flavor went downhill fast

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by KenK, Mar 21, 2017.

  1. KenK

    KenK Member

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    Brewed a batch of cream ale from concentrate in January. It tasted great for the first month or so but the flavor went downhill after five or six weeks. Not disgusting, but not nearly as good. This was my very first attempt ever, so maybe something bad crept into the process. I thought I was doing pretty good with directions, sanitation etc. I racked from primary right to bottling bucket and bottled immediately. Could this be the work of evil oxygen? That's it in my avi, btw.
     
  2. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    Did it taste like wet cardboard? Thats oxidation.
    Vinegar? Thin?
    Didn't sound like you used any flavor extract or anything?
     
  3. Ozarks Mountain Brew

    Staff Member

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    what happens is early in the beer the hops and grain flavors are mixed with the water early but then they drop over time and your left with the water make up or the yeast flavor or the off flavors like above so its best to prepare for something going wrong
     
  4. KenK

    KenK Member

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    Geez, I can't remember from last week what it tasted like. I have one left, so I'll pay attention to the flavor and report back tomorrow. Pathetic newbie here...
     
  5. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Only brewed one cream ale so far but I also think this brew is also best drank young.
     
  6. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    When lighter beers oxidizes, they don't have the classic sherry/cardboard flavors found in other beers, at least in my experience. They just get kind of "weird" and loose their malt character and they just get dull. On the other hand, if it's bottled condition, then the yeast left in the bottle will act as oxygen scavenger and protect and preserve the beer. So who knows? I guess a guys gotta brew more to figure it out and test, test, test.

    Cream ales are often brewed as a lager and they can easily kept for months with proper care. I brew my cream ale with WLP833 yeast and that yeast makes a very nice cream ale.
     
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  7. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Since I've started limiting handling of the beer (no secondary unless I need the fermentor) and purging vessels with CO2, I've had less of this problem. I can sometimes taste oxidation in my older, pre-purge process beers and did notice the flavor would fade or change to something more unpleasant over time but since changing that part of my process, no issues with rapidly fading flavor or oxidation. Hey, even bottle-conditioned beers succumb to this problem, or at least some of mine have.
     
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  8. KenK

    KenK Member

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    Nosybear, I was wondering about co2-ing the secondary, bottling pail etc. Do you suppose I could get away with blowing in some from those cartridges you use in pellet guns? Not sure what I'd use for the injector yet -- maybe there's something not too expensive on the market... How do you manage this?
     
  9. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    If you splashed it around when you were transferring or bottling, there could easily be enough oxygen present to cause some oxidation off flavors. Particularly if it was stored warm for part of the time.
    The other problem comes with Hopped Malt Extract (HME) which is a safe bet based on the information you provided. It can hold on to a whang-y quality that's hard to describe, but easy to pick out. It can really take over when the fresh flavors of the beer wear off. If your beer's not getting better after 6 weeks than it was at 2, it wasn't that great to begin with.
    And then there's the problem with learning what beer is supposed to taste like. About the time your first batch is mostly gone, you've probably delved in to the hobby and maybe tasted a number of craft beers with a more attentive attitude. Your palate starts to get past the enthusiasm for the notion that you're actually drinking beer that you made all by yourself and you start to be more objective about what you're actually tasting. Flavors that you ignored before because you were totally stoked are registering in a different way.

    Don't be discouraged!

    You've made beer by the shortcut method (assuming HME is the main ingredient) and it seldom makes really good beer. Do the research and move on with refining your methods so that eventually you can start with freshly-milled malt (or at least fresher, unhopped extract) and decent hops and yeast that you choose (rather than whatever come with the kit) and you'll be making much, much better beer...and it will taste better 6 weeks after bottling, not worse. :)
     
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  10. KenK

    KenK Member

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    Reading your guys's comments is really encouraging. Good to hear things will probably improve. I made this beer from a Brew and Grow kit that included liquid and dry malts, hop pellets and a yeast packet. There were no other flavorings.

    I don't have a particularly sophisticated palate so I don't really know how to describe the flavor, but I'll try. It seems thinner somehow, and leaves a slightly unpleasant metallic aftertaste, especially on the back of the tongue. It kind of reminds me of the cheap beer I used to drink in school back in the '70's. And I'm not at all sure, but the color almost seems darker than it was when fresh. Has a good head though, it's super clear, and the carbonation is terrific. If this is what I can expect, I'll just have to drink more sooner.

    I'm bottling a batch of APA tomorrow, which looks like muddy coffee in the carboy. The trub didn't settle out after the boil, even with the pot sitting in icewater. And it was mostly yeast that settled out in the primary. This kit came with a bag of grain (plus liquid malt) and three ounces of hops, so there was a lot of stuff in there. We'll see how this goes...
     
  11. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    The source of the CO2 doesn't matter but the volume does. Okay, stand back, I'm going to do chemistry: A mole of gas at standard temperature and pressure is 22.4 liters, just about the volume of a carboy. A mole of carbon dioxide is approximately 44 grams (the sum of the atomic weights of one carbon and two oxygen atoms). You don't need 100% CO2 to protect your beer so you'll need somewhere in the neighborhood of 30-40 grams of CO2 to sparge a carboy. One of those little cartridges is 8 grams, so you'd need five of them just to blow out a carboy. I have an aluminum bottle and regulator, in the long run much cheaper than to try to do it with the little cartridges. Using the contents of the entire cartridge would give you a layer of carbon dioxide about 1/5th the depth of the carboy and that should help against oxygen uptake by splashing. If your beer is fully saturated with CO2, that should help, too, at least a bit.

    Here in Denver, a mole of gas occupies a bit more volume (lower pressure) so I don't have to use as much gas to sparge my carboys. Fortunately, the molar weight of air is about 29 grams so CO2 is heavier and sinks. I also see there are some larger cartridges out there - that may reduce your cost.
     
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  12. KenK

    KenK Member

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    Nosybear, that is awesome -- thanks! Here's where I think I want to use the CO2: Top off the primary before fermentation starts (not sure if this is a good idea); top off the secondary after transfer; and a layer a few inches thick (strange way to put it, I know) in the bottling pail just before transferring from secondary.

    Maybe I'm getting carried away here, but I've been seeing so much about oxidation in so many threads that I'm getting a little paranoid. I want to try the same cream ale again but with CO2 and see if that will extend the shelf life beyond a month.

    Thanks for the chemistry lesson!
     
  13. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    DON'T put CO2 in your primary fermenter. If anything you want pure oxygen in the wort before fermentation commences. Yeast requires oxygen to reproduce and to make alcohol. CO2 is the yeast's waste product. Keeping oxygen out of the beer post fermentation is important, but it's important to know what your doing and why before you start making procedural changes.
    There's a lot of information available about the basics of brewing and it's important to familiarize yourself with as much basic brewing knowledge as you can.
     
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  14. KenK

    KenK Member

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    Thank you J A. I had the sneaking suspicion CO2 in the primary was probably not good. I vaguely remember reading something about shaking the primary up a little to mix air (oxygen) in the wort. I'm learning a lot from you guys -- it's too bad the beer kit directions don't include a link to Brewersfriend.
     
  15. Mark D Pirate

    Mark D Pirate Well-Known Member

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    I've been tempted to flush my bottling bucket with home made CO2 produced from baking soda and vinegar
     
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  16. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    True ! Only problem is potential contributing flavour?o_O
     
  17. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    @KenK shake it like it owes you money!! Ha ha think the more you shake the more you wake me up well not precisely to chime in with this thread but like JA said give them the right environment to get their boogie on:D.
     
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  18. Mark D Pirate

    Mark D Pirate Well-Known Member

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    I was just thinking a bottle with bi carb in bucket then tip the vinegar in via a hose , won't need to completely fill bucket with co2 just a layer then rack beer in as normal without oxygen exposure .
    There's still the matter of the oxygen in the bottles so kind of pointless really
     
  19. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Well unless the oxygen savaging theory is correct o_O. But I'm leaning toward nope just from my bottleing experience. But I hold on to some hope.
     
  20. Mark D Pirate

    Mark D Pirate Well-Known Member

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    from my understanding there's only so much oxygen the yeast can metabolise during bottle conditioning , once my kegging set up is complete i'll just open the valve but until then i'll look for other methods
     
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