Identifying cause of bad taste

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BPenny

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Another idea. While I BIAB most of the time. In the summer I occasionally brew extract as I can brew with 3 gallons of wort. After cooling as much as possible with ice, I put 2 gallons of ice cold RO water from sanitized bottles in the fermenter to make up the 5 gallons. Brings the temp down to pitching temp immediately.
I frequently do partial boils with AG batches and then I will add a gallon+ of frozen or nearly frozen water to bring the temp down quickly
 

BPenny

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I have never done a partial boil on AG. Does the reduced water make the mash thick?
It depends on the beer, but generally it’s not too thick. Most of the beers I make have an sg of around 1.035-1.050, which only requires around 8-11 lbs of grain for a 5ish gallon batch. If I mash with 2.5-3 gallons of water and then dunk sparge with another 2-2.5 gallons, it’s never seemed impractically thick, even with 10-25% spelt, oats, rye, etc. I always brew in a bag though, so I can’t say how that would work with other methods.
 

thomer

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I am normally at the 1.070og level, so I think for my style of beers that may not work as I am in the 15lb-17lb area and BIAB in a 15 gallon kettle. But I will give it a go with a lower gravity beer at some point. Thanks for the advice :)
 

easttex

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Brewing beer, particularly all grain, is all about controlling variables. Especially:
  • Sanitation
  • Water quality
  • Mash temperature and pH
  • Yeast health
  • Fermentation temperature
Subtle differences in the above can make or break a good beer.

I read through this thread at lunch and have been mulling it over all afternoon. In your case, I would recommend:
  • Disassemble, clean, and sanitize everything that comes in contact with wort each time you brew - pay attention to those valves and lid seals
  • Buy RO or distilled water - I buy it by the gallon at Kroger's myself - and brew exclusively with that. You'll need to make up water additions if you do that, though.
  • Focus on yeast health: oxygenation, yeast nutrition, and pitching rate.
  • Don't bother racking the beer to secondary. Just dry hop in the primary and rack it straight to a keg when it's ready.
  • Take notes each brew and repeat the same steps each time. That's the best way to evaluate your process and identify steps to improve or where something went awry.
It sounds to me like you've been using tap water and likely fermenting too warm. Both will give you funky flavors that won't go away. I would suggest buying RO water (or distilled) and adding minerals back to eliminate that variable. Then trying to ferment in the mid-60's to eliminate that variable as well. You can try using Omega Lutra or a similar kveik strain but be forewarned that you'll also likely get slightly different results than with Chico (US-05 and related yeasts). Lastly, pay extra attention when you're dry hopping or racking beer to make sure you don't introduce oxygen into the beer. Paradoxically, while unfermented wort needs plenty of oxygen, fermented hoppy beer goes south rapidly in presence of it.

Try the above with your next batch and see if it doesn't help. If you're still having this oddball off flavor, let us know. Maybe there's something else afoot like trying to use really old ingredients or something.
 

Bobby_M

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That'd be super helpful! Is this something they are typically willing to do? Meet with some stranger and try their homebrew?😅

There are a few ways to get it done without it being as creepy as you make it sound. First, look at the BJCP competition schedule here, Competition Calendar – Beer Judge Certification Program and see if there are any competitions locally. Enter the competition and you'll have two judges evaluate it without fear of hurting your feelings. The next less formal version is to find a local homebrew club. Most will have a few BJCP judges as members and if you ask for honest feedback, you'll mostly get it.
 
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