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Hchockey39

something wrong with pilothouse pilsner

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I tried one of my pilothouses for the first time tonight. Im not sure what's wrong. I had it in the keg for 4 weeks with the temps at 70-72. Maybe up to 74 on a bad day. It has been bottled for 3 weeks now in the same temps. It is very cidery tasting. I still plan on letting it condition longer but I had a batch of the basic hccd taste the same and it never conditioned into anything drinkable. All my batches that have turned out good tasted much better at this time of conditioning

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70-74 ambient temperature, or 70-74 on a temp strip on the fermenter? Ambient temps can be as much as 5 degree or so lower than in-the-fermenter temps from my experience, meaning a 74 degree room could be closer to 80 degrees in the keg at peak fermentation time. Regardless, for my money that temp is too high even if it's on the strip. I'd shoot for 66 or so on the keg temp for your ferm temps if at all possible. You can put the fermenter in a cooler with ice packs and/or use the wet t-shirt method if you have trouble maintaining those temps. That all being said, I wouldn't give up on the beer. Give it ample conditioning time...

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I use an infrared temp gun to monitor the temp of the keg. I also use the cooler/ice packs. I guess im just nervous because it tastes the same as my hccd that even after 3 months conditioning never changed tastes. At 3 weeks I could at least taste the correct flavors in my octoberfest and witty monk. With this batch I can't taste anything except the cidery flavor

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Chances are you may have pitched the yeast into wort that was not quite 68-70F initially and then during the first 3 days of fermentation the temperate of the wort was near 80F, about 5F higher than the room air.

From experience I know to always pitch the yeast into wort on the lower side of its optimum temperature range and then keep it cool to hold that same temperature thru the remainder of the fermentation.

Cooler temperatures produce cleaner tasting beer with less esters or chance of off flavors. A little ice bath and frozen water bottles can work wonders on your finished beer.

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This was the first batch I actually monitored the temps throughout, after alot of reading here. I cooled the wort down to 74 before I pitched the yeast. And the temps never went higher than that. I just hope it conditions out. It doesn't have any normal beer taste to it. I haven't had good luck with this flavor conditioning out when its this strong.
Something must have gone wrong while I wasn't looking

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I wonder if the infrared gun was reading a little lower than the internal temp. I will have to try this recipe again and try a different thermometer

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Guest System Admin

My WCPA took 8 weeks to be a good beer, and when I drank the last one at 16weeks, was very impressive. In fact my mom's boy friend wants me to make a batch for him soon so he will have it this fall.

Time is the best medicine for beer, I am leaning twards 8 weeks is pretty much the standard for beer being ready, my problem is the pipe-line is low

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I have had good luck with 3-4 week conditioning. Except for this pilothouse and hccd. I blamed the hccd on just being hme + booster. Before this pilothouse none of my hme/ume or premium batches had this problem. Hopefully the problem was temps and it will condition out and I'll be more careful in the future

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I question whether the taste you're describing as cidery is what most of us think of as cidery.

I'm going to guess that you're getting off flavors from your fermentation temperatures. Even if you weren't higher than 74, you're still talking temperatures that are pretty close to the high end of the range.

Try dropping your fermentation temperature to about 65. It may take a little longer to ferment, but it will be a cleaner fermentation.

You may also be stressing the yeast by underpitching. Try using more yeast (3-5 packets of the Mr Beer yeast or 1/2 to 1 packet of US-05).

Make sure you aerate the heck out of it when you pitch the yeast so the yeast has enough oxygen in the early stages to be healthy and reproduce.

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I also just have to mention that Pilothouse has really funky hops in it that taste like a mix of green grapes and passionfruit, and this may be a flavor that is totally unlike anything you've ever had in a beer.

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I'm thinking it's a combination of high fermentation temps and lack of conditioning.

I also had an issue with the Pilothouse I'm currently drinking. Ferm temps were probably too high in the early stages, and it developed a weird-looking foam. It tasted okay, so I bottled it, but there was a residual smell of nail polish remover in the keg. After four weeks in the bottle, it still wasn't smoothed out, so I gave it another week.

I had the first couple of bottles last night, and that one extra week made a world of difference.

As others have advised, take the time to bring your wort down to under 70 degrees before pitching the yeast, and try to keep the temperature no higher than 70 during fermentation.

And give this batch another couple of weeks to condition. It may surprise you.

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Next time I will drop the temps down more and see what happens.
As for the cider taste, I would say that its a very sweet flavor that reminds me of an idd tasting apple cider. Tastes nothing like beer at all

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Has your Pilothouse gotten any better, or are you still letting it sit?

I had the same problem with the WCPA (3 week ferment, 2 week carb/condition, 1 week fridge). Tasted like beer mixed with apple cider that was just about to start fermenting.

My next batch was the Pilothouse. It has only been bottled 5 days, but I went ahead and opened one of the sample size bottles. Nice carb, bad flavor. Almost exactly like the cidery WCPA.

So, either they both just need more time (certainly the pilot does) or somehow I made the exact same mistake twice!

I have Howlin' Red and American Devil IPA, not sure wich to do next. I was hoping for better results by now.

I didn't realize it would take so long to get good results, but I'm trying to be patient.

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SCF01 wrote:

Has your Pilothouse gotten any better, or are you still letting it sit?

I had the same problem with the WCPA (3 week ferment, 2 week carb/condition, 1 week fridge). Tasted like beer mixed with apple cider that was just about to start fermenting.

My next batch was the Pilothouse. It has only been bottled 5 days, but I went ahead and opened one of the sample size bottles. Nice carb, bad flavor. Almost exactly like the cidery WCPA.

So, either they both just need more time (certainly the pilot does) or somehow I made the exact same mistake twice!

I have Howlin' Red and American Devil IPA, not sure wich to do next. I was hoping for better results by now.

I didn't realize it would take so long to get good results, but I'm trying to be patient.

:borg: Welcome to the BeerBorg Information Center. You will be Assimilated. Resistance IS quite Futile: We have Beer.

Am I to understand that you allowed it to ferment for 3 weeks (good) and bottled it, allowed ONLY 2 weeks in the bottle before sampling? Or have I read that wrong? My normal schedule is 14~21 days in the fermenter. Then, it's bottled (if I don't just get lazy(er)and just keg it) and set aside for at least a month. 6 weeks is even better. The pilot house is good after 8 weeks. That IPA is going to need at least 3 months bottle time. THEN you pop them in the fridge for a wee bit.

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I tired one on Saturday and it was a little better, but still not ready. Im letting the rest condition for a few more weeks before I try another. At least it made some progress and gives me hope that I didn't ruin it completely.
My brother made the american devil earlier this summer. It was good at 3 weeks. He also left it in the keg for a little over a month

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yankeedag wrote:

Am I to understand that you allowed it to ferment for 3 weeks (good) and bottled it, allowed ONLY 2 weeks in the bottle before sampling? Or have I read that wrong? My normal schedule is 14~21 days in the fermenter. Then, it's bottled (if I don't just get lazy(er)and just keg it) and set aside for at least a month. 6 weeks is even better. The pilot house is good after 8 weeks. That IPA is going to need at least 3 months bottle time. THEN you pop them in the fridge for a wee bit.

That's correct, 2 weeks in the bottle before sampling. I thought I read many folks having good success with a 2/2/2 routine so I figured I'd be in the ballpark at least.

Well, I guess I'll just have to work on my bottle collection some more :lol:

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Hchockey39 wrote:

I tired one on Saturday and it was a little better, but still not ready. Im letting the rest condition for a few more weeks before I try another. At least it made some progress and gives me hope that I didn't ruin it completely.
My brother made the american devil earlier this summer. It was good at 3 weeks. He also left it in the keg for a little over a month

Thanks for the update. It gives me hope as well!

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SCF01 wrote:

yankeedag wrote:

Am I to understand that you allowed it to ferment for 3 weeks (good) and bottled it, allowed ONLY 2 weeks in the bottle before sampling? Or have I read that wrong? My normal schedule is 14~21 days in the fermenter. Then, it's bottled (if I don't just get lazy(er)and just keg it) and set aside for at least a month. 6 weeks is even better. The pilot house is good after 8 weeks. That IPA is going to need at least 3 months bottle time. THEN you pop them in the fridge for a wee bit.

That's correct, 2 weeks in the bottle before sampling. I thought I read many folks having good success with a 2/2/2 routine so I figured I'd be in the ballpark at least.

Well, I guess I'll just have to work on my bottle collection some more :lol:

;) the 2/2/2 refers to two weeks in the keg (now modified to 14~21 days in the keg [thanks Screwy])two weeks for the beer to carbonate, and the final two refers to allowing another two weeks to allow the carbonating activites to turn to cleaning up the remaining fermentables...thus, two weeks in the fermenter, and 4 weeks in the bottle. Then, pop them in the fridge to consume. :P

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I would rather it was 3/3/3 Three in LBK, three carb time and three condition time (6 weeks in bottle) then 3-5 days in fridge before trying one.

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Trollby wrote:

I would rather it was 3/3/3 Three in LBK, three carb time and three condition time (6 weeks in bottle) then 3-5 days in fridge before trying one.

Well, I can do that now. I am following a very strict diet for the next few weeks, and it doesn't include beer.

Tragic, I know, but it works out for the good of all. By the time I can get back to it, the WCPA will have almost 8 weeks in the bottle, and the Pilothouse almost 5.

NOW I have something to look forward to! :woohoo:

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SCF01 wrote:

Trollby wrote:

I would rather it was 3/3/3 Three in LBK, three carb time and three condition time (6 weeks in bottle) then 3-5 days in fridge before trying one.

Well, I can do that now. I am following a very strict diet for the next few weeks, and it doesn't include beer.

Tragic, I know, but it works out for the good of all. By the time I can get back to it, the WCPA will have almost 8 weeks in the bottle, and the Pilothouse almost 5.

NOW I have something to look forward to! :woohoo:

I never had a pipeline to speak of until I got sick for a week or two, followed by some work related travel. Now, I aim for 3+ months in the bottle before going into the fridge.

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I just had a Pilothouse Pilsner earlier this evening. It's one of my favorite lower gravity brews so far. Checking my notes, I fermented mine for just 15 days and had a final gravity of 1.009 (Filled to the Q). I used 1/2 packet of US-05, but I never pitch the yeast dry. I usually boil about 1/4 - 1/2 cup of water with some white sugar or honey, cover it and stick it in the fridge until the water temp comes down to about 70-80 degrees, then I pitch the yeast. Once I get a nice creamy yeast foam going, then I pitch it in the keg.

I don't regulate the temperatures too much, but I think I tried keeping it in the 68-72 range.

What was your FG?

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I've been trying to figure out what I am doing wrong. I have had a few batches now come out tasting the same, very sweet and have not conditioned out. They almost seem like the fermentation has stalled. But they all pour clear and are well carbed. Will this happen with a stalled fermentation?
I brewed the seasonal on Sunday and stuck the Mr B thermometer on the side of the keg to monitor temps instead of the infrared. The thermometer is showing 69-70* and the infrared is showing 65*. That means that I fermented the previous batches at 75* or a little more. This may have also caused a problem.

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Hchockey39 wrote:

I've been trying to figure out what I am doing wrong. I have had a few batches now come out tasting the same, very sweet and have not conditioned out. They almost seem like the fermentation has stalled. But they all pour clear and are well carbed. Will this happen with a stalled fermentation?
I brewed the seasonal on Sunday and stuck the Mr B thermometer on the side of the keg to monitor temps instead of the infrared. The thermometer is showing 69-70* and the infrared is showing 65*. That means that I fermented the previous batches at 75* or a little more. This may have also caused a problem.

For how long have you been fermenting?

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All the batches were either 3 or 4 weeks fermented. The conditioning times have varied from 5 weeks to 6 months.

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yankeedag wrote:

What kind of readings you been getting from your hydrometer?


Unfortunately I don't have a hydrometer.
They were a basic hccd, a pilothouse pilsner, and a deluxe whispering wheat.
Im just trying to make a list of things that could have gone wrong so I can focus on these in the future. So far I figured out I was fermenting about 5* warmer than I thought

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The warm temps if they were 75/76ish which is what I gather, would tend to make your beer "fruity" or "spicy" or have interesing alcahol flavors, some of which could be perceived as "sweet", especially in pilothouse which has fuity hops to start with, or whispering wheat, just because it's a wheat. Some but not all of it would condition out over time. I'd not think that it would have caused stuck fermentations and led to "sweet" beer due to left over sugars across the board though.

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Hchockey39 wrote:

I've been trying to figure out what I am doing wrong. I have had a few batches now come out tasting the same, very sweet and have not conditioned out. They almost seem like the fermentation has stalled. But they all pour clear and are well carbed. Will this happen with a stalled fermentation?
I brewed the seasonal on Sunday and stuck the Mr B thermometer on the side of the keg to monitor temps instead of the infrared. The thermometer is showing 69-70* and the infrared is showing 65*. That means that I fermented the previous batches at 75* or a little more. This may have also caused a problem.


You've gotten a few pieces of advice on this, but you might want to consider starting a new thread and providing some additional details on each batch so it get's more eyeballs looking at it.

My $0.02 is that if they all taste the same (and a HCCD, PH and WW should NOT taste the same...) then maybe it's a process issue or a water issue. Are you using tap water? Water chemistry can play a huge role, and had an impact on some early batches of mine as we have a fair amount of chlorine in our water. I switched to all bottled spring water and that has been much better.

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mashani wrote:

I also just have to mention that Pilothouse has really funky hops in it that taste like a mix of green grapes and passionfruit, and this may be a flavor that is totally unlike anything you've ever had in a beer.

Thanks, I'm finally learning to search things ... that's what I was looking for ........

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Tabasco wrote:

mashani wrote:

I also just have to mention that Pilothouse has really funky hops in it that taste like a mix of green grapes and passionfruit, and this may be a flavor that is totally unlike anything you've ever had in a beer.

Thanks, I'm finally learning to search things ... that's what I was looking for ........

Nice. I'm actually drinking the "Pilot Belgique" that I made out of 3 cans of Pilothouse and T-58 right now. It's still tastes like cantelope/passionfruit with black pepper, but it's not pushing the edge of over the top like it was young. The hops have mellowed a bit with age.

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mashani wrote:

Tabasco wrote:

mashani wrote:

I also just have to mention that Pilothouse has really funky hops in it that taste like a mix of green grapes and passionfruit, and this may be a flavor that is totally unlike anything you've ever had in a beer.

Thanks, I'm finally learning to search things ... that's what I was looking for ........

Nice. I'm actually drinking the "Pilot Belgique" that I made out of 3 cans of Pilothouse and T-58 right now. It's still tastes like cantelope/passionfruit with black pepper, but it's not pushing the edge of over the top like it was young. The hops have mellowed a bit with age.

cantelope ... now that's spot on .... that's what made me think the batch was bad ... I couldn't put my finger on it. I've brewed pilothouse before, but I guess because I've brewed so many hoppy brews with centennial, amarillo, nugget, bouillon, etc. etc., that this time it tasted strange to me. I am getting used to it as I drink the batch, though.

Yah, I should let it set a few more weeks, but eh. it's like 2-2-3. Good head, lacing, it'll be gone soon. Not sure if it will be a pick again, though.

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Last Pilothouse I brewed (which I am drinking right now) I used lager yeast.
Ended being a sweeter tasting beer. I made no other changes. Wish I had added some steeping grains to give a fresher taste.

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