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When does it start tasting like BEER?

:smiley: First all-grain experiment is an Irish Red Ale, everything went fairly smoothly except my hot liquor got down to about 160* by the end of the fly sparge. Four days in a primary fermenter, then of to secondary.

It’s been 8 days and fermentation has slowed to a crawl at 66*F. I decided to take an FG and taste the sample when I was done. FG was 1.013, pretty close to the recipe’s final gravity, but this stuff tasted like cat urine. I’m hoping it was because of the Star-San??

At what point will it start tasting good. I had a taste of the wort and it was great!

:?:

You have drank a lot of cat urine have you…? LOL

Well, apparently, because it was not the pleasant syrupy taste I was expecting. I’ve got my finger crossed that I haven’t wasted a whole month waiting on swill. :oops:

Now you know what a very, very green beer tastes like. The next samples will gradually improve in flavor. After four weeks of bottle conditioning and a few days of chilling you will have beer.
Why only four days of fermentation? Taking the beer off the yeast could cause a stuck fermentation and potentially impede full flavor development.

What was your hop schedule? Some hops varieties can give that cat pee.

Although the hops I generally think of for an Irish red (EKG, Fuggles) usually don’t.

I can’t imagine the beer improving that much in flavor going from “Cat urine” to “awesome beer”. The flavor profile will definitely change with time. Could you describe the flavor other than cat urine? I’m honestly not too sure what cat urine tastes like.

I went with the four days for primary because that was what Beersmith showed, since I was going to be legging the beer.

The hops I used were 1oz Williamette and 1oz Goldings and the OG came out a little light at 1.035 vs. 1.042.

The beer tasted very bland, kinda bitter, not sweet at all.

It is still bubbling a little bit and is still fairly cloudy so I’m hoping I have a way to go.

The fermentation schedule that Beersmith showed was 4 days primary, 10 days secondary and 30 days of keg conditioning.

Beersmith is a toll to help you brew the way you want to brew. It is NOT instructions about how you should brew. You get to decide that for yourself. Don’t let the software push you around.

[quote=“scooberta”]

The fermentation schedule that Beersmith showed was 4 days primary, 10 days secondary and 30 days of keg conditioning.[/quote]

I’m going to go a step further than Denny and say to straight up IGNORE Beersmith if this is the advice it is giving you. As a GENERAL rule: on just about all ales, 14-21 days primary, no secondary, but as a better rule: measure the gravity and give it time.

One thing I have learned in doing this for a few years and 60+ batches, is the difference between ‘homebrew’ and ‘beer’ lies largely, if not solely, in the brewer managing the fermentation (temperature, sanitation, and yeast pitching rate). Homebrewing retailers shot themselves in the foot for years and relegated home brewers to an inferior and barely drinkable product with this “x days primary, x days secondary” nonsense.

[quote=“Pietro”][quote=“scooberta”]

The fermentation schedule that Beersmith showed was 4 days primary, 10 days secondary and 30 days of keg conditioning.[/quote]

I’m going to go a step further than Denny and say to straight up IGNORE Beersmith if this is the advice it is giving you. As a GENERAL rule: on just about all ales, 14-21 days primary, no secondary, but as a better rule: measure the gravity and give it time.

One thing I have learned in doing this for a few years and 60+ batches, is the difference between ‘homebrew’ and ‘beer’ lies largely, if not solely, in the brewer managing the fermentation (temperature, sanitation, and yeast pitching rate). Homebrewing retailers shot themselves in the foot for years and relegated home brewers to an inferior and barely drinkable product with this “x days primary, x days secondary” nonsense.[/quote]

I agree with you…I was just trying to be nice since Brad Smith is a friend!

Thanks guys, I’ve got an IPA in the pipeline now and I’m going to do a much longer fermentation . Thank you guys so much for the help.

[quote=“Denny”]

I agree with you…I was just trying to be nice since Brad Smith is a friend![/quote]

Well if he’s a friend, I think its on you to tactfully but forcefully tell him to get his engineers to modify the software! Beer is being ruined by the gallon! :cheers:

[quote=“Pietro”][quote=“Denny”]

I agree with you…I was just trying to be nice since Brad Smith is a friend![/quote]

Well if he’s a friend, I think its on you to tactfully but forcefully tell him to get his engineers to modify the software! Beer is being ruined by the gallon! :cheers: [/quote]

The software is fine, you can choose any fermentation schedule you like. One of the options is “single stage ale”. You can also completely customize all these values to however long you want. Maybe the default values should be changed to something more reasonable though.

Yep. Years ago, there was a sinmilar issue with Promash. The default boiloff was in %, despite the fact that Jeff Donovan used gal./hr. himself and said in the help file to reset it to that. I never figured out why he didn’t just make it the default.

Matt and Denny I couldn’t agree with you more in the default being changed. Over and over I see individuals say they only kept beer in primary for 4 days because BS told them to…
People need to start realizing its a helpful software program that manages your recipes and techniques YOU want to do.

Right. Beersmith should never “tell you” what your process is. You should be telling beersmith what your process is.

Back to the OP’s original question.

If it tastes like cat pee and the bulk of the fermentation is done, I’m not sure if it will ever taste like beer. I’m someone who almost always prefers to age my beers some before tapping them, but the only time I ever recall brewing a beer that tasted truly bad after fermentation and eventually came around was my very first barley wine. It was objectionably bitter when young, and took about two years before it matured into a very nice beer.

I just don’t know what would make a red ale taste like you describe, unless you sanitized the secondary with ammonia and forgot to rise before racking.

Or your cat misunderstood the purpose of you making a grain bed?

No, the only thing I sanitized the secondary with was Star-San. I’m hoping the Star-San is the bad taste I was getting. I’m going to leave it alone for a week or so and take a gravity reading and another taste taste.

I will post the results… Standby

Got bad news for ya… its not the Star San…

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