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Avoiding that 'Home Brew' taste

Hey guys, I just finished my third batch (Waldo Lake Amber Ale) and tried a sample before kegging/bottling. I had an observation I want to bring to your attention. The kit was a partial mash extract kit with the malt syrup jugs, as were the 2 before that (Brewers best IPA and Brewers best Wheat beer).

The ‘taste’ I keep getting I’m sure that most of you are familiar with. I can’t put my finger on it, but it does kind of overwhelm the beer at first. I guess it’s the malt extract/syrup? Is there anything that I can do to reduce this taste? I’m about to brew the White House Honey Porter, and I’d like a nice smooth taste without that other “taste” I keep getting… I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining, because it’s still good! Just a little off. Any suggestions? Should I switch to all-grain soon? haha. Thanks!

The two most important factors for making good beer are fermentation temp and having enough yeast. Recommended ferm temps from the yeast manufacturers are too high. And they also claim their products are adequate without making a starter, which is often no the case.

The other thing I can think of, is that you have to give the beer time for the yeast to settle after bottle conditioning. Seems like the beer is always better after a month for complete clearing.

Could be extract twang. Switch to all grain and that will go away.

I don’t believe it’s the extract. It is most likely either yeast byproducts from stressed yeast (temp control and pitching appropriate qty’s of healthy yeast) or off-flavors from infection.

If you switch to all grain while you’re making bad extract beer, you’ll just make bad all-grain beer.

Buy your kits from our sponsor or Austin Homebrew and you’ll probably see the twang go away - it’s often caused by using old/stale extract and NB and AHS sell so many extract kits that their product is guaranteed to be fresh.

+1 on extract (as a form of brewing) not being the problem.

*Good ingredients (NB, AHB, are both excellent for quality ingredients) - waldo lake is a NB kit, so I assume you are using NB to some extent.

*Low ferm temps (60-62 room temp. because beer ferments higher. Cool wort to that temp before pitching yeast)

*enough yeast, good yeast

*Good recipe formulation - go with kits

*Also - water (possibly) - if your water is very hard, can cause plenty of flavor problems. Use Reverse Osmosis or distilled water for a batch and you can rule out any water issues easily.

*patience - how old is your beer? Are you moving it too soon? I go with a 3 week primary and then bottle or keg - let the yeast finish its job. If you choose to do secondary, I would still leave it in primary for 2 weeks before moving it. I consider a 5-6 week old beer (from brew day) pretty young for most beers.

I always thought extract beers could not compete with all-grain - but I have had a few over the past year made by a very good and knowledgeable brewer and they have been just outstanding. No way you could tell they were “extract” beers.

I’ve brewed the Waldo Lake kit a few times… :wink: . Yeast health and fermentation temp are vital, as has been said. I also found that some cold aging really improved it.

Thanks. I guess to clarify, I wasn’t expecting that same taste that came out of the NB Kit that I got from the Brewers Best. I want to blame the extracts and maybe this is my way of assuring myself that it’s time to switch to all-grain.

I’ve used distilled water every time I brewed, so I don’t think it’s that.
I’ll make sure to do a yeast starter for the next one, even though I have a smack pack ready to go.

I have 2-stage fermentation, and I kept it in each for 3 weeks in my basement in the dark, so I’m not sure what else to do about that.

I also tried to keep the yeast out as much as possible from the bottling bucket. The “taste” came from pulling a sample from the top of the beer in the carboy, so no yeast should have penetrated the tube, it’s all pretty settled out.

I think that the final verdict is that All-grain is the way to go. We will see what happens with the NB White House Honey Porter, if I’m getting similar results then I know it’s time.

I can assure you that for the Waldo Lake amber, you DEFINITELY need a yeast starter.

And I do not think you have told us what your basement ambient temps are, or your actual beer temps during fermentation.

I am guessing that your problem lies in a combination of too little yeast and too warm during fermentation.

These post always crack me up “its because you are using Extract” Wrong it has to do with your ingredents and/or your process. You cant tell if my beer is Extract or All Grain. Excellent sanitizing, Full 5 gallon boil, Fresh Ingredents, Pitch fresh yeast, Pitch with a Yeast starter, Yeast Nutrient, Airate the shit out of the wort, Use tempature control, Water isnt really to big of a deal on Extract as long as it tastes good I wouldnt use distilled water I would use spring water, Hydrometer readings, Some beer takes a week or two after its been kegged to really shine. Do those things and you will have a Clean beer.

Fermentation temp can give it a twang, especially if it is way too high (higher than mid-70’s.)

I think what really helps clean up the homebrews is to not secondary, leave it in the primary for 3 weeks, and shake the carboy every couple of days to keep the yeast stirred up so they can clean up after themselves. Been doing that for a year now and my brews have been turning out fantastic.

I somehow found this digest of a couple BYO articles that helped change my mind:

http://www.mugzhomebrew.org/LinkClick.a ... 87&mid=554

[quote=“twdjr1”]Fermentation temp can give it a twang, especially if it is way too high (higher than mid-70’s.)

I think what really helps clean up the homebrews is to not secondary, leave it in the primary for 3 weeks, and shake the carboy every couple of days to keep the yeast stirred up so they can clean up after themselves. Been doing that for a year now and my brews have been turning out fantastic.

I somehow found this digest of a couple BYO articles that helped change my mind:

http://www.mugzhomebrew.org/LinkClick.a ... 87&mid=554[/quote]

The link doesn’t seem to work it creates a download and jumbles up all the words?

I got that twang with my first all grain and my first 2 extracts. Now I am well aware that it was DEFINITELY the fermentation temp. I brewed my first 3 batches at room temp not knowing much about ferm temp and i thought it was good beer. I then learned that ferm temp and yeast are the ticket to a good batch of beer. I brewed my next batch ( all grain 3 crop creme ale ) and fermented @ 62 instead of 74 and man let me tell u … its a world of difference. That twang is byproduct and esters from the yeast . I describe then to people as green apple taste.

++++++1 here.

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