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First Time Home Brewer - Need Advise

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sylvester

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Hi all,

This is my first crack at a home brew and I don't really know what to expect, so I thought I'd ask here for help.

Just after pitching we had a sudden weather change and the temp didn't get above 18 degrees. Fermentation seemed way slow - only about six bubbles per minute, lasting about a week.

Started taking hydrometer readings. Day 6 SG was 1.014. Tasted quite nice, a bit like a shandy. By day 13 SG was 1.008. Tasted funny to me - was tangy, a bit bitter / sour. Sweet and strong alcohol smell. A murky orange-brown colour. I realised some of the water had been sucked through the airlock when I took the samples. I'm wondering whether it tastes off because it is infected, and whether a reading of 1.008 for three days indicates complete fermentation.

BTW It is a can of "Australian Draught", made up with 1kg of sugar + 23L water as per instructions.

Any advice appreciated!
 

yum beer

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Hey sylvester. welcome to our happy world.

First thing, ignore what the cans tell you to do. Your temps of 18c are pretty well perfect for brewing most kits, they mostly have ale yeast that works best around there.
Some kits will have lager yeast which is better around 12-13c, but not many kits will have proper lager yeast, a lot of 'lager' kits will have ale yeast.

Second, you will get better results replacing white/table sugar with Dry Malt(LDM) or Coopers BRew Enhancer, 2 is generally preferable to 1.
Plain sugar will give cidery tastes as part of the fermenting process, you will read more about this and the reasons the more you poke your head in here.

Its probable the tangy/bitter/sour taste you are getting is from the sugar, it will settle a little with aging in the bottle, but will never fully go away(you will most likely get
whats referred to as kit twang).
I assume your bottling and if so the longer you can leave your bottles before drinking the better, 2-3 months and longer do wonders for kit beers. i find it best to chill your beers
for at least a week before drinking.

Kep reading on here and ask questions/ use the search function/ read old posts and you will learn heaps and improve your brews plenty.
 

bignath

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that's pretty good advice from yum beer.

the only thing i'd add is that yep, three days at 1.008 with those ingredients and volume she's certainly done.

now to look at packaging......either go simple and add sugar to each bottle individually or look into bulk priming which is adding the whole quantity of sugar you would use to prime your bottles, to a boiling water solution to dissolve it. This solution then gets added to another fermenter or similar, and then you transfer your beer on top of this solution. Bottle straight from the now full second vessel. Ensures more consistent carbonation from one bottle to the next, but most people would start out priming bottles individually for their first batch.
 

roverfj1200

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Welcome

As with any thing the better the ingredients the better the end result. The temp of 18deg is right on the money and will only enhance the brew. You have made beer and will be drinkable but it most likely will not be great. But you will find if you stick with it and read this forum you will start to make better beers and will soon be hooked on this great hobby.

Cheers.
 

bum

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Its probable the tangy/bitter/sour taste you are getting is from the sugar, it will settle a little with aging in the bottle, but will never fully go away(you will most likely get
whats referred to as kit twang).
Simple sugars forming a large part of your fermentables does not help but the above is wrong. There will still be twang even if your only additional fermentables are malt extracts. Twang can be covered up, of course - but it takes a lot more skill than brewing a decent all-grain beer. Don't panic though, sylvester - twang can be managed well with good ferment temps - as per advice above.

Good luck with it.
 

yum beer

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Simple sugars forming a large part of your fermentables does not help but the above is wrong. There will still be twang even if your only additional fermentables are malt extracts. Twang can be covered up, of course - but it takes a lot more skill than brewing a decent all-grain beer. Don't panic though, sylvester - twang can be managed well with good ferment temps - as per advice above.

Good luck with it.
sorry guys, was not trying to say that twang is directly from the sugars, more that it is there and is to be expected and for sylvester to be aware of it.
Certianly it can be managed as you say, bum.
 

sylvester

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Thanks for the input guys. Much appreciated.

Are there any kits or particular style you would recommend a beginner?

Thinking about my next brew, I've been given a tin of Coopers Australian Pale Ale & Brew Enhance #2.

I'd like to know your ideas of what to do with this. So adding hops, which yeast to use, etc

My last brew I just used the kit yeast which I think is one reason why it didn't turn out.

Keep in mind I'm a complete beginner, so nothing too complicated, pls
 

bum

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US hops are very popular with that tin around these parts. That tin isn't terribly bitter so you can afford to go reasonably hard with the late hops if you're so inclined. IanH has a well regarded spreadsheet around the board somewhere - have a search for it, I'm sure it'll help you knock out a nice, simple recipe.
 

bum

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I suspect he may have described his complaints in the OP.

Funny that.
 

jakethesnake559

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Hey Sylvester,

Welcome to the wonderful world of homebrew!!
Don't worry, every time you brew, you will end up with better beer...it's a learning process :D .

Definately stick with an ale for your next brew.

Try Safale US-05 dry yeast.
You can just sprinkle it on top of your wort, give it all a good stir and you are away.
You can rehydrate it if you like...in my opinion, you are better off just pitching it in dry.

I would also recommend adding some Cascade hops.
You can pick up hop pellets from your LHBS, usually in 40g packs.
Put a couple of litres of cold water in a saucepan, throw in 20g of Cascade and bring it to the boil.
Boil for 5min then strain the liquid into your fermenter with the rest of your ingredients.
Discard the residue.
This will give you some added hop flavour and aroma, but shouldn't add too much to the bitterness.

The other important thing is fermentation temp.
Make sure you have the wort at around 20c when you pitch the yeast, and try to keep it at around 18c during fermentation.
Now's a pretty good time weather wise...wrap in blankets to keep it warm overnight.

Good luck, let us know how it goes.
Jake.
 

bum

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Put a couple of litres of cold water in a saucepan, throw in 20g of Cascade and bring it to the boil.
Boil for 5min then strain the liquid into your fermenter with the rest of your ingredients.
Discard the residue.
I'd recommend both of you to consider using adding malt extract so that the boil liquor has a gravity of 1040. Bit more beer-like and the hops will present a little better, lower IBUs though so jake may have to up the amount of hops he uses to get the same bitterness.
 

jakethesnake559

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Hey Bum,
You mean add some of the Beer Enhancer2 to the 2L in the saucepan yeah?
Learning every day :) !!
 

manticle

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Be2 contains malt extract but it also contains other things. You can buy straight malt extract. Use 100g of dried in 1 L of water to get approx 1040.

Use about 20% more if using the liquid malt but dry will be easier to handle. Mix it up in cold water with a whisk and don't worry if it seems a little clumpy, despite whisking.
 

michael_aussie

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Are there any kits or particular style you would recommend a beginner?

Thinking about my next brew, I've been given a tin of Coopers Australian Pale Ale & Brew Enhance #2.
You should try to make the beers you enjoy to drink.
If you drink darks ales make a dark ale.
If you drink Corona's make a Mexican clone. etc....

If you like the "fruity" beers .. then add more hops to your home brews.

There is nothing worse than having 20 litres of a "good" beer that isn't actually the sort of beer you prefer.
 

jimmythehuman

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I just made the same brew on Friday night, i think. My second brew. Are you in Melb, maybe we could swap a few bottles and compare notes to see what the differences are? justathought :)
 

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