Green, no matter how long...

Discussion in 'Beginners Brewing Forum' started by k2x5, Oct 28, 2018.

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  1. k2x5

    k2x5 New Member

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    Hi All,

    I've been brewing for a little while now but it seems no matter what I've tried I end up with a beer that still tastes "green". Luckily, I listened from the start and I've kept detailed notes along the way. I'm hoping you can help!

    I started out with a decent kit from Northern Brewer that included most of the usual things, except a hydrometer. I purchased that for my second brew.

    In every case, the finished product had a "green" unfinished flavor. I don't think there was any other off-flavors. My list of results with some notes are below:

    Amber Ale (5 G)
    - Brewed exactly as recipe suggested for partial boil
    - No hydrometer to test OG/FG
    - City tap water
    - 2 week primary
    - A bit of shaking to add oxygen before fermentation
    - Fermented in basement in summer (Temps reaching 74-76)
    - Fermentation pail would not seal properly, never saw airlock activity
    - 2 week bottle conditioning (Room temp)

    Irish Blond Ale (5 G)
    - Brewed exactly as recipe suggested for partial boil
    - OG was 1.048 (Recipe said 1.050)
    - FG was 1.012 (Recipe said 1.012)
    - City tap water
    - 4 week primary, FG reached after 2.5 weeks, left to mature a bit, no change in gravity for a week
    - Fermentation pail would not seal properly, never saw airlock activity
    - Used electric mixer for add oxygen before fermentation
    - 3 week bottle conditioning (Room temp)

    Belgian Blond (3.25 G)
    - Brewed exactly as recipe suggested for full boil
    - OG was quite high at 1.064 (Recipe said 1.060)
    - FG was 1.018 (Recipe said 1.014)
    - City tap water
    - 3 week primary
    - Sealed fermentation pail with cling wrap to get a better seal. Saw proper airlock activity
    - Fermented in basement in winter, temp steady between 60F-62F, SafeAle T-58 shows ideal is 59-68
    - 3 week bottle conditioning (Room temp)

    American Pale Ale:
    - Was concerned that my partial boil was causing gravity issues, so I added 10 minutes to my boil time
    - Broke my hydrometer and didn't test OG/FG on this batch
    - Bottled water
    - Forgot about this fermentation, it sat for a little over 5 weeks in primary
    - Sealed fermentation pail with cling wrap to get a better seal. Saw proper airlock activity
    - Used WhiteLabs WLP001 yeast, was an idiot and didn't shake package before adding. Dumped in as a clump. Not sure if that is bad?)
    - Used electric mixer for add oxygen before fermentation
    - 3 week bottle conditioning (Room temp)
    - Easily my best batch yet. Still retained the "green" flavour but the most drinkable to date.

    Red Ale:
    - Again added 10 minutes to my boil time
    - OG was 1.048 (Recipe 1.050)
    - FG was 1.014 (Recipe said 1.012)
    - Bottled Water
    - 5.5 week primary
    - Replaced fermenter with Fermonster PET Plastic carboy
    - Fermented in basement in fall (Temp steady between 62F-64F, SafeAle S-04 shows ideal is 64-72)
    - Shook vigorously to add oxygen before fermentation
    - 2 Week bottle conditioning (Room temp - so far)
     
  2. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    You didn't say how long it took to drink the batches and if the last beer was the same as the first one.
    2-3 weeks to bottle condition just might not be enough. Sure, it might be carbonated, but the flavors haven't fully melded and the yeast are doing a little bit of cleanup work.
    Give it time and the green flavor will go away
     
  3. N0mad

    N0mad Well-Known Member

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    1) Are these extract kits or all grain
    2) What type of yeast (dry/liquid)
    3) Are you treating your city tap water if not that could be a problem
     
  4. k2x5

    k2x5 New Member

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    jmcnamara -
    Well, I saved a couple of the original Amber Ale, Irish Blond and Belgian Blond thinking that time might help as well. I'll put them in the fridge and see if they are any different now.

    On average, 2-3 months in between batches; but I can't say I ever noticed a difference the longer it stayed. Tomorrow will be the real test for that though. In the name of science, I'll try all 3 and see if they have improved with additional bottle aging.

    N0mad -
    1) All extract kits
    2) Amber Ale, Irish Blond, Belgian Bond, Red Ale were Dry yeast (SafeAle S-04 for all I believe), American Pale ale was WhiteLabs WPL001 liquid yeast.
    3) I assumed that might be the case as well, so I switched to Bottled water for the last 2 batches. Both still presented the "Green" flavor.
     
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  5. N0mad

    N0mad Well-Known Member

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    I've never brewed an extract beer so I have no bench mark for that... when you say green flavor is it a card board taste, green apple popcorn, buttery etc... how would you describe the flavor?
     
  6. philjohnwilliams

    philjohnwilliams Well-Known Member

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    Like Nomad said, it would be helpful if you could describe what you are tasting as green. From what you have described about your process, I would be inclined to think that perhaps the problem might be related to lack of temperature control. I assume when you mentioned temperatures of your fermentations you are talking about ambient temperature. As the beer ferments it will pump out enough heat to raise the temp of the wort to as much as 10°f over ambient. If your summer brews have the most green flavour, then I would suspect that is the culprit. Adding time to your boils will not really do anything for you. If you are doing partial boil extract brews, then your OG can be controlled by varying your top up water to match your desired OG. Where are you buying your extract kits?
     
  7. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Friends don't let friends brew extract kits. :D :D
    If you're opening cans to make beer, you're going to have that flavor. Period. You can find some styles that tend to hide it better but you won't be satisfied until you start using better ingredients. You obviously have a palate that's telling you something's not right so you have to change the way you make beer.
    If you have to do partial boil, get some well-packaged DME and hops. That will get you a step closer. Better is to do full-boil starting with DME, perferably Light or Pilsner or Golden. Next step is to do some partial mash and that's a place that you can count on having beers that will suit you. Eventually you'll find your way into a decent all-grain system and you'll be glad you did.
    Best of luck. :)
     
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  8. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    I made a good half dozen extract kits when I first started, they weren't spectacular but they were drinkable. I like doing all grain better so that's my preference but there's nothing inherently wrong with doing a kit.
     
  9. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    the taste your tasting is probably LME, I don't care for the stuff my self and has an odd flavor, most kits have it
     
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  10. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    One thing you could do is look at getting DME or finding another local brewer and do a group batch. Taste test, if the grain batch doesn't taste green then yoiu may have your answer.
     
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  11. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    I sometimes do extract beers and recently, intentionally, got my hands on some oxidized extract. The resultant beer had the flavor of ball point pen ink. I don't know if that's the "green" flavor you are talking about but liquid extract is notorious for continuing the Maillard reactions far past the point of pleasant, biscuity malt. If by "green" you mean tasting of bruised apples, it's a fermentation problem, acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde is present in all beers in very small quantities - it's a step in the yeast's process for making alcohol. If something happens to your fermentation and the yeast stop prematurely, the acetaldehyde that hasn't been converted stays behind and you notice it. As mentioned above, you're going to have to describe your "green" flavor more accurately for us to help, although we can throw out a few ideas and see if any of them stick.
     
  12. Hogarthe

    Hogarthe Well-Known Member

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    I'm going to suggest the problem is too high a fermentation temp. When I started I had no temp control and had the same problem. Getting an old fridge and a temp controller fixed it.
    As long as the extract isn't super old it can make a good beer. I'm assuming you got your extract from Northern Brewer since you mentioned you got your equipment there, and they usually have fresh extract so I don't think that's the problem.
     
  13. k2x5

    k2x5 New Member

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    Hi All,

    Thanks for all the input. I've been testing some of the prior batches to see if the extra shelf-time changed their flavors at all. They didn't. The APA was still the best by far until I opened one of my most recent batch (Irish Red Ale) that I let sit in the bottle for about 4 weeks before moving a couple to the fridge. This one is now my best to date. One note I left off in my OP description was that in this batch, I pitched 2 x 11g packets of dry yeast, having seen MrMalty's pitch rate calculator that suggested doing so. The taste is still there, but much less.

    The off taste is hard to describe, but is best matched by what most have already guessed - the green-apple that is most commonly attributed to acetaldehyde.

    With the exception of my very first kit, all others have come from OntarioBeerKegs.com

    I was wondering if perhaps I hadn't been getting enough oxygen dissolved prior to pitching, not giving the yeast enough to live on.
     
  14. k2x5

    k2x5 New Member

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    Taking many of the suggestions here, my next batch will be straight DME, and fermented in a section of my house which will stay at a constant 65 degrees. I'll probably also go back to the Liquid Yeast, as that worked quite well with the APA.
     
  15. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    Makes sense, get a few successes under your belt to build confidence and then you can start messing around again.
     
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  16. Yooper

    Yooper Administrator
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    Do you have a "stick on" thermometer, so that you can monitor the temperature of the beer (not the room)? I've personally seen an active fermentation be 10 degrees warmer than the ambient room, but not always. So you really want to keep the beer at 65 or 68 (depending on yeast strain), and not the room. If it has to be warmer, then a yeast strain tolerant of higher temperatures would be really important. If the fermentation isn't terribly active, 65 degrees might be fine.
     
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  17. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    My advice here would be brew smaller batches and change one thing at a time. As Yooper mentions, the yeast will generate heat during active fermentation - I control the temperature at the center of my fermentation, not the outside air! But by changing one thing at a time, you'll know what works and what doesn't. If you change more than one, you'll never know which of the changes worked.
     
  18. k2x5

    k2x5 New Member

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    Very good point, yes I put one of the stick-on thermometers on my primary. How does one keep the beer at 65-68? I'm assuming that since so many people reference the 10 degrees above ambient during an active fermentation that there is a fair amount of variation during the fermentation... how would you keep the liquid at a constant temperature if it's going to warm up that much for part(s) of the fermentation?

    The more answers I get here the more obvious it seems that my lack of understanding of temperature control is the cause (Or at least A big casuse) of my issues.

    My next batch will be a 3 gallon full boil, as suggested I'm going to do smaller batches to see what I can control the best.
     
  19. Hogarthe

    Hogarthe Well-Known Member

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    Best way is to get a refrigerator and a temperature controller like this: https://www.morebeer.com/products/inkbird-digital-temperature-controller.html
    This plugs into the power outlet, the fridge plugs into it. The controller has a probe that goes into the fridge to sense the temp. You set the desired temp on the controller and it kicks the fridge on when it gets too warm. It stops the fridge when it gets to cold.
     
  20. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    One thing that will help is to put the carboy in a tub of water. The water will help dampen the temperature swings. You can also drape wet towels over the carboy. The evaporation will help cool it. If you need a lot of cooling, put a cheap box fan on the carboy draped in the towels sitting in a tub of water. That'll cool it several degrees. Bonus: The water will carry the heat the yeast produce away better than air.
     
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