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Sweet wort good indicator of final product?

Greetings, brewers!

I’m a new brewer here (12 batches - of either 5-gallon or 1-gallon batches). Last week, I brewed an NB extract Dead Ringer IPA and did something I had never done: taste the sweet wort after taking a gravity reading. Needless to say, it was delicious, but slightly more bitter tasting than I would expect.

Last night, I brewed a test batch of an all-Citra SMaSH, trying to get a good handle on how my ingredients will taste to find out as much as I can about this hobby. After transferring to the fermentor, I took a gravity reading and tasted the sweet wort. And it was WAY more bitter-tasting than I expected - understand some of this might be due to it being Citra. Neither this batch nor the IPA will be ready to taste for a some time, so I was curious how much the taste of the sweet wort indicates final flavor - properly, slowly fermented and bottle conditioned after 4-6 weeks. I am not “worried” about the outcome - it’s an experiment to get me familiar with the ingredients. Like I’ve said - just curious about the correlation between sweet wort and final product.

If you’re interested, here are the particulars of the test batch, which I also plugged into Brewer’s Friend beforehand to check for expected measurements:


“Citrocity SMaSH”
1.25 gallon boil, 1-gallon in fermentor - 20-minute boil

20 minutes:

  • 1.5 lbs Pilsner DME
  • 2.8 grams (1/10 oz.) Citra

15 minutes:

  • 2.8 grams Citra

5 minutes:

  • 2.8 grams Citra

Dry Hop:

  • 2.8 grams Citra

Yes, the wort out of the kettle can give you some clues on the finished beer, particularly about bitterness.

I agree.
Also, once you have some more experience after doing a bunch of brews, you’ll definitely learn to suss out exactly what to expect a finished beer to taste like by tasting it pre-ferment.

I quit tasting the unfermented products from the hydrometer test tube because I found them sickeningly sweet. Personally I cannot forecast how a warm, flat beer will taste from bottling day to the day that I try the cold, carbonated finished product; maybe it is because I am inexperienced or because my palatte cannot detect some of the sublties but trying to forecast how a finished beer will taste in 2 months is impossible for me on brew day.

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