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Caribou Slobber Extract

My first Caribou Slobber (from extract) has reached drinking time, and I’m not sure if there’s something I’ve done wrong or if I’m just not a fan of this recipe. It seems like a popular kit, almost a flag ship for NB; so I’m pretty sure the problem is on my end. I find it drinkable, but just barely; my least favorite to-date.

I brewed using the recommended liquid yeast (1332), with a 24 hr stir-plated starter. OG was 1.052 (hit the kit’s numbers) 1 week primary, then 3-weeks in a second stage carboy. Bottled at a FG of 1.014. The bottles have just passed 3 weeks.

The appearance is just black, not brown. Sort of like a Guinness, but without the ruby highlights.
Mouthfeel is watery thin, which I’m a little surprised about. I like the carbonation, but it’s probably over-carbed technically; I just blindly used the whole 5oz. sugar pack.
The the flavor is dominated by a not-from-hops bitterness; it is almost burnt tasting, with a cocoa finish. Sort of like biting into a bar of baker’s chocolate. And actually it’s more like there’s not much flavor in the beer itself, the baker’s chocolate is more of an after taste.

From the color and taste, I’m suspecting over-steeped grains could be the issue. We usually bring the water up to temp then hold it for the desired time, which is not quite how the instructions are written. I don’t recall any signs of over-caramalization in the brew-pot, so I don’t think my electric stove over-cooked it. And since it’s an extract kit I didn’t have an opportunity to mess up mashing/sparging.

Sooo, If we messed something up, what? I’m willing to keep an open mind and try again the next time one of us wants to make a brown ale… You don’t blame Betty Crocker for burnt cake. Or is this close enough to how this recipe is supposed to turn out, and maybe I should just stick with stuff I like better?

Caribou Slobber was the first extract I ever brewed. Followed the directions to a T. Used the default dry yeast. After three weeks in the bottle it was pretty good, if not a little thin. My son, brother and I drank them over a three or four week period and then I left a few in the back of the fridge for about two months. Holy cow what a difference two months made - it was spectacular(for a first brew, anyway). My brother is a high gravity drinker and he even thought it was great. I’m no pro at this, but I can at least attest to the fact that the CS is a good kit-and I know I made some mistakes with that batch(ferm temp a little high, not long enough in primary, didn’t even take gravity readings) but I did steep the grains exactly as directed. I’m just thinking maybe yours, with a little time, might be ok. Hopefully this will give you some hope, anyway. I’m sure there are some pros on here who can maybe help a bit more. Good luck

Caribou Slobber is now the only brown ale I brew. Highest FG has been 1.012. Lowest FG 1.009. Shortest primary time 3 weeks. Longest primary time 5 weeks. No secondary. Much better mouth feel and flavor than Moose Drool. Bottle conditioning to get the great taste a minimum of four weeks. Try it again, but let it set on the yeast cake for at least three weeks. Keep the fermentation temperature below 68°. I also used Wyeast 1332 Northwest Ale for the yeast.

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