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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: asu on March 26, 2010, 11:32:01 am

Title: VERY BITTER FLAVOR
Post by: asu on March 26, 2010, 11:32:01 am
HELP PLEASE My brew from the primary and secondary are fine, when bottled after two weeks a very bitter/harsh alcohol flavor develops and gets worse with time.  The gravity final gravity doesn't change during the process.  All other flavors disappear.  No rings in bottle necks, no gushers, and no exploding bottles.  Equipment has been either replaced or boiled for sterilization with no change
Title: Re: VERY BITTER FLAVOR
Post by: hamiltont on March 26, 2010, 11:36:25 am
Sounds like fusel alcohol from the fermentation temp being too high.  Please talk us through your entire process....
Title: Re: VERY BITTER FLAVOR
Post by: diybrewing on March 26, 2010, 11:42:40 am
What are you sanitizing with? Sounds like you are getting infections.
Title: VERY BITTER FLAVOR
Post by: asu on March 26, 2010, 11:45:01 am
Is it possible that oover crushing the grain will increase with age in the bottle or am I doomed with a house flavor.  My water is excellent drinking well water and available soft and filtered.  This problem occurs reardless of the style.
Title: VERY BITTER FLAVOR
Post by: asu on March 26, 2010, 11:49:27 am
HELP PLEASE My brew from the primary and secondary are fine, when bottled after two weeks a very bitter/harsh alcohol flavor develops and gets worse with time.  The gravity final gravity doesn't change during the process.  All other flavors disappear.  No rings in bottle necks, no gushers, and no exploding bottles.  Equipment has been either replaced or boiled for sterilization with no change.  Is it possible over crushing of grains can cause this?
Title: Re: VERY BITTER FLAVOR
Post by: denny on March 26, 2010, 11:50:11 am
HELP PLEASE My brew from the primary and secondary are fine, when bottled after two weeks a very bitter/harsh alcohol flavor develops and gets worse with time.  The gravity final gravity doesn't change during the process.  All other flavors disappear.  No rings in bottle necks, no gushers, and no exploding bottles.  Equipment has been either replaced or boiled for sterilization with no change.  Is it possible over crushing of grains can cause this?

I can't think of any reason that overcrushing grain would cause that.
Title: Re: VERY BITTER FLAVOR
Post by: denny on March 26, 2010, 11:50:54 am
There is no reason I can think of that overcrushing grain would cause this.
Title: Re: VERY BITTER FLAVOR
Post by: asu on March 26, 2010, 11:56:31 am
Impeciable sanitation from boiling equipmnent to 1 tbsp/gal bleach solution.  After brew cleaning with soap and extremely hot rinse.  Fermentation temps checked with the tape on fermometer always held to a 3-4 degree window 64-70 depending upon the yeast. Sometimes a starter sometimes not .  Secondary always at 56 degrees on basement floor.  Bottling temp 68 -74 degrees for 10 - 21 days whatever necessary to achieve carbonation.
Title: Re: VERY BITTER FLAVOR
Post by: fritzeye on March 26, 2010, 12:15:22 pm
There is no reason I can think of that overcrushing grain would cause this.

take it to heart from the man who says "crush till' your scared"   ;) a classic quote from Denny on the Batching Spargeing show on The Brewing Network.
Title: Re: VERY BITTER FLAVOR
Post by: hamiltont on March 26, 2010, 12:50:46 pm
Impeciable sanitation from boiling equipmnent to 1 tbsp/gal bleach solution.  After brew cleaning with soap and extremely hot rinse.  Fermentation temps checked with the tape on fermometer always held to a 3-4 degree window 64-70 depending upon the yeast. Sometimes a starter sometimes not .  Secondary always at 56 degrees on basement floor.  Bottling temp 68 -74 degrees for 10 - 21 days whatever necessary to achieve carbonation.

Not sure if it has much to do with your problem but the words "Bleach" and "Soap" caught my attention.  I used to use both when I first started.  When I changed to Oxyclean/TSP90 for cleaning and starsan for sanitation my beer improved noticeably!  YMMV
Title: Re: VERY BITTER FLAVOR
Post by: bluesman on March 26, 2010, 02:38:13 pm
Impeciable sanitation from boiling equipmnent to 1 tbsp/gal bleach solution.  After brew cleaning with soap and extremely hot rinse.  Fermentation temps checked with the tape on fermometer always held to a 3-4 degree window 64-70 depending upon the yeast. Sometimes a starter sometimes not .  Secondary always at 56 degrees on basement floor.  Bottling temp 68 -74 degrees for 10 - 21 days whatever necessary to achieve carbonation.

Not sure if it has much to do with your problem but the words "Bleach" and "Soap" caught my attention.  I used to use both when I first started.  When I changed to Oxyclean/TSP90 for cleaning and starsan for sanitation my beer improved noticeably!  YMMV

+1

Two other things. Have you ever had your water tested. A water chemistry report might shed some light on this. The other question is pitching rate and temp...could you provide those details.
Title: Re: VERY BITTER FLAVOR
Post by: boognishlager on March 26, 2010, 06:55:28 pm
One of the things I read before I started my first brew is that hard water is better for flavor. Would any of the more experienced guys agree with this or disagree? Would that even be relavent to the bitter taste?
Title: Re: VERY BITTER FLAVOR
Post by: asu on March 26, 2010, 08:34:30 pm
Piching rates...smack pack, sometimes a starter if it is high gravity.  What exactly do they mean when your starter should be 2 liters?  Is that before decanting or do you pitch 2 liters?  I'm reading this from Homebrewers-Bible.  Very frustrated ready to quit...6 batch ruined since January...can't solve! 
Title: Re: VERY BITTER FLAVOR
Post by: asu on March 26, 2010, 08:38:13 pm
I have a RO system installed in my house, since I'm doing extract full 5 gallon boil (never top off batch with cold water) would RO water be OK?  For all grain I understand we my have mashing complications.
Title: Re: VERY BITTER FLAVOR
Post by: tygo on March 26, 2010, 10:50:17 pm
RO water will be fine for extract batches.  A 2 liter starter means two liters of starter wort.  You should let it ferment out, cold crash it in the fridge and decant the starter beer off and pitch just the slurry.
Title: Re: VERY BITTER FLAVOR
Post by: gail on March 27, 2010, 06:24:05 am
I have a RO system installed in my house, since I'm doing extract full 5 gallon boil (never top off batch with cold water) would RO water be OK?  For all grain I understand we my have mashing complications.
Are you using all extract or are you including specialty grains like crystal/caramel, chocolate or black malts or roasted barley?  Liquid or dry extracts?  After bottling, what temp are you keeping your bottles at to carbonate?  What do you use to carbonate?  How is your carbonation level?
Title: Re: VERY BITTER FLAVOR
Post by: gail on March 27, 2010, 06:32:45 am
One of the things I read before I started my first brew is that hard water is better for flavor. Would any of the more experienced guys agree with this or disagree? Would that even be relavent to the bitter taste?

Hard water indicates high levels of calcium and magnesium (not the same as high alkalinity).  Biggest issue with hardness is that you want generally between 50 and 100 ppm calcium for good fermentation and protein flocculation in an all grain brew.  Too much hardness can be an issue but that's not likely in asu's situation. 

Gail
Title: Re: VERY BITTER FLAVOR
Post by: denny on March 27, 2010, 09:34:58 am
One of the things I read before I started my first brew is that hard water is better for flavor. Would any of the more experienced guys agree with this or disagree? Would that even be relavent to the bitter taste?

Not always, but on some styles.  If your water has high levels of sulfate, it will accentuate the hop bitterness.
Title: Re: VERY BITTER FLAVOR
Post by: denny on March 27, 2010, 09:37:02 am
Piching rates...smack pack, sometimes a starter if it is high gravity.  What exactly do they mean when your starter should be 2 liters?  Is that before decanting or do you pitch 2 liters?  I'm reading this from Homebrewers-Bible.  Very frustrated ready to quit...6 batch ruined since January...can't solve! 

If that's the book I think it is, get rid of it.  The absolute best book out there is John Palmer's "How to Brew".    Also, I make a starter for every beer....my experience is that every beer I make a starter for has been better than any beer I haven't.  I make 2-3 qt. starters and decant before pitching.
Title: Re: VERY BITTER FLAVOR
Post by: bluesman on March 27, 2010, 09:43:43 am
Piching rates...smack pack, sometimes a starter if it is high gravity.  What exactly do they mean when your starter should be 2 liters?  Is that before decanting or do you pitch 2 liters?  I'm reading this from Homebrewers-Bible.  Very frustrated ready to quit...6 batch ruined since January...can't solve! 

If that's the book I think it is, get rid of it.  The absolute best book out there is John Palmer's "How to Brew".    Also, I make a starter for every beer....my experience is that every beer I make a starter for has been better than any beer I haven't.  I make 2-3 qt. starters and decant before pitching.

+1


Proper pitching rates are a fundamental part of the brewing process. I always make a starter and/or use a yeast cake.

I still think you need to have your water tested at least to understand what you are starting out with and then go from there as far as adjustments and the like.

Good Luck.
Title: Re: VERY BITTER FLAVOR
Post by: dean on March 29, 2010, 07:15:03 am
From the original post, I agree with HamiltonT... it sounds like Fusel Alcohol.  But, is that because of fermentation temperature or is the Asu making big beers?  If he's making big beers then all he may need to do is let it condition, I know my big beers have been harsher in alcohol until they have sat long enough... and that depends on how big the original gravity was on each batch.  Anyway... just a thought.

High sulfate to chloride ratio will definitely increase the hop bitterness.