Is my beer ruined?

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kingludwig01

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I began fermenting my first ever beer, a Saison, on September 14th, it has:

1 packet of T-58 Saison Yeast
5lb Light Malt Extract
1lb table sugar
2oz Mosaic hops
3.75lb mini mash
5 gallons water

This is my first beer I've made, and clearly I didn't do enough research. Here's my story of problems:
1. My yeast's maximum fermenting temperature is 68 degrees, and the closet I fermented it in is around 75 degrees. I figured since Saisons are generally warm-temperature friendly this yeast would be, but producer says 68 degrees.
2. When I was boiling my grain mash, the temperature was nearly 20 degrees too high (180 degrees) for about 30 minutes of the hour long process.
3. My beer fermented rapidly in about 3 days despite the recipe I was roughly copying saying it should spend 2 weeks in primary. I suspect this is due to the far warmer temperature, addition of 1lb of sugar I made to bump up the ABV, and very high temperature I had while steeping the grains.
3. I posted an article 9 days into primary fermenting (September 23rd) and the initial responses I got said my beer must be done fermenting since my gravity measurements weren't changing for over three days, and I was very excited and took this to mean I was good to bottle. Some people said I could bottle, others said they let it sit in primary longer for clarity, reducing sediment in bottles, etc.
4. While bottling I decided to taste the unfinished brew, as I read that this can reveal some glaringly obvious flaws, but that it wont give a good idea of what the final product will be like. The most glaringly obvious thing was that the smell of bananas was incredibly potent. Not a hint of banana, I'm talking straight up a chimp's wet dream. It smelled great, don't get me wrong, but it still doesn't seem like to me breweries are supposed to smell like a Nicaraguan plantation in the summer. As for the taste, there was no banana taste, but rather a sharp and astringent alcohol-forward bite, led by a nice slightly hoppy after taste. My roommates tried it too and swore it was good, but they're probably just being nice and encouraging. I'm worried that the astringency and alcoholic bite is a result of the many failures I've listed above, but I've one, never made beer before so cant know for sure, and two, have hope that it will improve in the bottle and taste at least somewhat good as the final product.

Im a broke college kid who decided to make beer all bright eyed and hopeful, and Its dawning on me that I may have just wasted $40 in ingredients making watered down rubbing alcohol. Is there any hope in my brew? Does bottle-conditioning drastically change the brew and take away most of the rough edges? How long should I condition this thing? Am I just overreacting?
 

Miraculix

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I began fermenting my first ever beer, a Saison, on September 14th, it has:

1 packet of T-58 Saison Yeast
5lb Light Malt Extract
1lb table sugar
2oz Mosaic hops
3.75lb mini mash
5 gallons water

This is my first beer I've made, and clearly I didn't do enough research. Here's my story of problems:
1. My yeast's maximum fermenting temperature is 68 degrees, and the closet I fermented it in is around 75 degrees. I figured since Saisons are generally warm-temperature friendly this yeast would be, but producer says 68 degrees.
2. When I was boiling my grain mash, the temperature was nearly 20 degrees too high (180 degrees) for about 30 minutes of the hour long process.
3. My beer fermented rapidly in about 3 days despite the recipe I was roughly copying saying it should spend 2 weeks in primary. I suspect this is due to the far warmer temperature, addition of 1lb of sugar I made to bump up the ABV, and very high temperature I had while steeping the grains.
3. I posted an article 9 days into primary fermenting (September 23rd) and the initial responses I got said my beer must be done fermenting since my gravity measurements weren't changing for over three days, and I was very excited and took this to mean I was good to bottle. Some people said I could bottle, others said they let it sit in primary longer for clarity, reducing sediment in bottles, etc.
4. While bottling I decided to taste the unfinished brew, as I read that this can reveal some glaringly obvious flaws, but that it wont give a good idea of what the final product will be like. The most glaringly obvious thing was that the smell of bananas was incredibly potent. Not a hint of banana, I'm talking straight up a chimp's wet dream. It smelled great, don't get me wrong, but it still doesn't seem like to me breweries are supposed to smell like a Nicaraguan plantation in the summer. As for the taste, there was no banana taste, but rather a sharp and astringent alcohol-forward bite, led by a nice slightly hoppy after taste. My roommates tried it too and swore it was good, but they're probably just being nice and encouraging. I'm worried that the astringency and alcoholic bite is a result of the many failures I've listed above, but I've one, never made beer before so cant know for sure, and two, have hope that it will improve in the bottle and taste at least somewhat good as the final product.

Im a broke college kid who decided to make beer all bright eyed and hopeful, and Its dawning on me that I may have just wasted $40 in ingredients making watered down rubbing alcohol. Is there any hope in my brew? Does bottle-conditioning drastically change the brew and take away most of the rough edges? How long should I condition this thing? Am I just overreacting?
Mate, relax.

Wait 3 weeks, chill it, enjoy.

Keep monitoring afterwards if carbonation increases, might be because of the saison yeast is diastatic and did not have enough time in the fermenter, if you ask me. I just had a diastatic strain which caused gushers after about 2 months in the bottle, although it was 3 weeks in the fermenter.

But overall, no dramatic problem here. The mash was small anyway, so no big impact.

Bananas can happen, does not mean anything.
 
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hotbeer

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1) I don't know what going outside the recommended ferment temps will do. Probably varies from type of yeast to type of yeast and your recipe. What's done is done, it'll be beer. You'll know if you like it or not.

2) So it's probably happened to many of us. Again, you got what you got. Might not be the best of efficiencies and maybe there'll be some flavor aspect of your beer changed. But might be good flavor for you, or it might not. Wait till you get to open your bottle and taste the result.

Figure out how to better control mash temps on your next batch.

3) Many do seem to finish bubbling in just a few days. But sometimes they start back up. I think saisons are notorious for stalled ferments and restarting later. And I do have some that almost were cleared up by 2 weeks and then went to bubbling vigorously again. Never took their SG then as it seemed pointless since the activity made it cloudy again.

Maybe as I do this more, I'll get better at keeping things just right so I can bottle in two weeks or less, but until then I'm not going to worry if I have to let one stay in the fermenter for many weeks on end.

4) Banana smell and flavor is one of the characteristics of that type of yeast.
SafAle™ T-58
 
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kingludwig01

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Mate, relax.

Wait 3 weeks, chill it, enjoy.

Keep monitoring afterwards if carbonation increases, might be because of the saison yeast is diastatic and did not have enough time in the fermenter, if you ask me. I just had a diastatic strain which caused gushers after about 2 months in the bottle, although it was 3 weeks in the fermenter.

But overall, no dramatic problem here. The mash was small anyway, so no big impact.

Bananas can happen, does not mean anything.
I don't think my yeast is diastatic simply because when I tasted the beer before bottling, it was bone dry. Very very little residual sugars must be still in there if I had to guess. It also hit my estimated final gravity almost exactly. Is it still possible for it to make gushers despite that?
 
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kingludwig01

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1) I don't know what going outside the recommended ferment temps will do. Probably varies from type of yeast to type of yeast and your recipe. What's done is done, it'll be beer. You'll know if you like it or not.

2) So it's probably happened to many of us. Again, you got what you got. Might not be the best of efficiencies and maybe there'll be some flavor aspect of your beer changed. But might be good flavor for you, or it might not. Wait till you get to open your bottle and taste the result.

Figure out how to better control mash temps on your next batch.

3) Many do seem to finish bubbling in just a few days. But sometimes they start back up. I think saisons are notorious for stalled ferments and restarting later. And I do have some that almost were cleared up by 2 weeks and then went to bubbling vigorously again. Never took their SG then as it seemed pointless since the activity made it cloudy again.

Maybe as I do this more, I'll get better at keeping things just right so I can bottle in two weeks or less, but until then I'm not going to worry if I have to let one stay in the fermenter for many weeks on end.

4) Banana smell and flavor is one of the characteristics of that type of yeast.
SafAle™ T-58
I didnt know Saisons were notorious for stalled ferments. As I was telling Miraculix, the final gravity made it to my estimate nearly perfectly, and the beer tasted (almost painfully) dry. I am relieved to hear that it isn't uncommon for beers to finish fermenting so quickly, however. On a previous thread I mentioned the banana smell and another brewer said they have used T-58 a few times without any blatantly noticable banana smell; I think I got so much banana because of the far warmer temperatures in everything and will just have to accept my beer will be a banana beer.
 

Miraculix

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I don't think my yeast is diastatic simply because when I tasted the beer before bottling, it was bone dry. Very very little residual sugars must be still in there if I had to guess. It also hit my estimated final gravity almost exactly. Is it still possible for it to make gushers despite that?
I checked it, it is very possible that you are right, T 58 seems to be more of a belgian yeast but not in a saison way. Fermentis is notoriously mislabeling their products I'm afraid....
 
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kingludwig01

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I checked it, it is very possible that you are right, T 58 seems to be more of a belgian yeast but not in a saison way. Fermentis is notoriously mislabeling their products I'm afraid....
Ah, well its all good stuff to be learning regardless if my product is gonna be hurt a bit. Good to know about Fermentis. Appreciate your help 👍
 

Upstate12866

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A more simple yeast would be a good idea for your next brew (though not at all a necessity, since I think you are finding that your brew will be OK). If the final gravity was stable for a few days within the target range, it's fair to move to bottling but never a bad idea to wait a few extra days.

"Belgian beer" to me for many years was something like Blue Moon. So I chose a Belgian yeast strain for one of my first beers to give it a bit more complexity or something interesting with my pale malt and extract base. I was really surprised by the crazy spicy flavors of the beer I made and frankly didn't like it much! I think I had only consumed watered-down versions of many global styles previously.

Belgian, Saison, Hefeweizen and similar regional varieties of yeast not only bring some wacky aromas, but I assume every one in these families will put off more aromas and flavors in higher temps. In my experience, I think many yeasts are prone to get "fusel alcohol" (rubbing alcohol/jet fuel) flavor in higher temps. So your 75 deg ferment (maybe pushing 78 or 80 inside the fermenter) on a Belgian strain sort of tilted several things in that direction.

Being just two weeks in, I am sure that things will mellow out with time. Be sure to save some to see what happens in a month or three!
 
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kingludwig01

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A more simple yeast would be a good idea for your next brew (though not at all a necessity, since I think you are finding that your brew will be OK). If the final gravity was stable for a few days within the target range, it's fair to move to bottling but never a bad idea to wait a few extra days.

"Belgian beer" to me for many years was something like Blue Moon. So I chose a Belgian yeast strain for one of my first beers to give it a bit more complexity or something interesting with my pale malt and extract base. I was really surprised by the crazy spicy flavors of the beer I made and frankly didn't like it much! I think I had only consumed watered-down versions of many global styles previously.

Belgian, Saison, Hefeweizen and similar regional varieties of yeast not only bring some wacky aromas, but I assume every one in these families will put off more aromas and flavors in higher temps. In my experience, I think many yeasts are prone to get "fusel alcohol" (rubbing alcohol/jet fuel) flavor in higher temps. So your 75 deg ferment (maybe pushing 78 or 80 inside the fermenter) on a Belgian strain sort of tilted several things in that direction.

Being just two weeks in, I am sure that things will mellow out with time. Be sure to save some to see what happens in a month or three!
Your story on Belgian Ales being Blue Moons in your head is exactly where I am, with the exceptions being Trappist ales I know of and have tasted like Chimay. I have asked this question on other threads but brewers kind of hit me with "Make what you think you'll like", despite me not knowing how to make what I like, so I ask you: if I was to try and make a Blue Moon/Hoegaarden style of beer that isn't super spicey, slightly fruity but on the more malty side, and very sessionable, what yeast should I use? Do you have any recipes you've done to achieve that style of beer?
 

csantoni

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if I was to try and make a Blue Moon/Hoegaarden style of beer that isn't super spicey, slightly fruity but on the more malty side, and very sessionable, what yeast should I use?
I use WB-06 in my wit that’s a tribute to Allagash White. Ferment on the cooler side of the range for clove, higher side for banana but either way it’s fairly restrained.
 

davidabcd

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If your ambient fermentation was around 75° F and you weren't using temperature control (refrigerator), the beer would be fermenting pretty hot, up to 10° higher which would account for what you mentioned with the alcohol taste and the banana.
That pound of sugar, as mentioned, will dry the heck out of the beer. If you want a higher ABV beer in the future by adding sugar, use more DME/LME to support the extra kick.
Ruined or not? It might mellow a bit.
Also, unless I completely misunderstand T-58, it's not diastatic.
 

Upstate12866

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Your story on Belgian Ales being Blue Moons in your head is exactly where I am, with the exceptions being Trappist ales I know of and have tasted like Chimay. I have asked this question on other threads but brewers kind of hit me with "Make what you think you'll like", despite me not knowing how to make what I like, so I ask you: if I was to try and make a Blue Moon/Hoegaarden style of beer that isn't super spicey, slightly fruity but on the more malty side, and very sessionable, what yeast should I use? Do you have any recipes you've done to achieve that style of beer?
I never pursued that direction too vigorously, so I am probably the wrong person to ask. I think I did one other hefe and one saison. What comes to mind for me is temperature control to keep things on the cool side to mute those wild aromas.
 
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kingludwig01

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If your ambient fermentation was around 75° F and you weren't using temperature control (refrigerator), the beer would be fermenting pretty hot, up to 10° higher which would account for what you mentioned with the alcohol taste and the banana.
That pound of sugar, as mentioned, will dry the heck out of the beer. If you want a higher ABV beer in the future by adding sugar, use more DME/LME to support the extra kick.
Ruined or not? It might mellow a bit.
Also, unless I completely misunderstand T-58, it's not diastatic.
One of the guys I talked to about adding the pound of sugar said its only 17% of the initial gravity, which he said wasn't bad at all and wouldn't do anything but slightly thin out the beer. I had read that as long as the sugar isn't above 20% of initial gravity, then it should be fine, but it does taste quite dry. How long do you think I should mellow out my beer?
 
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kingludwig01

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I never pursued that direction too vigorously, so I am probably the wrong person to ask. I think I did one other hefe and one saison. What comes to mind for me is temperature control to keep things on the cool side to mute those wild aromas.
On that note, how can I maintain a lower temperature during fermentation? I'm using just a classic 5.5 gallon bucket with a lid grommet for the bubbler and a spout slightly above the sediment if I wanted to use it as a bottler. I can't really afford one of the fancy cooling products, and I also cant afford the space for it either. Do I just have to lower my apartment's thermostat to accommodate?
 
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kingludwig01

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I use WB-06 in my wit that’s a tribute to Allagash White. Ferment on the cooler side of the range for clove, higher side for banana but either way it’s fairly restrained.
I like that WB-06 has a max of 75; I could easily accommodate that temperature. Do you have a recipe I could use? My dad loves Belgian Ales, and if I could make a great one for him he'd probably start funding my hobby haha
 

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I like that WB-06 has a max of 75; I could easily accommodate that temperature. Do you have a recipe I could use?
It’s basically this https://www.soundhomebrew.com/content/Clones/Allagash White.pdf plus .5 oz of grains of paradise in addition to the other spices. I only did the extract version a couple of times and have since gone all grain but it comes out the same.

You’ll get lots of banana from wb-06 at that temp. Might want to try swamp cooler or something if you want spice or neutral yeast flavour.
 

Upstate12866

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On that note, how can I maintain a lower temperature during fermentation?
A water bath can do a good job of keeping things at a desired temperature. But a wet towel and optionally a fan will also get things a few degrees below ambient. It works good actually.

You mainly just need things under control for the first few 3-4 days during the most active part of the fermentation. I think just getting down to 70-ish would make a difference.
 

csantoni

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A water bath can do a good job of keeping things at a desired temperature. But a wet towel and optionally a fan will also get things a few degrees below ambient. It works good actually.

You mainly just need things under control for the first few 3-4 days during the most active part of the fermentation. I think just getting down to 70-ish would make a difference.
These are good suggestions. For the Allagash recipe, I’ve had the most success at max 68F. I went 64F with my most recent batch because I wanted to try to eliminate the banana flavor altogether. That one is closest in flavor to the real thing, IMO.

Don’t skimp on the carbonation for these styles, either. My current one is about 3 vols CO2 and it’s perfect even though I tend to prefer the lower end of the style ranges for carbonation in general.
 

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How long do you think I should mellow out my beer?
You'll know within a month or two on that. I've had drastic improvement at the three month mark but that was for a high ABV (10%).
I've heard the same percentages on sugar, and I'm a big fan of adding it for my Belgian Triples, but if a recipe isn't designed for the higher alcohol, the results aren't so good.
 

3-Putt

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On that note, how can I maintain a lower temperature during fermentation? I'm using just a classic 5.5 gallon bucket with a lid grommet for the bubbler and a spout slightly above the sediment if I wanted to use it as a bottler. I can't really afford one of the fancy cooling products, and I also cant afford the space for it either. Do I just have to lower my apartment's thermostat to accommodate?
If you are frugal and or space limited, but want to have some temp control, this is what I do. I use a carboy as my fermenter, it has a sticky thermometer strip attached to the side so I have an idea of the inside beer temp and I put it inside a chest cooler and add about 10” of water to the cooler. Then I monitor my beers temp. If it gets too cold I add warm water to the cooler. If I’m trying to cool it off I add frozen water bottles and I put an old tee shirt over my carboy and keep it wet for some additional evaporative cooling. I’ve had very good success controlling my fermentation temps but you have to check it several times a day if your target temp is significantly different from ambient temp. I also make Belgian beers using yeast strains that tolerate higher temps in the summer, use more traditional ale yeasts in the spring and fall and only make lagers in the winter in my garage so I can ferment in the low 50s.
 

hotbeer

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How long do you think I should mellow out my beer?
Mellow out? That's what you do when drink a lot of it.

Are you asking about conditioning your beer after bottling or kegging it? That's sort of an art you gain with experience in that recipe. So don't drink them all at once. Try to hold some back to sample every week or so for as long as your supply lasts. Then next time you make that recipe or similar, you can see if you get similar results and maybe hold back more for that time.

Or is mellow out an actual brewing term that applies to a specific process?
 

Upstate12866

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How long do you think I should mellow out my beer?
I would sample 10-14 days from now ot of sheer curiosity and to check that I've primed relatively successfully. Keep sampling every week until you think it's ready to drink proper. Set some aside to age in the bottle longer if you feel inclined to experiment.

A couple newbie issues to monitor (though rare) are problems with the priming (too much sugar making bottle bombs, or uneven priming which is a sign some bottles have too much sugar and could be bombs) and the possibility of infection (rare, but can cause gushers and bombs). So me personally, I like to monitor things to get a tiny view of what's happening. Don't read too much into these possibilities or you will get unneeded anxiety; basically, If I open a gusher, that means it's time to use the rest asap. It's rare but def possible in the beginning. Therefore I recommend sampling every week or two.
 

Upstate12866

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if I was to try and make a Blue Moon/Hoegaarden style of beer that isn't super spicey, slightly fruity but on the more malty side, and very sessionable, what yeast should I use?
I got interested in witbiers and the like last night and did some searching around. In the Fermentis line, they have a few Belgian type strains.

Something sessionable might be had with K97 yeast, which is a clean German ale yeast with some milder aromatics. Used in a few recipes i saw online and less Belgian character than some others. I bought some to use myself last night.
 

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