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I've only been brewing a short time. The first batch was American Classic Light that came with the kit. It was drinkable but not the best. A little cloudy not much head. I chalked it up to first brew. I tried Classic Light once more and to put it mildly it was swill. Very cloudy, head only with aggressive pour, bad taste. 1.9 gallons went down the drain. I tried Diablo IPA. Perfect brew! Huge head, good lacing, nice color, excellent taste. Only complaint was it was gone too soon. Currently brewing two LBK's. One American Classic, one Surly Dog IPA. I tried the American Classic tonight. Dark, cloudy, bad smell. Two sips out of two bottles. Could be used as torture. Looks like all 2 gallons will be making its way to the treatment plant. It makes me worry about the Surly Dog IPA that is carbonating now. I sterilize keg, can opener, whisk, pot, funnel for sugar, bottles, and caps. I only use bottled water. I keep the keg in a cooler to keep the temperature stabile. There is almost no fluctuation in temperature. Any ideas on what I am missing?

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with out more to go on, I'd have a long look at my sterilization procedures.(BTW the was a very good description of a Classic American Light)

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While clearly you have a problem with this 3rd batch of CAL, why on earth would you make it a 3rd time given your distaste for it (which I agree with)?

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The CAL when made correctly, fermented and conditioned following the 3-4-2 should produce a good beer. The final product when I've made it is comparable to a fresh macro brewery light beer and definitely drinkable. You definitely made a mistake somewhere to produce a beer that your describing and I'm assuming the reason why you made it three times is because you bought it on sale.

If I were to guess at what the problem could be I would say its a sanitation or oxidation issue, or you're using expired ingredients.

If its a matter of taste preference  stick to making hoppier beers with more body

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I made the CAL three times because yes it was cheap. Two came with kits and one was on sale. All were within expiration dates. Regarding taste there is really nothing wrong with an occasional light beer, although I would rather stick with the IPAs

Sterilization process:

Everything is washed with clear unscented hand soap, and rinsed multiple times. I fill the keg with 1 gallon tap water/1/2 packet of sterilizer. Cap, shake the heck out of it, open the spigot let it flow a bit, close. I fill a plate with the solution from the spigot on keg. I then put all items inside keg, and let sit for about 15-20 minutes while I start working on the wort. After 15 or 20 minutes I remove tools from keg and place on the plate, and drain the keg. I place the lid on the sterilized plate. After this process I make sure my hands do not come in contact with any items that will touch beer.

I always brew per the instructions. Ferment 2 weeks, Bottle ( 1 liter with 2.5 tsp sugar) Carbonate 2 weeks, Refrigerate 2 weeks. Then disappointment. I know it is something I am doing. The friend that got me into this has been brewing for two years and has only had minor problems. He said he has never lost a keg.

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I always brew per the instructions. Ferment 2 weeks, Bottle ( 1 liter with 2.5 tsp sugar) Carbonate 2 weeks, Refrigerate 2 weeks. Then disappointment. I know it is something I am doing. The friend that got me into this has been brewing for two years and has only had minor problems. He said he has never lost a keg.

And that's why they were green and under carbed. The timeline laid out in the instructions is optimistic at best.

 

3 weeks in the fermenter, and 4 in the bottle @ room temp.  Only refrigerate what you plan to drink at a sitting for 3 days.

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Bingo! Jim hit the problem right on. Time. Most all the seasoned brewers on this forum use the 3/4 method (3 weeks in the fermenter, 4 weeks in the bottles at room temp). The extra week in the fermenter gives the beer a chance to clear up & 4 weeks in the bottles at room temp is ample time for carbonation + conditioning for the CAL refill. Good call Jim!

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Sound like infected beer ... As a suggestion, between each fermentation, I disassemble the spigot on the LBK and clean everything in a bleach/water solution.  Bleach (real bleach, not the 'soft and nice smelling' crap they sell) can easily kill just about everything (including yeast) and it can break down biological gooey stuff left behind by micro organisms (friend and foe).

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While I wholeheartedly agree with Jim's summation I noticed you didn't give any details on your bottling procedure.

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I've never had an infected batch, at least not that I noticed. Shouldn't the smell & taste be very off if its infected too?

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I've never had an infected batch, at least not that I noticed. Shouldn't the smell & taste be very off if its infected too?

Yes, but not the way he described.  All his descriptions yelled "Green Beer". Bottle infections usually result in "gushers"(think mentos in diet coke). In the fermenter, you will have no doubt when you open it and look/smell.

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RickBeer  has a few "must read"  under his posts. Read them, they are helpful.

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Yes, but not the way he described.  All his descriptions yelled "Green Beer". Bottle infections usually result in "gushers"(think mentos in diet coke). In the fermenter, you will have no doubt when you open it and look/smell.

 

I've been carb'in with Mentos... I thought thats what those drops were.  That explains some stuff.

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Well, I'm starting a new batch. I will definitely use the 3/4/2 timeline. I really don't think it's infected beer. Bottling is done very carefully as well. The bottles are all washed with clear unscented hand soap. Rinsed and shaken the heck out of. I fill each one half way with a 1 gallon to 1/2 packet of sanitizer. Cap and shake. Let sit about 15 - 20 minutes. Empty the bottles and loosely cap. Remove the cap without touching inside. Fill from spigot at 45 degree angle to prevent any foam. I do not let bottle touch outside of spigot. Always keep it about 1/2" away. I never drain the keg down to the sediment. I cap immediately. Bottles are kept in a cooler in a 70 degree room. If there is a temperature fluctuation the cooler should buffer it. I keep my fermenter on top of the cooler, and the indicator on the keg is always a green check. If the keg has a green check, inside the cooler should be close.

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Read RickBeer's must reads. A lot more information than from Mr. Beer. Great that he is sharing his trial an error results. It will cut down a lot of my trials. Already found things I could be doing better.

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Ya know, what you're describing kinda sounds like you may have gotten a lot of trub in your spigot from the fermentation and/or the beer probably wasn't settled enough when you bottled, Spring Valley Brewster. You may not have noticed it in your IPA. Could there be a possibility that your LBK was tilted towards the spigot end during fermentation? If so, lean it the other way so it tilts away frim the spigot & by all means give yourself that extra week in the LBK before bottling. I'm sure you've been gleaning what I'm saying from RickBeer's encyclopedia of blunders (ha ha just kiddin Rick) but I just had an "aha!" moment & thought I'd throw it out there as a possible cause for your rotten luck with CAL.

On a side note, I like to use CAL as a base for some of my creations because its kind of a clean slate to build a recipe from or test hop flavors with. I'd bet within a few months you'll be able to whip a CAL into something good if you have a mind to.

Cheers!

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I used to use unscented hand soap but it would a film on my equipment so I use it to clean my hands. try use Craft

Meister for all your cleaning

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Read RickBeer's must reads. A lot more information than from Mr. Beer. Great that he is sharing his trial an error results. It will cut down a lot of my trials. Already found things I could be doing better.

Just out of curiosity, what was the wort temperature during fermentation? I apologize if this has already been addressed, I may have missed it. One thing I have learned from all the different posts throughout the community is the instructions are referring to the wort temperature, not room temperature. That and patience makes for a pretty fine brew.

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Temperature.. I have to get a stickon one that has actual temps. I just have the Mr Beer checkmark. The checkmark is always bordering on cold. LBK is an a cooler just to cushion spikes. Liquid temp probably did not go over 76. There is no way of telling. It is possible.

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