Author Topic: This beer doesn't taste too good!  (Read 9025 times)

Jason Elmes

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This beer doesn't taste too good!
« on: March 30, 2010, 12:17:50 PM »
I made my first batch about a month ago.  I had a few panic attacks, but I think the beer was progressing fine.  After it was in the primary for a week I switched to a secondary fermentoer for another week.  

I then bottled the beer after the second week.  It tasted ok (no worse than later on) but flat, as expected.  

After a week in the bottle I opened one, poured it and it smelled a little different.  It didn't taste too good, but I figured that was becuase it wasn't in the bottle long enough.  

After the 2nd week in the bottle I opened a second bottle.  It still smells strange, and it still doesn't taste too good, but it tastes better.

Is it possible that I just need to wait for a couple more weeks, or is it just a crappy batch?  

It is supposed to be similar to Fat Tire.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2010, 12:22:38 PM by Jason Elmes »

Offline BobBrews

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Re: This beer doesn't taste too good!
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2010, 01:37:51 PM »
Give it time. Actually forget about it and brew another beer. I have seven Korny kegs waiting their turn with three on tap and one carbonating. I am excited about every beer but a true brewer must have patience. The more complex the beer the more time is needed. Yes, you may have a evil yeast growing in your beer that may spoil it, but I doubt it! If you did a good job of sanitation than you are OK. Give it six months if need be. I have some Bourbon barrel stout that I made three years ago that gets better each day! Relax and have a home brew or craft brew? Good luck with all that!
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Jason Elmes

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Re: This beer doesn't taste too good!
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2010, 01:45:32 PM »
When I had the last beer, it had some yeast still floting in the middle of the bottle.  I was guessing that it may not have been done yet.  I hope it is just time, but I do plan on starting another batch in the next couple of weeks.


Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: This beer doesn't taste too good!
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2010, 03:03:55 PM »
Quote
When I had the last beer, it had some yeast still floting in the middle of the bottle.
You are pouring the beer from the bottle into a glass with one long pour, careful to leave the yeast behind in the bottle, right?

What temperature are you storing the bottles? (the right answer is room temperature to condition, not the fridge)
When you tilt a bottle and hold it to the light do you see a ring in the neck? (if the answer is yes you may have an infection)
When you open a bottle does it act as if it was shaken? (gushing is another sign of infection)

If you're storing it at the right temp, don't see a ring, and don't have gushers, I'd say leave it alone for a few weeks and try it then.

Quote
It is supposed to be similar to Fat Tire.
Mmmmm Fat Tire.  Last time I had one of those was at the Dark Horse in Boulder Colorado.  Used to order it all the time.  Good stuff!
"To alcohol! The cause of - and solution to - all of life's problems!" -Homer Simpson

Jason Elmes

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Re: This beer doesn't taste too good!
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2010, 07:11:17 AM »
There is not a ring in the bottle.  There was no gushing problem.  I stored the beer at approx 65-72 degrees since making it.  So it doesn't seem like there is a problem there.

I will continue to have a beer a week to see if there is continuous progress.

Thanks

Offline Wildrover

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Re: This beer doesn't taste too good!
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2010, 10:28:24 PM »
It might be that it's your first batch and you did something wrong.  I know it took me several batches before I made anything worth drinking.  My problem was that I didn't pay attention to detail and we all know that's where the devil lives.  the thing about making beer is that if you explain it to someone it sounds pretty easy and fool proof but if you don't follow the steps preciously bad things can happen. 

Based on my own experience from when I was a beginner let me ask:

-did you take any liberties on the recipe you were making?  The slightest change can make a difference in the beer

-did you take good notes, what was the gravity reading(s)?  Are you sure your wort was fermentable enough? 

-did you aerate your wort well?  Not enough O2 can be bad for the yeast

-what is the quality of the water you are using?  Was it tap water?  How does the tap water taste?  Do you have a water profile?  Not as necessary for an extract brewer but every little thing can make a difference.  If you live in an area with hard water that's too harsh to drink then it probably isn't good enough to make beer with

-what was the temp of the wort when you pitched? 

-did you have a lot of good healthy yeast when you pitched?  Did you make a starter?  Liquid yeast or dry?  How old was it? 

-What was the fermentation temp?  Remember the yeast will warm the wort as they ferment and it doesn't take many degrees to start to change things

-Where did you get the recipe?  Are you sure its any good?  Is it possible you made a beer that is just not that good even if you did everything right? 

-How fresh and what quality were the ingredients, old malt extract can produce a stale beer and old hops have a tendency to lose some of their potency over time as well

These are just a handful of things off the top of my head. All of these things have the potential to be real drags on your beer.  I know I was very "creative"  with recipes when i first started and that really impeded my growth curve.  I also refused to acknowledge that fermentation temp and water quality mattered all that much.  I figured so long as I was in the (very big) ballpark I'd be fine.  After some time I realized that the more details I control the better chances there are of me making better beer and that has sure paid off...

Offline stevemwazup

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Re: This beer doesn't taste too good!
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2010, 11:06:43 PM »
     Wildrover makes some good points. A lot can go wrong with the brew day, especially if one doesn't brew that often.

I got hooked on all grain brewing not that long ago, and I've been brewing like crazy for club only comps.  In turn, I'm getting some good fed back from my club members
and getting the practice I need to slow down and pay attention to the details, so things are becoming automatic.

stevemwazup

Jason Elmes

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Re: This beer doesn't taste too good!
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2010, 08:20:21 AM »
Wow!  Thanks for the great questions and answers!  For the questions, I will try to answer them in order:

I followed the recipe very closely.  The only change I made was to boil 5 gallons to start with instead on 2 gallons because I have a big enough pot.

I don't have the reading in front of me, but it was slightly high, but only slightly.  I did have some problems with this that I commented on a different post.  I put the beer thief in the sink and then put it back into the wort so I was worried about contamination at that point.  I also don't know if I should have did the reading before or after I pitched the yeast or if it matters.

I vigorously poured the wort back and forth from the bucket to the pot several times and there seemed to be plenty of oxygen.

The water I used was tap water, but I think it is good drinking water.  I do not have any measurements from my water

I pitched the yeast when the temp was under 80.  I believe it was in the mid 70's.  I did seem to get good yeast activity.

I used wyeast with activator and followed their directions of breaking the inside packet and waiting 4 hours to pitch with the yeast sitting out at room temperature (68 degrees).

The beer fermented at temps between 65 and 72 in a dark location.

I purchased the all the items from midwest supply store.  It was never shipped, and I know they turn their product over very quickly so I don't believe age is an issue. 


Again, thanks for all of the feedback.  If what I told you makes you think of another possible problem, please let me know.

Jason Elmes

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Re: This beer doesn't taste too good!
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2010, 08:24:52 AM »
One other question that I forgot to ask.  How long should the beer sit in the fridge before drinking?  Does it matter?  I had one last night that sat in the fridge for 1.5 days and it was much better than the ones that sat in the firdge for four hours.

Offline BobBrews

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Re: This beer doesn't taste too good!
« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2010, 09:27:09 AM »
It depends on the beer. Stouts should be fairly warm to free the essence's. A pilsner (45-50 Deg.) can be very cold because the flavor is normally not the reason it was brewed. A lager is crisp, refreshing and thirst quenching. The colder the brew the less it is tasted. I guess that could be a rule. The more complex the taste the warmer it should be? The actual time in the fridge (for a fully conditioned and rested beer) is only important to reach the optimum temperature for that particular beer. A Fat Tire clone would be better a little warmer. A Belgium should be between 50 and 55 degrees.

- Serve fruit beers at 40-50° F.
- Serve wheat beers and pale lagers at 45-50° F.
- Serve pale ales and amber or dark lagers at 50-55° F.
- Serve strong ales, such as barley wines and Belgian ales, at 50-55° F.
- Serve dark ales, including porters and stouts, at 55-60° F.

« Last Edit: April 02, 2010, 09:32:27 AM by BobBrews »
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Jason Elmes

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Re: This beer doesn't taste too good!
« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2010, 09:49:50 AM »
Thanks for the temp info.  That clears up one more brewing thing.  I should have this thing figured out in a decade or so!  ;D

Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: This beer doesn't taste too good!
« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2010, 06:45:06 PM »
The last batch I bottled and kegged is not my favorite.  To be honest it sucks. 
I used too much crystal malt, not enough bittering hops, and had too high a mash temp.  The final result has a sweet/bitter imbalance on the sweet side and too much body.  It sucks.

I followed the recipe that I wrote.  The mistakes were made on paper, not in the brewing.

Maybe your recipe sucks.
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Offline MaltLicker

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Re: This beer doesn't taste too good!
« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2010, 11:14:20 AM »
I vigorously poured the wort back and forth from the bucket to the pot several times and there seemed to be plenty of oxygen.

If you think it is infected, this is a likely vector of nasties getting into the wort at the most vulnerable moment.  Try to get a more "splashy" transfer in a single "covered" movement.  Or invest in an O2 regulator. 

I pitched the yeast when the temp was under 80.  I believe it was in the mid 70's.  I did seem to get good yeast activity.

Yeast can do some funky things when fermenting warm.  Most people would recommend 66-68 for most ales.  During the first 72 hours of active ferm, the temperature in the center of the vessel can be 2 degrees higher than the outside edge or ambient room temp. 


I used wyeast with activator and followed their directions of breaking the inside packet and waiting 4 hours to pitch with the yeast sitting out at room temperature (68 degrees).

Did you pop it early in the day, so it was ready when you needed to pitch?  Or did wort sit there waiting on yeast to expand the package?

The beer fermented at temps between 65 and 72 in a dark location.

Warm temps can lead to fusel higher-alcohols that are not pleasant.  Again, if the room temp was 72F it is possible that fermenter was warmer. 

Jason Elmes

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Re: This beer doesn't taste too good!
« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2010, 08:38:50 AM »
I tried another one yesterday.  I think the tast that is strange to me is yeast.  I am hoping that in a month or so, it will be excellent.

I activated the yeat early in the day so when the wort was cool enough I could pitch it without waiting.  Thanks for the good input and questions.

Offline MaltLicker

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Re: This beer doesn't taste too good!
« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2010, 12:58:15 PM »
Well good, that's an easy fix.  More flocculent yeast strains will clarify sooner, all else equal.  And you could certainly lengthen the primary and secondary times to allow more clearing at each stage.