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Conditioning/Cider flavor

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@Creeps McLane

 

I wouldn't say it's gotten worse. But then again these current batches haven't been stored that long yet.

 

Some bottles are stronger than others but it's consistently in all my batches. 

 

I live in an apartment but I do have a storage area down in the basement. I could try conditioning them down there. 

 

 

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6 hours ago, youdontknowme311 said:

@Jdub Not yet, I have a few batches that are conditioning right now that I tried a few new things with so I should know shortly. Chantilly Lace is at it's minimum conditioning time so I just put a bottle in the fridge last night. Will find out if it's drinkable in a few days. lol

i don't think that the apple cider effect is from conditioning. The reason is that I always taste a sample while bottling. I would almost always taste it then. I haven't solved the mystery yet. good luck!

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5 hours ago, youdontknowme311 said:

@Jdub oh I just meant I have to wait to condition these batches before I find out. I usually taste the cider when bottling too except the one batch I did with distilled water. I tried to pay more attention to pitching temps so we'll see. 

right i hear what you're saying. maybe there is something to the pitching temps as far as off flavors go. i've just followed the MRB instructions in the past using chilled water in the LBK etc.

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3 hours ago, Jdub said:

right i hear what you're saying. maybe there is something to the pitching temps as far as off flavors go. i've just followed the MRB instructions in the past using chilled water in the LBK etc.

Yea same here, but I started thinking that maybe I wasn't giving the water enough time in the fridge to get cold enough. I'd buy the water that day and brew that night so maybe it wasnt cold enough but idk. I'm just reaching for possibilities though. lol 

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1 hour ago, youdontknowme311 said:

Yea same here, but I started thinking that maybe I wasn't giving the water enough time in the fridge to get cold enough. I'd buy the water that day and brew that night so maybe it wasnt cold enough but idk. I'm just reaching for possibilities though. lol 

it's something b/c so many people on this forum brew up a recipe and rave about it, and I will brew up the exact same recipe and have lots of apple cider flavor. I just don't get it. I have observed that they seem to get better over time, but I'm talking several months conditioning. i do know that i brewed a DME recipe recently and had zero off flavors. it was very good.

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I usually put at least a gallon of spring water in the fridge 2 days before brewing if I'm going into an LBK. Brew day I'll pour what room temp water I need into the kettle and put whatever's left in the fridge to cool down as well while I'm boiling, steeping, whatever.

 

That'll usually get me close to pitch temp fairly quickly if I'm just using HME or LME and going into an LBK. If not then I'll pop the LBK in the fridge for a couple hours until I get the wort at least under the max temp of the yeast by a few degrees. Ideally I like anywhere from 74-77F and the yeast at room temp, which in my house is 68-72 depending on the season.

 

As far as I can tell, albeit a first year brewer, I'm not stressing my yeast and getting off flavors from that method, and once my LBK is in the cooler I ferment on the cool side 64F for most of my yeasts.

 

My AG batches in my little stainless fermenter are proving to be a little more challenging to chill rapidly since I'm doing a full volume boil for that. Immersion chiller has helped a lot but still leaving me too high to pitch in this hot weather, so either an ice bath for the kettle or a two stage chill with the wort chiller, faucet first, then pumping ice water through it to lower that last 12-15 degrees. 

 

Sorry didn't mean to go overboard on that, but I'm thinking that from pitch temp to ferment temp thru first few days of krausen is where your off flavors aka yeast stress has been introduced. Lol, I'll shut up now.

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@Cato lol that's good stuff. yes, for mrb recipes i do the same thing in terms of keeping the gallon jugs of water in the fridge. I'm pretty certain that my pitch temps are good. in fact a couple of cases i was worried that it was too cold. for larger mashes that require more water, I will do ice bath in sink and that has worked well. My AG batches, I used a couple of bags of ice. that has worked and I get wort down to ~70 pretty quick. bottling an AG hefe next week. looking forward to sampling. i wonder what effect making a yeast starter could have? maybe none? or maybe it could help.....don't know.

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@Jdub I wonder the same thing, every batch I've made has some level of cider flavor to it. I've had Horse's Ass in bottles for at least 6 months now and it's not getting any better. Sticky Wicket had the least amount but it's still there. I've always pitched on the cooler side well at least around 62-68 degrees and I usually ferment around 64-66. So I honestly don't know what is causing my yeast to stress out. I'm interested in doing the 1 gallon batches with DME and seeing if that changes anything for me.

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1 hour ago, youdontknowme311 said:

@Jdub I wonder the same thing, every batch I've made has some level of cider flavor to it. I've had Horse's Ass in bottles for at least 6 months now and it's not getting any better. Sticky Wicket had the least amount but it's still there. I've always pitched on the cooler side well at least around 62-68 degrees and I usually ferment around 64-66. So I honestly don't know what is causing my yeast to stress out. I'm interested in doing the 1 gallon batches with DME and seeing if that changes anything for me.

What yeast are you using? It might be coincidence but after my first two batches using MB yeast I switched to US-05, plus temp control and haven't had off flavors since. I did pitch one batch at 55F, using US-05, and got away with it but normally I try to have the wort a little warmer than my room temp yeast. How big an effect, if any, idk. I guess when you find whatever method is working for you, you tend to stay with it.

 

Don't give up on it though. Possible you're tasting extract tang from HME, so maybe make a partial mash with a can of Briess LME, or like Jdub and try a DME partial mash. There's different ways to skin this cat, and you're close.

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14 minutes ago, Cato said:

What yeast are you using? It might be coincidence but after my first two batches using MB yeast I switched to US-05, plus temp control and haven't had off flavors since. I did pitch one batch at 55F, using US-05, and got away with it but normally I try to have the wort a little warmer than my room temp yeast. How big an effect, if any, idk. I guess when you find whatever method is working for you, you tend to stay with it.

 

Don't give up on it though. Possible you're tasting extract tang from HME, so maybe make a partial mash with a can of Briess LME, or like Jdub and try a DME partial mash. There's different ways to skin this cat, and you're close.

I've used the coopers yeast, US-05 & 04. Even with US-05 I get cidery flavors and I've read it's a clean & forgiving yeast. But I've used it a handful of times and still haven't made decent beer worth drinking. It must be the extract twang....I've tried everything else. lol

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2 hours ago, youdontknowme311 said:

I've used the coopers yeast, US-05 & 04. Even with US-05 I get cidery flavors and I've read it's a clean & forgiving yeast. But I've used it a handful of times and still haven't made decent beer worth drinking. It must be the extract twang....I've tried everything else. lol

Its very hard for me to sit here and be quiet. Its an HME thing. Honestly, since ive gone all grain i had to relearn what i knew. I can go 5 degrees higher with your same yeasts with no notice of off flavors. Thats the difference of needing a fermentation chamber or not for me. Thats huge. Im not saying you cant hide that flavor youre getting. It just takes more effort. I may expess this too much on an HME forum, and i hope i dont sound like im bragging cuz i can do AG but to me the beers ive brewed have been more than enough of proof.

 

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Yeah, I can echo what others have said. Just don't give up. I just brewed up my 20th LBK batch last night, the Dead & Berried Mr Beer recipe. But i added a few things, and  I substituted Safale BE134 for the Belle Saison (undecided if I'm a fan of that yeast). Really I believe it boils down to a matter or personal preference/tastes. I tried Safale US-05 on several batches: HME, partial mash, DME, LME & even all grain BIAB. Honestly, I don't like US-05 very much at all. There's some weird cabbage off flavor in my finished beer that I just can't quite describe. And I believe it's possibly my taste buds & olfactory senses,  since so many others rave about it & I just don't care for it. So anyway. I've found that that I prefer 04 or even Nottingham. I've tried a few WLP (1272 is pretty good) and WYEAST (American wheat) which aren't bad at all. And I  enjoy the WB-06 Wheat yeast (after cold conditioning a Bavarian Hefe a few months, awesome!). I would say this hobby is just as much about experimentation. And since it's 2 gallon batches, it's much easier to go that route & be OK with some not-so-great batches. Trial & error. Sure, I've had a few botched batches here & there (that I'm still drinking by the way) but overall I've had a lot more successes. Whether that's a Mr Beer HME/partial mash, an all extract using DME or LME, or an all grain BIAB. Find what you enjoy & keep doing it until you get it right the way you like it! Read up, borrow some homebrewing books from your local library such as from Papazzian, who if I can remember his quote, basically says you really have to work to screw up a home brew! Enjoy the process, take good notes, pay attention. But most of all, have fun. It's a hobby! Cheers

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6 minutes ago, Gutterbunnie said:

Yeah, I can echo what others have said. Just don't give up. I just brewed up my 20th LBK batch last night, the Dead & Berried Mr Beer recipe. But i added a few things, and  I substituted Safale BE134 for the Belle Saison (undecided if I'm a fan of that yeast). Really I believe it boils down to a matter or personal preference/tastes. I tried Safale US-05 on several batches: HME, partial mash, DME, LME & even all grain BIAB. Honestly, I don't like US-05 very much at all. There's some weird cabbage off flavor in my finished beer that I just can't quite describe. And I believe it's possibly my taste buds & olfactory senses,  since so many others rave about it & I just don't care for it. So anyway. I've found that that I prefer 04 or even Nottingham. I've tried a few WLP (1272 is pretty good) and WYEAST (American wheat) which aren't bad at all. And I  enjoy the WB-06 Wheat yeast (after cold conditioning a Bavarian Hefe a few months, awesome!). I would say this hobby is just as much about experimentation. And since it's 2 gallon batches, it's much easier to go that route & be OK with some not-so-great batches. Trial & error. Sure, I've had a few botched batches here & there (that I'm still drinking by the way) but overall I've had a lot more successes. Whether that's a Mr Beer HME/partial mash, an all extract using DME or LME, or an all grain BIAB. Find what you enjoy & keep doing it until you get it right the way you like it! Read up, borrow some homebrewing books from your local library such as from Papazzian, who if I can remember his quote, basically says you really have to work to screw up a home brew! Enjoy the process, take good notes, pay attention. But most of all, have fun. It's a hobby! Cheers

Well said, Gutterbunnie! Each of those different brewing methods have their own set of challenges, which makes it fun to try and make your best beer you can and how you'll do it better next time.

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3 hours ago, Creeps McLane said:

Its very hard for me to sit here and be quiet. Its an HME thing. Honestly, since ive gone all grain i had to relearn what i knew. I can go 5 degrees higher with your same yeasts with no notice of off flavors. Thats the difference of needing a fermentation chamber or not for me. Thats huge. Im not saying you cant hide that flavor youre getting. It just takes more effort. I may expess this too much on an HME forum, and i hope i dont sound like im bragging cuz i can do AG but to me the beers ive brewed have been more than enough of proof.

 

Creeps, speaking for myself, you have no need to hesitate about speaking your mind; your reputation on this forum is solid as can be.  I too think that the HME is the source of the twang.  But I also think that the partial mash recipes - either from the added grain, the hops, or both - work well in minimizing it.  Some of the PM IPAs I've brewed have had no trace of twang, and neither have the PM stouts.  The Crafty Bitch brews I make with the CAL have a total of 6oz of grains and 1.5oz of hops added...and no twang to be found.  And more bitter and hoppy HMEs also have less, at least for me.  I brewed Long Play IPA + 4oz carapils and it had no twang.  When I did the same with an HME like American Ale?  Twang.

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3 hours ago, Creeps McLane said:

Its very hard for me to sit here and be quiet. Its an HME thing. Honestly, since ive gone all grain i had to relearn what i knew. I can go 5 degrees higher with your same yeasts with no notice of off flavors. Thats the difference of needing a fermentation chamber or not for me. Thats huge. Im not saying you cant hide that flavor youre getting. It just takes more effort. I may expess this too much on an HME forum, and i hope i dont sound like im bragging cuz i can do AG but to me the beers ive brewed have been more than enough of proof.

 

#Preach!  🍺

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1 hour ago, Shrike said:

Creeps, speaking for myself, you have no need to hesitate about speaking your mind; your reputation on this forum is solid as can be.  I too think that the HME is the source of the twang.  But I also think that the partial mash recipes - either from the added grain, the hops, or both - work well in minimizing it.  Some of the PM IPAs I've brewed have had no trace of twang, and neither have the PM stouts.  The Crafty Bitch brews I make with the CAL have a total of 6oz of grains and 1.5oz of hops added...and no twang to be found.  And more bitter and hoppy HMEs also have less, at least for me.  I brewed Long Play IPA + 4oz carapils and it had no twang.  When I did the same with an HME like American Ale?  Twang.

@Shrike is speaking the truth.....long play ipa i brewed for the tangerously hoppy ipa and no twang at all. one of my best brews. Anything american ale refill, i have noticed it. CAL, i have used in 2 versions of horse's ass, and have noticed it both times. no worries, i learned a ton in the process and if anything made me curious as to how to make it better. i made beer!

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1 hour ago, Jdub said:

@Shrike is speaking the truth.....long play ipa i brewed for the tangerously hoppy ipa and no twang at all. one of my best brews. Anything american ale refill, i have noticed it. CAL, i have used in 2 versions of horse's ass, and have noticed it both times. no worries, i learned a ton in the process and if anything made me curious as to how to make it better. i made beer!

To quote my brew buddy “the worst beer ive ever brewed still got me drunk”. He told me that the other day and i couldnt have agreed more

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4 hours ago, Cato said:

No need to be quiet Creeps!

 

 

Then let me add one last thing. 

 

You may be the best brewer in the world. You just don’t know it yet. Like @Gutterbunnie said (that should win the day everyday) is you just have to find what works for you. People talk about the high drop out rate on here all the time. For a Brewer who is doing everything right but your beer doesn’t taste like how you want it, that can be frustrating. Very frustrating. But you can’t give up. 

 

Ive made enough HME batches to learn I don’t prefer HME. I’ve brewed with enough LME to find that it wasn’t for me. I’m a freak for control and this isn’t a hobby that I’m ok with not putting the time into what I enjoy sitting down and enjoying on a daily basis. That’s me. I’ve had plenty of HME beers that @Bonsai & Brew sent me that blew me away. He’s f***ing good at working with what he has. I don’t have that. So I moved on. 

 

All I really wanted to say was this; don’t sell yourself short. Keep pushing. If something isn’t working, try something else. Look at @Nickfixit. He’s constantly tweaking and striving for the perfect balance in his beers. Don’t let one ingredient stop you from perfecting your beers. If you want to take the next step, ask questions. Be open to new ideas. This forum is filled with intelligent people who have been a newbie before. Partial mashes, hoppy beers, drying out your HMEs are a great start. But for me, the best thing I can say is to look at where you want to be in a year or five and start reaching for that level. Don’t sell yourself short! DONT SELL YOURSELF SHORT! 

 

Lastly, for years I’ve tried to stay relevant on this forum. I don’t really use HME anymore but I stay here to try to help others with my opinions though they very well may be wrong. Ask me anything and I’ll try to help. Freaking @kedogn is a professional Brewer, ask him. Sometimes a vet like @Screwy Brewer and @bpgreen will be on here. Listen to what they say. They’re amazing. This is what a forum is all about.

 

this was supposed to be a quick post, I’m sorry. I was raised in a house full of women so I get emotional quickly, but God damn it I’m here for you.

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Aaaagh! Yes indeed. Tweak does not always improve. I am probably less scientific too than it reads - lol - certainly I am less picky about my process too than many here (not a control freak 😄) .. But overall I am up to 215 brews now.  I do get some with funny flavors still. I very rarely get any that are undrinkable.

Differing from Creeps, I prefer the ease of using HME, and I find the beers drinkable and my friends do too, so that is good enough. Also SWMBO hates brewing smells so prolonged boiling etc. is not tenable. But I like the ease, starting or finishing 1 LBK brew in about an hour including cleanup. (maybe more for PM)

Today I bottled Oktoberfest enhanced with PM (2 oz each  Munich, Vienna and Biscuit grain ) and strengthened by 2 packs of booster and flavored more with 0.5 oz Hallertauer hop at flameout in a bag. This tasted good with no off flavors. It was fermented in ambient low-mid 60's using Mr. Beer yeast.  Why booster? #1 I have a bunch of it, #2, I do not like too malty as I also do not like too hoppy. I also have been messing around with beers so much I though I should try tasting more of the Mr Beer intent. I think it will be fine, having a sweetish start and a balanced finish where you can taste hops. Targeted at Halloween/Thanksgiving timeframe.

The only place I am picky on is sterilization using Mr Beer sanitizer or Onestep.   Having a basement room at 63-65 deg also helps. I actually have to warm some brews up in a different room if I want 70+. (Wheat or Saison)

I use directional  lamps  with spot light bulbs as heaters - 2  for 80 deg, one for 70-72 deg. I do not use temp controller I just use a thermometer on the LBK and move lamps closer or further away to get desired temp.   It seems close enough. For 80 I have to partly wrap the LBK in towels though.

 

When people ask me about the long process of brewing, I tell them I do it the easy way.

 

If you think warm temperature is your problem - cool the LBK ( I use  Coleman cooler chest and ice packs) or ferment a beer that likes warmth e.g. Saison.

For cheap temperature monitoring I use a $10 digital aquarium thermometer taped on the LBK side with paper towel insulation over the thermometer and under the tape.

If you have a cooler with a drain hole, you can run the wire through that and see temp without opening the cooler.

 

If you are concerned about temperature fluctuation, putting the LBK in  a container will help even it out - even a cardboard box but cooler is best. Early on I used a $2 foam one (you can still run the thermometer wire out if you make a little groove where the lid fits) and that worked too,.

 

But keep at it - try cooling the LBK in a cheap cooler with freezer ice packs of frozen water bottles (2/3 full only) first.

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Man this is such a wholesome thread. Just wanted to add my $0.02 on the twang issue.

 

I don't think we've ever disputed that liquid extracts can tend to have a twang. Every method of brewing has its pros and cons, none is the "right" way to brew. The advantages of HME are that it's great for beginners to learn on, doesn't take much time, space, or equipment, and I think the smaller batch size is an advantage to a lot of brewers. The disadvantages, as I see them, are less control over some factors, darker color, and occasional twang. 

 

To my palette, some refills have more twang than others. I get more of it with Diablo than Long play, and more with Blonde than Weissbier. So, that's one factor to consider. Another is that doing a grain steep or hop boil can reduce it pretty drastically. I find that more important than temp or sanitation, in terms of the twang aspect.  

 

I would also just add that I've brewed hundreds of HME batches by now, and only had a few batches where twang was strong and unpleasant enough to impact my enjoyment of the beer. Given our policy of replacing bad batches and, I think, our flexibility, I find that to be a pretty low-risk proposition. 

 

 

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