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PmdBama

Getting a little frustrated

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I'm three batches in and am getting a little frustrated, and I'm hoping you fellas can help me out. I'm on my third batch, and none have really come out where I really enjoy them. Definately yeasty, malty beers with low head retention. I'm not looking for an award winning beer, just something I'm proud to share with friends (most of whom are beer drinkers.)

Batch 1 was an Englishman's nut brown with booster and brown sugar. Brown sugar was the culprit.

Batch 2 was an Englishman's nut brown with DME. Better, the problems mentioned above still existed, although the mouthfeel was much better.

Batch 3 is basically Howlin' Red Ale but with a DME as a substitute for the MrB UME.

All of the batches adhered to the 2-2-2 method with the exception of a few bottles from the third that are still conditioning room temp (due to limited fridge space).

I bought two international series variety packs at BBB, so the next recipe with come from them plus what I can gather at the LHBS.

I guess what I'm looking for is either a correction on what I'm already doing (according to MrB instructions and recommendations) or a sure-fire recipe with what I've got on hand, keeping in mind, I'm not afraid of boiling hops, etc...

Sorry for the long post, but I'm looking for success!

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Not quite sure. I know DME contains more Un-fermentable sugar than HME or UME, so could this be the reason behind the low head? Maybe you need to compensate by adding some booster or other sugars? DME experts...chime in here..

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PmdBama wrote:

I'm three batches in and am getting a little frustrated, and I'm hoping you fellas can help me out. I'm on my third batch, and none have really come out where I really enjoy them. Definately yeasty, malty beers with low head retention. I'm not looking for an award winning beer, just something I'm proud to share with friends (most of whom are beer drinkers.)

Batch 1 was an Englishman's nut brown with booster and brown sugar. Brown sugar was the culprit.

Batch 2 was an Englishman's nut brown with DME. Better, the problems mentioned above still existed, although the mouthfeel was much better.

Batch 3 is basically Howlin' Red Ale but with a DME as a substitute for the MrB UME.

All of the batches adhered to the 2-2-2 method with the exception of a few bottles from the third that are still conditioning room temp (due to limited fridge space).

I bought two international series variety packs at BBB, so the next recipe with come from them plus what I can gather at the LHBS.

I guess what I'm looking for is either a correction on what I'm already doing (according to MrB instructions and recommendations) or a sure-fire recipe with what I've got on hand, keeping in mind, I'm not afraid of boiling hops, etc...

Sorry for the long post, but I'm looking for success!

Englishmen's Nut Brown is one of my favorites. I have had good luck with adding Mellow Amber UME, brown sugar, Willemette, and Fuggles hops. Better than Newcastle which is one of my favorites. I have never tried Howlin Red Ale.

ENB is my favorite HME.

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PmdBama wrote:

All of the batches adhered to the 2-2-2 method with the exception of a few bottles from the third that are still conditioning room temp (due to limited fridge space).

The last 2 weeks of conditioning should be done at room temp not in the fridge. That may help. During the conditioning the yeast is still a bit active and cleans up the beer taste and feel. If your putting them right in the fridge after carbing your most likely putting the yeast to sleep and they are no longer working.

Some of the better beers I've done have conditioned at room temp for a month if not longer. You'll see a difference the longer they condition.

A couple of other ideas, and things I've started doing to improve my beers is to steep 1/4lbs Carapils, and 1/4lbs Crystal 60L with my amber beers. I'm recommending 60L for the English Nut Brown. Steep the grains for 25 minutes, add in 1/2-1lbs Light DME or Amber DME. Boil past the hot break for 30 minutes. Then take off the flame and add the HME and any other ingredients MrB directions call for.

Ferment and condition then give it that extra time at room temp to condition, you should notice a difference in the beer. Also if you try some of the MrB recipes, not just the refils you'll notice a difference in the beers. The refils always seem a bit thin to me, where the recipes seem fuller. Although I still add the steeped grains and a little DME to kick it up a bit.

Hope that helps give you some ideas.

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I second the two weeks of conditioning at room temp. I was experiencing similar problems to what you describe, and found that the culprit was putting them directly in the fridge for the last "2."

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If you find the beers too malty with HME + DME/UME, add some hops. You can dry hop for aroma or you can boil them to make more use of them. Boil 60 minutes for bitterness, 20 for flavor 5-10 for aroma.

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bpgreen wrote:

If you find the beers too malty with HME + DME/UME, add some hops. You can dry hop for aroma or you can boil them to make more use of them. Boil 60 minutes for bitterness, 20 for flavor 5-10 for aroma.

Now that's what I wanted to know, right there. Thanks. Do you boil into the extract, or boil into water before extract goes in?

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tabasco wrote:

bpgreen wrote:

If you find the beers too malty with HME + DME/UME, add some hops. You can dry hop for aroma or you can boil them to make more use of them. Boil 60 minutes for bitterness, 20 for flavor 5-10 for aroma.

Now that's what I wanted to know, right there. Thanks. Do you boil into the extract, or boil into water before extract goes in?

You want to boil the hops in some UME (LME/DME) so the bittering agents have something to bind to. I think the booster will also work for this. The hops in HME have already been boiled, so you don't want to boil the HME.

Boiling malt extract can darken it some and can also change the flavor a bit (I think it adds a caramel taste), so you may not want to boil all of the malt extract with the hops.

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Yeah, if you're getting too malty of a taste, I'd suggest balancing it out with some more hops. I think hops may help head retention as well, but don't quote me on that. So far I've done two batches with steeped grains. None are ready yet, but if the hydrometer samples have anything to say about it, there is a major difference in the taste. My beers were good, but seemed missing something. Those samples didn't seem to be missing it.

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I agree with above stepping grains will help out a bunch for added flavor. I add steeping grains to all of my batches now.

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ok, and the conditioning at room temp makes me feel a little better now that I realize I've got six sitting in a cooler in the bathroom. maybe i'll throw one in the fridge to taste tonight. I'll let you guys know the results.

Thanks so much for the input. This clears things up. Heading to the LHBS today and will be brewing up a couple batches with your advice in mind.

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on a related note, if the bottles in the fridge are indeed under-conditioned, should i pull them out and let them sit at room temp, and try and get the yeast to wake up for a little while?

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Yes.

Note: If they have been in there a while then once they warm up, invert them and swirl. (Not you, the beer. :silly: ) Do not shake, just hold the bottle by the neck and swirl it to loosen the settled yeast from the bottom of the bottle. Then place them back upright.

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I has SERIOUS improvement in head retention once I started boiling extra hops. You may want to consider it. Not just chucking hops dry into the fermenter, boil them.

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