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Strong alcohol taste?

New brewer here. I recently brewed the Cascade Mountain IPA kit from northern brewer. Everything went well as far as I can tell during the primary and secondary. Before I bottled the beer it tasted great, but I tasted one last night to check carbonation levels, and it had a very strong alcohol taste. The beer is about 9.1%, so it is not surprising, but I was surprised by the difference in taste from when I bottled the beer.

It’s only been a week since bottling, so I probably just need to wait it out, but was wondering if anyone had any thoughts?

How much yeast did you pitch? What batch size?

What was the temp of the fermenting beer while in primary?

A 9.1% beer is going to taste a little boozy, especially when its young. Give it time, RDWHAHB. Did you keep temperature under control during fermentation?

A 9.1% IPA is going to be pretty trough right after bottling. Try one again in another month or so.

Keep temperature below 70 F during fermentation. Anywhere around 62-64 F is ideal if you can do it.

I agree with those who question your fermentation temp. Too high and you get fusel oils and higher alcohols that give a hot, sometimes twangy taste.

Its challenging to ferment a big beer at the right temp. The yeast want to take off and go fast and this makes more heat which makes them go faster yet. You almost need a swamp cooler or a fermentation fridge with a control thermocouple taped to the side of the fermentor to control the temp properly.

IME, almost all of your beer is going to taste a little boozy that young in the bottle. If you wait about three weeks total that starts to fade nicely. A month is better.

The batch was a 5 gallon extract. I used a yeast starter, which was made according to calculation on yeast calc (so i believe it was adequate size for the beer).

As for fermentation temps. The room was in the mid to low 60’s, so the beer was probably many degrees higher than that, so it is possible it got a little too warm.

However, am I wrong in thinking that I should have tasted the fusel/alcohol when I transfered to secondary or during bottling, if the fermentation temp was too high? When I tasted after hydrometer readings the beer tasted great, so I think I will just let it sit and hope for the best, and if not chalk it up to a lessoned learned.

It should probably be fine after a little time

You’re right, you’d have tasted some fusels in secondary. While I take issue with the idea that all big beers are harsh right after they are produced, yours will probably get better with some age.

I have patiently waited for a few weeks now, and I cracked one of these beers open last night and I must say, it tasted great! So either I just needed to wait or I had a bad bottle.

Thanks everyone for your responses. Being a new brewer, I pretty much think I have screwed up every batch, only to wait and find out that I haven’t. Maybe this hobby will teach me some patience.

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