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Sluggernot

Did I refrigerate too soon?

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I am making my first batch of American Pale.  Everything seems OK but, I put the beers in the fridge after one week of being bottled and sugared.  That was two weeks ago, almost, and the beer tastes completely flat.  Can it be saved? Could it still carbonate?

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Probably;  I assume you used Mr. Beer kit PET bottles, and know the approximate temperature at which the beer fermented and carbonated. 

A week in the yeast's temp range should have resulted in nice firm PET bottles. If they lost fermentation it could be because the caps were loose.

Were the bottles firm to the touch when you refrigerated them? Are they now soft? Were the bottles collapsed, or sunken in?  Is there yeast residue collecting at the bottom of the bottles?

If the bottles are soft or collapsed, I recommend removing them from the fridge, tightening the caps, and keeping the beer in the yeast-active temperature range for three days or so to see if the bottles get firm. If they get firm, then let them go a full week before chilling again.  

If the beer is still flat after three days in the yeast-active temp range, then try re-carbonating by adding sugar again.  

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They were quite firm.  They're now semi firm and let out a very small hiss when opened.  The taste is very flat. So the slightest carbonation.  Could the carbonation still increase in the fridge?  I'm unsure of what is supposed to be going on in this stage.   

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i would leave them at room temp for at least 2 weeks before even trying one.....but usually not ready till 4 weeks after bottling ive tried beer after a week and notice a big difference after a couple more weeks

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I’ve had brews carbed at 1 week and others not until 2 or 3 weeks.

 

If you still have some in the fridge, take them out and leave a room temp for at least another week and try one again.

 

 

A Gman stated, the beer will get better the longer you leave in the bottle.  4 weeks is normally good for a MrB refill.

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Recommend guidelines from experience brewers are 3 weeks in the LBK and 4 weeks in the bottle AT ROOM TEMP.  A week in the bottle would result in beer that isn't ready.  Pull it back out, wait 3 more weeks, then put one in and wait 2 or 3 days to sample.

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There are a couple of exceptions to the 4 week guideline based on personal preference.

 

Wheats can generally be drank at 2-3 weeks if you enjoy esters (flavor produced during fermentation that can vary in taste and aroma between pears, roses, bananas or other light fruits).  I like a BIG banana flavor in my wheats so I normally start drinking at 2 weeks.

 

IPAs – The BIG HOP aroma and flavor will mellow over time.  If you like your IPA with a  hopblast, start drinking at 2-3 weeks as well. 

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Sluggernot said:They were quite firm.  They're now semi firm and let out a very small hiss when opened.  The taste is very flat. So the slightest carbonation.  Could the carbonation still increase in the fridge?  I'm unsure of what is supposed to be going on in this stage.   

No, they will not carb in the fridge as the temperature is well below the yeast's "happy range."

As for timing, the 3 weeks brew - 4 weeks carb and condition is best followed until you gain some experience and a hydrometer.

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Yep, too soon. Keep them out of the fridge 3-4 more weeks. Make sure the caps are tight and they should be just fine. I found the American Pale ale much better after 6 weeks conditioning in the bottle. YMMV.

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Does anyone actually read this forum before they brew, for the first time??? I must say, you guys have the patience of a saint!!! The same questions OVER an OVER!!!!!!! Good God man!

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Personally, I didn't know the forum existed until I had been brewing a few months. Hard to believe how much I've learned here.

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Dirt in my Beer - We all learn a bit with each new batch, and we discover new resources such as this web site and others like the Beer Borg.. You may have encountered and solved some particular problem in the past, and can perhaps offer advise. Just this morning I checked the carbonation of a batch I bottled 2 weeks ago, and found that some bottles (P.E.T.) are rock hard and others are softer. No matter your level of experience, helpful input is appreciated, not sarcasm or intolerance.

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The biggest issue is the ambiguous lying directions that come with the beer.  You can have beer in 2 weeks? Hardly.  According to what I had read, 2 weeks of carbonating before refrigeration was the norm.  There were no directions on tasting or testing.  A lot of the info online is contradictory. So, I decided to lay out my specific situation to the open forum.  Because, exactly what I did was not found online.

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The reason that they say 2 weeks and 2 weeks is because then you're buying at least 12 refills a year if you stay on it.  The reality is that you should be buying 6 or 7.  Like Gillette, Mr. Beer makes money on consumables, not the razor.

If they told you "You'll have beer in just 7 weeks" sales would drop.

Just like if they said "Hey, it's not 3.7% ABV, more like 3.1%"...  

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You're 100% right. At this point most of us with even a little experience do not expect a good beer in less that 2 months. I tie my own trout flies, not because I tie better flies than available retail (certainly not faster!), but for the satisfaction of catching fish on a fly I made. Same with brewing, there are many very good beers available, but part of the fun of the hobby is enjoying something that you yourself crafted. 

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Let's compare apples to apples for a minute. I have regularly brewed delicious tasting wheat beers that fermented completely in a week and were force carbonated for a week. But....I pitched a very healthy yeast starter, oxygenated my wort before pitching the yeast and maintained strict control over the fermentation temperatures.

So it's not fair to an advanced brewer like myself to say that a great tasting beer can't be brewed in 2 weeks, it can be. Although don't think I was able to pull this off the very first time I brewed a batch of beer though. I think its safe to say that the marketing material, while aimed at first time brewers, assumes the brewer has advanced knowledge of yeast and fermentation techniques.

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Vince, I don't agree with your conclusion, that the marketing material assumes the brewer has advanced knowledge of yeast and fermentation techniques.  I think you're giving them too much credit.  It's a simple razor business model, sell the razor and tell them that the blades need to be changed often.  

They don't provide hydrometers in the kits, so time is the only measure a new brewer can use.  

For beginning brewers, 3-4 works.  For advanced brewers, most aren't doing Mr. Beer refills as the majority of their brewing anyway, and those that do know enough to vary every brewing cycle as they see fit.

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As a fairly "new" brewer, even with a strong background in microbiology and biochemistry, I doubt I could pull of a good tasting beer in just a couple of weeks. Like any hobby, there is a learning curve, and resources here and the Beer Borg have been invaluable. As far s the MB instructions, well they do get you started, and with very little effort someone can find this website and the Beer Borg for added instruction. My first chess set came with a 2 page pamphlet on how to play. Well fifty years later I'm still learning, and having fun doing it too. My guess, it is the same with brewing beer.

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My 2 coin flips.

MB isn't for the "advanced", "accomplished", "experienced" brewer. It's meant to bring in and introduce people to home brewing. And the verbal war of "IN  TWO WEEKS" continues on.

1: Allow the beer to ferment 2~3 weeks. Better yet, use a hydrometer.

2: Allow the beer to condition 4~6 weeks.

3: Allow the beer to chill in the fridge for 2~3 days.

Keep good notes on each batch. You can learn a lot from that.

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While screwy makes a good point, I agree that Mr Beer is aimed at new brewers who do not have his knowledge, and their instructions are really misleading and wrong. Listen to the words of the Nong (Yankeedag). 

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Definitely learned more and continue to learn more from the experience here and on the borg than any marketing hype. You get out of it what you put into it.

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yankeedag said: Keep good notes on each batch. You can learn a lot from that.

One of the best things I did was buy a brew journal off of Amazon.com. (of course you could just use a legal pad)

I can't tell you how much that has helped me from batch to batch. There is no way I could remember all the details from amount of sugar I batch primed with, to the OG reading, to the recipe itself.

Write everything down! I even write down the mistakes I make so I can fix them on the next page (brew). INVALUABLE 

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BrownstotheBone said:
yankeedag said: Keep good notes on each batch. You can learn a lot from that.

One of the best things I did was buy a brew journal off of Amazon.com. (of course you could just use a legal pad)

I can't tell you how much that has helped me from batch to batch. There is no way I could remember all the details from amount of sugar I batch primed with, to the OG reading, to the recipe itself.

Write everything down! I even write down the mistakes I make so I can fix them on the next page (brew). INVALUABLE 

Leave it to a Buckeye to buy a journal instead of using a pad of paper...  :)  :)

I type notes into Excel where I have all my brews in a spreadsheet.  Tabs for Brewed Inventory, Brewing History, Unbrewed Inventory, Recipes, Investment, Priming, To Buy list, Label Priniting.

Like with making beer, do whatever works for you, even if you're spending money on Amazon for no reason  :P

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