Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com

First timer needs some thoughts or help

So after wanting to brew for the better part of 6 years, I finally start. My wife ordered me the essential starter kit and the kettle with the extrac kit being American Wheat. I don’t think it turned out well. Instead of the golden color I was expecting, it came out a much darker amber color and the taste was a bit off (much more bitter). During the process, I know I made a few missteps from pure excitment. Im sure there are plenty of thoughts on what could have gone wrong, but do any of you have any advice on why the color didnt come out right or why the beer is far more bitter. I did take a lot notes and timed a lot things as I went along. Any help or thoughts would be awesome. Basically, I have to get the next one right or the wife may not be on board with me shelling out $40 or more every few weeks for additinal recipes or equipment!

How long did you let the beer sit once you pitched your yeast?

Often home brew comes out darker than you’d expect. Especially true with extracts. They have been cooked twice, so darkening is expected. You can try using only half of the extract for the majority of the boil, and add the rest with 15 minutes left. Or just don’t worry so much about color.

Bitterness depends on the hops, amount of time, amount of hops. Some recipes are just more bitter. My experience with NB kits is that they tend to be heavy on hops and bitterness.

Looking at the kit you mentioned, I would expect it to be darker than what the kit picture shows. It’s also a pretty good amount of hops, compared to some more traditional wheat beers.

Important question: In spite of color and more bitterness than expected, do you like it?

Chris-P: If your asking about fermentation time after pitching the yeast, it was 15 days from basement to bottling. If your asking how long I let the yeast sit before closing the lid and taking it to the basement, it was only about 5 mins. It was a dry yeast that had been in my fridge though. Could that have retarded the yeast in the packet?

harpdog: I didn’t mind it but if any person that brewed their own beer asked me for bottle I would be a little hesitant to give it out for fear of ridicule! I had delayed starting the brewing process from in internal fear that I would screw it up. So when it didn’t come out the way I expected it, I was pissed because I knew which mistakes I made but was hoping the effect would be minimal. I love beer so much that the idea of creating one that was so-so delayed me even starting. Fortunately, I have another American Wheat extract kit that I can do a comparison test against so uh yeah, I got that going for me…

Chill your wort and use a swamp cooler to keep the fermentation temps under control (below 70 at least). Move to a late addition for all liquid malt extract (if using some dry malt extract as well, otherwise split it up and add more at the end than at the start), make sure you stir in the extract well, so it isn’t sitting on the bottom of the boil kettle. Extracts are darker by nature than all grain - don’t worry about color and serve the beer in opaque or solid colored containers and no one will care if it’s a little darker.

Congrats on the first beer under the belt! Make more and keep reading these forum comments - it can help greatly!

hang in there it gets alot better!! :cheers:

Correct.

OP, dry yeast or liquid?

[quote=“harpdog”]Bitterness depends on the hops, amount of time, amount of hops. Some recipes are just more bitter. My experience with NB kits is that they tend to be heavy on hops and bitterness.

Looking at the kit you mentioned, I would expect it to be darker than what the kit picture shows. It’s also a pretty good amount of hops, compared to some more traditional wheat beers.[/quote]

I also noticed when I did extract that kits seemed to round everything to make it easy. For example, instead of staying use .85oz it will just say to use 1 oz to make it easy. Although it is easier it is going to cause some bitterness.

And this. Have you ever made anything that turned out better than the 1st time.

If I could make some suggestions… Read over the thread in this forum. Look for threads that discuss how to make your beer better. These are things that include ferm temps, wort chilling, etc…

[quote=“ynotbrusum”]Chill your wort and use a swamp cooler to keep the fermentation temps under control (below 70 at least). Move to a late addition for all liquid malt extract (if using some dry malt extract as well, otherwise split it up and add more at the end than at the start), make sure you stir in the extract well, so it isn’t sitting on the bottom of the boil kettle. Extracts are darker by nature than all grain - don’t worry about color and serve the beer in opaque or solid colored containers and no one will care if it’s a little darker.

Congrats on the first beer under the belt! Make more and keep reading these forum comments - it can help greatly![/quote]

So as I go to make the 2nd batch, instead of adding all of the extract into the boil at the beginning, are you saying to add roughly a third or a little more until it starts to boil again and then at the end add the remaining extract prior to to the final addition of the cascade hops?

You are correct in adding some in the beginning and the rest later. You need to add some extract at the beginning to get hop utilization. For more info look into late malt extract additions. It will help with your color… a LITTLE… don’t expect a miracle but it will help.

Sounds like a plan. Yeah, I am not overly worried about color. More concerned with taste. I had let my first batch sit a bit longer bottle conditioning in the basement. I put one in the fridge on Friday and tried it last night. The flavor is still off. The initial drink is good but has more of a vinegar after taste. I am going to run down to the local homebrew store with a cold bottle for confirmation before I start my 2nd batch on Monday. Definitely going to to use the knowledge I have been given here and on other NB forums to improve upon this first batch. I want to make sure I have my stuff together before I start my batch list.

Thanks for all the help I have recieved here. It’s appreciated.

Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com