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Another home brew twang/sweetness question

Discussion in 'General Brewing Techniques' started by pete-ej20, 13/9/19.

 

  1. pete-ej20

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    Posted 13/9/19
    Hi Guys,

    Long time lurker - first time poster. Let me preface this thread by saying that I've researched countless forums and posts on this information, but obviously have a few questions related to my specific situation. I realise this will be a bit long winded but I think we all know detail is important with this sort of stuff.

    I've got a Coopers DIY beer kit/FV - the one with the removable krausen collar. Did my first 2 brews a couple of years ago of the Coopers Pale Ale kits and wasn't impressed with the results - got that typical sweetly taste that I believe is "home brew twang". After a hiatus of a couple of years, I decided to have another go, so went to the LHBS (Country Brewer) and on their advice for something simple and good, got their X-tract Australian Pale Ale kit and some cascade hop bags.

    Anyway, after 2 weeks in the FV I bottled last night and was disappointed to taste it and see I still had that definite sweet twang - though noticably less than previously it was still definitely there. Here's the brew process I followed;

    * Warmed extract in sink full of hot tap water to loosen contents
    * Steeped both cascade hop bags in 2 metric cups of boiled water for 10-15 mins to make a "hop tea"
    * Added extract to FV and added hot water - stirred to dissolve mixture
    * Started filling with cold tap water to 10L
    * Added hop tea including tea bags
    * Continued filling FV to 20L
    * Temperature was at 18-20 degrees - pitched Safale S-04 yeast (dry)
    * Fermentation started after approx 12 hours - completed in approx 3-4 days
    * Removed Krausen collar on day 3 after krausen had dropped
    * OG 1050 - FG 1010 which is bang on what the extract expected

    Now, what is interesting is I tasted the beer on day 3 and it was still super sweet - which is normal/expected as it was still in the late stages of fermentation and yeast cleanup was yet to occur etc.

    Tasted the beer on day 6 and it was good! Quite bitter, no sweetness at all so I was sure it was going to turn out great. On the advice of my LHBS, left it for another week so total time in the FV was 13 days. Yesterday was day 13, so I bottled the lot and tasted it and noticed the sweetness/twang had developed - only slightly but it is definitely there.

    I find this interesting as this taste developed well after fermentation had completed - ie. between days 6-13

    Temperature was constant - the FV is kept under the stairs in my 2 storey house - dark, cool and little to no variations in temperatures. Temperature gauge on the FV was always 18-20 celsius - optimal for the S-04 yeast.

    So - theories on how/why this is happening? I feel I've eliminated the obvious/typical causes - poor temperature control, crappy kit yeast, poor sanitation etc. Could it be;

    * Some consequence/by-product of the yeast cleaning up after primary fermentation, or
    * Oxidation? When I remove the krausen collar I obviously have to remove the lid from the FV. When I did this I also moved the hop bags floating on the top with a sterilised spoon to get some of the left over krausen off them. Wondering if this process disturbed the wort, introduced oxygen and the oxidation effects developed somewhere between days 6-13? Can oxidation occur this quickly and cause this taste to occur? FV was open for approx 30secs - 1min.
    * Something else? I'm very careful with sanitation etc

    I certainly don't think the batch is ruined, at least not yet, but in my experience the taste immediately prior to bottling won't change all that much after bottle conditioning.

    Thanks in advance for your help

    -Pete
     
  2. MHB

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    Posted 14/9/19 at 1:36 AM
    Can be very frustrating when you think you have done everything right and the beer is still wrong.
    I wouldn't be too worried about Oxidisation at this stage, taking the lid off and prodding at the brew with a spoon is the part of your operation that would worry me most. If you take a deep breath - you are inhaling millions of spores, viruses, fungi bacteria... any one of which may be screwing your brew, just leaning over an open fermenter to look inside is an identifiable source of risk (you/we all have lots Lacto bacteria in our spit, on out hair, eyelashes...).
    Where I'm heading is that your most likely problem is an infection, truth is I suspect few if any home brews are free of infection. It's just that a brew isn't a happy home for most bugs but there are some that will happily make a home in our beer and its a lot easier to get an infection than many think.

    Best thing I can suggest is to bottle the beer, give it a couple of weeks than make up your mind.
    If it isn't up to scratch try finding a local home brew club and taking some along, there are plenty of well trained tasters around these days, odds on someone will be able to tell you a lot more if they have the beer in front of them.
    Mark
     
  3. pete-ej20

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    Posted 14/9/19 at 2:08 AM
    Thanks for your reply Mark - agree it could be an infection but I’ve bottled it now so will see what it’s like in a couple of weeks.

    Going to put another brew in hopefully this weekend, different recipe but will be sure not to open the fv at all during this one to see if it makes any difference

    Will also take a bottle down to the lhbs once it’s ready to get their feedback as well
     
  4. pcmfisher

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    Posted 14/9/19 at 4:27 AM
    You may be able to tell it's bad but it's very difficult to judge at the bottling stage how good a beer is going to be.
    Give it a few weeks and see how it goes.
    Having said that, I am very surprised you got a 3kg liquid malt xtract brew down to 1010, especially with S04. Usually they would be around 1014 so I hope no other bugs have been doing some chomping as well.
     
  5. Frothy Boi

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    Posted 14/9/19 at 9:47 AM
    Grab a Fresh Wort Kit from your local homebrew shop and ferment that out and see how pleased you are with the results. I never loved my K+K or extract brews and could always taste something off with them. With all grain, even the mediocre brews were way ahead of any K+K beers.
     
  6. pete-ej20

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    Posted 15/9/19 at 11:55 PM
    agreed - will definitely see how it tastes once it's done conditioning in the bottle. The expected FV according to the extract tub was 1012-1010 - actual FV was 1010 (may have even been 1009) - hopefully there wasn't something else contributing!
     
  7. pete-ej20

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    Posted 15/9/19 at 11:58 PM
    I was planning on working my way up to this sort of stuff - thinking if i could get at least get a basic brew extract right I could move up to all grain or partial grain. I just put down a Stone & Wood Pacific Ale style clone this weekend with some steeped wheat - using a tin of pale ale extract and some "brew booster" so will see if it also turns out with the "twang"
     
  8. peterlonz

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    Posted 17/9/19 at 3:07 AM
    Twang means different things to different people.
    I use Coopers extract kits as my brew base, & either US-05 or the Coopers kit yeast, at pitch temp of 20 reducing to 19.
    I usually have a home brew hint, not sure if it's a twang, but I prefer to bought beer.
    Maybe if you could indicate, whether despite the twang you report, is your beer better than commercial product (exclude VB & 4X from consideration)?
     
  9. pete-ej20

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    Posted 17/9/19 at 3:52 AM
    I guess that's the problem with broad terms like "twang" - very subjective.

    Once I open one of these beers to try when bottle conditioning is done, I'll try and be a bit more descriptive of the flavour I'm talking about (assuming it's still got it). From memory, the general bitterness you expect is there, but there's an underlying sweetness that just doesn't belong. Some people may like it, but for me it just doesn't have that clean crisp taste that you expect when drinking any sort of beer which for me makes it far inferior to "commercial" craft beers.
     
  10. Dave Nagy

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    Posted 17/9/19 at 10:21 AM
    I'll be watching this tread.
    I'm battling the "twang" at the moment.
    I'm down to my water so far.
    Tried Brita filtered water. Still tastes the same.
    Boiled water cooled is next.
    I'm working with coopers kits and be2. Only because the local supermarket has them cheap. Yet me say that they aren't old as they run out of stock quite often.
     
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  11. peterlonz

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    Posted 18/9/19 at 12:45 AM
    From time to time my brews also exhibit an unwanted sweetness, well after fermentation has finished & about a further week standing (before kegging).
    And yes unfortunately these beers are not of even basic commercial standard.
    Addition problems are a failure to properly clear; never used to have this problem & it seems independent of yeast type ( tried US-05 & Coopers kit yeast.
    When reporting on a suspect beer I think the acid test is would you prefer (say) Heineken? That puts things in perspective.
     
  12. pcmfisher

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    Posted 18/9/19 at 2:27 AM
    Your or anyone else's kit brews are not going to be as good a quality as even basic commercial brews. So don't worry.
    Some people claim their's are, but I haven't experienced it. Not even close.
    Unfortunately kits equal sweetness and twang. Having said that you minimise these and can still make nice beer with kits if you do things right. eg, ingredients, temp control, sanitation and patience.

    Clarity, especially with US05 is a time thing. It's not a very flocculating yeast and doesn't compact very hard so it is easily disturbed. Be patient.

    For me, a quantum leap from kits is unbittered extract brewing. Using unhopped liquid or dry extract and doing a small hop boil for your bitterness and flavour. You don't need all the equipment and time of all grain brewing, just a 5 or so litre pot, about 90 minutes and the stove.
    These taste so much better than kits. There is a number of theories as to why, but virtually no twang. I put it down to fresh hops for bittering. You can control the bitterness and flavour to you taste and the underlying sweetness as well to a certain extent by substituting malt for something more fermentable like dextrose. (You can do that for kits as well).

    Keep Brewing!
     
  13. pete-ej20

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    Posted 18/9/19 at 5:56 AM
    agree that (at least in my case), the issue isn't related to the type of yeast being used. I also think there are multiple causes for this sort of thing happening - in my case I suspect it (for now) to be oxidation, by introducing oxygen when removing the krausen collar from the fermenter. Will not be removing the collar or even taking the lid off the current batch prior to bottling so will see if I get a different result
     
  14. pete-ej20

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    Posted 18/9/19 at 6:00 AM
    I have also read a fair amount of stuff about people eliminating the twang by going to unhopped liquid or dry extract - I'll be looking further into this option if the currently brewing batch still contains the twang
     
  15. hoppy2B

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    Posted 18/9/19 at 10:14 AM
    I think it takes a good 6 weeks of bottle conditioning for a well made beer fermented with S04 to get beyond the sweet taste. I don't mind that fresh beer taste now that I have become accustomed to it. For those new to home brewing, it may seem strange.

    I believe you can make good beer with kits. When I did them I used the Coopers Original Lager and steeped a small amount of specialty grain, added hops, and yeast of choice. I also used rain water and boiled all water in the brew.
     

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