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Strong Alcohol taste at bottling!? What gives?

Okay, I just finished bottling my first bigger beer a NB Winter Warmer and it looks like I ended up with ~6.8 ABV – a little higher than expected.

Sampling some of the beer, I found it to have a sharp alcohol taste with very little hint of hop or malt. It fermented two weeks in the primary at around 68 degrees and four weeks in the secondary at around 65 degrees.

Here’s the question – should it have such a strong alcohol taste and will it mellow out as it bottle conditions? It’s my understanding that strong alcohol tastes at bottling are usually the result of too high a fermentation temp, but that shouldn’t be the case…


It should mellow after a few weeks and in my experience you should get some more malt. However, 68 degrees may actually be a little closer to the warmer side than you want.

Excellent yeast, and slightly high fermentation temps! Shouldn’t be a problem with a little age! Age and drink! Yes sir…

I should also say that when you reach the 6.0 percent abv you will start tasting the alcohol more!

Thanks guys! I have three more big beers to bottle Thanksgiving weekend – It’ll be interesting to see what they taste like as I bottle them. I guess if they have the same alcohol bite, than I just need to sit back, chill out and wait to enjoy 20 gallons of fresh beer for Christmas! :mrgreen:

When you say 68F is that the temp of the beer or the room temp? Because fermentation creates significant heat, especially in a big beer you might see 5F or more above ambient. This can result in fusels that have a hot taste. Not saying this is what you have going on but if you weren’t using a swamp cooler you definitely want to add that to your repertoire.

68 was the beer/fermentation temp. The fermenting room’s temp was averaging around 64 degrees…

Thats a relief. Plus I honestly didn’t see the end of your first post, my bad. If you’re just getting a lot of ethanol, that ought to smooth out with a few months of aging. Was the higher ABV from a higher OG or did the stuff ferment dryer than expected?

OG was spot on, so it looks like it was a bit dryer then expected. This is also the first time I used yeast nutrients. Wondering if that had anything to do with it… Can’t wait to check out the batches that need bottling this weekend. I’ll be able to compare tastes and see if all my FGs are a bit higher. Just wish we didn’t have to wait so long to get final results!

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