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Things to ask bud to help discern issues with brew

So I have a bud about 45 mins away who has just started brewing with his brother. I tasted his first attempt which was a pale ale and it tasted almost cidery like it didn’t ferment out completely. There was very little if any hop bite to it. His OG was 1.048 and FG was 1.009. He used S-05 yeast. He did not shake the carboy before pitching his yeast. He did a full boil and finished with just over 5 gallons of beer. He used a CFC to chill. He let it sit 5 weeks in the carboy and 3 in the bottles. He has since done a second brew that was supposed to be an ESB but he and his bro added 2 lbs of honey to the batch as an experiment to “boost the abv” so needless to say he said it tastes very thin and highly alcoholic. :lol: I offered to go over next time he’s brewing to give any tips on process as they are going but does anyone have suggestions for things I should ask him about process that might help hone in on his issue?

He says that he has decent tap water although it is very hard. I mentioned he might try to brew with distilled or spring water for next batch to see if it makes a difference. I’m almost curious if he didn’t get fully carbonated and there was residual sugar in the beer. He used 3/4 cup sugar but he only brought the water up to 150 to dissolve the sugar and the beer sat at 66-70 degrees for three weeks which may be a bit cool for proper carbonation.


Other than the hard water thing, it sounds like your bud is doing things alright. I agree that distilled water is a necessity with extract beers. See also a few additional pointers here:

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