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PAbrewer

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I just brewed and bottled my forth batch. My very first batch was fantastic! The flavor was just really good. Every batch since then has had an off flavor. They all taste just a little wierd. The overall flavor is ok, but each batch since the first has had a similar taste, with a strong alcohol finish. The worst was the double IPA i brewed, probably because of the high alcohol content. I am starting to get discouraged. I really don't want to quit brewing because i enjoy it... and it's not even that the beers are undrinkable, but they are definitely nowhere near as good as the first batch.
I have used the same exact practices and principles. I have sanitized the same way. Maybe it's my brew kettle... ? I haven't sanitized it at all, but i did not think it was nessesary since i was boiling the wort in in anyhow. Wait... i just thought of what the other different variable is. Every batch since the first batch i have used a wort chiller. Again, i can't imagine how that would effect anything. However, it is the only thing that is different from the first batch. I bought a copper imersion chiller. I put it in the wort and let it boil for the last 5 minutes of the boil. ???? Can anyone tell me if there is anything else that would be causing this "off flavor" Like i said, each batch has a similar taste... a strong alcohol finish which overpowers the true flavor of the beer.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks! Hopefully i can correct the problem and have a sucessful batch next brew.
 

Bromley

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PAbrewer said:
However, it is the only thing that is different from the first batch. I bought a copper imersion chiller. I put it in the wort and let it boil for the last 5 minutes of the boil. ???? Can anyone tell me if there is anything else that would be causing this "off flavor"
brew.
You might possibly be introducing bacteria when you add your chiller. I believe the standard time is 15 minutes left in boil.
 

BierMuncher

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Usually excessive alcohol taste is the result of higher than normal fermentation temps. I simply rinse my kettle between batches with the occasional srubby, so I doubt that's the problem.

How long do you primary?
What's your typical yeast pitch routine (hydrated dry, yeast starter, yeast cakes???)
What are your gravities on these latest beers? Maybe your just brewing beers that are "big" enough, that you need to let them age longer.
 
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PAbrewer

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Bromley said:
You might possibly be introducing bacteria when you add your chiller. I believe the standard time is 15 minutes left in boil.
Hmmm, this is possible. I have been adding the chiller for only the last 5 minutes of the boil or so. Next batch i will definitely try adding the chiller much sooner.

As for the other factors... temperatures are good, usually around 65 degrees. The yeast i have used varies. I used the wyeast smack pak twice and the other time i used just a dry yeast pack, Nottingham ale yeast.

As for the exact off flavor i am getting, i don't know how to describe it. I am pretty new to this, so i don't have a lot of experience as far as what the brew actually tastes like. I do know that all 3 batches since the first one taste similar. The only variable that is different is the use of the chiller, where as the first batch i did i did not use one because i didn't have one yet. Like i siad, they are all drinkable, but have are lacking in flavor, and they basicaly taste like stale bland tasting beer, with a strong alcohol finish.

Thanks for the resonses.
 

Dr_Deathweed

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Why don't you just send us all a bottle so we can let you know what we think:D
 
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PAbrewer

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deathweed said:
Why don't you just send us all a bottle so we can let you know what we think:D
Actually i would not have any objection to sending a bottle or two. I don't think i would really want to cover the shipping costs. I am not sure what it would cost, but hey, i have no problem sharing my brew. Actually i am more eagar to share it when it tastes good. Like i said, not that it is undrinkable, i am certainly going to drink it, but it's just not quite what it should be. If anyone seriously can help decifer what the problem might be, i wouldn't have any objection to shipping a bottle.

:confused:
 

srm775

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PAbrewer said:
Hmmm, this is possible. I have been adding the chiller for only the last 5 minutes of the boil or so. Next batch i will definitely try adding the chiller much sooner.
That should be fine. You shouldn't need to do any more than that (I rearly drop my IC in for 5 min, much less more than 5 min).

PAbrewer said:
As for the other factors... temperatures are good, usually around 65 degrees. The yeast i have used varies. I used the wyeast smack pak twice and the other time i used just a dry yeast pack, Nottingham ale yeast.
Ummm, don't you think that's a pretty huge variable that you forgot to mention? All three of those yeasts are going to attentuate differently, especially with different recipes/styles. When you alter one of, if not the most important, main ingredient in your beer, don't you think that could have something to do with different tastes?

You really haven't eliminated any variables since you've done different recipes with different yeasts, not to mention dry vs. smack pack.

PAbrewer said:
As for the exact off flavor i am getting, i don't know how to describe it. I am pretty new to this, so i don't have a lot of experience as far as what the brew actually tastes like. I do know that all 3 batches since the first one taste similar. The only variable that is different is the use of the chiller, where as the first batch i did i did not use one because i didn't have one yet. Like i siad, they are all drinkable, but have are lacking in flavor, and they basicaly taste like stale bland tasting beer, with a strong alcohol finish.

Thanks for the resonses.
Again, that's not the only thing that's different. If you're making different beers, then obviously they're going to taste vastly different.

The use of an IC isn't going to change the flavor, at least negatively, in any way. The only way to pinpoint the problem is to brew the same beer, using the same procedures and YEAST.

It should be pretty clear to you that with a double IPA, you should get a higher alcohol beer, the more the alcohol, the more likely you're going to have a stronger alcohol taste to it.

My theory: You're probably brewing all extract, perhaps with some grain steeping. The extract is fermenting too cleanly giving you a dry, alcohol flavor. Also, you're fermenting at too high of a temp. You should up the malt and specialty grains a bit to give the beer some more body and keep the fermenting temps down. If you're adding additional sugar to your beer, don't any more.

Try brewing a fairly simple and basic pale ale. See if you still get the same problem.
 

Kim

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You've changed your procedure/recipe. Whenever something goes wrong in the lab I try and go back to basics.

Try and replicate the EXACT conditions of your first "perfect" brew. I.e. try and brew the exact same beer.

Same yeast, same grains/extract kit, same boiling conditions, same water, same pitch time, same sanitation procedure, etc. Don't use the wort chiller if that's not what you did before. Do everything exactly like that first time.

If you do the exact same thing and it comes out "off" then at least you know it's not due to the new variables you know you've introduced.
 

brewt00l

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Where are you? There are lot's of homebrewers from PA on the board..one of us might be local.

Would need more info about the individual batches and conditions to really say what's going on..
 

Ryan_PA

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Take a bottle to your LHBS, most of the time they are helpful in telling you the common name for an off flavor and the root cause. Post your location and I will help you find a good local shop.
 

zoebisch01

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BierMuncher said:
Usually excessive alcohol taste is the result of higher than normal fermentation temps.
That is the first thing that popped into my head. Has the OP mentioned what the ferment temps are?
 

zoebisch01

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Never mind. 65 isn't going to cause problems...but I'd double check those temps. At any rate, I think we'd need to see recipes to help find the exact cause. It could be the brand of extract you are using?
 
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PAbrewer

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brewt00l said:
Where are you? There are lot's of homebrewers from PA on the board..one of us might be local.

Would need more info about the individual batches and conditions to really say what's going on..
I am very close to Scranton PA. The only brew shop that i know of in in Wilkes Barre.

Thanks for all the replies. I suppose i should try to replicate the very first brew that i made. I am in fact mostly doing extract brews with some steeping of specialty grains. The very first brew i made was a Russian Imperial Stout, Brewers Best i believe. I don't have alot of time to elaborate on the exact ingredients i used at this time. I will certainly take the suggustions posted here, and try to figure things out in future batches. I will also try to get a list of the exact recipes used, and maybe you guys can give me a bit more input. Thanks so much!

:mug:
 

srm775

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PAbrewer said:
I am very close to Scranton PA. The only brew shop that i know of in in Wilkes Barre.

Thanks for all the replies. I suppose i should try to replicate the very first brew that i made. I am in fact mostly doing extract brews with some steeping of specialty grains. The very first brew i made was a Russian Imperial Stout, Brewers Best i believe.
Well, there you go. You probably did have a pretty alcoholic finish to the beer, but due to the nature of that style you just didn't notice at much. Since it probably had a bigger body, as well as roast/coffee like flavors and darker notes, it covered the finish more. Also, since it was a bigger beer with more body you probably didn't drink it as fast.

However, with a DIIPA it doesn't have as much body nor the darker grains to cover up the finish. Also, the high AA content can enhance the alcohol finish of a beer like that.

Like I said, if the alcohol finish bothers you, stay away from big beers for awhile. They are, afterall, supposed to have a high alcohol content which would give them a very alcoholic finish. Brew some wits, wheats, pale ales, IPAs and milds/ambers then try going back to the bigger beers. You'll notice how the alcohol enhances the flavor and is supposed to be there.
 

TexLaw

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Bromley said:
You might possibly be introducing bacteria when you add your chiller. I believe the standard time is 15 minutes left in boil.
No chance there. Boiling an IC is overkill for sanitation, much less boiling it for 15 minutes, or even five. I drop my chiller in at flameout. By the time I turn on the hose, it's probably sanitary. By the time the wort gets down to 165, it most certainly is.


TL
 
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