Homebrewers Association | AHA Forum

General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: PNWBrewer on August 19, 2010, 03:43:04 AM

Title: How to fix a batch
Post by: PNWBrewer on August 19, 2010, 03:43:04 AM
I made this honey ale and it didn't come out the way I had hoped.  I was wondering if anyone had some ideas for correcting it/feedback on ideas I had thought of etc.

It is insanely sweet, has very little body, and the alcohol is between 9 and 10%.  I added some potassium sorbate hoping that would stop the fermentation but leave some of the honey aroma/flavor etc.  Thus the sweetness factor.  It has stayed in the keg for four days now. 

I thought of returning it to fermenter/carboy, boiling up some hops, and throwing that in to cut the sweetness without provoking more fermentation.  I have also thought of adding some maltodextrin to give it more body.  Another option would be to make a different beer and mix the two. 

Feedback on tips/suggestions is greatly appreciated. 
Title: Re: How to fix a batch
Post by: euge on August 19, 2010, 04:09:03 AM
Blending!

Maybe something really really dry and hoppy?
Title: Re: How to fix a batch
Post by: theoman on August 19, 2010, 10:47:30 AM
Blending is a good idea. Maybe with a lambic.
Title: Re: How to fix a batch
Post by: MDixon on August 19, 2010, 12:50:55 PM
DO NOT add maltodextrine...it will boost body, but will increase your perception of sweetness at the same time.

MoreBeer has Isomerized Hop Extract (kinda pricey, but you don't use much). I'd probably go that route or blend.

When you blend, try several different formulations. You might be surprised at which turns out best.
Title: Re: How to fix a batch
Post by: majorvices on August 19, 2010, 02:38:36 PM
Unfortunately I have always found the best way to fix a batch is to dump it, learn the lesson from the mistakes, and brew it again.
Title: Re: How to fix a batch
Post by: wingnut on August 19, 2010, 03:12:16 PM
Best bet is blending with a different beer that can compesnate for the issues.

If you would like to ferment the beer further, however,  I have heard that if you get a big active cake of active yeast going, and add that to the beer with the sorbate, it will ferment a bit more. 

Keep in mind the sorbate will essentially neuter the yeast, so they cannot multiply.  So whatever yeast you have going when you sorbate, that is all the yeast you will ever have.  As they die off, or go dormant, the fermentation stops. 

With a 9% to 10% beer, however, I am not sure how long "new yeast" will go before going to sleep due to the high %. 

So if you have a good yeast cake floating around, and the only other alternative is dumping the yeast cake and the beer, give it a go.

Otherwise, if you can,  make a thick dry beer, possibly even a low gravity one, and blend the two. That is a much better bet! 
Title: Re: How to fix a batch
Post by: bluesman on August 19, 2010, 03:31:40 PM
It depends how bad it is.  If it's really bad...then I would dump it as Keith said and learn from your mistake.
If it's on the sweet side then I would blend it with something dry as Euge indicated earlier.  Blending will definitely help.

Maybe make an APA.  If you are going all-grain, mash it in at 149ish and use S05 to ferment.
Title: Re: How to fix a batch
Post by: denny on August 19, 2010, 03:43:50 PM
Unfortunately I have always found the best way to fix a batch is to dump it, learn the lesson from the mistakes, and brew it again.

I have to agree with this.
Title: Re: How to fix a batch
Post by: bobburchler on August 19, 2010, 03:46:16 PM
Before dumping, take your best shot. You might get lucky.
Title: Re: How to fix a batch
Post by: tschmidlin on August 19, 2010, 06:30:26 PM
I don't agree to dump it if it's bad, unless it is contaminated and nasty.  You can learn a lot by trying to save it, even if the rescue fails.  But I wouldn't sink a lot of money into it by brewing a new batch to blend it with, unless you are confident it will work out well.

You don't say where your gravity started and finished, so I'll assume it didn't finish fermenting.

I would get some Montrachet or Premier Cuvee or some other high attenuating wine strain.  I know what you're thinking, wine yeast?  Yes, the flavor is pretty much developed at this point, so adding a wine strain to dry it out a few points should not impact the flavor.  Pull off a quart or so and add the wine yeast and see what happens.  If it ferments and you like it, add it to the rest of the batch.  Dry wine yeasts are cheap, you should be able to get them for less than $1, so you can even try it with 2 or more packs.  If the sweetness level comes down to something more palatable but the body is still to thin, then you can add some maltodextrin to increase it.

If it did fully attenuate and it's still too sweet, you can try playing with amylase, then cooling it and adding maltodextrin.  I've had luck doing that.  Or you can try serving it on ice and/or mixing in something else, that will cut the sweetness but make it less like beer.  Or you can see what other people think, I have friends who loved beers I've made that are only ok.  Or you can find a friend who has a way of concentrating it . . . 9-10% is a lot to go to waste.  ;)
Title: Re: How to fix a batch
Post by: euge on August 19, 2010, 06:41:51 PM
It might go well with Club soda and unsweetened lemonade or lime juice over ice for that matter. Still got some of the hot months to get through. Sounds pretty refreshing the more I think about it.

Or you could mix it with cheap can lager on the fly...?
Title: Re: How to fix a batch
Post by: hamiltont on August 19, 2010, 06:53:59 PM
Without the recipe & gravities it's hard do say.  Maybe it more resembles a Braggot than a beer??
Title: Re: How to fix a batch
Post by: denny on August 19, 2010, 09:10:54 PM
I guess some of you guys have had better luck trying to save a batch than I have.  Seems like every time I've tried it, it turned out worse than if I had done nothing!
Title: Re: How to fix a batch
Post by: tschmidlin on August 19, 2010, 09:13:41 PM
I had a saved batch get BOS in one competition and a 45 in the first round of nationals.
Title: Re: How to fix a batch
Post by: denny on August 19, 2010, 09:14:58 PM
WOW!!!!
Title: Re: How to fix a batch
Post by: tschmidlin on August 19, 2010, 09:18:16 PM
Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good :)
Title: Re: How to fix a batch
Post by: jeffy on August 19, 2010, 09:21:31 PM
Has this thread been hijacked by blenders?
Title: Re: How to fix a batch
Post by: tschmidlin on August 19, 2010, 09:33:26 PM
I didn't blend, I rescued my beer by treating it with amylase to drop the gravity down to 1.001 (oops).  So I added maltodextrine to give it body.  It worked like a charm.
Title: Re: How to fix a batch
Post by: MDixon on August 19, 2010, 10:15:05 PM
I've blended for competition. Heck, before I dumped that batch he was talking about I would add fruit flavoring and give it to the ladies as IPR.
Title: Re: How to fix a batch
Post by: PNWBrewer on August 20, 2010, 01:05:34 AM
Great info, I appreciate all the tips.  It's not contaminated, but is super sweet.  I've heard it could be a braggot twice now.  I may just blend it and hope for the best. Thanks again
Title: Re: How to fix a batch
Post by: PNWBrewer on October 10, 2010, 01:35:28 AM
So I didn't do anything to it, left it in the keg to carbonate, and got feedback from my peers.  They all liked it...a lot!  It was about 9.6% alcohol, but was really smooth, so you didn't notice it creeping up on you.  I might tweak it a little in the future, but in general, I think I have a keeper recipe.