Taste question???

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412kc

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So I have tried to brew two times now. My first attempt was with a Mr. Beer kit that I got as a xmas gift. I can't remember the style that the kit came with but I think it might have been an Amber ale. The end result was terrible, Im sure i probably missed something somewhere.

But.....I didn't give up.

So for my second attempt at brewing, which I just actually finished, I went to a local brew supply shop and kinda went all out compared to Mr Beer. I bought a complete Brewers Best beer kit with all the essentials, buckets, carboy, syphon, bottling equipment, ect. I also bought a American Amber Ale recipe kit, I really don't know why i picked this particular style other than it sounded like it wasn't too difficult to try as a beginner and it sounded like it wouldn't taste too bad either.

So any way, I followed the directions COMPLETELY. Every single step it said to do, I did it. I reread ever single thing before I did it. I even had my fiancé read the directions and exchange thoughts with me before actually doing each step. I let it ferment for 7 days in the primary fermenter (the bucket) then transferred it into a carboy as the secondary fermenter for another 7 days. I did the bottle procedure exactly how the recipe said to and let it carbonate for 10 days before trying it.

It seemed to be a success. It was carbonated and it definitely tastes better than the Mr Beer that I tried to make, but it still has a weird taste that is similar to what the Mr Beer kit had. My fiancé says it has a sweet chocolatey taste, I feel that it might have a weird taste of the yeast or something. Its hard to put an accurate taste of it into words.

Here are the ingredients I used:
3.3 lb. Amber LME
2.5 lb. Amber DME
1 lb. Caramel 80L
1 oz. Willamette
.5 oz. Willamette
I can't recall the yeast but it was one packet of dry yeast and the directions say to pitch it without hydrating.

Has anyone had a similar issue? Could it be what an Amber Ale is supposed to taste like and maybe i just don't like it? Any thoughts at all??

BTW, Sorry for writing so much and I appreciate any kind of advice that anyone is willing to give!!!!:mug:
 

reinstone

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Are you removing chlorine from your water? Also, use a yeast like safeale.
 

NastyN8

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The problem with many store recipes is they don't give enough time for the fermentation process. Give it another 3 weeks in bottles AT LEAST before tasting again. I don't even like to touch bottles for at least a month before drinking them, and then that's even a bit too soon.

Case in point: I brewed a Cooper's dark ale as my first beer. Did everything to a T, waited exactly how long it said, and it ended up tasting off. I thought it was bad, but I kept one beer in the basement just for good luck. Well I found it a year after I had bottled it, and low and behold, it was a pretty tasty beer! I was pleasantly surprised.

You'll always find that giving more time is usually the key to making a tasty beer.
 

reinstone

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The problem with many store recipes is they don't give enough time for the fermentation process. Give it another 3 weeks in bottles AT LEAST before tasting again. I don't even like to touch bottles for at least a month before drinking them, and then that's even a bit too soon.

Case in point: I brewed a Cooper's dark ale as my first beer. Did everything to a T, waited exactly how long it said, and it ended up tasting off. I thought it was bad, but I kept one beer in the basement just for good luck. Well I found it a year after I had bottled it, and low and behold, it was a pretty tasty beer! I was pleasantly surprised.

You'll always find that giving more time is usually the key to making a tasty beer.
True
 

CUrchin

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Kit instructions are usually lacking. Some suggestions-
-Look into late extract additons
-3 to 4 weeks in the primary, forget the secondary
-look into temperature control during fermentation
-min 3 weeks in the bottle at 70 degrees
Good luck.
 

reinstone

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Another trick to speed things up. Move up fermentation temp near the end of fermentation for a week.
 

masskrug

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3 weeks primary (with good temperature control-see yeast's website).
No secondary (unless you are adding spices, fruit, wood, etc.).
3 weeks bottle conditioning.
1 week in the fridge.
Enjoy!
 

jrgtr42

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What Masskrug said, with a few extra points / expansion as to what he said.
First: Boil as much as you can. A full boil will end up better than partial, but if you have to partial, as big as you can.
Next, I recommend adding your LME later in the boil. IN your case, add the DME at the start, then adding the LME about 15 minutes to go. Cut the heat way down as you're adding it and make sure it's all well dissolved before kicking the heat back up.
Cool your wort as quickly as you can. A wort chiller is a good investment, or they are fairly easy to build, if you can find a good deal on copper tubing.
Keep your fermenting beer somewhere dark and quiet, and cooler is better, preferably around 65 degrees F, a few degrees cooler isn't bad either.
There are a lot of discussions here and on other brewing forums about the plusses and minuses of doing a secondary. Most people I think don't do it for most brews. I personally only will do it if I need to bulk age for a long time, like on wood, fruit or souring bugs.
I did the same beer twice back to back, once with secondary and once without, and I didn't notice any difference at all. PLus the act of transferring adds the risk of oxidation and infection.
As he said, more time is better. Again, I experimented and I now give the beer 2 and a half weeks before I pop open the first time to check gravity. I then seal back up, and plan for bottling at 3 weeks. I have gone 4 weeks at times when I need to with no issues.
also allow more time to carbonate and age in the bottle. 2 weeks is again the minimum I give whenever possible. Smaller beers can be good to go in 2, but I like the extra.
Patience is one of the hardest things to learn about this hobby - waiting a month to 6 weeks to find out the results of your brewday can be maddening, but it's more excuse to brew in between, right?
 

Hamaki

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Could it be what an Amber Ale is supposed to taste like and maybe i just don't like it?
If you are like me you got into brewing without a lot of experience trying different beer styles. I'm learning appreciation and beers I once thought were horrible I now think are quite enjoyable. If this is the case I suggest you try one or two good commercial examples of a style you'd like to brew and see if it is something you'd like to make 5 gallons of. You can also compare your brew with the commercial version to see how similar they are. A few of the recipes I've made I've never tasted examples of before. Sometimes I like them, sometimes not so much. I still don't know if Octoberfest I made was anything like it should be but it was pretty darn tasty in my opinion.
 

jekeane

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Did you drink it from the bottle? Did you pour out every last drop if you poured into a glass? If so you may be tasting the yeast that have fallen to the bottom of your bottle.
 

Chadwick

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All of the advice above is valid and right.

Key points:
Primary for at least 3 weeks - Not absolutely necessary but as a personal rule I never touch anything fermenting for at least a week after I'm certain all fermentation is complete.

Secondary isn't necessary - I even dry hop in my primary. The more you expose your beer the more likely some bugs will get into it you don't want. The less you handle it, the better.

I would also like to add this. 10 days in a bottle for conditioning isn't enough. I don't care what the instructions say. It isn't enough for the beer to taste the best it can. Once again, I have a personal rule for this that has never let me down. Er, rules actually. It's all based on the OG of the brew. 1.0XX - 1.050 = 3 weeks of conditioning. 1.051 - 1.075 = 4-5 weeks of conditioning. 1.076 - 1.090 = 5-6 weeks of conditioning. 1.091-1.insanity = 7-20 weeks of conditioning. Sure, you can drink them sooner. But it will taste better, sometimes night/day better, if you wait.
 

Chadwick

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Did you drink it from the bottle? Did you pour out every last drop if you poured into a glass? If so you may be tasting the yeast that have fallen to the bottom of your bottle.
^oh yeah. This fella is making a good point. Don't drink from the bottle. What are we, barbarians? We pour our drinks into a glass. I tell my kids all of the time; if you drink alcohol you better never let me catch you drinking it in from the bottle you bought it in. I'll make an occasional exception for cans if you are outside at an event of some sort. Outside of that, we pour our drinks into a glass. Call me a nut, but I have strong feelings about this. Plus, if you drink home-brew it does make a lot of sense too.
 
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