First brew in the keg and not sure what to think

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boarderx3120

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Did lots of research for many months before pulling the trigger and buying everything I need to brew (extract to start because I'm broke). Got a big pot for full wort boils, fastferment to avoid racking and the possibility of oxidation, and a corny keg and c02 setup.

Lets just say, brew day was...less than graceful. A few hiccups and a few too many Two Hearteds, but I felt fairly good about the way it went. I used a MoreBeer kit (Citrus Bomb) which has excellent reviews. My type of beer.

Sanitation was my number one concern and I felt pretty good about maintaining sanitation. Got my wort in the fermentor @ just under 70 degrees, pitched my yeast (wyeast 1056), hung that bad boy on the wall in a closet which was 67 degrees. Fermentation started within 8 hours and went pretty good for about 4 days. After 4 days, the bubbler was giving me about a bubble a minute. Recipe called for a 10 day primary and 10 days secondary, but @ day 10 the valve on the fermentor was clogged (VERY unhappy about that, already considering trading it for a good 'ol fashioned carboy), so it sat in primary for closer to 14 or 15 days before I grew enough balls to open it up and shove a sanitized spoon through it. Gave it another 10 days in primary and racked it to my sanitized keg. I did notice that it has some "foamy" floaties on the surface (krausen?).

Now 5 days @ 10psi of c02, I pour a little snifter and immediately, dirty socks on the nose. Give it a taste and bam, very boozy. Not necessarily in a good way. More boozy than my resulting 7.8ABV would suggest. Vodka boozy. Its followed by a bit of mustiness and alot of bitterness on the tongue.. Very little (if any) hop aroma or flavor at all, despite the copious late additions in the boil and 2oz dry hopped. Also, appearance is cloudy, but I attribute that to adding my whirlfloc too late (2 minutes before flameout - I forgot about it) and not using biofine, which the recipe recommends. I am thinking, failed first attempt...

My thoughts are...maybe I oxidized the beer when I inadvertently shook the fermentor while banging on the valve (2 or 3 times). It probably didn't help that I opened it when I got in there with a spoon. Then I splashed the beer a bit while racking to the keg (my hose was too short to reach the bottom of the corny).

Or, with the valve being clogged and my avoidance of opening the lid, I let it sit on the trub too long. I hear that can cause mustiness. There was a lot of trub (2.5 collection balls worth).

Or maybe the kit was old. There were no dates that I could find printed anywhere on the packaging. Probably unlikely though.

Or maybe my expectations are too high too early on and I'm being too impatient. Maybe I need to let it rest in the keg for another week? Maybe what I am tasting is "green" beer. I don't know what that tastes like. :confused:

I read the "off flavors" document that MoreBeer has on their website and I cant really narrow it down to just one of the examples they provide.

Anyone have tips or similar experience? I really wanted to be good at this...
 

Build

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There's a good chance the fermentation temps went pretty high since it was in an enclosed space and above the floor. The wort temp could have easily been 70-72F+ early on, producing a lot of off flavors and fusels. Consider getting a thermometer to put on the fermenter, as wort temp can rise quickly once the yeast gets going, and will exceed room temp by 3 to 10F degrees. I usually do 1056 at 60-63F for 3-5 days, then raise it a degree or two per day until I'm at 70F.

You may have oxidized it and there's nothing that can be done to repair that, but the other problems can lessen given some time in the keg. Taste it every few days and see what's happening. Good luck and let us know.
 

jmitchell3

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I agree with Build about fermentation temps. It's not likely it was on the trub long enough for that to be a contributing factor. An infection is possible but it is your fist batch and you mention paying attention to sanitation. Would recommend leaving the beer consumption for after pitching the yeast and putting the fermenter to bed :)
 
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boarderx3120

boarderx3120

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Build, you are spot on. My temp topped out at 70 on day 2 and stayed there for 48 hours before going back down to 67. My ingredient sheet said the recommended ferm temp was 69 so I wasn't too concerned when the temp went up. Maybe I'll move the fermentor to the basement where its cooler.

jmitchell, I appreciate the advise!

I'll give it a week and see how she does.
 

boydster

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Don't get down on yourself, it's your first brew. Stuff happens. What did you use to sanitize? I think it takes hops a long time under normal conditions to go "cheesy," which could possibly be one way of interpreting what you are smelling. Brett strains can throw flavors that range from barnyard to horse blanket to antiseptic to bacon to cheese... and more. Seems kind of early for those flavors to be very strong, I would think though.

Either way, that smell is most likely isovaleric acid, and old hops and Brett are the usual culprits.
 

Subdivisions

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Build, you are spot on. My temp topped out at 70 on day 2 and stayed there for 48 hours before going back down to 67. My ingredient sheet said the recommended ferm temp was 69 so I wasn't too concerned when the temp went up. Maybe I'll move the fermentor to the basement where its cooler.

jmitchell, I appreciate the advise!

I'll give it a week and see how she does.
Don't forget, if those are the surrounding air temperatures then your wort was probably 5-7 degrees higher. I'm going with fusel alcohol on your tastings.

Try using a swamp cooler next time. It's a big tub (Rubbermaid or otherwise) filled with water that you place the fermenter in. You can toss frozen water bottles in to lower the temp. It basically acts as a big heat sink to keep your ferment temps under control.

Good luck in the future. You'll get better!! Trust me.

OH! P.S.: Definitely move to the basement since you have one
 

Bobby_M

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Tip for next time. Let the wort settle in the fast ferment for an hour before pitching the yeast. Dump the trub that settled, then pitch the yeast in. That will help with the valve glogging when you collect the yeast later.

5 days on 10 psi is nowhere near carbed. Give it more time and maybe bump it to 12 psi also.
 

beernutz

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What did you do and use to clean your fermenter before you filled it?

What was your water source and did you make any adjustments to your water?
 
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boarderx3120

boarderx3120

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Thanks for the tips everyone.

Wort was in primary for about 15 days and secondary for 10 days. I used a water filter with a hose connection. No other adjustments. I cleaned pretty much everything with pbw and sanitized with starsan.
 
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