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schwibbidy

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Hey guys ill get straight to the problem, I'm going on to my third homebrew and my first two haven't been up to par for what I think a craft brew should be. I've been extract brewing with about a 30 min boil beforehand where I steep some grains. My beers aren't very full bodied and the tastes are on the sour side, I made sure to use good sanitation after my first batch but I get a sour apple/ cidery almost wine taste on my second batch. I've read that it might be because of acetelahyde or whatever and I just need to age it longer

The QUESTION I had is.....

Will all grain brewing help fix these problems and take my beers, which are drinkable, to a higher level where I will be able to have a craft brew that my friends and family will enjoy because I feel like I'm doing every step right and it just doesn't make a gooooood beer

THOUGHTS??
 

jcam91

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I've been extract brewing with about a 30 min boil beforehand where I steep some grains.

THOUGHTS??
If you are boiling steeping grains that might be a problem. Steep at 150. Maybe you didn't mean to write that your boiling them but if you are, that is probably your problem.
 

conneryis007

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Lots of people make very good beers from extract or martial mash, I did for a long time!

What type of yeast did you use?

Are you using a hydrometer to measure your starting and final gravities? This could give you good insight.
 

MrSpiffy

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There are lots of folks here that brew extract beer that's awesome stuff. You do have more control over flavors and process with all-grain. But you can certainly make excellent beer without going all-grain. If you do decide to go all-grain, I'd start with the BIAB route. It's easy to get into, doesn't require much for equipment over extract, and can certainly make excellent beer.

I'd also agree with jcam91 that, if you boiled your steeping grains, that could be the problem. You're supposed to steep well below boiling, or else you extract a lot of undesirable flavors from the grain.

Just a quick word of advice: post what you need help with in your title, rather than just putting "HELP!!!" That way we'll know what you need help with. :mug:
 

SiriusStarr

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You should be able to make a great beer, whether with extract, partial mash, or all-grain. If you're using good ingredients (of whatever kind) and have good brewing processes, good beer should follow.

You want to avoid boiling grains, since high temperatures can potentially lead to tannin extraction and give you and unpleasant astringency. Steeping at 150-155 F is typically recommended.

Finally, how old is it? Time will help heal most beer wounds, so if it tastes cidery, it may just be a function of it being very green and needing to condition longer. I personally would recommend at least 6 weeks (3 in fermenter, 3 in bottles) for normal strength beers before you start to make any real evaluations (but who can resist trying a bottle or two early).
 

W0rthog

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If your specialty grains are exposed to heat above 170, it will release bad flavors. Keep your heat around 160. Remove grains, then boil with extract.
 

progmac

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the best i can tell the secret to delicious, enjoyable brew is two fold -

1) pitching enough yeast
2) fermenting at the appropriate temperature

how do you stand on these two items?
 

cluckk

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If you aren't getting good beer at the extract stage, all-graiin will just add many more things that can go wrong. Fix this first then consider moving on.

Here is a page on the forums on acetaldehyde.

Replace any hoses that contact your beer--hoses are a cheap fix. If you use a bucket fermenter replace it. If there are scratches in the plastic, your sanitizer may not be reaching them. Anything plastic that touches your finished beer should be replaced.
 

krackin

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Sounds like you just need to get your basics in the right order and these guys nailed it for ya.
 

HeadyKilowatt

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the best i can tell the secret to delicious, enjoyable brew is two fold -

1) pitching enough yeast
2) fermenting at the appropriate temperature

how do you stand on these two items?
+1. Also leave your beer in the fermenter for at least 2 weeks (I usually go 3-4, personally) to make sure the yeast have ample time to clean up after themselves and remove any compounds that may be giving you off flavors.
 
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schwibbidy

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Ill try to answer everyone's suggestions

I pitched the one packet of SAFALE-05

Fermented in my basement at a room temp of 62-65

I fermented for two weeks then theyve been bottle conditioning for 2.5 weeks now

Thinking back to both this batch and my first batch I believe I've been steeping the grains over boiling heat, I never waited for the water to get below 160 before steeping....I think this is my problem.... Will this simple mistake cause a dramatic change in the flavor of the beer?

Next batch I'm doing is a stout extract with grains to steep as well, what temp range is ideal to steep the grains in this recipe?

Thanks for all the advice!!!!!
 

progmac

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yeah, boiling the grains instead of steeping them is really bad. heat the water to 160, throw in the grains, cover and kill the heat.
 

Bean

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you can also throw the grains in when you are bringing the water to temp. Then rest the grains for 15-20 minutes at whatever temp you are steeping at. After the rest pull the grains and bring to a boil.
 
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schwibbidy

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progmac said:
yeah, boiling the grains instead of steeping them is really bad. heat the water to 160, throw in the grains, cover and kill the heat.
So when it's at 160 I just throw the grain bag in and cover for 30 min? Shouldn't I be bobbing the bag up and down in the water to steep?
 

tmoney645

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So when it's at 160 I just throw the grain bag in and cover for 30 min? Shouldn't I be bobbing the bag up and down in the water to steep?
That a pretty good method, there are a lot of different ways to do it, but the main things are to steep for around 30min, and make sure the temp does not get over 165. You start to extract tannins at that point and give your beer off flavors. As far as bobbing goes, its not essential but I think it helps. I bob it a few times while it is steeping just to make sure there are no dry spots in the grain bag.
 

kh54s10

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So when it's at 160 I just throw the grain bag in and cover for 30 min? Shouldn't I be bobbing the bag up and down in the water to steep?
When I do extract I put the grains in when the water starts steaming and continue to heat until 20 minutes or the water reaches 170. The time and temperature almost always is within a couple of minutes so I stop the heat and continue. I "bob" the bag some and then squeeze as much liquid out as possible. You will get some that will vehemently argue that this will extract tannins from the grain, but that is false.

Also try to find out if your water has a lot of chlorine or chloramines. If they do you can use campden tablets to neutralize them.
 
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schwibbidy

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SiriusStarr said:
Did you rehydrate the yeast before pitching, and what temperature did you pitch at? Yeast health is probably the most crucial thing to watch out for. US-05 should be very happy at your 62-65 F.
Yes I rehydrated and and then pitched into my wort which had been cooled to below 70, what is your method to rehydrate?
 

m_stodd

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You can throw them in as early as you want, just pull them before 170. You're just trying to get the stuff that's in the grains, into the water, that's it. I always put mine in water from the tap, then start getting the whole thing hot.
 

SiriusStarr

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Yes I rehydrated and and then pitched into my wort which had been cooled to below 70, what is your method to rehydrate?
I just follow the company's instructions, i.e. 115 ml (not that precise :D) of 80F water. If you rehydrated, pitched a full pack below 70F, and fermented at 62-65F, your yeast should be very happy.

Accordingly, I'd say that the off flavors are either A: greeness, which will resolve with time, B: a function of boiling the grains (which is easy to avoid in the future), or C: a sanitization issue, which is of course the most insidious.
 

cluckk

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Thinking back to both this batch and my first batch I believe I've been steeping the grains over boiling heat, I never waited for the water to get below 160 before steeping....I think this is my problem.... Will this simple mistake cause a dramatic change in the flavor of the beer?
It is hard to believe how much it can change the flavor.
 

newb

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I'm with cluckk - I would say boiling your steeping grains is a likely a big part of the problem. Another thing to consider though, do you take it back off the heat before adding your extracts? You don't want to burn that stuff either. Cut the heat, then add your extract being careful not to let it burn on the bottom (perfect if you have a brew partner to help do one or the other, stir or pour)

Oh and a thing about adding the grain, then bringing the water up to temp. If you go that route, you may want to tie the bag to a handle or something to keep it off the bottom, or move it a lot during this time. Direct heat on your grains won't necessarily, but COULD- cause some damage. The metal bottom of your kettle is a more hot than the overall temp of the water. So while your water may just be approaching 155, the flame right on the kettle bottom could be roasting the contacting grains pretty good.(not such a big deal in all extract unless you are really burning the grains and getting bad flavors, but partial mash to all grain- you might see a slight efficiency loss) I'm not against heating with grains in though, my mash tun is a big stainless kettle and doesn't hold heat well so I typically have it sitting on a bayou burner to control my temp. I just stir a lot, and the false bottom helps a bit I think.
 

oceans11_gt

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Let me guess...... Your beer looks great, Smells amazing, you can taste what its supposed to taste like over all, but it is covered up by a weird sour taste that doesn't seem to go away? Definitely a result of boiling the grains and extracting tannin. I just made an Oatmeal Stout Extract kit that I threw some chocolate malt in towards the end of the boil and got the same thing. This was before I knew this was a NO NO! I could taste an excellent beer under the sour taste but I ended up dumping it all and bottling a new one. Live and learn I guess. I am going to change to All-Grain from now but you can make great beer with extracts. Just follow the directions diligently until you get the hang of the process, and consistently produce beers you are happy with.
 

Seedly

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Just to make sure we are all understanding your process correctly, are you doing things in the below order:
1) heat water to 150-160
2) steep grains for 30 min
3) remove grains
4) heat to boiling while adding extract
5) add hops while boiling
6) remove hops after boil
7) cool to below 70
8) pitch yeast and let the magic happen

If you got steps 2 and 4 out of order, then your going to get all sorts of nasty flavors.
 
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schwibbidy

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Seedly said:
Just to make sure we are all understanding your process correctly, are you doing things in the below order:
1) heat water to 150-160
2) steep grains for 30 min
3) remove grains
4) heat to boiling while adding extract
5) add hops while boiling
6) remove hops after boil
7) cool to below 70
8) pitch yeast and let the magic happen

If you got steps 2 and 4 out of order, then your going to get all sorts of nasty flavors.
Yes I believe I made mistakes on steps 2 and 4, which makes me feel a little better now that I can pinpoint my problem, ill be brewing stout this weekend and will update how that one turns out

NEW QUESTION:

I bought cocoa nibs to add to my stout that I will be brewing, I heard the best way to add them is to boil some water with the cocoa nibs so that it dissolves them, let it cool to room temp and then add it when I am racking from primary to secondary.....what's the best method??
 

cluckk

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Like all things in life there are variations, and this is no different with the schedule just given. Stick with it for a while and see what you get. If you are using hopped extract eventually you will want to change to unhopped and add your own. I did this as the next step and found my hops were really not as pronounced as I expected. Gravity really affects hop isomerization. In time I changed to:

1) Steep grains at 150- 160 for thirty minutes
2) Remove grains
3) Heat water to a boil and add bittering hops
4) Boil for 45 minutes (out of a full 60 minute boil)
5) Stir in extract to boil for final 15 minutes of boil
6) Add flavor hops for last fifteen minutes of boil
7) Add aroma hops at last 5 minutes of boil
8) Cool, rack, oxygenate, pitch, ignore
 
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