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Brewermeister Meisterbrewer

First Attempt...

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Hello everyone,

Was reading through the forums, looks like there's multiple threads that address all my questions, so I thought (at the risk of invoking a stern warning from moderator and long-timers) I'd create a fresh thread to ask these.

After creating my first batch (American Light), I've drank three bottles.  It's okay, but I'm not super-impressed.  I'm certain it's because I'm either doing something wrong, or my expectations are higher than they should be.  I saw some sediment at the bottom of the keg after brewing, I didn't put any of it in any bottles.  I put the suggested amount of sugar in each bottle, the carbonation ended up being a little heavy (another thread recommends a lesser amount of sugar).  And even though I avoided filling the bottles with the sediment, each bottle so far has still had a pretty fair amount of solid material at the bottom.  I've been remiss to empty the entire bottle, for fear of getting this "sediment" in my glass (maybe it isn't harmful, but nothing of this was mentioned in the instruction video).

Also, the taste is a little overly bitter.  Being an ice-beer drinker, I'm accustomed to a more bitter taste, but this was more than what I expected for a standard light brew.  I made a point of being VERY careful about sanitizing everything throughout the process.  I DID read in another thread that it's recommended that you brew for THREE weeks instead of 2, and condition for FOUR weeks instead of 2, then refrigerate and drink on a (for lack of a better phrase) as-needed basis - let the rest continually condition.

So my questions are: first, is the sediment in the bottles normal/correct (I believe it is for the keg)?  Second, should I 'stir' the bottles during the conditioning process to help dissolve any sedimentation?  Finally, am I correct in thinking that changing my conditioning would eliminate some, if not all, of the bitterness?

Thanks everyone, and thanks for all the warm welcomes I received in the Introductions forum!  B-)

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Don't worry, your questions are perfect.  Pertinent questions are never a problem, so please keep asking.

Mr Beer's instructions are commonly considered to use too much priming sugar.  I use 1/2 tsp (instead of 3/4 tsp) per 12-ounce bottle, and have generally had good results.

Two things can contribute to trub at the bottom of bottles:  When you carbonate in the bottle as is common in home brewing, there is a small additional fermentation of the priming sugar, so you get more "trub".  It is harmless, although I watch as I pour from the bottles so I can stop before I get much in my glass.  Also, there can be small particles of the beer ingredients in suspension even after 3 weeks of fermenting, and this can continue to settle over time.  Again, what drops out is harmless, just not as good-looking as if we were to use expensive filtration equipment like commercial brewers have.

Don't 'stir' the bottles to dissolve the trub.  When you refrigerate the finished beer after the 3 weeks of fermenting and 4 weeks of carbonating and conditioning, the trub tends to consolidate in the bottom of the bottle, so it can stay there rather than in your glass.  After I pour my glass, I rinse the bottle well and drain the rinse water, so it is ready for cleaning later and re-use.

In general, harsh characteristics will mellow over time.  How long conditioning takes will vary with the style and other factors, ranging from weeks to several months.

Welcome again!  And keep asking questions like these.

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The CAL has an IBU of 11 so if it is bitter something else is going on. If anything mine always comes out way to 'cidery' with little or no bitterness. You might have had a bit of infection. Let it sit in the bottle another few weeks and see if it gets better. 

Monty

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If you disturb the sediment during your pour there can be a bitterness that is perceived as a result. so letting the beer condition for 2-3 weeks longer can mitigate this flavor adn allow the more mature flavors to develop. Time and patience will resolve this issue for you.

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