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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: flbrewer on May 18, 2013, 05:30:03 PM

Title: First beer taste
Post by: flbrewer on May 18, 2013, 05:30:03 PM
How often to beers taste good right at bottling? My (first) american wheat has been in primary for 2 weeks and taking a sip today while bottling was not awful, but seemed to be lacking some sweetness. It smelled like beer though!
Title: Re: First beer taste
Post by: jamminbrew on May 18, 2013, 05:48:00 PM
Carbonation will help to bring out flavors and aromas that aren't detectable beforehand. Being chilled also lends a slight difference to the flavor. Wait until it is ready to render a final decision...
Title: Re: First beer taste
Post by: majorvices on May 18, 2013, 06:46:08 PM
What does beer thought smell like?  :P ;)

You will get to a point where you can almost render final judgment on flat beer out of the primary, but it may take several batches.
Title: Re: First beer taste
Post by: fmader on May 19, 2013, 12:59:29 AM
I stopped tasting beer prior to bottling. Warm, flat beer tastes bad.

Some beers will be great after 2 or 3 weeks in the bottle, while others will mature nicely and will be excellent after 6 months.
Title: Re: First beer taste
Post by: klickitat jim on May 19, 2013, 02:10:24 AM
Good job! It will be awesome when done
Title: Re: First beer taste
Post by: erockrph on May 19, 2013, 12:42:51 PM
Generally I find that hoppy beers give you a good picture of how they're going to be right out of the bottling bucket. Other beers are tougher to get a read on. My last brew was a small saison that kinda worried me while it was flat, but once it carbed up it turned out great.
Title: Re: First beer taste
Post by: Joe Sr. on May 20, 2013, 02:34:29 PM
All of my hydrometer samples go into a cup for tasting.  I think you can get a very good sense of how the beer will turn out.  There are definitely some changes in flavor from carbonation, chilling, and aging but after enough sampling you can get a sense of what those might be.

At the least, tasting it before bottling will let you know if you've got any major problems.
Title: First beer taste
Post by: majorvices on May 20, 2013, 07:45:25 PM
I stopped tasting beer prior to bottling. Warm, flat beer tastes bad.

Some beers will be great after 2 or 3 weeks in the bottle, while others will mature nicely and will be excellent after 6 months.

IMO a good brewer needs to taste beer all the way through the process, from wort to glass.
Title: Re: First beer taste
Post by: nateo on May 20, 2013, 11:12:21 PM
IMO a good brewer needs to taste beer all the way through the process, from wort to glass.

I agree, although if you're not very experienced, you don't really know what you're tasting. But the only way you get experience is by tasting it a lot. So I'd say do it, but don't freak out if the beer doesn't taste great when it's warm and flat.
Title: Re: Re: First beer taste
Post by: AmandaK on May 21, 2013, 01:17:09 AM
I stopped tasting beer prior to bottling. Warm, flat beer tastes bad.
I'm going to have to disagree here. I always taste throughout the process.

I also have a Nelson Sauvin that I've been drinking the hydrometer samples from at 90* and flat. It's damn good and I can't wait to drink it cold and carbonated.
Title: Re: First beer taste
Post by: fmader on May 21, 2013, 02:11:03 AM
Ok, apparently I'm ignorant of the benefits of tasting beer throughout the process. Please educate me.

I used to taste throughout, but I really dislike it all until the final product... Which then tastes very good. I would work myself up over pre-finished product tasting to the point where I quit doing it.

Thanks for feedback
Title: Re: First beer taste
Post by: The Professor on May 21, 2013, 02:48:24 AM
IMO a good brewer needs to taste beer all the way through the process, from wort to glass.

Keith is 100% correct both on the quoted statement and his earlier one:  after you have a number of brews under your belt (a belt which, I can say from 4 decades of experience, will be incrementally larger in size after a time) you'll be able to taste a brew in late or end-stage primary and suss out what it will be like when it hits minimal maturity.   

Title: Re: First beer taste
Post by: klickitat jim on May 21, 2013, 04:49:38 AM
No experience needed. The first brew I brewed, I tasted the box that the kit came in and knew exactly how it would turn out. Then,  it actually turned out exactly as I knew it would. Never had a lesson
Title: Re: First beer taste
Post by: jeffy on May 21, 2013, 11:32:22 AM
No experience needed. The first brew I brewed, I tasted the box that the kit came in and knew exactly how it would turn out. Then,  it actually turned out exactly as I knew it would. Never had a lesson

So it tasted like cardboard?
Title: First beer taste
Post by: majorvices on May 21, 2013, 12:46:07 PM
Ok, apparently I'm ignorant of the benefits of tasting beer throughout the process. Please educate me.

I used to taste throughout, but I really dislike it all until the final product... Which then tastes very good. I would work myself up over pre-finished product tasting to the point where I quit doing it.

Thanks for feedback

Well, for one if there's diacetyl you can take steps to fix that before packaging. Sulfur, too. By tasting throughout the process you can pin point where something may be going wrong. I once had a beer that got burned on an electric element (electric kettle). Obvious smoke character in the beer, think ashtray. I tasted it coming out of the fermentor and had no idea at first what it was. Pedio can be smoky and rank, so I thought it may have been an infection. Had I tasted the cool wort I would have known right there and then not to even bother filling the fermentor. But what ended up happening was I brewed it again and had the exact same problem and only then pin pointed that my element was too close to the bottom of my kettle and was scorching. Would have been much better off had I just tasted the wort and dumped it without pitching the yeast in the first place, let alone take up two weeks in the fermentor, then wasting another brewday/batch ingredients.

I can taste a beer coming out of the fermentor and tell by taste or smell if I should even bother to rack it to bright. I can taste it and tell if I should bother to harvest yeast. Plus, if I taste it and it is good fresh from fermentor I can tell if there was a problem (like oxidation) picked up after fermentation.

Just knowing your beer from start to finish is important to craft in general. Knowing what is happening at every stage. Why would you rely on anything else but taste (and smell) for that? I can understand where you are coming from on saying that you get worried if there is an off flavor, but IMO you are better off learning how to taste the beer right out of the fermentor. It's part of mastering the craft - in my opinion, of course.
Title: Re: First beer taste
Post by: fmader on May 21, 2013, 03:50:52 PM
Good to know. I never questioned the practice, or said that I was right. I might have to revisit this. I just never got anything out of it in the past... Maybe I would discover something in the future. Ok... Maybe I'll quit hijacking this post now ;)
Title: Re: First beer taste
Post by: denny on May 21, 2013, 03:56:28 PM
Frank, it might help to do what I do...I take an 8-12 oz. hydrometer sample.  After I get the gravity, I pour the sample into a 20 oz. PET bottle, put a carbonator cap on it and hit it with about 30 psi.  Put it in the freezer for maybe 30-45 min. and you have a cold, carbonated sample.
Title: Re: First beer taste
Post by: The Professor on May 21, 2013, 04:26:49 PM
Frank, it might help to do what I do...I take an 8-12 oz. hydrometer sample.  After I get the gravity, I pour the sample into a 20 oz. PET bottle, put a carbonator cap on it and hit it with about 30 psi.  Put it in the freezer for maybe 30-45 min. and you have a cold, carbonated sample.

sheer genius!
Title: Re: First beer taste
Post by: denny on May 21, 2013, 04:39:43 PM
Frank, it might help to do what I do...I take an 8-12 oz. hydrometer sample.  After I get the gravity, I pour the sample into a 20 oz. PET bottle, put a carbonator cap on it and hit it with about 30 psi.  Put it in the freezer for maybe 30-45 min. and you have a cold, carbonated sample.

sheer genius!

Around here we call it "pragmatism"!  :)
Title: Re: First beer taste
Post by: fmader on May 21, 2013, 05:00:31 PM
Frank, it might help to do what I do...I take an 8-12 oz. hydrometer sample.  After I get the gravity, I pour the sample into a 20 oz. PET bottle, put a carbonator cap on it and hit it with about 30 psi.  Put it in the freezer for maybe 30-45 min. and you have a cold, carbonated sample.

sheer genius!

Around here we call it "pragmatism"!  :)

Now we're cookin with peanut oil!
Title: Re: First beer taste
Post by: flbrewer on May 22, 2013, 12:29:10 AM
OK....are we done? Only kidding, just a quick update. Placed a bottle in the 'fridge this morning (3 days bottled around 75 degrees) and cracked open tonight. Good news, there is carbonation! The taste is getting there, much improved from bottling day. Not sure how a mildly hoppy wheat ale normally taste (not a style I'm completely familiar with) but I'm pleased so far.

-Why was there a ring of yeast (think that's what it was) at the bottom of this bottle? I thought that was only for bottle conditioned beers? Was it not yeast and just something settling?
Title: Re: First beer taste
Post by: a10t2 on May 22, 2013, 01:01:03 AM
-Why was there a ring of yeast (think that's what it was) at the bottom of this bottle? I thought that was only for bottle conditioned beers?

I would assume that you are bottle conditioning. That's when you add sugar to a beer before bottling, and let the yeast carbonate it in the bottles.
Title: Re: First beer taste
Post by: majorvices on May 22, 2013, 01:04:55 AM
We are not done. We are never done. These little tangents are where you can really learn something so, pay attention, son.  ;)

If you are bottling, and you are not filling from a carbonated keg, you are bottle conditioning. Regardless, if you are not filtering, you are going to have yeast on the bottom of the bottle, and the beers I brew rarely require more than a week or two of cold conditioning.
Title: Re: First beer taste
Post by: theoman on May 22, 2013, 11:13:42 AM
Give it time. I usually check my bottles every week to see what's going on. It might be drinkable at 3 weeks, but I'll never share with friends before 4. 5 weeks is usually perfect, in my opinion (depending on the beer, of course - some may need even more time).
Title: First beer taste
Post by: majorvices on May 22, 2013, 11:45:36 AM
Give it time. I usually check my bottles every week to see what's going on. It might be drinkable at 3 weeks, but I'll never share with friends before 4. 5 weeks is usually perfect, in my opinion (depending on the beer, of course - some may need even more time).
It'll be different depending on your brewing practices and your tastes. Most of my beer is ready to go within 3-4 weeks of brewday. That said, I'm not naturally carbbing.
Title: Re: First beer taste
Post by: theoman on May 22, 2013, 12:00:43 PM
Give it time. I usually check my bottles every week to see what's going on. It might be drinkable at 3 weeks, but I'll never share with friends before 4. 5 weeks is usually perfect, in my opinion (depending on the beer, of course - some may need even more time).
It'll be different depending on your brewing practices and your tastes. Most of my beer is ready to go within 3-4 weeks of brewday. That said, I'm not naturally carbbing.

Perhaps I should've clarified - I'm referring to time after bottling and assuming that priming was done with some sort of sugar.
Title: Re: First beer taste
Post by: Jimmy K on May 22, 2013, 02:25:02 PM
If it tastes good at bottling you're definately doing it right! There is some old homebrew myth that beer needs some age, but I think most of that is bad techniques creating flavors that need time to age out. We know better now.
Title: Re: First beer taste
Post by: klickitat jim on May 22, 2013, 04:57:04 PM
Taste is also somewhat subjective. Some folks think pizza or spaghetti are better as leftovers, not me. With beer it all depends. If you want a more blended mellow flavor, age it.
Title: Re: First beer taste
Post by: joe_feist on May 23, 2013, 12:49:30 AM
Well, put me in the pizza and spaghetti are better left over camp. As for bottle conditioned beer, I'm usually removing caps about a week after putting them on. And many of my beers do get better a few weeks after that.
Title: Re: First beer taste
Post by: joe_feist on May 23, 2013, 01:17:01 AM
Sorry. Went back and read the O/P. Yep, I taste all thru the process. I like to see and track how the beer changes over time-from grain to beer. I compare all that with what I read in various places. I think it helps
Title: First beer taste
Post by: flbrewer on May 25, 2013, 01:30:26 AM
Been in the bottle for a week, tasted one tonight, not bad!
http://instagram.com/p/Zt1eyux3U0/
Title: Re: Re: First beer taste
Post by: realbeerguy on May 25, 2013, 02:53:11 AM
I stopped tasting beer prior to bottling. Warm, flat beer tastes bad.
I'm going to have to disagree here. I always taste throughout the process.

I also have a Nelson Sauvin that I've been drinking the hydrometer samples from at 90* and flat. It's damn good and I can't wait to drink it cold and carbonated.

Mmmmmmm........Nelson..... 8)
Title: Re: First beer taste
Post by: HoosierBrew on May 25, 2013, 03:18:39 AM
I stopped tasting beer prior to bottling. Warm, flat beer tastes bad.
I'm going to have to disagree here. I always taste throughout the process.

I also have a Nelson Sauvin that I've been drinking the hydrometer samples from at 90* and flat. It's damn good and I can't wait to drink it cold and carbonated.

Mmmmmmm........Nelson..... 8)
+1 to tasting at every step of the way, and +1 to Nelson !
Title: Re: First beer taste
Post by: AmandaK on May 31, 2013, 12:52:25 PM
I stopped tasting beer prior to bottling. Warm, flat beer tastes bad.
I'm going to have to disagree here. I always taste throughout the process.

I also have a Nelson Sauvin that I've been drinking the hydrometer samples from at 90* and flat. It's damn good and I can't wait to drink it cold and carbonated.

Mmmmmmm........Nelson..... 8)
+1 to tasting at every step of the way, and +1 to Nelson !

+eleventy to Nelson! I'm drinking this beer now and man is it good! I love that white wine character with the Dupont strain. Really good combo if anyone was wondering.  8)
Title: Re: First beer taste
Post by: HoosierBrew on May 31, 2013, 01:06:13 PM
I stopped tasting beer prior to bottling. Warm, flat beer tastes bad.
I'm going to have to disagree here. I always taste throughout the process.

I also have a Nelson Sauvin that I've been drinking the hydrometer samples from at 90* and flat. It's damn good and I can't wait to drink it cold and carbonated.

Mmmmmmm........Nelson..... 8)
+1 to tasting at every step of the way, and +1 to Nelson !

+eleventy to Nelson! I'm drinking this beer now and man is it good! I love that white wine character with the Dupont strain. Really good combo if anyone was wondering.  8)
+1.   I have a saison brewed with DuPont and finished with Nelson cold conditioning now.  Tastes damn good so far !
Title: Re: First beer taste
Post by: erockrph on May 31, 2013, 05:40:36 PM
Glad to hear the reports of Nelson + Saison working out so well. I'm planning on brewing a 3711 + Nelson + white wine must saison later this summer.
Title: Re: First beer taste
Post by: nateo on May 31, 2013, 06:26:54 PM
Glad to hear the reports of Nelson + Saison working out so well. I'm planning on brewing a 3711 + Nelson + white wine must saison later this summer.

That was my plan with my latest super saison, although I ended up not adding the white wine must. I used a mix of BA-11 (white wine yeast) and Belle Saison to give it a vinous character.