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Jdub

1st taste American Lager

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Finally.....tried my American Lager tonight after 3 weeks fermenting, 3 weeks bottling, and 3 days in the fridge. 1st batch ever.  Daughter and wife both said tasted like apples. Was fairly flat. Was disappointed that there wasn’t more of a sound opening bottle (750 ml mr beer bottles, brand new). Taste was good. Didn’t taste very high abv. Low carbonation. Used 2 coopers carb tabs in each bottle. Everything I’ve read says that the beer will get better with age. Waiting a week to put another in the fridge and test that theory. Overall not gonna lie was a little disappointed about the low carbonation and apple taste. 

 

I have 2 other batches different flavors in bottles now which are aging and 2 more fermenting (I have 2 LBK’s). 

 

Any suggestions other than than give it more time?

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Welcome to home brewing!

Yeah, I got a few of those when I started, but getting much less now.

Apple taste - maybe try to ferment at lower temp.

Carbonation - 2 tabs should be enough. Maybe lids not tight enough? Did you let them carbonate at room temp?

Weak beer. If it was just the Refill can it will be 3.2-3.5%

With refill and 2 booster packs - 4.5%

With refill and one LME/DME pack about 4.2%.

Knowing that approximately (depending on yeast and other things) a refill is 3.2%, the  booster packs are 0.65% ABV add, the LME/DME packs are sized to give 1% ABV add.

So you can craft your own ABV strength as desired.
 

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Yes fermented at around 68-70 I would guess. Screwed new lids on very tight. We’ll see if they improve with age. Brewed with can and booster packs. Followed recipe exactly. Will report again next week to see if it improves. 

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Many are going to say that 68-70 is too high of a temperature for fermentation. Especially if you are talking about the room air temp. That's when you get the apple flavor. I am no pro, but have been using an ice chest with a couple of frozen bottles on one side. I keep a thermometer taped to the other side of the chest reading around 60 and have not had the cidery taste yet. Works for me - Just a suggestion.

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Yeah I have it in the closet in my upstairs. Our heat has been on this winter so it stays warm up there. Nothing crazy but 65-70. I like simple and am unlikely to put a lot of effort into temp control. I have the temp sticker in the closet and it just says ✅. Haven’t had a too hot or too cold reading yet. 

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18 hours ago, Jdub said:

Yeah I have it in the closet in my upstairs. Our heat has been on this winter so it stays warm up there. Nothing crazy but 65-70. I like simple and am unlikely to put a lot of effort into temp control. I have the temp sticker in the closet and it just says ✅. Haven’t had a too hot or too cold reading yet. 

During peak fermentation, your wort temps will be several degrees higher than the ambient temperature of the room, and the peak is when temp control is most important. If the room was 70, your wort may have been 75 or so, which is too warm.

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On Tuesday, February 13, 2018 at 8:44 AM, Marius said:

Many are going to say that 68-70 is too high of a temperature for fermentation. Especially if you are talking about the room air temp. That's when you get the apple flavor. I am no pro, but have been using an ice chest with a couple of frozen bottles on one side. I keep a thermometer taped to the other side of the chest reading around 60 and have not had the cidery taste yet. Works for me - Just a suggestion.

The key is religiously changing out the bottles to maintain the lower temperatures. I foolishly relied on my son. Some days he remembered, othets he didn't. I was brewing a smoked ale at the time. Everyone loved it, but I will never be able to repeat the outcome.

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That does take some commitment, but gives me something to do while I wait for the yeast to do the real work. One day I will convince my wife that I need a dedicated refrigerator/fermenter, but until then I will be perving the Igloos two times a day!

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If you've never drank home brew before, make sure to modify your pouring procedure. I had a bad/weird taste the first time I tried mine and it turned out to be trub/yeast making it into my beer. Leave an inch or two of beer at the bottom to keep fine sediment out of the glass and don't pour too aggressively. 

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23 hours ago, Jdub said:

I like simple and am unlikely to put a lot of effort into temp control.

Then get used to drinking apple cider beers. 

 

The biggest change in my beer was moving to temperature control.  Temperature control is needed while fermenting (for at least the first week) and while carbonating (for 2 to 3 weeks).  58 to 60 degree ambient air temp when fermenting and 75 to 78 ambient air temp when carbonating is what I have found to be my sweet spot. 

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2 minutes ago, BDawg62 said:

Then get used to drinking apple cider beers. 

 

The biggest change in my beer was moving to temperature control.  Temperature control is needed while fermenting (for at least the first week) and while carbonating (for 2 to 3 weeks).  58 to 60 degree ambient air temp when fermenting and 75 to 78 ambient air temp when carbonating is what I have found to be my sweet spot. 

 

Yep.  The single biggest improvement to my beer was temperature control, which I first learned about on here.  For quite some time I used the cooler/ice bottle method to keep my wort temperature around 63-65.  Eventually I stepped up to an Inkbird & mini-fridge mainly because I didn't want to stop brewing if I was going out of town.  But the cooler/ice bottle method is simple, inexpensive, and very effective.  It got to the point where I hardly even had to check the temp strip; two bottles through high krausen swapped out once per day, then one bottle swapped out once per day for the remaining fermentation time.  Easy as can be.

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I've been at this for over a year now. I don't think I come out with the "best" beer but I don't notice any apple cider taste. (Hell maybe I'm conditioned to it) I ferment in my basement which in ranges from 65 to 68F. It's warmer down there in the winter than the summer due to heat vs a/c. Then I carb upstairs in a closet for 3 weeks at 71-74. Maybe I should be shooting for a wider spectrum between the two stages? I do have dorm fridge and an inkbird but I've only used that set-up for fermenting Lagers or cold crashing Ales. 

 

After carbonation I move them back to the slightly cooler basement for the conditioning period. Wrong move?

On a side note when I have 3 different batches in process there are days I really get my steps in traveling up and down stairs.

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Well that’s great. I’ve been following the instructions religiously and haven’t tried keeping it cooler during fermentation. Just fermenting and conditioning around 70. I’ll try doing it differently on the 5th batch I’m about to start. My 1st batch was the only one ready so far and I was pretty disappointed. American Lager basic starter. 

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I’m about to start a Thunder Bay ipa and Munich malt monster. Do y’all think I should be fermenting them at lower temps? The instructions for each don’t indicate that. I don’t want to mess them up. Especially with the long conditioning times. Thanks. 

 

JW

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You should ferment all ales, except for those trying to get esters out of the yeast (i.e. wheat beer wanting banana flavor), at a wort temp of 65 - 68.  Whether you're making a regular refill or Thunder Bay IPA doesn't matter.

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I am a newb but i will tell you this. I do believe everyone is right about temp control HOWEVER i did my first batch of american light ambient temp 72 3 weeks in cidery taste so i kept it in the fermenter one more week to 4 weeks and vwalla cidery taste gone, tasted like a flat beer from the store to me. I am wondering if when the temps cause the cidery taste longer fermentation will eradicate it? It sure seems so for me. I am now conditioning it taking advice on here at 6 weeks instead of 3. So soon i will have a full report.

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Ya this weekend is my 4th week carbing/conditioning for my 1st batch (American lager). I will throw a couple in the fridge for 3days this weekend. Really hoping the carbonation will be better as well as the taste. I had flat and apple tasting beer at 3 weeks. I can accept my 1st batch being bad but if it’s a trend, well......

 

Conditioning now: American ale

fermenting: horse’s ass ale, Black beer’d porter

on deck: Thunder Bay ipa, Munich malt monster

thinking about: Austin Pilsner 

 

im a newbie but damn if this isn’t becoming an obsession already with very little instant gratification. Luckily I have a great craft brewery in my town to satisfy my thirst (Shannon brewery). 

 

JW

 

 

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9 hours ago, Jdub said:

Ya this weekend is my 4th week carbing/conditioning for my 1st batch (American lager). I will throw a couple in the fridge for 3days this weekend. Really hoping the carbonation will be better as well as the taste. I had flat and apple tasting beer at 3 weeks. I can accept my 1st batch being bad but if it’s a trend, well......

 

Conditioning now: American ale

fermenting: horse’s ass ale, Black beer’d porter

on deck: Thunder Bay ipa, Munich malt monster

thinking about: Austin Pilsner 

 

im a newbie but damn if this isn’t becoming an obsession already with very little instant gratification. Luckily I have a great craft brewery in my town to satisfy my thirst (Shannon brewery). 

 

JW

 

 

 

Very true about the lack of instant gratification.  But once you have a pipeline it's not that big a deal anymore.  When I brewed Lock, Stock, and Bourbon Barrel Stout in Oct 2016 I was aghast that I'd have to wait 6-12 months to drink it.  Now I don't even think twice about bottling a batch and putting it down for a six month nap.

 

I'm brewing the American Resolution Hazy IPA later today.  This'll be a weird one as they recommend no more than two weeks conditioning.  I'm so unaccustomed to having a batch ready to drink so soon.  :)

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@Shrike So when it says 6-12 mos conditioning, do you try some at 6? Or wait till 12? My Munich MM I’m about to start says 6-12. I’ll just put it up in a closet in the beer bottle box and write the date on it and forget about it. 

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13 minutes ago, Jdub said:

@Shrike So when it says 6-12 mos conditioning, do you try some at 6? Or wait till 12? My Munich MM I’m about to start says 6-12. I’ll just put it up in a closet in the beer bottle box and write the date on it and forget about it. 

 

I always try one of my brews right at the minimum conditioning time.  Sometimes they're ready, other times they need to nap some more.  The Lock/Stock I mentioned earlier was good at six months.  It was fantastic at a year.

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@RickBeer @Shrike ok so I’m taking all of your advice. Today would be my scheduled bottling day for my horse’s ass ale. However I’m gonna cold crash for 3 days 1st. My next batch will be Thunder Bay ipa. I plan on using the cooler and ice bottle method to ferment at a lower temp. What temp am I targeting? 65? What is confusing to me is that the temp strip has been ✅ all this time but despite that it may be too warm according to what everyone is saying. 

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I am going to follow this, because I want to know what the experts have to say. But I will also tell you what I understand and have done at this point. The only true measure of wort temperature is a probe thermometer that goes into the wort. Being a newbie and afraid of infection, I'm not there. So assuming that the LBK inside liquid temperature is a little warmer than the ice chest temperature, I always aim a few degrees below the target. During peak fermentation, my ice chest temp is 60ish. This will fluctuate a little, but not much if you change the frozen bottles out regularly. After the first week, I let it rise a few degrees, but not above 65. Some will let it rise to 70 the last few days before cold crashing. This has worked great for me so far and I have not minded tending to the beer daily. The smell of it is going to be a pleasure as well. Also prop the front of the keg so the trub will settle toward the rear of the keg. You will be glad you did.

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@Marius thanks. I am gonna try it for my next batch. I measured the LBK and it looks like it will fit perfectly in a igloo cube rolling cooler that I have. Also ordered some temp strips on amazon with a more specific range other than just too cold, hot or ✅. Will be interesting to see how cooler fermentation works out. I am very green at this hobby and don’t know much. 

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