Quantcast

Had to do the unthinkable..

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

MoodyLane

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2015
Messages
84
Reaction score
5
And by that I mean toss a batch. It was awful. Cidery, weak and just in general awful. It was a 5 gallon batch and I made it through half of it before giving up. It was my first 5 gallon batch (I've made a few 1 gallon batches) and I realized what I did after tasting the first one last week. I didn't steep my grains long enough and I also tied the bag too tight so only the LME and honey came through. I knew something was up after checking my gravity. That said every 1 gallon batch, which have been all-grain, have been awesome. I've got a batch of Irish red in the 5 gallon fermenter that I'm nervous about now even though I did it right. I'm a little discouraged but I've decided to focus on small all grain batches to learn on before going big. All of my 1 gallon brews have turned out awesome so I'm sticking with that for a while... Just bummed.
 

TheBigLebrewsk1

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 23, 2015
Messages
207
Reaction score
28
And by that I mean toss a batch. It was awful. Cidery, weak and just in general awful. It was a 5 gallon batch and I made it through half of it before giving up. It was my first 5 gallon batch (I've made a few 1 gallon batches) and I realized what I did after tasting the first one last week. I didn't steep my grains long enough and I also tied the bag too tight so only the LME and honey came through. I knew something was up after checking my gravity. That said every 1 gallon batch, which have been all-grain, have been awesome. I've got a batch of Irish red in the 5 gallon fermenter that I'm nervous about now even though I did it right. I'm a little discouraged but I've decided to focus on small all grain batches to learn on before going big. All of my 1 gallon brews have turned out awesome so I'm sticking with that for a while... Just bummed.
Odd that a bad steep resulted in a horrible ciders beer. Possible that it oxidized.

Regardless, there is nothing wrong about tossing bad batches or even batches you don't like. Why sit around with a unpleasant beer when there are so many good ones to be made?
 

physics911

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2015
Messages
90
Reaction score
22
Please define how just have LME and honey come through is a bad thing for you. Many great beers can be made with just LME. If your steeping grains didn't add enough flavor, then clearly you didn't get the beer you set out for, but I'm having a hard time seeing why that would lead to a throw away batch. Regarding not hitting your gravity, do you also contribute that to the steeping grains? Those are usually much more for flavor than for gravity points. Could there be other elements to this process which led to a less than optimal beer?
 
OP
MoodyLane

MoodyLane

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2015
Messages
84
Reaction score
5
Please define how just have LME and honey come through is a bad thing for you. Many great beers can be made with just LME. If your steeping grains didn't add enough flavor, then clearly you didn't get the beer you set out for, but I'm having a hard time seeing why that would lead to a throw away batch. Regarding not hitting your gravity, do you also contribute that to the steeping grains? Those are usually much more for flavor than for gravity points. Could there be other elements to this process which led to a less than optimal beer?
Well I think not properly steeping was part of it, and the 2lbs of honey sent it over the edge. I don't think oxidation was an issue since I was very careful in preventing it. I had too much fermantables and not enough grain to fill the void. That's my guess anyway. I've since been doing 60min steeps at 154° then raising the temp to 170° for a few minutes before the boil (I'm doing BIAB). This has made some awesome brews and I even had to bump up my efficiency after milling my grains finer.
 

Sir-Hops-A-Lot

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 4, 2012
Messages
467
Reaction score
59
What's the recipe? Can you post it? Some recipes are just not very good.
It's easy to not get the mash done properly with BIAB.
What is the actual taste? The description can sometimes lead to solving went really went wrong.
 
OP
MoodyLane

MoodyLane

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2015
Messages
84
Reaction score
5
What's the recipe? Can you post it? Some recipes are just not very good.
It's easy to not get the mash done properly with BIAB.
What is the actual taste? The description can sometimes lead to solving went really went wrong.
I don't have the recipe sheet nearby and brewers assistant is being stupid since going pro, but it was a Brewers Best Honey Brown Ale kit that turned out waaay to light colored. The only BIAB I've been doing are 1 gallon recipes I've dreamed up and I'm pleased with them. Every 1 gallon batch I've tried to upscale to 5 gallons has been a flop. Hopefully my Irish Red Ale will be different..
 
OP
MoodyLane

MoodyLane

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2015
Messages
84
Reaction score
5
The flavor is bland and cidery. Not astringent or pungent.
 

Sir-Hops-A-Lot

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 4, 2012
Messages
467
Reaction score
59
ok. Failed conversion of the malt. Do you know anyone that can help you build a mash tun?
You have the skills, you just don't have the equipment. Google building a mash tun, go buy the equipment, go through the frustrations of getting it right and then you are smooth sailing for many years. Trust me. Just go do it. It will change your life for the better. Getting a mash tun is like getting your first girl friend. It's f%&ing magical.
 
OP
MoodyLane

MoodyLane

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2015
Messages
84
Reaction score
5
I've been studying cooler mash tun builds and I think I have a good idea of what I need to construct one. I believe the mash is my weak spot at this point. On a positive note, I changed my routine on this last Irish Red I created and it's much better than my last 5 gallon batch. I think at this point I need a little help getting a solid routine down.
 

JPicasso

Hackbrewer extraordinaire
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Mar 21, 2007
Messages
482
Reaction score
25
Location
Arlington Heights
What's the recipe? Can you post it? Some recipes are just not very good.
It's easy to not get the mash done properly with BIAB.
What is the actual taste? The description can sometimes lead to solving went really went wrong.
There is a whole sub-forum that would like to differ with you on this. BIAB is just a different process for separating grains from wort.
Results would be similar.
 

PADave

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2015
Messages
1,780
Reaction score
769
Location
Saxonburg
There is a whole sub-forum that would like to differ with you on this. BIAB is just a different process for separating grains from wort.
Results would be similar.
I agree with that. BIAB is a super simple way of mashing. Doesn't get much easier.
 

slym2none

"Lazy extract brewer."
Joined
Apr 3, 2015
Messages
7,297
Reaction score
2,453
Location
Durham
Agreed - I wonder what made that guy say/think that...
 
OP
MoodyLane

MoodyLane

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2015
Messages
84
Reaction score
5
I've had good luck with my BIAB's. I actually had to up my efficiency in my calculators after being able to mill my grain finer than before. I've been overshooting my OG's until i figured out what was happening.
 

madscientist451

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 10, 2014
Messages
4,578
Reaction score
2,219
Location
Bedford
A cidery flavor in beer would usually indicate a fermentation issue rather than a conversion of grain problem. What yeast did you use, how did you handle it, what was your fermentation temperature, what was your Original and Final gravity?

From John Palmer's "how to brew":
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.

Cidery

Cidery flavors can have several causes but are often the result of adding too much cane or corn sugar to a recipe. One component of a cidery flavor is acetaldehyde which has a green-apple character. It is a common fermentation byproduct and different yeasts will produce different levels of it depending on the recipe and temperature. Cidery flavors are encouraged by warmer than normal temperatures and can be decreased by lagering.

If it is caused by aceto bacteria, then there is nothing to be done about it. Keep the fruit flies away from the fermentor next time.
 
OP
MoodyLane

MoodyLane

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2015
Messages
84
Reaction score
5
A cidery flavor in beer would usually indicate a fermentation issue rather than a conversion of grain problem. What yeast did you use, how did you handle it, what was your fermentation temperature, what was your Original and Final gravity?
I used S-04. Fresh pack, no starter and sanitized the package and scissors. The fermentation temp climbed above suggested temp briefly but I moved to another location and got within spec after less than 24 hours. The temp did stay closer to the high end for the entire fermentation. I'll have to check my brew log when I get home to look at OG and FG, but I do remember hitting my target numbers.
 

UndeadFred

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2015
Messages
571
Reaction score
111
Location
20 mi North of Cedar Rapids
Go out and get a 48qt rectangular Marine cooler (white, about $10 more than a normal one) with a drain plug... about $25-30 and a voile curtain panel and a couple of bungee cords. total about $40 with everything. Heat your water to about 15F higher than your mash in temperature (adjust for grain temp with software). This is for your normal 3-4 gallonish mash. put the lid on.. swirl the water around...wait 5-10 minutes, verify that you are at the temp the software said before mashing in. If too cold, add boiling water-- a quart or so.. and measure. If too warm, use cold/room temperature water. In all honesty the 1.25 qt/lb is a guideline.... very little difference even in up to the 2-2.5 qt/lb in what I've experienced... so don't worry about tweaking your mash tun with extra water. If you are worried.. drain some off... works well.

This is how I did it for the first year and the results were good. $40 seriously. The Voile curtain is "BIABing" the cooler but you then don't need a stainless valve nor do you need a bazooka screen/false bottom. You can add those later if you want.

I build an eBIAB system, so I now only use the cooler for high OG brews.. but it works just fine as a mash tun. Mine looses about 3F over 90 minutes at room temp. I generally end up mashing for 90 as I then do everything else I need to do and I am slow and don't get it done in 60 minutes.

Cheers.
 

Moose_MI

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2013
Messages
998
Reaction score
494
Location
SW Michigan
Sorry for your loss but I admire your courage in seeking penance from this unruly bunch. Wash 3 bottles and make a fresh batch of starsan .... All is forgiven

Brew on!
 

madscientist451

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 10, 2014
Messages
4,578
Reaction score
2,219
Location
Bedford
To add to Undead Fred's comment regarding BIAB in a cooler, that's exactly what I do except for Indoor brewing I use a 5 gallon cooler with a simple spigot/valve.
No temperature swings like BIAB in a pot, no pulling the bag, no wort on the stove or on the floor, I run off slowly into the kettle and put the kettle on the stove while the batch sparge is running. Also don't guess at your strike temperatures, pre heat the cooler with a few gallons of hot tap water and then use the strike calculator on the Green Bay Rackers website. Good Luck!
 

UndeadFred

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2015
Messages
571
Reaction score
111
Location
20 mi North of Cedar Rapids
I didn't guess at temperatures. If you read my message I measured it. Since I stored my cooler in my detached garage, I never knew the exact temperature of the cooler so that worked. There are always two ways to do this. Calculation or measurement and tweaking. I am the latter brewer but don't knock it... It works...
 

thunderwagn

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2015
Messages
604
Reaction score
166
Location
Loveland
Meh, my 40 qt alumn kettle holds steady temp like a mudda fugga, and the OP indicates he's been successfully doing BIAB prior. My guess is on the s-04. It doesn't do well with higher fermentation temps at all from what I've found. Might be alright to raise the temps a bit after the initial fermentation period but beginning stage is critical. That's my _limited_ experience anyway.
 
OP
MoodyLane

MoodyLane

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2015
Messages
84
Reaction score
5
Meh, my 40 qt alumn kettle holds steady temp like a mudda fugga, and the OP indicates he's been successfully doing BIAB prior. My guess is on the s-04. It doesn't do well with higher fermentation temps at all from what I've found. Might be alright to raise the temps a bit after the initial fermentation period but beginning stage is critical. That's my _limited_ experience anyway.
That would make sense. I did a little research on S-04 and it seems I'm not the only one to have an issue with it, although not quite as bad. I've since used S-04 and controlled the temp more accurately (at much lower temps) with some red ales and so far I've been successful.
 

UndeadFred

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2015
Messages
571
Reaction score
111
Location
20 mi North of Cedar Rapids
I call S-04 the bubble gum yeast. Even when fermented at reasonable temperatures. Luckily in about 5 to 6 weeks that ages out but it is a step I don't have to do with other yeasts. I use Nottingham instead now, but there are plenty of brewers who don't like Notty either. S-04 is pretty low on my personal list.
 
Top