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Mistakes: what off flavors can i expect

After spending considerable amount of time here on the forums I am realizing a lot of mistakes i made during my first brew. Based on the following, what off flavors should I expect when my brew is ready?

Brewed the Irish Red extract from NB with Danstar Nottingham and followed the directions exactly with the exception of adding an additional 1lb of DME

  • Did not get a very good rolling boil due to crappy stove
  • Had to brew with a lid on to keep temps, I did drain the precipitation off the lid every couple of minutes to avoid it from dripping back in.
  • fermented at high 70’s

OG was 1.045 even after adding the extra DME. I assume this is due to not getting a good boil?

I tested gravity yesterday just to see where it was at and it’s around 1.010 (I plan on leaving in primary for another week or so then bottling).

I also decided to take a small sip when i tested gravity. It was rather bitter/citrus for an Irish Red almost like taking a sip of malty orange juice. Now I’m not used to drinking flat beer so it may just be the new experience which threw me for a loop.

So I guess I’m curious what I should expect once this bad boy is bottled and carbed. I don’t expect it to be stellar cause its my first attempt but I’d also rather not be stuck with 48 bottles of “malty orange juice”

My #1 issue would be the fermentation at high 70s. Is that actual fermetation temp or simply the ambiant temp? Regardless, high 70s will likely get you some off flavors.

Esters: Probably more than you would want, but as they included Notingham for the yeast I imagine they intended some level in the mix. Though yours could show pretty high.

Fusil Alcohols: Could be an issue, and usually noticable. Will taste more alcoholic than it should at your gravity. To the extreme it might taste a little like solvent or paint thinner.

If it is your first beer I would not be too worried though. Will still be beer. In my earlier days I did not pick out all the off flavors to the degree I do now.

Brew Meister is right. Could taste a bit like rocket fuel, and more fruity than normal, but it should be alright. If it’s tasting overly citrusy, it might be from the hops, but hop flavors will always mellow with age, so it might just need a few months to mellow out… if you don’t drink it all before then! In the future, you’ll want to keep better control over your fermentation temperature to keep it under 70 F.

You should also boil with the lid off if at all possible, but in an extract beer it won’t matter quite as much as it would with an all-grain beer. I wouldn’t worry about the boil too much with this one. Since you added extra extract, you still hit your mark – not a bad idea.

I think your beer will be good. Might just improve with age… IF you can hold off on drinking it all the first month or two!

Agreed. IF you notice the issues, you can usually count on them mellowing a little over time.

Well here is my only criticism; if this was your first brew why did you add the extra DME? What day did you pitch your yeast? What was your boil volume? Wiping condensation from the lid during the boil was good. Fermenting at high 70°s not so good, however you did not say how long ‘very’ active fermention was taking place. You may end up with a drinkable brew. Foremost look up controlling fermentation temperature.

I added the DME on advice from a bunch of the reviews I read on the kit on NB. I figured there wasn’t much risk in adding a little more.

Pitched the yeast last Sunday.

Boil volume was 3 gallons

Active fermentation took place within 12 hours and lasted maybe 12 hours (based on airlock activity though the lid wasn’t fully on the fermenter so there was a small air leak for a few hours)

Definitely plan on doing a swamp cooler for my next brew.

I would agree with flars in regards to the DME. In addition to the above advice I would suggest not changing recipes until you get your process down with sound techniques. If you change the recipe it is hard to determine whether a change or technique is to blame if something turns out wrong.

When doing a partial boil and adding water to up the volume to 5 gallons, it is extremely difficult to mix the wort/water to get an accurate reading. If you used all the extract and had 5 gallons, you will have the OG listed in the kit.

See my signature line for ways to cool the fermenting beer.

[quote=“mattnaik”]Active fermentation took place within 12 hours and lasted maybe 12 hours (based on airlock activity though the lid wasn’t fully on the fermenter so there was a small air leak for a few hours)

Definitely plan on doing a swamp cooler for my next brew.[/quote]

+1 on swamp cooler. Very simple. Very effective.

What did your fermentation smell like? From my experience I could always tell which batches would be off by what I smelled at fermentation.

This is in no way scientific, but I’m assuming when I have smelled fruitiness (like a wine) it could be related to esters. I also have the feeling when I have detected a pungent scent of vegetables (rotting celery) it could be linked to the heavy alcohols.

For sure an out of control fermentation becomes very strong smelling.

Hard to tell on the smell. I bought a blow off hose and had it on the table near my fermenter and the hose has that new rubber smell permeating through the whole room. If I had to describe the scent when it was fermenting I would say it was like a bready sour smell. Maybe a slight vegetable smell but it was a week ago so my memory is a bit hazy

No worries. As I mentioned I have no real evidence to back up most of my opinion there. My guess is you would detect hints of fruitiness or vegetable in most fermentations. It is just when I find them overly pungent when it begins to worry me.

“Bready” sounds tasty. “Sour” not so much, but I doubt it is significant.

Well in about 3 weeks or so, I’ll let you all know how it turned out :slight_smile:

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