Help Diagnosis Bad Flavor in 1st Batch

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Ale to the Chief

Well-Known Member
Jan 2, 2008
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Chicago, IL
Just cracked open a bottle of my 1st batch of homebrew after 2 weeks in bottles and it definitely has a taste that I don't like. I am hoping this taste will settle out because I don't think I can drink 2 cases of it.

Anyway, I took a look through Palmer's list of common off-flavors and I think the one that best describes mine is Yeasty. It has kind of a nasty yeasty aftertaste. He mentions that this could be because its green but its been in bottles for 2 weeks after spending 3 weeks in the primary. Is this still too green? I am thinking maybe I got old yeast or something. Can crappy yeast give a nasty yeast flavor?
what was the og? is it still cloudy?

after only five weeks it's still pretty young. a lot of people say three weeks minimum in the bottles just for carbonation. if it's a higher gravity brew, or of the yeast still have some work to do that might be much longer.
I have the recipe and the OG + FG written down at home so I will have to look and then post it. It was an American Light lager kit (wife picked it out :drunk: ) from The yeast was just a packet of dry yeast that said Lager yeast if I remember correctly. But no, the beer is not cloudy. Its actually as clear as a commercial lager which I was very happy about for my 1st time.
first i'll disclaim that i too am relatively new at this. so hopefully you'll take what i say as encouragement to learn more, not as authoratative truth.

if you still have the package of dry yeast i'd give it a look. lager yeasts typically like to ferment at lower temperatures, typically below sixty degrees. each yeast has its own preferred temp range, so it's best to get the specs on the specific yeast you're using. it's my understanding that they also take a lot longer to settle out of solution.

if you did indeed use a lager yeast but have been fermenting at room temperature all is not necessarily lost. there are styles of beer that are brewed using lager yeasts at room temperature (california "steam" beer comes to mind).

since this batch is already bottled, i'd let it sit for a few more weeks and then try another bottle. remember that even when the beer appears clear there is still some yeast in suspension. after a month (or three) your beer may settle out into a very good brew.

from my little experience i'd say that it seems to be less about using "good" yeast (most commercial brewing yeasts are pretty good) but more about using enough of the type of yeast that will give you the desired flavor profile at the temperature you will be fermenting.

cheers and good luck!
it also sounds like this wasn't brewed like a proper lager. 3 weeks in primary sounds right, but what about a diacetyl rest and an actual lagering phase at colder temps?

i've not made a lager myself, but I've been doing a little reading because I know I'll try to make one soon.
Bobby_M said:
How long did you chill it before popping the bottle? Leave one in the fridge for 3 days and try again. Less yeasty.

The one I tried was only in the fridge for a day. I just tried one yesterday that had been in the fridge a week and it made all the difference. That yeasty taste was almost non-existent!! I thought maybe it was just because it had aged another week, so I put another pint in the fridge and tried it one day later and there was that taste again!

So Bobby M, you were exactly right. Thanks! But why would the length of time its been chilled effect the taste so much? When you chill a commercial brew you can drink it as soon as its cold. (or until the label turns blue:rolleyes: )
Chilling it helps the yeast to settle out. After only two weeks in the bottle, you probably still had yeast is suspension. Also, I doubt your yeast had settled out to a firm cake at the bottom, so pouring probably roused some yeast back up into the beer. I bet that, if you had held one of those bottles up to a light, the beer would appear hazy (or maybe just a portion of it near the bottom). As time goes on, the yeast will continue to settle and compact on the bottom of the bottle. A week or two can make all the difference in the world here.

I can diagose it based on your first sentence....It's the same one that almost all the "help my beer tastes funny" threads end up being.

You tasted it too soon.

2 weeks is not enough time in the bottle... 3 weeks, which is the rule of thumb following the general 1-2-3 rule in the bottle is barely enough for the beer to carbonate and some of the off flavors that are almost always present in new or "green" beer...

Best advice...Start brewing another batch, and forget about this batch for a couple of weeks. Then taste it again. Then another week, and note how the flavors change and come together.... When it gets to the taste you like...Enjoy, but save a couple bottles to try 6 months later as well.

You'll definitley notice a difference.

Patience is the bane of the new homebrewer (imagine what it must be for a first time wine maker who's got to wait 6 or more months before it's drinkable.)

Beermaking has a lot of similitarities to food.... Ever notice that some foods, like spagetti sauces, soups or chili's taste better as leftovers? The ingredients have to "marry" and co-mingle and some things have to mellow out with time.

Same with beer.

Get cracking on batch 2 and in 3 weeks when you're bottling it, you can be enjoying a few nicely mellowed bottles of your FIRST batch.


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