Sooooo I just finished bottling my second batch (Northwest Pale Ale - Craft refill) of Mr. Beer and I'm tasting a lot of (I think) Acetaldehyde. This is bothering me because my first batch (American Light) also bottled with a lot of the same flavors and was still cider/green apple tasting after the two weeks in the bottle. I have not gone back to the AL for about two weeks and will be tasting again in a few days. I'm afraid I'm approaching this wrong and so would like some guidance...
So in making my first batch (American Light) I followed the Mr. Beer instructions and pitched as instructed (did not check temp before pitching) our house is very cool so I put the LBK in a cooler to help maintain temps for fermentation. Primary fermentation seemed to go fine, cooler maintained heat and stayed warm. about a week later we went away for the weekend and the house got cold (we generally drop the house down to 58 F at night) we came back, the cooler felt the same temp inside as outside (house temp high 50's). At that point concerned about maintaining a good fermentation range I purchased a $15 temp controller on Amazon with an external sensor. I taped the sensor to one end of the keg and put a home heating pad on the other end of the keg. I set the controller to maintain a range of 20-24 C (it only works in C this should be correct to maintain 68-74 F). This seemed to maintain temp, I bottled at week 3 (just the earliest I could do it). Tasted green apple, bottled, waited two weeks grabbed two of the firmest bottles (the rest were still pretty soft) for tasting - still tasted green apple and cider. Have not gone back to the batch - its now been about 4 weeks since bottling.
Batch number two (Northwest Pale Ale) determined to keep temps maintained the whole time , after mixing and pitching according to instructions (still no thermometer to check pitch temp) I placed the LBK in the cooler, this time with the heating pad against the long side of the keg and the sensor in the air at the other side thinking that I should peg the heating to the air temp not the keg temp. Primary fermentation went without a problem, maintained heat in the cooler to the point that it did not kick the heater on until a day or two after primary , about day 4 or 5. Figured out a week and a half in that the heating pad may be to "aggressive " a heat for the yeast. Rearranged the heating pad so it was not in contact with the LBK and put it on the lowest setting. Bottled about 5 days later (today) and I'm getting green apple ,cider and wine this time. Have bottled into 12 oz glass and I'm hoping some conditioning time will work this out.
So here I am - realizing that the heating pad was probably too aggressive I've purchased a seedling mat heater that is a far gentler heat at about 18 watts. Am I over thinking this? How cool can I let the beer get after primary fermentation is complete without them yeasts getting too sleepy? My basement stays a constant 55 F - would this work if I kept the keg in an unheated cooler? I have Belgian Blanc
lined up to make but don't want to proceed until I can get this figured out. Everything else seems to be OK, the flavors are there am I just not being patient enough about conditioning?