brown ale

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benweller

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has anyone ever done a brown ale? I just started brewing all grain and was surprised at how simple it could be....or so i thought. I brewed a 3 gallon batch using the jewel of the crown brown ale recipe from http://www.classiccitybrew.com/recipes.html
I fermented a week, secondary a week and it has been bottle conditioning for 2 weeks. i used 4oz of priming sugar with a 1 1/2 cups of water. there is very little carbonation and a very different odor coming from the brew. it tastes almost a bit cidery, but the smell is more vinegar.

what the heck did i do wrong?
 

COLObrewer

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has anyone ever done a brown ale? . . . .
Nope, nobody has ever done a brown ale. . . . . . .Just kidding.

. . . I fermented a week, secondary a week and it has been bottle conditioning for 2 weeks. i used 4oz of priming sugar with a 1 1/2 cups of water. there is very little carbonation and a very different odor coming from the brew. it tastes almost a bit cidery, but the smell is more vinegar.

what the heck did i do wrong?
It's hard to say what if anything you've done wrong. You should wait another week at least and try it then, At two weeks it may still be a little green.

A couple of thoughts, Most people nowadays leave their beers in fermentor until the fermentation is complete (Gravity is stable and close to FG), This may or may not be a week, it's not a timed thing, there are variables too numerous to track concerning fermentation and scheduling thereof, that's why a hydrometer is used.

Vinegar taste doesn't usually come into play with this type of beer but some percieve green beer as having a similar flavor, if the vinegar gets worst it will point to some sort of infection and then your sanitation procedures may need to be looked into.

Keep on brewing my friend:mug:
 
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benweller

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I see how silly that first question was now LOL....maybe i need to proof read a couple of times. Anyway, as far as fermentation, I didnt do anything based on a timed method, it just happened to work that way. I had an active airlock after about the first day and it took right off for days 2-5 and then died right off. I let it go until day 7 and then transferred. I let it go in the secondary for 1 week (mainly because all of my brewing is done on saturdays) and then bottled. it cleared nicely. I should add though that this was my very first all grain and we did not properly pull all of the sugars from the grains after mashing. so the OG was low. between primary and secondary fermentation we were advised to add DME to supplement. secondary was almost identical to primary in the airlock. should i have transferred a 3rd time because of the dme i added? we started with a very low OG, approx 1.025 and when we added dme it boosted it back to 1.025 from 1.010.....then we finished with 1.008. hope this information helps. i am thinking that its probably just a conditioning thing...i hate waiting though!!!! i love drinking the homebrew. i am just scared that its infected. thoughts?
 

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What was the original OG? You could have left it in primary and added the extra extract, then left it in primary another couple of weeks. Current knowledge points to leaving the beer on the yeast for 3-4 weeks to clean up after themselves, some people bottle straight from there.

That being said, I use secondary for higher gravity beers, lagers and adding dry hops (sometimes). Also some people still stick to the 1, 2, 3 week schedule and works fine enough. To each his own.
 
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benweller

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the og was 1.025. after the first week it was down to 1.010. we then added dme and it boosted right back to where it started. our final was 1.008. should we have let it go for another week or two before bottling? the gravity was already low.
 

COLObrewer

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the og was 1.025. after the first week it was down to 1.010. we then added dme and it boosted right back to where it started. our final was 1.008. should we have let it go for another week or two before bottling? the gravity was already low.
Well, primary phase of fermentation was complete, for a brown ale your beer will be better if it's left on the yeast for cleanup. Kinda depends on a ton of different things though, ferment temp, OG, water chemistry, moon phase, barometric pressure, vibrations, etc, etc, etc.

But especially with a starting gravity of 1.068 (What this recipe should have been close to) it will need more than two weeks to be done (cleanup time). Since you didn't get there and this batch is a little "different" I would call it good whenever you want (It is beer) and just take a little more time on the next one for better/great beer.
 
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benweller

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i can understand that the flavor is off, but how in the heck is it not carbonated after two full weeks in the bottle. if anything it should be over carbonated.
 

pkeeler

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i can understand that the flavor is off, but how in the heck is it not carbonated after two full weeks in the bottle. if anything it should be over carbonated.
What temp. are the bottles at? Two weeks might get the job done at 75F, but at 60F, probably would take longer. The recipe you used is too fast. Anytime anyone tells you 7 days, then bottle, thank them and do something better. I think beer should be bulk aged at least 3 weeks at a minimum. It wouldn't surprise me that you have off flavors bottling so close to the end of "active fermentation". The yeast still have much to do to clean up off flavors for some time after they are done making alcohol. I'd put those bottles somewhere room temp. for a month, then try one. I bet it will be better.

Now, your bigger question is why did your mash/lauter fail? Maybe if you let us know what you did we could help there.
 
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benweller

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What temp. are the bottles at? Two weeks might get the job done at 75F, but at 60F, probably would take longer. The recipe you used is too fast. Anytime anyone tells you 7 days, then bottle, thank them and do something better. I think beer should be bulk aged at least 3 weeks at a minimum. It wouldn't surprise me that you have off flavors bottling so close to the end of "active fermentation". The yeast still have much to do to clean up off flavors for some time after they are done making alcohol. I'd put those bottles somewhere room temp. for a month, then try one. I bet it will be better.

Now, your bigger question is why did your mash/lauter fail? Maybe if you let us know what you did we could help there.
it was in fermentation bins for two weeks. the bottles are in my basement which is in the low 60s.
 
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benweller

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What temp. are the bottles at? Two weeks might get the job done at 75F, but at 60F, probably would take longer. The recipe you used is too fast. Anytime anyone tells you 7 days, then bottle, thank them and do something better. I think beer should be bulk aged at least 3 weeks at a minimum. It wouldn't surprise me that you have off flavors bottling so close to the end of "active fermentation". The yeast still have much to do to clean up off flavors for some time after they are done making alcohol. I'd put those bottles somewhere room temp. for a month, then try one. I bet it will be better.

Now, your bigger question is why did your mash/lauter fail? Maybe if you let us know what you did we could help there.
the mash was fine, we didnt properly lauter, i know the reason for that. it was really stupid actually. we didnt push the sugars out properly. we left way too much in the grains.
 

COLObrewer

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i can understand that the flavor is off, but how in the heck is it not carbonated after two full weeks in the bottle. if anything it should be over carbonated.
Average gravity beers typically take 3 weeks to carbonate at 70F.:mug:

I imagine you've already been searching how to improve your lautering/sparging procedures, like pkeeler said we can help with that if needed.
 
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benweller

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Average gravity beers typically take 3 weeks to carbonate at 70F.:mug:

I imagine you've already been searching how to improve your lautering/sparging procedures, like pkeeler said we can help with that if needed.
i love how everyone on here is more than helpful. i have spent many hours researching methods to improve on, but how i can rely on people here.
 

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FWIW, I've brewed this exact recipe and many others on the classiccitybrew page. This brown ale is the only one that was a disaster for me, just never worked (bad flavor, bad carbonation, etc.) Most of the other recipes have been fantastic.

In the future, make sure to keep the bottles in a 70 deg environment for at least two weeks. It should carb up fine. I used to keep my bottles in the basement too, but they took forever to carb b/c the temperature was too low.

Good luck!
 

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The nut brown I have in the pipeline now ('Lil Sparky's Nut Brown AG in the Recipes section) was in the primary for 3 weeks, then bottled. It tasted fine at bottling. Beer doesn't seem to be clarifying that fast...but that happens. They've been sitting upstairs for around two weeks, will be moved to the basement some time next week. I have no reason to expect any carbonation problems*.

*My priming method is to weigh out 5 oz. of corn sugar (dextrose) and bring to a boil in 2 cups water. This boiling hot mixture is put into the bottling bucket just as I'm starting to rack the beer. This serves to incorporate the priming mixture into the beer by the action of racking, and I can never detect any signs of uneven priming.
 
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