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First batch first fail

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My first batch turned out horrible. I should have checked the forums first instead of following the directions the kit came with. Couple mistakes I made:

1. I only fermented for 2 weeks...according to forums, u need at least 3.

2. No temp strip

3. Need a hydrometer

Ordered two more refills, hope my next batch turns out better. Any advice would be welcome.

Thanks,

Chris

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Temp strips and hydrometers aren't required, but they do help. What exactly was the issue with your 1st batch?

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Whatever happened, don't let it discourage you. It was probably a simple thing you did (or didn't do) that you can easily correct next time.

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Welcome to the forums and this hobby, I'm only a few months in myself. Everyone here is eager to help you make great beer. Keep reading and I'm sure your next batch will suprise you. Mine did.

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I would suggest you control your wort temp. use a cooler that your LBK will fit into and use water jugs (what ever will fit into the cooler with the LBK) will be fine. Just check them twice a day until you have got it down on temp control.

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When the directions say 68 - 76 degrees F, that should be the temperature of the wort, not the room temperature.  I believe that's why my Weissbier turned out tasting pretty rank.. Like a lot of the newbies (which I definitely consider myself) are anxious to get that batch in the fridge to drink.  Read everything you can here in the Forums, make sure EVERYTHING is clean and sanitized (very important), then follow the 3-4 rule of thumb... Don't let one batch discourage you, I would bet that most everyone here has had a batch come out tasting like pond scum at some point when they started brewing. 

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Ed, those German wheat yeasts have pretty high fermentation temp ranges. How warm was yours?

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Ed, those German wheat yeasts have pretty high fermentation temp ranges. How warm was yours?

Well, I put it a dark corner of my dining room with the room temperature at 74 degrees F.  I don't have the stick on thermometer so I would imagine the wort went somewhere between 80 and 85 degrees.  Then again, I may not have gotten everything sanitized enough.. Not sure, but that batch fermented for 2 weeks in a 75 degree room, two weeks in a bottle in the basement.. So, I think I did about everything I could wrong.

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I would suggest you control your wort temp. use a cooler that your LBK will fit into and use water jugs (what ever will fit into the cooler with the LBK) will be fine. Just check them twice a day until you have got it down on temp control.

 

I'm using a similar setup with a 7.5 x 7.5 ice pack inside a square Coleman cooler. The ambient temp. is in the mid-low 60s, which should be fine. If the wort gets a little too warm, just throw in a 2nd ice pack. I think that's a complicated as it needs to be with 2 gallon batches.

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unless you used the wrong ingredients or got an infection, or your temperatures were all over the place during the first 5 days or so, your beer isn't lost.

 

Even if you didn't ferment long enough, all you need is time.  Eventually, it will be drinkable.

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Well, I put it a dark corner of my dining room with the room temperature at 74 degrees F.  I don't have the stick on thermometer so I would imagine the wort went somewhere between 80 and 85 degrees.  Then again, I may not have gotten everything sanitized enough.. Not sure, but that batch fermented for 2 weeks in a 75 degree room, two weeks in a bottle in the basement.. So, I think I did about everything I could wrong.

 

Eh, brewing is a bit more forgiving than a lot of people would have you believe. If your wort was 10 degrees too hot (and that's a big "if"), I would imagine it might have some off flavors but still be drinkable. Maybe let it sit in the bottle a couple more weeks, then see what you have. What did it taste like?

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Was it too sweet, too yeasty, green apple, medicine like? Knowing exactly what the bad taste is can help with the diagnosis. Generally, keeping the temperature near mid-high 60s and three/ four should produce a very tasty  beer, when using the MB refills. Don't be too discouraged. My first beer was so yeasty and cider like that I almost threw it out. However after joining this forum, and learning that I needed to let it sit three - four more weeks, I actually had a beer that was far better than any Budweiser or Miller Light.

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My first batch turned out horrible. I should have checked the forums first instead of following the directions the kit came with. Couple mistakes I made:

1. I only fermented for 2 weeks...according to forums, u need at least 3.

2. No temp strip

3. Need a hydrometer

Ordered two more refills, hope my next batch turns out better. Any advice would be welcome.

Thanks,

Chris

1) you can make up the time in the bottle. 3 weeks is just a safety factor for those who don't have a hydrometer

2) useful but not absolutely necessary

3) Well that's why we say 3 weeks, but no bottle bombs? then it was done.

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i to followed the video directions for my first batch, 2 fermenting, 2 carbing, the rest of the time it's been in the fridge. i did put mine in a cooler though. guess i got luckier then you because i treated the process like a ronco oven set it and forget it lol,was in the cooler for both the fermenrting and carbing. sure have leaarned a lot since then, at least i got the cooler thing right, probably turned an epic fail into something drinkable

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pull it out of the fridge when it warms up the yeast'll take back off.  give it say 2 weeks and 3 days from when you take it from the fridge.

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your first few batches are going to have a huge learning curve. don't expect greatness right away while you learn the ropes. please post what made you think it was 'ruined' so we can tell you what you need to do to fix or prevent it from happening again.

 

we all get a stinker batch now and then... hang in there.

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Was it too sweet, too yeasty, green apple, medicine like? Knowing exactly what the bad taste is can help with the diagnosis. Generally, keeping the temperature near mid-high 60s and three/ four should produce a very tasty  beer, when using the MB refills. Don't be too discouraged. My first beer was so yeasty and cider like that I almost threw it out. However after joining this forum, and learning that I needed to let it sit three - four more weeks, I actually had a beer that was far better than any Budweiser or Miller Light.

Yes, I don't have the link handy, but RickBeer pointed me in the direction of the common "off tastes" describing what each are and why. It's hard to put into words the taste of the beet, but to me it had a "moldy" taste while my son thought more in the lines of "green apple."  I pulled it back out of the fridge and let it set for another week and it helped.  I probably should have let it set another week after that. But, out of the 11 original bottles, I only have 5 left... it's still not great, but it is drinkable...

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Let the remaining bottles sit a few weeks. They will most likely improve. As for your next batches, try and follow the recommendations as outlined on the forum. Use this as a learning experience, as we all did at one time. And, of course, with a little luck and perseverance, you will make a good beer. 

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Let the remaining bottles sit a few weeks. They will most likely improve. As for your next batches, try and follow the recommendations as outlined on the forum. Use this as a learning experience, as we all did at one time. And, of course, with a little luck and perseverance, you will make a good beer. 

We'll see how much I've learned ... After reading everything I could about brewing, priming, and bottling, I will be bottling the Heavy McWee today and then tomorrow will be the Irish Stout and the Leggy Blond... They've sat in the closet that was about 64 - 66 degrees for the past three weeks (and I never once attempted to taste or experiement).  I have the Leggy Blond in the fridge to cold crash and the coffee cold brewing for the Stout.  I just received my bottle brush, 7th generation unscented soap, and bottling wand... All I have left to do is make sure everything is clean and sanitized, bottle the beer, and be patient for another 4 weeks to 4 months...

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Temp strips and hydrometers aren't required, but they do help. What exactly was the issue with your 1st batch?

It tasted god awful...like spoiled apple cider.

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When the directions say 68 - 76 degrees F, that should be the temperature of the wort, not the room temperature.  I believe that's why my Weissbier turned out tasting pretty rank.. Like a lot of the newbies (which I definitely consider myself) are anxious to get that batch in the fridge to drink.  Read everything you can here in the Forums, make sure EVERYTHING is clean and sanitized (very important), then follow the 3-4 rule of thumb... Don't let one batch discourage you, I would bet that most everyone here has had a batch come out tasting like pond scum at some point when they started brewing. 

I think this is what I did wrong, I assumed it was room temp not wort temp. House got down pretty cold during the fermentation process (it was 5 degrees outside). I am sure my yeast went to sleep and never finished fermenting (which is something I didn't realize could happen...live and learn!)

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unless you used the wrong ingredients or got an infection, or your temperatures were all over the place during the first 5 days or so, your beer isn't lost.

 

Even if you didn't ferment long enough, all you need is time.  Eventually, it will be drinkable.

I still have the beer in the bottles...would i need to take them out of fridge and let them sit again?

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pull it out of the fridge when it warms up the yeast'll take back off.  give it say 2 weeks and 3 days from when you take it from the fridge.

Ok,  I'll give it a shot. Thanks to everyone for the great advice!

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The sour apple flavor is due to acetaldehyde. The most common cause is removing the beer from the yeast too early before the yeast has a chance to complete fermentation. While the 2 weeks recommended in our instructions will make beer, going that extra week will make even better beer. High fermentation and/or pitching temperatures will cause it, too. Don't worry though, the off-flavor should dissipate with further conditioning.

To prevent this in the future, be sure you aerate your wort really well (stir the crap out of it for a few minutes before adding your yeast), ferment at the lower end of the temperature range (65 degrees is the sweet spot for most yeasts), leave the beer on the yeast longer to allow full attenuation, and let the beer condition for at least 3 weeks.

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The sour apple flavor is due to acetaldehyde. The most common cause is removing the beer from the yeast too early before the yeast has a chance to complete fermentation. While the 2 weeks recommended in our instructions will make beer, going that extra week will make even better beer. High fermentation and/or pitching temperatures will cause it, too. Don't worry though, the off-flavor should dissipate with further conditioning.

To prevent this in the future, be sure you aerate your wort really well (stir the crap out of it for a few minutes before adding your yeast), ferment at the lower end of the temperature range (65 degrees is the sweet spot for most yeasts), leave the beer on the yeast longer to allow full attenuation, and let the beer condition for at least 3 weeks.

Thanks Josh. What does "conditioning" the beer mean?

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Thanks Josh. What does "conditioning" the beer mean?

If you can find one of RickBeer's posts, he has a link to the glossary of terms and it will tell you virtually every term you will run into while brewing.

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When you pour your beer into bottles, it's considered "green" or unpolished.  You just spent 3 weeks (hopefully) in your LBK creating a gem.  Now that gem needs about 4 weeks of "conditioning" to polish the rough edges and give your gem a showroom shine.  The bigger the gem (higher alcohol content), the more polishing required.

 

Think of a 10ct diamond coming right out of the rock.  It takes TONS of man hours to clean that thing up and make it quality.

 

That's the story of bottle conditioning.

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When you pour your beer into bottles, it's considered "green" or unpolished.  You just spent 3 weeks (hopefully) in your LBK creating a gem.  Now that gem needs about 4 weeks of "conditioning" to polish the rough edges and give your gem a showroom shine.  The bigger the gem (higher alcohol content), the more polishing required.

 

Think of a 10ct diamond coming right out of the rock.  It takes TONS of man hours to clean that thing up and make it quality.

 

That's the story of bottle conditioning.

And then you have newbies like me that think they've made a diamond and it turns into 10ct cubic zirconia. :)

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And then you have newbies like me that think they've made a diamond and it turns into 10ct cubic zirconia. :)

Truth is... we're all making CZ.

 

The question is: can our CZ stand up to a commercially made and perfected diamond to someone who didn't know what was what?

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It tasted god awful...like spoiled apple cider.

What kind of beer were you brewing?

I wonder if that points to a problem with cleaning and sanitation? IMO, good sanitation practice removes about 80 percent of brewing problems, patience, another 15 percent and the other 5 percent of the problems can be resolved with good technique (measuring, good source of water, the right yeast and so forth) 

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When you pour your beer into bottles, it's considered "green" or unpolished.  You just spent 3 weeks (hopefully) in your LBK creating a gem.  Now that gem needs about 4 weeks of "conditioning" to polish the rough edges and give your gem a showroom shine.  The bigger the gem (higher alcohol content), the more polishing required.

 

Think of a 10ct diamond coming right out of the rock.  It takes TONS of man hours to clean that thing up and make it quality.

 

That's the story of bottle conditioning.

Makes perfect sense, thanks

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What kind of beer were you brewing?

I wonder if that points to a problem with cleaning and sanitation? IMO, good sanitation practice removes about 80 percent of brewing problems, patience, another 15 percent and the other 5 percent of the problems can be resolved with good technique (measuring, good source of water, the right yeast and so forth) 

I was using the American light beer malt that came with the beer kit.

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Truth is... we're all making CZ.

 

The question is: can our CZ stand up to a commercially made and perfected diamond to someone who didn't know what was what?

The best compliment I've received thus far is from my son! He compared my Irish Stout to Mother's Winter Grind and said my stout was better even if it was flat. I think he is a little biased, but I'll take that till it's ready to drink.

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The best compliment I've received thus far is from my son! He compared my Irish Stout to Mother's Winter Grind and said my stout was better even if it was flat. I think he is a little biased, but I'll take that till it's ready to drink.

Nice, congrats on the batch, wish I could try it too.

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Next time you place your order get a stick on thermometer.  I personally do consider a thermometer a necessity when brewing.  The CAL refill is not the best, but it is pretty difficult to really screw that up if you watch your temperatures.

 

Also, I would keep the beer you are not planning on drinking right away on the shelf, and put those beers you will be drinking in the fridge 1-3 days prior.  That way the shelf beer can continue to condition.  I know it is difficult now, but once you get a pipeline in place it will be easier.  That is why many of us also consider another LBK an absolute necessity as well.

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Next time you place your order get a stick on thermometer.  I personally do consider a thermometer a necessity when brewing.  The CAL refill is not the best, but it is pretty difficult to really screw that up if you watch your temperatures.

 

Also, I would keep the beer you are not planning on drinking right away on the shelf, and put those beers you will be drinking in the fridge 1-3 days prior.  That way the shelf beer can continue to condition.  I know it is difficult now, but once you get a pipeline in place it will be easier.  That is why many of us also consider another LBK an absolute necessity as well.

Thanks Da Yooper, I recently started my 2nd batch and now I have a therometer on my LBK. Funn you should mention a 2nd LBK...I was just thinking about getting another one today and do exactly what you mentioned...getting a pipeline going! Great minds think alike.

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The CAL refill is not the best, but it is pretty difficult to really screw that up if you watch your temperatures.

 

 

I think CAL is a decent base for other recipes, and  I've had pretty good luck with it. When you're ready to experiment with your own recipes it's not a bad starting point, IMHO. It's just light malt extract with a little built-in bittering hops.

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I think CAL is a decent base for other recipes, and  I've had pretty good luck with it. When you're ready to experiment with your own recipes it's not a bad starting point, IMHO. It's just light malt extract with a little built-in bittering hops.

I'm using CAL a lot now with my recipes.  It's basically transitioning me into using straight malt extract and running hop boil schedules.

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I'm using CAL a lot now with my recipes.  It's basically transitioning me into using straight malt extract and running hop boil schedules.

 

Take the plunge. It's super-easy and you'll be happy with the results. Plus hops smell awesome, and you can show your friends what a hardcore hophead you are by crushing up hop pellets and snorting them. 

 

(Note: I haven't really done that.)

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Take the plunge. It's super-easy and you'll be happy with the results. Plus hops smell awesome, and you can show your friends what a hardcore hophead you are by crushing up hop pellets and snorting them. 

 

(Note: I haven't really done that.)

What? Snort, or snort hop pellets?  :lol:

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What? Snort, or snort hop pellets?  :lol:

 

Snorting the whole pellet is super-hardcore. Rehab might not be a bad idea.

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Snorting the whole pellet is super-hardcore. Rehab might not be a bad idea.

Ok just so were clear; snorting is not a new concept, but snorting hops is. :lol:

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Yep, exactly. After a while simply drinking hoppy beer doesn't do the job, so up the ol' nose it goes. Next come syringes filled with hop oil. 

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I think CAL is a decent base for other recipes, and  I've had pretty good luck with it. When you're ready to experiment with your own recipes it's not a bad starting point, IMHO. It's just light malt extract with a little built-in bittering hops.

Oh, its a great base.  Just too many people either expect it to 1) taste like a Bud Light, or 2) kick you in the butt like Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA so get disappointed.  What I was saying is it is a very simple brew so very hard to screw up unless you really try.

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Yep, exactly. After a while simply drinking hoppy beer doesn't do the job, so up the ol' nose it goes. Next come syringes filled with hop oil. 

IPAs are gateway drugs now?

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They were smoking hops over in another thread.....

Guys, let's try to keep the hops in the beers and out of our noses/veins, please. If you plan on putting hops into any orifice other than your mouth, then you might be at the wrong forums. lol. :lol:

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www.kinkyhopsuse.com

Maybe I should purchase the domain name while the fad is still hot.  :lol:

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I made 2 batches now. both batches have no flavor. good carbonation good foam, everything seem right just no flavor. ferm for 3 weeks bottled for3 week put in the fridge for 2 week. ferm at 70 degrees. sanitized everything. scratching my head.

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first one was American light that came with the kit then I bought and made Oktoberfest

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I would like to point out that the bottle conditioning phase of 3 or 4 weeks.  Is the minimum time, most(not all) brews will benefit from additional conditioning. The Oktoberfest is one that will benefit

 

only thing that helps a CAL that was brewed straight is to chug. ;)  

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They were smoking hops over in another thread.....

Guys, let's try to keep the hops in the beers and out of our noses/veins, please. If you plan on putting hops into any orifice other than your mouth, then you might be at the wrong forums. lol. :lol:

No danger here Josh....... up to few days ago I didn't even know what hop pellets were. LOL

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I made 2 batches now. both batches have no flavor. good carbonation good foam, everything seem right just no flavor. ferm for 3 weeks bottled for3 week put in the fridge for 2 week. ferm at 70 degrees. sanitized everything. scratching my head.

A lot will depend on what you are expecting.  If you are expecting a Dogfish Head 120, there will be no flavor.  If you are a Bud Light drinker, the flavor will be overpowering.  Also, remember that there is a difference between flavor and aroma.

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