Author Topic: thin beer  (Read 1347 times)

Offline homoeccentricus

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thin beer
« on: April 17, 2015, 12:12:27 PM »
It's a well-known fact that many beginning homebrewers make watery, thin, flavorless beers. Why, I've heard people claim that this is almost a defining aspect of the homebrewer.

What would be the top factors causing this? How can this thinness be avoided? Obviously I'm not talking about my own beers, just want to help fellow-brewers  8)
Frank P.

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Offline unclebrazzie

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Re: thin beer
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2015, 12:22:51 PM »
just want to help fellow-brewers 

Suppressing the lingering suspicion you're talking about me, I'd hazard that a couple of "beginner's techniques" (aka "errors") could be said to attribute to thinness.
Being unable to control mashing temperature, for starters.
Using the s***loads of sugar that typically come with brewkits, to follow up.
Generally brewing stylistically "thinnish" beers like tripels, to conclude.

I'm generalising, of course, but these would be the first three things that come to mind. Avoiding any or all of the above would prevent the brewing of "unsuitably" thin beers.

Fermentation control would an a last one: if you can't control the yeast, it'll eat up everything it finds. Combined with the above, uncontrolled fermentation would sort of imply thin beer as a de facto result.

That being said: I've a few beers that turned out too thin. There, I admitted it to the while group :)

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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: thin beer
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2015, 12:24:20 PM »
That's funny, I've noticed just the opposite.  New brewers (at least ones I've sampled beers from) , especially ones that start as extract/steeping grains brewers, often have overly sweet , underattenuated beers due to the lower fermentability of many extracts. And making things worse, a lot of them use way, way too much crystal. But to answer your question, to build body in an AG beer, a higher mash temp (154-160F) along with use of wheat, rye, or flaked barley would help, as would choosing a less attenuative yeast strain.  As for being flavorless, that's a recipe issue. Gotta experiment with malts and hops.
Jon H.

Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: thin beer
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2015, 12:33:19 PM »
The last couple of days I've seen a couple of complaints from beginning homebrewers. You read the recipe and the process, and nothing really jumps out, at least not to an advanced beginner like myself. And people start giving all kinds of advice that may or may not be relevant...
Frank P.

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Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: thin beer
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2015, 12:36:12 PM »
just want to help fellow-brewers 
Suppressing the lingering suspicion you're talking about me

You are a bright star in my night, Uncle, but not the center of my universe.
Frank P.

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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: thin beer
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2015, 12:37:48 PM »
And people start giving all kinds of advice that may or may not be relevant...

Yeah, for sure. It's hard to know what's good advice and what isn't when you start.
Jon H.

Offline unclebrazzie

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Re: thin beer
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2015, 01:00:27 PM »
You are a bright star in my night, Uncle, but not the center of my universe.

 :'(
All truth is fiction.
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Offline Frankenbrew

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Re: thin beer
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2015, 01:14:35 PM »
It's a well-known fact that many beginning homebrewers make watery, thin, flavorless beers. Why, I've heard people claim that this is almost a defining aspect of the homebrewer.

What would be the top factors causing this? How can this thinness be avoided? Obviously I'm not talking about my own beers, just want to help fellow-brewers  8)


It is "a well known fact." Well known by whom?

I don't know much about facts, but I know beginner homebrewers who have won contests with their first brew. And watery, thin, and flavorless are not what I usually think of when I am thinking about the results of beginning homebrewers. It seems to me that these are worn out prejudices backed up by outdated anecdotal evidence.

Maybe you should do a scientific study.  ;)
Frank C.

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heart, you brew good ale.'

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: thin beer
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2015, 01:20:19 PM »
I too agree not to agree.  I don't think novice homebrewers make watery thin lifeless beers.  They might not be stellar brews, but I wouldn't come to a conclusion quite like that.

Tiring of saying the same old things in 17,000 different ways, for single-page printable generic guidance for new brewers, I always just post this:

Dave

The world will become a much more pleasant place to live when each and every one of us realizes that we are all idiots.

Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: thin beer
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2015, 01:33:02 PM »
It's a well-known fact that many beginning homebrewers make watery, thin, flavorless beers. Why, I've heard people claim that this is almost a defining aspect of the homebrewer.

What would be the top factors causing this? How can this thinness be avoided? Obviously I'm not talking about my own beers, just want to help fellow-brewers  8)


It is "a well known fact." Well known by whom?

It is well-known that virtually ALL my well-known facts are well known to be well-known facts.
Frank P.

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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: thin beer
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2015, 01:33:56 PM »
I too agree not to agree.  I don't think novice homebrewers make watery thin lifeless beers.  They might not be stellar brews, but I wouldn't come to a conclusion quite like that.

Tiring of saying the same old things in 17,000 different ways, for single-page printable generic guidance for new brewers, I always just post this:



That's a pretty nice guide, Dave. I wish that thing had been around back when I started, especially the extract part.
Jon H.

Offline euge

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Re: thin beer
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2015, 01:37:44 PM »
I say one can make great beer even with as much as 40% cane sugar. Stumbled on this ratio as a new brewer and would consider it poor practice these days, but if treated properly turns out quite well.


Great chart! Should be required reading material.
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Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: thin beer
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2015, 01:38:02 PM »
It's a well-known fact that many beginning homebrewers make watery, thin, flavorless beers. Why, I've heard people claim that this is almost a defining aspect of the homebrewer.

What would be the top factors causing this? How can this thinness be avoided? Obviously I'm not talking about my own beers, just want to help fellow-brewers  8)


It is "a well known fact." Well known by whom?

I don't know much about facts, but I know beginner homebrewers who have won contests with their first brew. And watery, thin, and flavorless are not what I usually think of when I am thinking about the results of beginning homebrewers. It seems to me that these are worn out prejudices backed up by outdated anecdotal evidence.

Maybe you should do a scientific study.  ;)


If it's the homebrewers themselves who complain that their beers are thin, watery and tasteless, are you suggesting I should tell them they may be delusional?  :P
Frank P.

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Offline pete b

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Re: thin beer
« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2015, 01:43:44 PM »
I thought my first beers were too sweet.
Don't let the bastards cheer you up.

Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: thin beer
« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2015, 01:48:03 PM »
OK, let me rephrase  ::) if there are novice homebrewers who complain that there brews are thin, watery etc., and it's not immediately obvious what they are doing wrong, is there any specific advice we can give?
Frank P.

Staggering on the shoulders of giant dwarfs.