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First AG, tasted great before carbonation. Now, not so much

Well my first AG brew (Dead Ringer kit) is finally fully carbed and the verdict is in…not so good. A little history behind this brew, I lost about 1gal of sparge water (I assume some of it was from deadspace and I didn’t tilt the mashtun). The final OG going into the fermenter was about 1.041 (target was 1.064) so I threw about 14oz of sugar dissolved in water into the fermenter just after pitching.

When I tasted this before bottle conditioning it tasted good. Very dry but not overly thin. The malt flavor was a bit subdued but had a very noticeable fruity flavor to give the hint of sweetness. Now that it’s carbed the fruitiness is gone completely. I taste a slight hint of maltiness in the aftertaste but for the most part this tastes like bitter carbonated hop water. Also after drinking a couple I get subtle grassy almost plastic-like taste in the back of my throat. I assume this is just due to the water-thin body of the beer.

I realize now I probably should have just left it alone and just called it a session IPA. Live and learn.

If it’s in a keg you could dissolve some maltodextrin and add for a little more body.

Or, it you really want to futz with it, put it back in the fermentor with some DME added and induce another round of fermentation.

Or just live with it as is.

[quote=“Steeler D”]If it’s in a keg you could dissolve some maltodextrin and add for a little more body.

Or, it you really want to futz with it, put it back in the fermentor with some DME added and induce another round of fermentation.

Or just live with it as is.[/quote]

Nah it’s bottled. My days of trying to fix bottled beers are behind me. Too much work for an uncertain result. Alas living with it is all I can do.

That is a big difference between target & actual OG. How did you sparge & what was your assumed efficiency when you calculated the amount of grain needed to hit target? If you simply replaced 1 gallon of late runnings with water you would end up with more sugar than that assuming everything else was working properly.

Standard batch sparge. It was a NB kit with their terrible crush. This was before I bought a mill. So the efficiency was low partially because of that. There was quite a bit of water left when I was cleaning out the spent grains so I lost a bit of sugars cause of that. The combination of the crush and the loss in the mashtun it ended up as a low 60s efficiency. Since getting my own mill my efficiency is in the high 70s to low 80s

Edit: I just reread my notes and 1.041 was my pre-boil gravity. 1.051 was my gravity into the fermentor.

14 oz of sugar as in table sugar?

I’ve found that you can’t really judge a beer before it’s fully carbonated and chilled. You can get an idea of how it will taste, but the flavor changes (usually for the better) after being carbonated and chilled. It might be just over hopped. I’ve found some pacific northwest hops to get kind of soapy sometimes, perhaps that’s what you’re getting? Also, if you didn’t treat your water with campden, then you might be getting some chlorophenols. Have you tried letting the beer warm up, then tasting it? The colder it is, the more bitter and less malt flavor you’ll perceive.

Correct. I figured drying it out would be within the style. With 1lb of C40 in the recipe I figured I was safe to not thin it out too much.

I did treat with campden so the chlorophenols shouldnt be a problem

I don’t think the hop schedule was too aggressive. It was 2oz Centennial @ 60, 1oz Centennial @ 20, and 2oz Centennial @ 5, 1oz Centennial dry hop. But soapy might be one way to describe the lingering aftertaste.

The maltiness definitely improves as it gets warmer but its still a very subtle thin flavor. Not unpleasant but not anything I would expect from an IPA or really any beer for that matter.

Another possibility is since I bought the kit pre-crushed, life happened and I didn’t get to brewing it for about 2 months after buying it. I did keep all the grain in a cool dry place in a double plastic bag so I didn’t think that it would be much of an issue but its another thing to consider.

It’s standard for me to chew on a few grains while I’m measuring them out. It’s kind of an easy way to check on the freshness of the malt before I actually commit them to the brew. Plus they taste great.

Ah well, live and learn I guess. Might want to keep some DME on hand for your next batch, but it is a shame about this one. Could make yourself a couple Shandies this summer I guess.

An excellent idea!

Sorry to hear about that, Matt, my 1rst all grain was 15 yrs ago, and all my old notes are gone. I do know this, the more you do it, the more you’ll get a handle on it. My brew day worksheets are in order of what happens first and so on till I’m done. This helps because of 2 things: 1) age and memory,2) how many I’ve had while brewing.

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