Second batch tastes too bitter.

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mlfarrell

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I actually couldn't finish the glass I poured. The initial taste is fine, but the after taste is just bad. Like the same bitterness you experience when eating 99% dark chocolate.

My theory is the yeast over-attenuated and there's no sweetness left in the batch at all.

Recipe was this but with WLP-005 instead of the listed yeast.
https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/2...9771891-1526775398667.pdf?3058944553421699209

OG - FG was
1.060 - 1.009

Bit dissapointing. I've just been letting in sit out, even in warm temperatures now since I've all but given up on it. Wondering if age will do it good, but I doubt it.
 
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hotbeer

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I don't know what it should taste like but your description somewhat matches the recipe's description.

Think of this as a British Bitter squared - more malt and
more hops equals higher gravity, bigger body, more
bitterness
, and more intense flavors and aromas. A more
complex beer than an “ordinary” low-gravity bitter, an
ESB is a showcase for high-quality hops and brewing
skill, meant to be enjoyed with consideration rather than
merely quaffed. Our kit pours with a rich red color and
white head and pronounced aromas of hop and fruit.
 
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mlfarrell

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I've drank ESB's before. Its one of my favorite beer styles. I've drank tons of IPAs, dry beers. This one is over the top. Again, I think i overshot the attenuation with the yeast strain I used. I'm considering maybe mixing honey or something into my next pour to see if I can at least salvage the drinkability of the batch.

I don't know what it should taste like but your description somewhat matches the recipe's description.
 

marc1

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Oddly the recipe doesn't give estimated IBUs, but shouldn't be overwhelmingly bitter. What beer do you normally drink/brew?
If you chilled slowly you'll be more bitter than intended - how do you chill?
 
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mlfarrell

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I chilled via ice bath. It didn't take more than 15 mins. I do remember the wort tasing pretty damn bitter on brew day. But by bottling day I was able to drink the samples just fine. However since bottling day it has gone undrinkable. The only beer I tried was 6+ days after bottling. It was carbed enough. So I'm holding onto the fact that it wasn't conditioned enough - but again, I have my doubts on that since it spent a full month in primary.

I live on the west coast. So yes, def more bitter than any of the IPAs I've drank out here or back home. Including space dust, DFH 120 min ipa, sculpin, green flash, etc etc
 

Golddiggie

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Your OG was above what the recipe listed, which could mean you didn't add enough water to get the correct post boil volume. Which could give you higher IBUs in the final product.

I've not used kits, or recipes I don't generate myself. You might want to run that recipe through some software to see WHAT IBU level you get, with the OG you had.

An ESB should be 30-45 IBUs, which is less (on the top end) than an English IPA (35-63).

The longer a brew is at higher temperatures, the more hop utilization will come out. This is another reason for chilling FAST post boil.

Did you note down the AA% of the hops you used? That information will really help you to determine how much of a factor that played. Especially if you didn't top off the batch with enough water before pitching the yeast. If you did a full batch size boil, are you certain you had the correct post boil volume? Add to that how hop utilization is different between full batch boil and topping off.

Next time you use a kit, run the recipe through software to make SURE you're not setting yourself up for this again. Also, the yeast listed for recipes really is an important factor. Since WLP005 is different than Wyeast 1968. They both give brews different characteristics. IMO, if a recipe calls for a set yeast strain, either get that one, or make sure your substitute will give the majority of the same effects/elements into the recipe.
 
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mlfarrell

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I remember asking the guy at the brew shop is "WLP-005" a good substitute for that recipe and he said "yea". I shouldn't have taken his answer at face value. I followed the hop schedule to a T during the boil, so I really do think it was the yeast. I fermented in warmer temperatures so that may have caused it to attenuate even more.

One big bummer was the $250 in extra electric costs I had running my AC for a full month trying to keep the beer cool - only to have it come out like this. I also was looking forward to not having to buy beer for the next month or so while I drank the batch.
 

Golddiggie

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A possibly 3% higher attenuation will NOT create the significantly higher bitterness you're talking about. If anything, the brew will be a little lighter bodied, or more crisp/dry.

I still think you had a lower batch volume post boil/before yeast pitch than the recipe calls for. OR the recipe doc is not correct which caused this. Where a higher OG when going all grain is easy to see due to differences in system efficiencies, not really with extract batches.

For that $250 AC cost, you could have/build a fermentation chamber. If you have room for one, I'd do that at least for summer brewing. I made mine with a couple of basic tools and some help. I actually had to rebuild it since we had made it too wide to go through a door way into where things ferment.
 

marc1

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I remember asking the guy at the brew shop is "WLP-005" a good substitute for that recipe and he said "yea". I shouldn't have taken his answer at face value. I followed the hop schedule to a T during the boil, so I really do think it was the yeast. I fermented in warmer temperatures so that may have caused it to attenuate even more.

One big bummer was the $250 in extra electric costs I had running my AC for a full month trying to keep the beer cool - only to have it come out like this. I also was looking forward to not having to buy beer for the next month or so while I drank the batch.
I don't think that the attenuation would cause that big of a difference in bitterness.
Are you sure that you used the hops listed in the recipe? 2oz of a super high alpha variety accidentally swapped at 60 minutes could throw it off big time.

Cooling your living area to chase fermentation temps can be rough. A fermentation chamber and controller would be great if you have the room. Mine is a free secondhand fridge, a heat belt, and an STC-1000 controller. Less than $50 including supplies to put the controller together. Fridge energy consumption doesn't come close to hundreds of dollars/month.

Give it a couple more weeks to condition and see if that helps. Keep us posted.
 

connery1100

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When put into beer smith, you get a bitter that’s on the higher end of the spectrum in both bitterness and gravity. Can you describe the flavor of the bitterness? Is it similar to bitters you have had but more intense, or is it a different flavor entirely?

If you said the wort was bitter prior to pitching yeast, it could be that your water profile accentuated more harshness than you wanted, but I’d have to see those numbers to know.

Either way I’d let the beer sit for longer and the hop bitterness will subside over time!

B29B6994-1831-4342-BD39-2D3E2DCFDAE7.png
 
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mlfarrell

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I'm not as good as describing flavors. The too-dark chocolate is about the best I can do. The initial taste is decent, but the aftertaste is just unpleasantly bitter. It tasted like that on the brew day (the wort), and then not again until AFTER bottling (it was fine on bottling day).

No sense speculating anymore. I'll just try a bottle every week and see if it improves.
 

duffy5018

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Maybe related, but I bought a kit from NB (Irish Dry Stout), and it came with all the grains in a bag, the label said it had 6lbs Maris Otter and 1lb Roasted Barley in it, and there were 2 1lb bags of flaked barley beside it. Didn't take too much notice of it at the time. Then come brew day, I'm grinding my grains and see a bunch of flaked barley in it. So I weigh the grains and it's... 9lbs! Good thing I noticed it otherwise the beer would have been something completely different than I was shooting for. I guess the cool part is I got 2lbs free flaked barley.

Then, a month later, I order Warrior hops from them. They come with the label stating Warrior, but the alpha acids stated 4.3% and had the description for Willamette hops. Took 20 minutes of fighting with them (their suggestion was to open the bag and smell them...) to get them to send me new hops they were actually sure were Warrior.

I guess what I'm saying is, NB's quality control is pretty bad these days. There's a chance you used a different hop for your bittering charge than the Willamette you were thinking you were using.
 

marc1

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Maybe related, but I bought a kit from NB (Irish Dry Stout), and it came with all the grains in a bag, the label said it had 6lbs Maris Otter and 1lb Roasted Barley in it, and there were 2 1lb bags of flaked barley beside it. Didn't take too much notice of it at the time. Then come brew day, I'm grinding my grains and see a bunch of flaked barley in it. So I weigh the grains and it's... 9lbs! Good thing I noticed it otherwise the beer would have been something completely different than I was shooting for. I guess the cool part is I got 2lbs free flaked barley.

Then, a month later, I order Warrior hops from them. They come with the label stating Warrior, but the alpha acids stated 4.3% and had the description for Willamette hops. Took 20 minutes of fighting with them (their suggestion was to open the bag and smell them...) to get them to send me new hops they were actually sure were Warrior.

I guess what I'm saying is, NB's quality control is pretty bad these days. There's a chance you used a different hop for your bittering charge than the Willamette you were thinking you were using.
If he bittered with 2oz of warrior that might do it
 

GoodTruble

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Time should only help. I wouldn't give up on it yet. (Or you may be able to roast your taste buds so much that you don't really notice after a few).
 

seatazzz

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I would ask more about the process of the actual brewday. Too much bitterness speaks to me as 1) way too many hops at beginning of boil to match the malt bill, or 2) a 30 minute hop addition (again, perhaps too much) where more of the bitterness of the hops is being utilized than the flavor/aroma expectations of late additions. OP, can you describe exactly how you followed the recipe you used? That may give us more insight into the bitterness question.
 

maxr

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I would bet that the batch is contaminated with wild yeast or bacteria. Take another gravity reading and see if it is continuing to ferment.
 

hottpeper13

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NB is the closest LHBS for me and I avoid them like the pandemic. I get my grains at Proximity and everything else thru the mail.
 
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mlfarrell

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Tons of responses here. Few tidbits

- Yes I sanitized religiously using IOStar (same stuff I san'd with on my first batch). Including all the bottles
- It _could_ be the wrong hops but I was very careful during the boil
- I really dont think its an infection. Just a hunch but it didn't taste funky or off, just "too dry".
- I want to stress that it tasted FINE and actually pretty good at 3 sample times during fermentation.
- This was an extract brew. No sparging, no mashing.

I'm trying another bottle tonight (13 days of bottle conditioning vs the 6 from the first time). I'll let you all know
 

maxr

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The fact that it tasted fine during fermentation really does suggest contamination to me. In my first dozen batches I had weird astringent or bitter tastes develop and a batch of bottle bombs. If the carbonation level in warm-stored bottles continues to increase, that’s a good indication of some unwanted microbes. Things to look at would be your procedure for sanitizing the priming sugar, the cleanliness of your transfer equipment and whether the bottles were immaculately clean and sanitized before bottling.
 
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mlfarrell

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Damn. One thing I forgot to mention. During bottling after about 40% of the bottles were filled & capped, my gull wing capper f'n broke on me. I got pissed off and rushed to the brew store to buy a stand one. I sprayed the lid with my san bottle, put the lid back on the beer bottling bucket loosely during this time and was gone for like an hour. When I came back I was paranoid that the priming sugar settled, so I sprayed the crap out of my big brewers spoon with the same bottle and gently stirred the remaining beer before bottling. I suppose if exactly half my bottles taste different/worse than the other half, that could explain it. We'll see on that as well.
 

maxr

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I haven't bottle conditioned anything in about 10 years, but when I did, I would always dissolve the priming sugar in water and simmer it for a few minutes on the stove. Then add the priming sugar directly to a sanitized bottling bucket and rack the beer in on top. This ensures that the sugar is well-mixed into the beer and that it is sanitary.
 
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mlfarrell

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Second bottle was MUCH better tonight. Exlactly like an ESB should taste. Let us rejoice.

early sample must have been a localized bottle infection or more likely just too early in the conditioning.

I’m relieved. The batch is saved.
 

blackbeer

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stash it for a few months and you will probably be happy. i brew from jan-apr and my bottled beers hit their stride in sept or so. good before that, but get better with age. and i brew 20 or so cases a year so i keep some for 2-3 years and they almost always taste excellent, even the lower gravity pales, stouts, etc. as long as there isn't an "off" taste, they will be fine. i've even had "off" tasting barley wines turn out incredible after a year. last years bw was a butterscotch mess and i was very unhappy with it but stuck in away in the back of cellar and this year it is delicious. RDWHAHB
 

Garrett_McT

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The fact that it tasted fine during fermentation really does suggest contamination to me. In my first dozen batches I had weird astringent or bitter tastes develop and a batch of bottle bombs. If the carbonation level in warm-stored bottles continues to increase, that’s a good indication of some unwanted microbes. Things to look at would be your procedure for sanitizing the priming sugar, the cleanliness of your transfer equipment and whether the bottles were immaculately clean and sanitized before bottling.
Sanitizing bottling sugar? I didn’t realize that was a thing. I usually get my bottling sugar solution above 180 then pitch it. Would that suffice?
 

WESBREW

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My guess would be that the fermentation temp got too high snd it produced some harsh fusel alcohols, some can be harsh and solvent like. Wlp005 is a perfect yeast that shouldn’t ferment down to .009 unless it got too hot. Your bitterness in the recipe would be on the high end of the style but definitely not harsh
 

Beermeister32

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Another thing to look at is your water supply.

For kit beers using DME or LME you should use bottled distilled or reverse osmosis water.

The DME and LME already have salts and minerals in them. If you use tap water, you are doubling up on salts and minerals, making a mineral-sharp tasting beer.

Also make sure to ferment on the low range of the yeast’s known temperature range. Cooler fermentation usually suppresses fusel alcohol and ester production in beers.
 
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