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mikeyc

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Dont know if this is in the correct place, but thought Id post it here anyways. So Ive brewed 4 AG batches so far. And out of those, two have gone bad. I dumped, against popular opinion i know, 10 gallons today.:( I didnt have any hope for them, one, my first AG has been in secondary for over a month and still has the same awful taste. And the copper ale I brewed almost 2 weeks ago, had the same exact smell and aroma. So, I think Ive narrowed my problem down to my sanitation practices. Ive brewed 4 extract and specialty grain batches, and one PM. All of those turned out great!!! So for the time being, Im gonna go back and brew a few Extract, and maybe a PM just to get a good sanitatition habit going, and really review what I do to keep my stuff clean. Maybe I jumped the gun on going AG. Im glad I did, Ive learned alot more doing AG. But I think this will be better for now. Id rather go back to extract, and make good beer, and get better at brewing, than to keep brewing bad batches. Thanks for all the help and advice this board truly rocks!:rockin:
 

WBC

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I'm so so sorry to hear that you are not making good all grain. The only difference in all grain is that you are making the malt sugar from the grain so what is making it go bad. This is sterile after the boil.

1. Are you cooling it quickly to 80 F or below after the boil?

2. Are you cleaning and sanitizing everything that touches the wort after it is cool?

3. Is your fermenter clean and sanitized?

4. Are you pitching enough yeast that is not out of date?

5. Are you keeping your hands sanitary at all times???
 

gruntingfrog

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What is the awful taste that you get?
Perhaps it's not sanitation. I would assume that if your extract brews were good, then unless you changed your sanitation habits something else may be generating the taste.

Check this site for common causes to flavor issues.
http://www.mrgoodbeer.com/flavor.shtml
 
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mikeyc

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Im not done with AG, just gonna make a couple of Extract, and pay extreme close attention to what I do to sanitize. Thanks for the mrgoodbeer link. It actually hit the nail on the head. The taste Im getting is medicinal, and plasticy. According to the site that is Phenolic. Caused by bacteria in the beer from poor sanitation. funny enough on those batches I unfortunately skimmed on the sanitizer. I had just a little left, and didnt go out and get more. I did use a little bit of bleach, but obviously didnt do the job. All I can do is learn from the mistakes. Thanks alot.
 

gruntingfrog

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I'll bet it had to do with using bleach. Chlorine is one of the causes of the medicinal taste. If you absolutely must use bleach for sanitation, you have to make sure you rinse it thoroughly... or better yet, wait until you can get Iodophor or Star-San.
 

Chriso

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No it doesn't, but I think the OP is saying that by switching back to extract he can focus on sanitation more thoroughly, whereas he is still trying to find his AG "rhythm".

+1 to StarSan mixed at the right levels. I am in the same spot, my 16 oz bottle is almost gone and I'm tempted to keep cutting it weaker. Instead, I try to focus on saving sanitizer between beer days whenever possible (e.g. if I bottle this weekend, I try to save that batch of sanitizer in a spare bucket for brew day next weekend to get two uses from it), on not dirtying it up with equipment that I haven't cleaned with regular water first, and on using 2.5 gal at a time instead of a full bucket.

Also, if you havent yet, get either an unused garden sprayer (see Yuri's videos for example of use) or a spray bottle (cheaper) and keep premixed sanitizer handy. Then instead of immersing everything, you can just surface sanitize if you want.
 
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mikeyc

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"No it doesn't, but I think the OP is saying that by switching back to extract he can focus on sanitation more thoroughly, whereas he is still trying to find his AG rhythm"

Thats exactly what Im going to do. I know that what method of brewing Im using doesnt affect how I sanitize. But like I said, Im 5 for 5 on extract and pm batches. And 2 for 4 on AG. Ill still be making beer and thats the good thing.

I use the ID Carlson no rinse sanitizer. I can get it at the local liquor store, that has some home brew stuff. (not enough to call a LHBS.) Is there any problem with this? I ask because Ive never used StarSan, or anything else. Is StarSan better?
 

Chriso

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I think StarSan is the best stuff on the planet. But I've never used anything else. I got a bottle of SS before my very first brew, and stuck with it.

I think common opinion around here is that SS and Iodophor are the two top dawgs for sanitizing, but I know there are lots others out there.
 

WBC

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I think if you are going to brew, you have to be sanitary and you should always check your supplies before you brew. Don't think you can cheap out and get good beer. I see post after post about not having something you really need. ie: No Propane, no sanitizer, no PBW, tubing is bad etc. Money is always a factor for some of us and some of us just can not resist trying to make beer anyway under risky conditions. Maybe it is the excitment of getting away with the seemingly impossible.
 

Chriso

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For me it is definitely establishing the point of diminishing returns. I want to do enough work to break even, and to know where that line is. But regardless of being ready before brewing, you know that things just.... HAPPEN sometimes.

Say you have a huge boilover. You get flustered. That leads to three other mistakes, one of which mistakes could have occured after already sanitizing your primary - like, you accidentally touch too close to the end of the siphon hose and get some buggies into it.

Yes, in a perfect world sanitation would never be a problem. But we're all people. We all make mistakes sometimes. At least the OP is stepping back, recognizing which part of his process he's having trouble in, and taking steps to correct it & refine his processes. That's really what this is all about, right?
 

WBC

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At least the OP is stepping back, recognizing which part of his process he's having trouble in, and taking steps to correct it & refine his processes. That's really what this is all about, right?
I'm not throwing rocks, just trying to say be more organized, prepared and careful. Maybe a list and thinking of each action and going through your mind on how best to do it and not be in such a hurry to brew. After a few brewing sessions it becomes easy to get it right.
 

BrianP

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+1 on the StarSan. It's relatively cheap, it works great, and there's no rinsing.

When you make up a 5 gal batch of StarSan, it can last for at least a couple of brew sessions. I usually use mine for 2 or 3 brew sessions before I start running short, then dump the remainder. It will lose effectiveness if the pH increases too high, that's why I don't really push it and try using the same batch for too long.

Put some in a spray bottle to spray stuff down, keep the rest in a 5-gal bucket and soak stuff in it. Plus you can use a wallpaper tray to soak long/skinny things like racking canes.

Don't take too long to get back on the AG 'horse'. It sounds like this was a small mishap in sanitation. Good luck with your brewing.
 
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