First Homebrew (Problems/Help)

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stesworldofbeer

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Two weeks ago i brewed 2 one gallon batches. The 1st was a SMaSH beer using extract (DME). The 2nd was an all-grain Belgian pale ale.

The extract brew was a speedy 15min boil. The all-grain i accidentally mashed at 75°C/167°F, then tried to reduce the heat.

I used US-05 in the extract batch and it fermented after 3 days, but was left in the fermenter for 2 weeks to get rid of diacetyl. I used Safale S33 in the all-grain and it didn't start fermentation, so a week later i added a different local Belgian yeast, and it slowly fermented after 2 days.

Two weeks later (today) on bottling day, i took my final gravity readings. The extract brew was 5.5% and the all-grain was 4.3% but when i sampled them, they tasted weird. The extract brew was clear yellow in colour and tasted sherry-ish, and the all-grain was a cloudy yellow colour and tasted like a solvent.

I sanitised everything with starsan, and followed my beer recipes exactly, except for the fact i accidentally mashed the all-grain at too high a starting temperature.

Any ideas what went wrong, where i went wrong or what i could do to improve? Any help would be appreciated.
 

hotbeer

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Are you certain the all grain didn't start and finish with it krausen while you weren't watching?

How are you gauging "didn't start"?

I'm a noob for certain as I just started one-gallon brewing this January. All of them all grain. Most of them will bubble like crazy in the fermenter after hour 12 till a day to two days later. Then sometimes it seems like they do nothing. Then sometimes start again with some champagne like bubbling at various rates.

As for cloudiness and stuff suspended in them, that sort of the norm I think, for all-grain depending on how much effort you put into removing the proteins and other stuff that gets created. I don't do much more than strain the wort through a fine strainer as it gets moved to the fermenter. So there is a lot in mine. Even though I suspect the fermentation is done by two weeks or so, I'll let the beer sit in the fermenter to clean up. Many go six weeks.

You can do or add different things during the boil and in the fermenter to clean it up quicker if you want, but that will be for others to suggest. The most effort I've done is to cold crash. But I have gotten some really clean clear beers just by being patient. And they are some of my better beers IMO.

Just read more, see what techniques appeal to you more. Probably your beer will be good enough. Sometimes your friends won't be as critical about your beer as you might be. After all, it's free beer to them.
 

Dgallo

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Sherry off flavors is acetaldihyde and/or oxidation. Solvent off flavors is 99% of the time caused by fermentation getting to hot and causing the yeast to produce acetate esters

Acetaldihyde

Oxidation

Solvent off flavors
 
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stesworldofbeer

stesworldofbeer

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Are you certain the all grain didn't start and finish with it krausen while you weren't watching?

How are you gauging "didn't start"?
I checked the all-grain regularly, i never heard it bubble with the blow off tube i used, and no krausen formed. The extract batch was slowly bubbling for a few days and krausen formed on that.

Sherry off flavors is acetaldihyde and/or oxidation. Solvent off flavors is 99% of the time caused by fermentation getting to hot and causing the yeast to produce acetate esters
I think you're right Dgallo. After noticing that the all-grain didn't start, and after adding more yeast, i put it on a heat mat to up the temperature which started fermentation, so maybe i shouldn't have done that.

Mash temp on the all grain definitely didn't help things during the fermentation.
Its a lakeland induction hob im using, so i'll need to get a good thermometer and mash it at the proper temperature next time. Thanks to everyone for the replies.
 

hotbeer

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What was the ambient temp where you keep your fermenters or do you keep track of the actual temp of them?

The likely thing to me is either you just didn't pitch yeast into the one. Or that the temp was too high when you did so, or the temp the fermenter was kept at is too low.

Also, I don't expect any of my all grain beers to be done in 2 weeks. They'd be cloudy as heck and full of suspended stuff. I could clarify them with extra effort, but I just am patient and let what ever happens happen for another two to four weeks.

The comments on the color and flavor perceptions are spot on I think. Though I haven't had to deal with issues of flavor and color yet.

I have had two beers where I carelessly let the mash temps remain too high, but they gave a decent krausen. I wonder if they were also the beers that seemed to later almost stop all bubbling then at week 2 begin to bubble rapidly for another week or so. Wish I'd kept better notes. Oh well, maybe I'll figure it out one day.

Keep good notes is my other recommendation. I start and fail on keeping good notes routinely.
 

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