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First batch Irish Red may have to dump

Hello all,

I just forced carbonated my first batch ever of brew and it taste awful. Basically not drinkable and if it doesn’t improve I’ll dump :frowning: I believe it’s a bit under carbonated but it still shouldn’t test all that bad should it? Hard to describe, maybe a flat Bud light. I turned the PSI up to 50 and rolled the keg, slowly turning the pressure down. About 10 min. of rolling and then tried a sample when PSI was down to 10. I forced the carb after the beer spent one night in the keg in the fridge, so it was cold. Will cold conditioning help this over a few days? It needs to get A LOT better to drink.

A little background:

My first batch, Danstar dry yeast, extract, SG 1.036, FG 1.004, ~ABV 4.1%, strong fermentation day 2, used FermoTemp and ThermoStar control to keep at 70 (cooler Seattle basement), fermentation in primary became very quiet in days 3-4, 2 weeks in primary, 4 weeks in secondary, 3 gallons in keg, bottled the other 2 gallons (bottles are conditioning for 2 weeks). Used kitchen stove to boil, decent ice bath in sink, followed instructions and fairly certain I hit timing and temps on all aspects. The color is beautiful, not so much the taste.

This is quite frustrating. I have 2 more batches coming through, the bourbon porter and caribou, and have bought and used a bunch more gear: kegging, carboy, 3 FermoTemps and controllers, flasks, EdelMetal burner (used on 3rd batch) etc.

Fingers crossed cold conditioning will help?! thank you

My inclination is to say you fermented too warm for the Nottingham yeast. Notty ferments best at the very low end of the temperature range.

Get it to serving carbonation and try the beer very cold and also up around 44°F. Some carbonation time and sampling at different temperatures might make a change in the flavors.

Don’t give up. We are here to help.

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What @flars said about fermentation temps to start.

Can you expand a little on what tastes off about it? You mentioned “flat Bud Light,” but what exactly are you tasting? I will say an Irish Red is not the most flavorful beer in the universe, so if you’re looking for a pronounced hop bite like in an APA or a super rich maltiness, I could see being disappointed. I would think it should have some decent malty flavor, though. The warm temp might give you some slight hotness, or a bit of funk, but it’s tough to say.

The next beers in your pipeline might fare better… the bourbon porter has a ton of flavor that might cover up any byproducts of fermentation, and I’ve heard the Caribou Slobber is very forgiving. We’re all happy to help, just let us know if there’s anything in the process you’re not sure about or want any guidance. Aside from fermentation temperature, another quick culprit to eliminate could be water problems… if you’re doing extract, maybe try a batch with all distilled water.

My experience with Notty at higher temps, mid to upper 60s for me, you’ll get a pretty flavorful fruity red ale. I like it best at about 60F. Generally speaking you’ll want to keep fermentation temperatures to the lower end of a yeast’s tolerance range for a cleaner finished ale.

What’s the temp in your basement?

I hope you have check valves on your gas line or you purged the keg as you lowered the pressure. Otherwise you could have beer back up in your lines and regulator if the pressure in the keg is higher than the regulator pressure. Your best bet for carbing the beer is set it and forget it at the correct psi for the vol level you’re shotting for. That can take a week to 10 days and will be best at 2 weeks or so. I know you’re in a hurry to taste it and we’ve all been there. It’s just that rolling and messing with the pressure can cause overcarbonation and beer in your gas lines which will come back to bite you later. Ask me how I know…???

My suggestion for speeding it along is set to 25-30psi roll for a few minutes, listening to it bubble. When the bubbling slows down put it back in the fridge leaving the pressure up for 24 hours, then shut off the gas, purge the keg and reset to your serving pressure. It will be carbed enough to drink but will be best after it’s been on gas and cold for 2 weeks or so.

Yes the beer will improve with cold conditioning and CO2 absorption. Very few beers are good right out of the fermenter. They’ll all improve with time. Many times the last pint you draw will be the best of the batch. It get’s easier to let them mature as you get a few more in the pipeline.


Unfortunately the worst beer I’ve ever had. A stale light beer is probably closest description. I did use Seattle tap water. On my 2nd and 3rd batches, still in carboys, I used distilled so looking forward to those. I have the one way CO2 valve so no beer has entered, yet.

Stale… that’s getting us somewhere. Are you thinking kind of a damp paper/cardboard kind of flavor? That’s a classic sign of oxidation. That can happen with excess splashing, or if your racking equipment has an air leak, exposing finished beer to air bubbles. Did you purge the keg with co2 before shaking and force carbing?

As an aside, I moved from Seattle in 2002. Still miss my old haunts. I was a few blocks from Hale’s and took many a lunch break at Big Time… learned to love beer with the Big Time Copper River Porter.

Great beer here and the NW! My baseline is Mannys Pale Ale from Georgetown Brewing which raises the home-brew bar pretty high.

I didn’t flush the keg but I did flush the carboy with CO2 when going into secondary. And all my fittings seem tight etc. ’

I read a ton here, most of Palmer’s book, watched the Northern DVD my kit came with (very basic). I’m pretty type A and pay attention to the details. Maybe a little O2 killed it…

Try different yeast strain. Next time. Think indeed you fermented to warm. Me got luck with. Kveik. Or hotale yeast

That seems the most suspect to me, then. 3 gallons of beer in a 5 gallon keg ends up with a pretty big volume of air that probably oxidized things a bit as you shook the keg. In the future, put some pressure on the keg, then pull the release valve a few times to purge the headspace. The good news is that the beer you bottled can give you a good comparison… if the bottled beer is better, that might prove the theory.

It’s a 3 gallon keg and I filled it and left a small head space. So not a ton of head space but thanks for the tips, next time I’ll purge.

And great thought on the bottle comparison.

Thanks all!

What kind of hops were used? I know I’m not a big fan of fuggles which are used in lots of red ales and english bitters. Could be that’s what you’re tasting.

It’s still a very young beer. Give it a couple weeks to settle in before you dump it.

Willamette and US Goldings hops

Yes, do be patient. Anxiety will give you ulsers, cause you to not be able to drink home brews. Set your sights on your next one, but do sample the previous brew too. You might be surprised. I think the person that wrote that ugly duckling story was really eluding to his brew! Sneezles61

You mentioned distilled tap water. What about the water?

This one that taste bad I used Seattle tap water. My other batches I used distilled water but they aren’t done yet. The beer hasn’t improved much and I’m going to dump except for a few samples for a couple brewers

If you do water additions then use distilled if not, use bottled spring water or bottled drinking water. The reason for not using distilled water is it has nothing in it for yeast health and taste

Extract, though, was (hopefully) originally made with good water, so no additions would need to be made with distilled. All grain, though, yes, distilled would require additions.

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