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Older ingredients, failed beer?

So my wife and I brewed a Black IPA Extract Kit from Brewers Best about a little over a week ago. After a very violent fermentation, we moved to the secondary fermenter and dry hopped tonight, as the instructions said. While we were moving it, I snagged a taste and it doesn’t taste quite right. Granted, I know it isn’t complete, since we just added the dry hops and it has only been a week. But I was a bit disappointed in the flavor profile and the smell, which had a bit of that rubbing alcohol smell. Now, the kit was pretty old, got it for Christmas in 2014, but have been busy with work and a few moves to really brew lately. So this one has just been sitting. I did order new yeast for it prior to brewing, but the rest of the ingredients are two years old. It’s also ben a hot minute since I brewed, so I’m wondering if maybe I had some sanitation issues just because I forgot a step somewhere along the way.

I’m planning to follow through to bottling with the hope that it just ferments itself out. I know most stuff I’ve read is to use ingredients within a year, but will it fix itself?

Time will tell but the odds of this one turning out to be a winner with 2+ year old ingredients are basically zero. I assume the specialty grains were already crushed which will leave an off taste. Your old hops won’t be any better either. That being said it also depends on the storage. I’m finishing a bag of 2 row that’s 3 years old and still makes an awesome beer. My grains are stored in a airtight cooler that resists temp changes

The hops still smelled great (if they sold Scentsys in a hops scent, I would be a huge customer). The grains were packed in a vacuum sealed bag that has been stored in the pantry. Only times its been exposed to heat is during our moves (KS to AZ, and AZ to NC). I’m not hoping for anything fantastic, just something that is drinkable.

Did you happen to taste the grains prior to steeping? That’s something I try to do everytime. If the grain doesn’t taste funky that should be good. Were the hops stored in the freezer or just along with the rest of the kit?

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I didn’t taste the grain, but did smell it. Didn’t have any funky smells going on. The hops were stored with everything else in the box. Like I said, not expecting anything fantastic or my best brew ever, just trying to temper expectations.

Rubbing alcohol smell could be fusel alcohols from a fermentation that got much too warm from the heat produced by the active yeast.

Check after four weeks in the bottle it may not be fusels.

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I didn’t pay attention to the temperature during fermentation, we keep the house around 67. But it was a much more violent fermentation than I expected, so I assume that it was running pretty warm.

I dont know if anything would taste good a week from brewing.

Bingo. It takes some time for the flavors to mellow. And just like the bitterness is overpowering early on, the alcohol can also be very assertive right after fermentation ended. If it is really bad when you are ready to bottle, you might consider dumping it, but I would let it go at least until then - not like it costs you anything.

Do yourself a favor though and start paying attention to temperature during fermentation. It is the number one thing (after sanitation) that will improve your beer.


Do give it few weeks than. Taste it

A lot of variables here. How was the kit stored? Hops in the freezer would be best. Grain and malt extract in a cool, dry place. Yeast in the fridge. 67° ambient temp will have the fermentation well into the 70’s because it will make it’s own heat. It can produce some fusel alcohol taste/smell but may not completely ruin the beer. I push the limit on temps often and get some good beer out of it. Search “swamp cooler” here for an inexpensive solution.

Home brewing is all about waiting. It’s hard to do especially when you first get started. So I agree to just give it some time and try it. Nothing to lose at this point anyway.

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Sometimes you’ll hear the green beer reference… thats saying its young… Age may be yer friend now. Give a post after it has been bottle conditioned for a month… Sneezles61

It was a good idea to get fresh yeast. The hops probably lost alot and the specialty grains may have been alright if sealed and the extract was fine also. Probably more than likely the fermenting process caused the alcohol taste . May not be the best beer but I would give it a dry hop and let it condition a month or so.

I will try the same. I have grain and hops from 6 years ago that I will brew with barring and mold or bugs. Besides the water will be fresh.The yeast will be new. The hops are dried and vacuum sealed the grains are kept in a dry dark sealed container. Why not give them a try. Nothing lost but time.

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Well broke it out tonight to go ahead and bottle. Still had the strong alcohol smell, but I wanted to drive on. Started moving it over to the bottling bucket and grabbed a taste. Surprisingly, there was almost no taste. We ended up dumping it. From start to finish this beer hasn’t had a good vibe and we didn’t want to spend the time bottling just to be disappointed. So onto the next beer! We are thinking that we will do the Dead Ringer that we got from the holiday sale.

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