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zaivala

Amber Ale becomes Dark Stout

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Perhaps this is one bit of fallout from the Coopers takeover, or perhaps it's just what happens when I brew during the Winter.  I made up two batches of Bewitched Amber Ale. I've made this before, and found it to be nice and balanced, not too anything but nice and mellow. Both of these batches came out very dark and hypercarbonated. It's true that my current apartment is difficult to keep warm at affordable levels, and the barrel was in the kitchen, the least-heated room in the house, but I don't think it ever got below 45.  The second batch I left in the barrel a couple extra days, thinking that might make up for the lower brewing temperatures, but they are as alike as can be.

 

Any ideas?  I don't care for stouts (although, of course, this is drinkable -- I've yet to have a Mr Beer kit come out as bad as commercial beer).

 

I'm bringing this up because I have yet a third can of wort and would like some AMBER ALE if I can.

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45?   :blink:     If it dropped below 60 then it wasn't fermenting as the yeast was asleep.  

 

Bewitched Amber is one of the better refills they sell, IMHO.  You need to ferment no lower than maybe 63/64, and go a full 3 weeks, then in bottles for 4 weeks and better if it's close to 70.  Mid 60s I would do 6 weeks in bottles.

 

Make sure, if you don't have a hydrometer, that it does not taste sweet after 3 weeks - that indicates it didn't finish fermenting.  If you did indeed ferment that low, then it didn't finish, and if you do raise the bottle temps up you likely will find it finish fermentation as the PET bottles distort - or if glass bottles potential give you bottle bombs.

 

Even lagers want to be higher than 45.

 

It sounds to me like you're drinking unfermented wort.

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Your beers may be darker than usual because you could be using older HME. As malt extracts age, they darken. They're still useable, but they will darken considerably over time, especially liquid malts. 

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RickBeer, the temperatures I was referring to were external -- I seriously doubt it got down to 60 inside, probably 65-67 at the coolest.  The beer is not sweet, but again tastes like a dark stout, about the right amount of of bitter for a good stout -- but hardly an amber ale.

 

JoshR, these were brand new cans of wort. Of course I don't know how long they've been in the warehouse before shipping.  I bought 3 cans and still have one left, which says "Best Before 06 Nov 2015".  Any more ideas?

 

The other surprising thing about these two batches is the incredible amount of carbonation. When I make the next can I will likely just leave the sugar off in the bottling process. I use Domino Organic Sugar for my bottling sugar.  When I open a bottle, I have to have a 20-oz glass ready and pour off at least 1/4 of the bottle -- more than that and the head overflows the glass, less than that and the head exceeds the limits of the bottle.

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I suspect they never fully fermented and they did more in the bottles resulting in your carbonation issues. Temp control via a cooler and hot water bottles solves your issue.

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I suspect they never fully fermented and they did more in the bottles resulting in your carbonation issues. Temp control via a cooler and hot water bottles solves your issue.

Agreed.  Not sure how you can suspect that the LBK never got down to ambient air temp when if you didn't insulate them, doesn't seem like you have a thermometer on your fermenters, and the described scenario sounds like wort not beer.

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I just brewed a BAA between 63-66 deg F. I let it sit in the LBK 26 days. I can not say for sure that it was ready at 21 days. The over carbonation that you describe may be due to under fermented beer at bottling time.

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I hear you, and will try again with my 3rd can... but the second batch I left in the barrel 3 weeks, not the 2 recommended... Ah well.  As I said, I have had good results with this wort under previous ownership.

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I hear you, and will try again with my 3rd can... but the second batch I left in the barrel 3 weeks, not the 2 recommended... Ah well.  As I said, I have had good results with this wort under previous ownership.

2 weeks is the minimum to make beer.  3 weeks is the recommended.

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RickBeer, the temperatures I was referring to were external -- I seriously doubt it got down to 60 inside, probably 65-67 at the coolest.  The beer is not sweet, but again tastes like a dark stout, about the right amount of of bitter for a good stout -- but hardly an amber ale.

 

JoshR, these were brand new cans of wort. Of course I don't know how long they've been in the warehouse before shipping.  I bought 3 cans and still have one left, which says "Best Before 06 Nov 2015".  Any more ideas?

 

The other surprising thing about these two batches is the incredible amount of carbonation. When I make the next can I will likely just leave the sugar off in the bottling process. I use Domino Organic Sugar for my bottling sugar.  When I open a bottle, I have to have a 20-oz glass ready and pour off at least 1/4 of the bottle -- more than that and the head overflows the glass, less than that and the head exceeds the limits of the bottle.

I'm wondering if I have missed something, but you said the room was 65-67. Was this the temp of the room or the wort? If the wort was considerably warmer than the room temp, could that cause issues?

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No, he didn't say that was the room temp. He GUESSED that it was the wort temp while noting that the room might have reached 45. A lot of guessing little facts, likely way too cold to make beer. Not a remote chance it got too warm.

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I think he meant that the beer was not bitter and had no big hop aroma.

Many commercial amber ales are more hoppy than the Bewitched and have more aroma.

When I brewed Bewitched the first time That was my opinion too, needed more hoppiness.

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Lots of you are guessing at what I said, but RickBeer had it right. At any rate, I made my 3rd can, and it still turned out about the same, more of a porter than anything close to what the old Amber Ale from Mr. Beer (pre-Coopers) did.

 

I also made a batch of American Light, and the predominant comment among my flavor-testers was "tastes like Mickey's Malt Liquor".

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That's never happened to me with the Bewitched, nor have I ever heard of it happening to anyone else. I just made a 6 gallon batch and it turned out great. The correct color and everything. The Pre-Coopers stuff was very low quality compared to our current extracts. They were mostly adjuncts with very little malt in the actual beer. Coopers has greatly improved the products since the acquisition, especially by using higher quality extract, and a lot more of it.

 

One way malt can darken is by cooking it. One should never boil HME. Also, be sure you're using the correct water ratio. Using less water will also make it dark. The Bewitched should taste nothing like porter. It should be dry with no roasty flavors. If you're getting dark colors with roasty flavors, you're cooking it too long.

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i make this all the time and the color is amber the same as an amber extract I've made before from a steeping grains kit.  Are you adding DME?  That can change the color.  Amber DME will make a beer dark.

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