Homebrew Taste

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Lithobid

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Gentlmans Ale,

Ive just recently started home brewing again, and this was my exact mission! Get rid of that Home brew yeasty flavor! I've finished my first batch, and it was fabulous! Previously I did extract brews and didn't ever really care for my results ( this was over 10 years ago, i know extract has changed a lot, so not looking down on you guys at all! ). I have done only 4 things differently from those days and I believe they are all culprits of that nasty "homebrew" flavor. 1. Water, I buy 10 gal of glacier for $2 from the grocery store in refill bottles. 2. Wort Chiller, prevent protein build up. 3. Yeast starters, hard fast fervent fermentations. 4. And i think this is the most important, crash cooling in the fridge after fermentation is done, before bottling, 2-3 days.

Thats my 2 cents!

Lithobid
 

pdxal

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I'm curious about this "little bit of sanitation" comment. Is the thought that things were sanitized well enough that the beer did not spoil/sour, but somehow was contaminated enough to affect flavor? I have been considering sanitization to be more of an "all-or-nothing" proposition. I do realize that sanitization is not sterilization, but could my occasional sanitization lapses result in unspoiled beer that just doesn't taste as good?
As others have noted, I was talking about home brewers making lots of small mistakes, though many times they are large, that add up to inferior beer compared to professionals. Sanitation probably isn't completely all or nothing, but it is largely so. Sanitation lapses will catch up to you at some point, though, in a bigger way than off flavors.
 

Singletrack

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As others have noted, I was talking about home brewers making lots of small mistakes, though many times they are large, that add up to inferior beer compared to professionals. Sanitation probably isn't completely all or nothing, but it is largely so. Sanitation lapses will catch up to you at some point, though, in a bigger way than off flavors.
Yes, I understood the suggestion that it was only a contributing factor. But who has actually experienced poor sanitation contributing to off flavors, when the beer appears to be completely unspoiled? Does that really happen? Or is it a myth, possibly used to scare new brewers into obsessive sanitation practices?
 

Reisende

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Gentlemans_Ale,

Although I adamantly agree about your high pitch temp, I have one suggestion that (so far) you have not received.

A common off flavor in may home-brew beers made by "newer" brewers is Acetaldehyde. This is a yeast byproduct that if not removed by the yeast after the primary phase of fermentation, will lend a pumpkin or green apple taste and aroma. To me, it just smells/tastes "green". The can be reduced by warm (room temp) conditioning, but is competently avoidable.

I know I am being blasphemous here, but one of the main causes of acetaldehyde is the use of a "secondary". IMHO, the racking of your beer after only 7 days of fermentation is, for most yeast strains, a horrible idea as it removes the beer from the majority of the yeast before they have been able to clean up.

Next brew, simply try pitching your yeast at your target fermentation temp, and skip a "secondary", or at the very least leave it in your primary for 14 days. I bet this will help.

Prost!
 

Likefully

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I know I am being blasphemous here, but one of the main causes of acetaldehyde is the use of a "secondary". IMHO, the racking of your beer after only 7 days of fermentation is, for most yeast strains, a horrible idea as it removes the beer from the majority of the yeast before they have been able to clean up.

Next brew, simply try pitching your yeast at your target fermentation temp, and skip a "secondary", or at the very least leave it in your primary for 14 days. I bet this will help.

Prost!
adding to that, leave it in the bottle for 4 weeks before you drink it.
 

Flakk

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Yes, I understood the suggestion that it was only a contributing factor. But who has actually experienced poor sanitation contributing to off flavors, when the beer appears to be completely unspoiled? Does that really happen? Or is it a myth, possibly used to scare new brewers into obsessive sanitation practices?

If you want to experience poor sanitation leading to off flavors without spoiling the beer completely, try running finished beer through contaminated lines.



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NewJersey

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Learned a lil in this thread. I used a 25ft copper immersion chiller and earlier this summer noticed i wasnt getting temps low enough. I bought another 50ft ss chiller and now the copper chiller feeds the new ss chiller. At 100° i put the copper chiller into a bucket of ice water. Its magic.
I really need to get a water report.
 

Erythro73

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Can we please stop calling off flavors in beer "homebrew taste". If your beer has an off flavor then call it an off flavor and describe what it is. Nobody knows what your talking about other than you have an off flavor when you say "classic homebrew taste". My beers taste clean and don't have off flavors. i think its an insult to all homebrewers to call off flavors "homebrew taste".

/rant
I agree. What is the "homebrew taste"? Never had that in any of my homebrews, even with extract. I guess we would need a definition of this so we can all understand what the thread starter means.
 

Quaffman

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Maybe the so called "homebrew taste" is chlorinated water beginners use to make their beer?
 

bbohanon

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I tend to agree with most of the seasoned folks here on this thread and the other "Where does that homebrew taste come from" thread..You need to look at ingredients, fermenting temps, water profile and sanitation methods. I would make sure you dont use a dated kit(if you use kits), old grains, old yeast, or dated hops. Pitch properly and at the right temps, carb your beer properly and it should all turn out great.

I have been homebrewing for a while now and if I use fresh ingredients, keep everything clean, hit my temps mash-wise/sparge-wise and do a full rolling boil(no lid) with proper cooldown methods, proper pitching temps, pitching the proper amount of yeast(important), and fermenting on the cooler side of my yeast temp as well as carbing the beer properly in the keg/bottle, I could serve my beer with any commercial/microbrew beer and I am betting 95% the beer drinkers would choose mine over the commercial/microbrew every time blind tasting on the same style of beer.

I actually am of the opinion that the commercial microbrews just taste much flatter and more bland taste-wise than a homebrewed beer that was done properly from start to pour.
Maybe its not a homebrew taste that is the issue, but a mainstream commercialized beer taste that is?
:p
 

Lithobid

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I agree, "homebrew taste" is not helpful in solving any issues for us, as I sit right now, I'm having a great homebrew with fabulous taste (the first I've ever made!).

Here are some classic examples of bad homebrew flavors I've personally made, and also tasted in others beers.

1. Super yeasty, and not in the good hefeweizen way.
2. Overly sweet, candy like from trying to make a really big beer and not fully fermenting.
3. Skunked or bad sour off flavors from something other than tasty yeast.
4. Unbalanced flavors, nose or aftertaste overpowering, no crisp clean finish.

Im sure we could identify others as well.
 

Ski12568

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I was an early contributor to this post and agreed with the home brew taste is my beer. After tasting my latest APA today I am going to have to agree that that taste has to do with something wrong in the process.

I just kegged my 4th batch and I am not getting that taste I did in the last 3 batches. Only things I changed were water and this batch was kegged.

It was an extract recipe and I used purified water with some gypsum.

Gonna get by brother over to try it and tell me if he can pick up the "taste" but in my opinion it isn't there.

Very very happy with this brew!
 

kaconga

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I tend to agree with most of the seasoned folks here on this thread and the other "Where does that homebrew taste come from" thread..You need to look at ingredients, fermenting temps, water profile and sanitation methods. I would make sure you dont use a dated kit(if you use kits), old grains, old yeast, or dated hops. Pitch properly and at the right temps, carb your beer properly and it should all turn out great.

I have been homebrewing for a while now and if I use fresh ingredients, keep everything clean, hit my temps mash-wise/sparge-wise and do a full rolling boil(no lid) with proper cooldown methods, proper pitching temps, pitching the proper amount of yeast(important), and fermenting on the cooler side of my yeast temp as well as carbing the beer properly in the keg/bottle, I could serve my beer with any commercial/microbrew beer and I am betting 95% the beer drinkers would choose mine over the commercial/microbrew every time blind tasting on the same style of beer.

I actually am of the opinion that the commercial microbrews just taste much flatter and more bland taste-wise than a homebrewed beer that was done properly from start to pour.
Maybe its not a homebrew taste that is the issue, but a mainstream commercialized beer taste that is?
:p
I definitely agree. It has gotten to the point where I buy only a handful of beers because I know they are worth it. Otherwise I just head to the basement and see what is ready. :mug:
 

Natdavis777

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Didn't feel like reading through 3 pages if comments, but I think I know of the "homebrew" flavor you are referring to. I used to get it as well.

Water treatment and fermentation temp. Tailoring my water towards the style of beer and controlling my fermentation temps toons my beers to a whole new level.

I assume that's been mentioned, so I thought I'd reiterate! Cheers!


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Gentlemans_Ale

Gentlemans_Ale

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I think what I'm tasting is a combo of pitching too warm (I should know better), wrong water profile, and probably the yeast.

Thanks for all the thoughts. Didn't mean to offend all you veterans, just couldn't pinpoint the off-flavor I'm tasting, at least not according to Palmer's list.
 

kaconga

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I think what I'm tasting is a combo of pitching too warm (I should know better), wrong water profile, and probably the yeast.

Thanks for all the thoughts. Didn't mean to offend all you veterans, just couldn't pinpoint the off-flavor I'm tasting, at least not according to Palmer's list.
One of the coolest things about the homebrewing community is that you can pretty much describe exactly what you are tasting or what it reminds you of. There are no wrong descriptors, only vague ones. I mean, who would think saying "this beer has a nice horse sweat aroma" was not only a valid descriptor but also a pleasant one? Just draw from your experience and be as specific as possible in what it tastes like and people will pretty much get exactly what you mean.
 

Clonefan94

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I'm in the camp that thinks homebrew taste is the result of bad practices in you brewing process. It could be the boiling of extract too long or not getting it dissolved well enough. Most of the time I think it's fermentation though. I think the worst part about kit instructions is how little they emphasize the importance of proper fermentation. Pitch it and forget it seems to be their motto.

Controlling temps and keeping it in the mid 60s for ales is really a big deal that seems to get overlooked. I know I had this taste until I really focused on controlling temps.

What we do is no different than a commercial brewery, just on a smaller scale. If you take the same care a commercial brewery does with their beer on your beer, I think you'd be surprised at the lack of homebrew taste.


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svenness

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My first few batches had a taste that I described as a "home brew taste," I refined my process in many areas after those first few batches but in my case treating for chloramines and pitching ale yeast at 62F and keeping the temp low the first few days of primary made my beers taste great! I got feedback on the first beer I sent to a comp that it had a heavy medicinal flavor and after the aforementioned improvements my second submission won BOS at a small local comp.
 
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Gentlemans_Ale

Gentlemans_Ale

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My first few batches had a taste that I described as a "home brew taste," I refined my process in many areas after those first few batches but in my case treating for chloramines and pitching ale yeast at 62F and keeping the temp low the first few days of primary made my beers taste great! I got feedback on the first beer I sent to a comp that it had a heavy medicinal flavor and after the aforementioned improvements my second submission won BOS at a small local comp.
I think my next brew will be a lot better. These refinements seem to really make a good beer great. And just saw that my tap has chloramines and not chlorine.
 

brewbeginner

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How do I get rid of that classic home brew taste? Buy commercial beers! If you don't like home brew taste don't home brew!!!!
 

youngdh

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I'm doubting the water is the issue unless you are using well water - likely it's a yeast thing. I find the same thing - under-attenuation. That seems to be an issue with most of my beers lately.
Managing my water profile (start with DI water and build up) is perhaps the one single change I've made that had the biggest impact in the taste of my beer. If you are using tap water you must dechlorinate or youll get a subtle or maybe not so subtle "bandaid" taste.

As far as sanitation make sure all of your equipment that touches the wort/beer post boil has been thoroughly cleaned before sanitizing. This includes your tubing and racking cane/siphon. A good soak in PBW does wonders. If you have a spigot in your boil kettle and/or fermenter disassemble it to clean. If bits of trub or hops gets left in your equipment this becomes a breading ground for the little nasties and can get through a star san or idophor rinse sanitation.

If your tubing has been used many times I'd recommend replacing it. Its cheap and 3/8" ID vinyl tube is available not only at your LHWB shop but most home improvement/hardware stores.

If your finished beer has a wet cardboard taste oxygen post ferment my be an issue. Ive gotten in the practice of using a product from my woodworking supply store called Bloxygen (argon gas) which prevents paint skinning to spray into my fermenter when I open it to pull a gravity reading (sanitize the red straw first if you use it). I blow a layer into my secondary and/or bottling bucket when transferring and into my bottles when bottling. I also use oxygen absorbing bottle caps. There is a similar product (I forget the name) to preserve unfinished bottles of wine. Basically any inert gas void of O2 will work as a safety measure if you're getting the wet cardboard taste.
 
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Gentlemans_Ale

Gentlemans_Ale

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:facepalm:

Way to read the thread. Homebrew taste doesn't exist. If you're getting a homebrew taste, it's something you're doing.

I'm lagering a helles now. My gravity sample just 2 weeks from primary tasted amazing. I built a profile from RO and made sure to pitch around 54 degrees. Tight temp control and all that seemed to erase the homebrew taste - which I recant for all you offended. It doesn't exist if things are done right.
 
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