
1) Term used by EAC all-grain brewers who feel that if you're not making all-grain you're not actually making beer. These are likely the same people who tell you that if it isn't a manual transmission car you're not really driving; you're just steering.

2) Excuse made by extract brewers for some flaw in their process that led to off-flavors.

3) Boogeyman (see also autolysis) that extract brewers are afraid of and attribute to the taste of their still green beers.

I'm guessing there isn't a consensus on this definition.
 

Revvy

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Define "Extract Twang" slang
1) Term used by EAC all-grain brewers who feel that if you're not making all-grain you're not actually making beer. These are likely the same people who tell you that if it isn't a manual transmission car you're not really driving; you're just steering.

2) Excuse made by extract brewers for some flaw in their process that led to off-flavors.

3) Boogeyman (see also autolysis) that extract brewers are afraid of and attribute to the taste of their still green beers.
+1 to this.......
 

Revvy

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I know I'm new at this but I have to humbly disagree. How on Earth is someone suppose to get good at diagnosing beer if they don't try and diagnose a beer?

That's like telling someone not to try riding a bike until they already know how to ride a bike. It doesn't work that way......
But seriously...you struck out the first time, didn't you?????:D

You need to know WHEN to attempt to DIAGNOSE something as well...most new brewers try to diagnose a green beer as something as having a problem, when in reality it is just young.......

If you read the hundreds of threads on here similar to yours many of them come back and say after a few weeks..."my bad, I jumped the gun....everything is fine now."

An off flavor, that someone reads about often tens to be gone several weeks later, it my appear to be "apple" when it's green (often green beers taste of acetaldehyde" as you proved) but if it's gone in 2 or 6 months, was it truly that, or was it just "young."


And some beers are supposed to have a green apple taste....it's produced by the yeasts...Brouwerij Van Steenberge is KNOWN for that....is that acetaldehyde a mistake or a characteristic of the beer?

See what I'm getting at?

And you have to realize that taste is subjective....I may taste your beer and not notice it, so how do we know whose palate is the "correct one."

Yours, mine or neither?

That's is again why judges and other experienced beer judges actually sit down with "controls" of the off flavors. They get to taste it for real.....then when they taste it in their judging they can more readily identify it than you or me who is just reading it in a book.....

I wouldn't attempt brain surgery from reading a book.

I'm just getting at a simply fact...you are a new at this.....don't jump the gun and diagnose something as "wrong" right away.....

When I see this I am often reminded of the hypochondria that the med students I work with often get when learning about a new disease....the get convinced that that little tremor they just got is parkinsons or something..

You will understand what I'm getting at when you've been doing it for awhile....you may even look back and thank me for this conversation....or at least laugh at how "punky" you were to the guy who spends the most time on here trying to help new brewers....I didn't get this post count for playing word games.....

I got it by seeing the same questions, and new brewer panic mis-diagnosis, and decide to help calm them down....

Look up "Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc." you'll see what I'm getting at....most new brewers tend to subscribe to that....
 

HenryHill

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I know I'm new at this but I have to humbly disagree. How on Earth is someone suppose to get good at diagnosing beer if they don't try and diagnose a beer?

That's like telling someone not to try riding a bike until they already know how to ride a bike. It doesn't work that way.






You're right I don't have much experiance, and I hope you don't think I'm being a smartass punk trying to go for one of those "gotcha" moments, but according to John Palmer's book

Acetaldehyde
"A flavor of green apples or freshly cut pumpkin; it is an intermediate compound in the formation of alcohol. Some yeast strains produce more than others, but generally it's presence indicates that the beer is too young and needs more time to condition."

If the presence of acetaldehyde indicates a "green" beer then wasn't I correct in my diagnosis? After all a "green" taste has to be something, some chemical, some by-product, something thats has a certain taste.

I know I must sound like some ungratiful punk, or some newbie who thinks he's a know-it-all, but unless I ask questions and discuss the answers to those questions then I'm not going to learn anything. Most importantly if I have two different sources with conflicting information then I have to compare the two, and try to find out where the truth lies, odds are there is truth in both, but they are refering to two slightly different things.

Again I'm not going for some sort of "gotcha", but I really want know so I can improve my method.
As was advised, hang with experienced brewers and you will learn a lot, if you don't antagonize them.

There is a huge difference in flavor of 'green' (meaning young) and green apples. Green apple off-flavor taste EXACTLY like green apples-this is the acetaldehyde. You are confusing an actual flavor with a slang term for youth or immaturity.
 

Revvy

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*cough cough*

This from another thread....

Timmystank,
I originally did the same thing you did. I used straight tap water to top off my carboy on 2 batches. The first batch tasted awful. It had a soapy / acidic aftertaste. I thought it was due to using tap water without boiling.

So this weekend, I brewed and bought spring water to see if there is any difference. During the all spring water brew, I decided to open up a 1 week bottle conditioned amber ale (using non-boiled tap water to top off the carboy) and it was amazingly good.

So, I probably didn't need to buy all the spring water because it wasn't an issue. Now, I know the water situation varies from state to state, but I figured i'd just let you know I did the same and worried about it and it ended up being an awesome tasting beer.
"Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc..."

*whistles*
 

Revvy

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Cough cough II

Started extract + grain homebrewing 8 months ago - 2 days ago I found a bottle of my first brew, a K&K English Bitter, in the back of the cupboard. Popped it in the fridge and tonight opened it up.

Totally blown away, tasted nothing like the "port" fortified wine flavour that this brew had originally after only 4 weeks in bottle. Tastes 10x better than any commercial brew I've had in a long time, and I generally don't buy cheap.

A valuable lesson, that I've heard so many times on this site, has now been learned (learnt).

Thankyou HBT.
 
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