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Yooper

Ale's What Cures You!
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SWITCH TO ALL GRAIN. Seriously your beers turn out way better. Extract brewing is too limiting.
I think that's bad advice. I've had some terrible AG beers. I've some excellent extract beers. I would never tell someone that the fix to an issue is to brew AG.

I see a couple of issues here. I will say that my beers went from "homebrew" to good when I started controlling fermentation temperature (not room temperature, but the actual fermentation temperature) and pitching the proper amount of yeast.

The water may play a big part, so try using bottled spring water to see if that fixes the problem. Double check your recipes, to make sure the recipe is good to begin with.

so, in this order, I'd do this:

1. Post up the recipe for critique. Make sure that the hops/OG ratio is good for the style you're brewing.
2. Use bottled spring water
3. Make a starter for liquid yeast. Always. Use the pitching rate calculator. Always.
4. Don't guess at the fermentation temperature. Buy a "stick on" thermometer and monitor the temp. Keep under 70 degrees for ales.
 

erock2112

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Revvy hit the nail on the head, as usual. I noticed a big improvement in the quality of my beer when I started brewing all-grain, but I simultaneously started paying a lot of attention to fermentation temperature and using starters. I attribute all of the difference to the latter.
 

BigEd

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The Wyeast packet states that it's designed to pitch in a 5 gal batch.
That's true but it doesn't mean you can't do better. A container of liquid yeast is "adequate" for fermenting a five gallon batch of beer but that doesn't mean it's optimal.



Will I really gain much by creating a starter? I haven't historically had fermentation trouble.
Yes, you have. ;) Underpitching into a too warm wort created some of the problems you originally asked about in the start of this thread. Revvy makes an excellent point in that it's not a question of all-grain vs extract. It's about good technique. Making a starter is one of those "improved techniques" that any homebrewer can take advantage of. You don't need to be doing all grain or even full volume boils. I can guarantee you that if you get your tempertures under control and take the time to make yeast starters your beer will improve greatly. :mug:
 

mezak1gd

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It doesn't seem like he needs a cure for anything. If he's been brewing for 6 years chances are he's learned the process and knows enough to make good beers. At least in my opinion brewing all-grain produces better beers.

I'll admit I'm still very new and have only been doing this 1+ year. But I did about 4-5 extract brews and thought, hmmmm this is okay. Probably more trouble than the final product is worth. But my first AG brew was like night and day. I haven't even had a very good brew day yet but every beer has come out awesome.

It's not just about the ingredient quality, but the control. I love adjusting recipes to exactly what I like. But I'm sure the ingredients are a better quality and just sets you up for success. Plus it's cheaper.

I'm not suggesting AG is a magic cure all, but it sounds like OP is just disappointed in quality, not that he has a problem. And to that I would say, if you have the extra cash, space, and time, make the switch. You'll be happier with the final product.
 
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harding70

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according to the pitching calculator, I need 3.67 litres of starter? this seems an incredible volume.
 
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harding70

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Alright, no brewing tonight! Yeast starter is...starting? I took a cup of light dme to a quart of water and it's now in the growler until tomorrow night. Here's my recipe for the trial:
3.15# amber malt (60min)
6# amber malt (15min)
1# blond Candi sugar (1min)
1oz. summit (60min)
2oz. crystal (30min)
1oz. chinnook (10min)
3oz. cascade (5min)
2grams Paradise Seeds (5min)
Wyeast 1056 American Ale

The recipe calls for a 2.5 gal boil adding 2 gallons cooling water at the end.

I plan to follow the ingredient schedule excepting the 3.15# malt addition at 60 mins. I'm going to add all the malt at 15 mins. I will also deviate with about 6 gals of water for the boil accounting for boil-off and trub so I don't have to add water at the end. All of this coupled with my new yeast starter, proper pitch temp, and a kit from a different supplier, should provide a good brew.

Thanks again to all who posted help with this. I'll let you know the results.
 

CoalBrew

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That's it???? It sounds so final. and holy crap that sounds like a lot of LME. I wish you'd just go to AG!

Kidding- just having fun BigEd. Seriously, does that seem to be a lot of LME? -and- we've established the importance of a good starter (especially per aforementioned yeast pitching calculator) but with regard to yeast strain... What is attenuation ? Do some yeasts eat sugar better?

Thanks!
 

SatelliteGuy

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I'm brand new to the forum, and I might as well be a noob to brewing, having made 2 successful batches about 10 years ago.
That having been said, I think I've read, somewhere, that if a recipe calls for a partial boil, and you do a full boil, you have to make adjustments to the hop amounts. I don't remember the exact reasoning behind it, though...
 

wendelgee2

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Seriously, does that seem to be a lot of LME?
It sounds like roughly a 1.070 beer, to me.

this explains the 3.5 quart starter.

OP, do you plan to pitch the whole starter, or throw it in the fridge and then decant off the wort in order to pitch the yeast that's settled to the bottom?

Also, when doing late additions, you have to account for the volume of the extract you're adding. Otherwise, you'll be adding 1/2 a gallon of LME and end up with 1/2 a gallon too much wort, and a slightly lower OG as a result.
 

permo

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I see a couple of issues here. I will say that my beers went from "homebrew" to good when I started controlling fermentation temperature (not room temperature, but the actual fermentation temperature) and pitching the proper amount of yeast.

Keep under 70 degrees for ales.
+1

Temperature control, outside of sanitization and proper ingredients, is the single biggest influencing factor on your final outcome. Too cold and the yeast drops out and you have under attenuated beer. Too warm and the yeast goes crazy, ferments to fast and your beer tastes terrible! Kept at the proper temperature for the appropriate period of time and you will predictable and drinkable results every time.

US-05 66-71 degrees

S-04 66-69 degrees - this one is a little touchy....

Nottingham - 58-67 - I don't like to get near the high temp range for this yeast.....

Kolsch - 60-63 degrees


Regardless of beer type or yeast strain, I shoot for two undisturbed weeks on the primary cake.
 

CoalBrew

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So now I'm confused.... is it get it off the yeast cake ASAP or leave it for two weeks... or what my feeble brain's attempt at reason says: take it out of the primary when it is close to the correct gravity. Can't leaving your beer on the cake too long contribute to unwanted esters- tang- etc.

So at the lower end of the proper yeast fermentation temp for any given strain... is there a magic time period? Yes, variables variables everywhere, but... for example on Permos above, on US-05, if I ferment at 68, will it take two weeks to show final gravity (assuming the pitch rate is good and yeast is good etc.)
 

permo

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So now I'm confused.... is it get it off the yeast cake ASAP or leave it for two weeks... or what my feeble brain's attempt at reason says: take it out of the primary when it is close to the correct gravity. Can't leaving your beer on the cake too long contribute to unwanted esters- tang- etc.

So at the lower end of the proper yeast fermentation temp for any given strain... is there a magic time period? Yes, variables variables everywhere, but... for example on Permos above, on US-05, if I ferment at 68, will it take two weeks to show final gravity (assuming the pitch rate is good and yeast is good etc.)
It is becoming more and more commonly acceptated that up to a certain point, 3-4 weeks or so, more time on the primary yeast cake is better. I have found 2-3 weeks at the cooler end of the yeasts operating temp range works awesome for me. It is believed that the yeast go through processes and basically clean up after themselves and condition the beer.

Even if your beer reaches final gravity after 3-6 days there is still benefit to just leaving it alone for the entire two weeks or longer, IMHO.

When I first started brewing, I too, thought that as soon as the krausen fell or I was close to FG that I should rack to a secondary. My beers were inconsistent and had a specific young/green tang to them that bottle conditioning just couldn't totally remove. Now that I give at least two weeks on primary, my beers are clearer, taste cleaner and are just plain old better.

I only rack to seconday to dry hop or add fruit and such...or to lager or bulk age a heavy ale.

Without question the single best virtue of a succesfull homebrewer is patience.

If you have the ability to ferment nottingham at the low end of it's temperature range for a full two weeks, you will get a clear, clean beer. I highly reccomend that. I did this with a 1.074 strong scotch ale and the sample i took from the fermenter was so delicious...I wanted to pour myself a glass.
 

wendelgee2

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A lot of the "flaws" and "off flavors" in beer are caused by metabolic precursors...meaning, things that the yeast "throws off" while it digests. Essentially, yeast poo. Off the top of my head: diacetyl and acetaldehyde, but I'm sure there are a lot of others. When yeast runs out of easy food (simple and complex sugars) it begins to reabsorb its waste products. It eats its own poo. If you leave it long enough, it will clean up all sorts of offensive compounds.

So, no, do not rack the beer off the yeast cake asap. Leave it to condition for a while. It will only make your beer better.

I leave all of my beers in the primary for 3 weeks. Sure, it's probably done fermenting after 1 week, but those extra two weeks might result in sliiiiightly better attenuation, but will definitely result in a cleaner tasting beer.
 
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harding70

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Yep, my recipe is 1072. I plan to pitch the entire starter and I went with one quart of water and one cup of Lt DME. I figure this will get the yeast headed in the right direction.
 

wendelgee2

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Can't leaving your beer on the cake too long contribute to unwanted esters- tang- etc.
Esters are created during the growth/reproduction phase. So, during the first 24-48 hours. Not at the end while sitting on the yeast cake.
 

wendelgee2

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Yep, my recipe is 1072. I plan to pitch the entire starter and I went with one quart of water and one cup of Lt DME. I figure this will get the yeast headed in the right direction.
It will...but, not to be a pain in the butt, but if the pitching calculator called for a 3 quart starter, why do a 1 quart starter? Did you not have a 3 quart vessel lying around?

I normally just do starters in a growler (2 quarts) and put some sanitized foil over the top. No need for an airlock. But I went out and bought a 1 gallon jug for doing larger starters. Just a suggestion, if you like big beers.

Anyway, the recipe sounds yummy. Happy drinking!
 
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harding70

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I'm brand new to the forum, and I might as well be a noob to brewing, having made 2 successful batches about 10 years ago.
That having been said, I think I've read, somewhere, that if a recipe calls for a partial boil, and you do a full boil, you have to make adjustments to the hop amounts. I don't remember the exact reasoning behind it, though...
Some say that with partial boil that the hops become under utilized due to heavily saturated solution, ie. water can only accept so much ingredient before it becomes saturated. If your water is clogged up with malt, your wort can be affected by the hops to a lesser amount.
 

oceanselv

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OK, as the process goes:

I have historically started with a boil of about 6 gallons in an aluminum pot (until recently gaining a converted keggle). Adding malts and hops at 60 minutes, late addition hops per recipes (they have varied), then cooling to about 90-100 degrees F. I splash whilst racking into the carbuoy followed by brief agitation to aerate, then pitch the yeast which usually kicks off in 4-6 hours and very vigorously at that. I use a blow-off tube rather than an airlock because of such robust fermentation. I place the carbuoy in the shower and the temp varies from 62-72 F.

I am obsessive about sanitization, so I don't think it's contamination, but perhaps under utilized hops due to early malt addition, or over-carmelized malt because of the same.

Hope I can get this figured out.
Harding, I agree with you as it does not sound like a contamination problem. I believe it is a process problem. In my opinion you may have some underutilization of hops to get the malty flavor and you may also be getting slight hot side aeration. George Fix believed hot side aeration started at 86F. Here is a link http://www.brew-dudes.com/hot-side-aeration/124. Regarding your hop utilization, are you using any brewing software to calculate your IBUs? Another hint I can pass along with regards to the boil. Add your hops after the hot break. This way the don't tangled up with the protein foam and stuck on the side of the kettle when the hot break occurs.
 
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harding70

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It will...but, not to be a pain in the butt, but if the pitching calculator called for a 3 quart starter, why do a 1 quart starter? Did you not have a 3 quart vessel lying around?

Yeah, I didn't have any larger than a 1/2 gallon growler, and now I've obsessed enough about the size of my puny quart starter to fill the growler to its capacity. It'll still be 12hours until I pitch it, so it should catch up to the first quart.
 

BigEd

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Kidding- just having fun BigEd.
No prob. Sorry, but I didn't recognize the family squabble. ;)



What is attenuation ? Do some yeasts eat sugar better?
In a word, yes. Basically there are small differences between yeast strains in how much they will metabolize. There are other factors involved too, like the ingredients in the beer and at what temperature the grains were mashed. :mug:
 
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harding70

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Scheduling difficulties are postponing my brew session until tomorrow night, but that should work out since I heaped a little more into my starter (same proportions of dme to water) and tomorrow night will just give it more time to... well, start. It's doing nicely in the low sixties and bubbling once every few seconds in the airlock.

shooting for a brew time tomorrow night with good documentation.
 

CoalBrew

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It will...but, not to be a pain in the butt, but if the pitching calculator called for a 3 quart starter, why do a 1 quart starter? Did you not have a 3 quart vessel lying around?

I normally just do starters in a growler (2 quarts) and put some sanitized foil over the top. No need for an airlock. But I went out and bought a 1 gallon jug for doing larger starters. Just a suggestion, if you like big beers.
Ha Ha... you got busted!
 

CoalBrew

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This is so wierd ... its as if my non-cyber world is somehow carrying over into these forums. I mean in person I constantly talk without thinking, and as you all can see here, I'm doing a much better job on the forum.

I am sorry for all the lame responses, I am still learning how to quote, quick response, and become generally adept at communicating in this fasion. Thanks for the patience and most of all, thanks for all the customized, HUGELY relevant information.

Lastly, please don't worry about me giving Harding70 some well intentioned ribbing. I promise you all if you knew him you would approve and join in!
 

aeonderdonk

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I would echo what has been said about your pitching temp and fermenting temps. Temperature control has a huge impact on the beer.
 
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harding70

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Alright, I'm too lazy to video this (and it would probably be boring. I mean who wants to watch me drink too much beer and brew beer at the same time?) so I'm going to attempt a play by play as I go. Too bad I can't host a video conference. Maybe that's how I'll make my millions... come up with a brew video conference! Brewpe? Burpe? Beerpe? I don't know, something like Skype. Anyway, I have 5.5 gals of filtered water warming to boil in the keggle. I just bought one of those new cool P.E.T. Carbuoys which already seems much easier to handle, and plan to primary in that.
break
 
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harding70

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my new best friend just might be:

Summit Hops 1oz (60 min), 16.7%

They smelled so good I had to bring them in and let my wife and little boy smell them. They both asked for seconds.
 
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harding70

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2oz Crystal Hops (30 min), 4% so good when it hits your nose
 
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harding70

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3.15 amber malt (20 mins) now it smells like brew!
 
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harding70

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15 minutes to go... and the remainder: 6# amber malt
 
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harding70

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Holy S___ The back half of brewing gets intense.
Summary:
6# amber malt(15 mins), 1 oz Chinnook (10mins), 3 oz Cascade and 2 grams Paradise Seeds (5mins), 1# Blond Candi Sugar (1 min)

Chilled the wort in about 10mins to 66F. O.G. 1072 as the recipe dictates (prior to pitching my 1/2 gallon starter (2 cups lt dme) Starter and wort pitched at exactly 66F for both.

Let the Beer Gods favor my methodical attempt to please them.
 
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harding70

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Temperature check this morning read 62F, 8 hours post-pitch. Fermentation is very slow. Normal stratification of sediment, liquid, and yeast from bottom to top. I've had most of my fermentations take off a lot faster than this one. Temp is a little low, and maybe slow but steady kickoff is a good thing.
 

jds

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Temperature check this morning read 62F, 8 hours post-pitch. Fermentation is very slow. Normal stratification of sediment, liquid, and yeast from bottom to top. I've had most of my fermentations take off a lot faster than this one. Temp is a little low, and maybe slow but steady kickoff is a good thing.
I completely agree with this, if you're brewing a fairly neutral style. I find my beers are better when I pitch cool (around 60F), and allow the beer to warm to 65 or so overnight. Afterward, I use a water bath and ice packs / frozen bottles to hold the temperature between 65 and 70.

My basement keeps a pretty steady 65F throughout the year, so most of my cooling is only to remove heat produced by the yeast. YMMV and all that.
 
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harding70

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I just got home from work and checked in on things>>> Temp holding at 62F and fermentation is still slower than I usually get (nearly stand still, but a bit more foam forming on the top. I just put a heater in the room to jack it up a few degrees. I'll see how things progress tonight with the temp at around 66F.
 
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harding70

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Temp went up to 70F and got things moving. Temp is back to 66F and should be fine now. Let's hope.
 
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harding70

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Temp holding at 66.5F and burping away.
 

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I was having the same problem as you. I would brew a batch(extrac). And come time to drink it, I was not happy with the beer. I wasn't horriable, but I would perfer to just buy and drink better beer. I quit homebrewing for 3 years. Started a new job and a coworker is a homebrewer, and all his beer were great. I did a few brews with him(all grain) and they turned out tasting good also

long story short. For me I just didn't like the tast of the beer from extract. I know some people will argue this, but does the frozen in a can orange juice tast as good a fresh?

Try to find a local brew club and get with them. Most clubs have brew system that members and uses. That way you can try an all grain batch before you have to put out any $$$$$$
 
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