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Will bottle conditioning fix apple/cider flavours in an ale?

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nbilling

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I recently made my first attempt at brewing an ale, using a Coopers pre-hopped extract kit (the Real Ale one), and today was the two week point so I took a gravity reading and it appears to be spot on the expected final gravity I calculated. However, I'm hesitant to bottle it just yet because my sample had a pretty strong cider or sour apple smell to it. When I drank some of my sample it didn't smell or taste at all like cider/apple, it tasted really good, so I guess I don't have to worry about it ever tasting like cider.

If I bottle it now, will that smell get fixed in the bottle, or am I better off leaving it even longer in the fermenter before bottling?
 

kadmium

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Acetaldehyde would be what you are smelling. Its the precursor to ethanol and can indicate fermentation is not complete. Under pitching (not enough yeast) or bad temp control can cause it. A long condition can help, or even leaving it to ferment a little longer and hoping for the best.

I would leave it up to another week, and then bottle. Oxygen will also create Acetaldehyde in the presence of alcohol, so avoid oxygen exposure.
 

nbilling

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I'd be a bit surprised if fermentation hadn't completed, because the gravity reading was bang on what the calculator predicted and it tasted totally dry. I don't know if the temperature was optimal for the Cooper's Gold Packet yeast, it would have varied between 64F and 68F with it being 65-66F about 90% of the time (going by a stick-on thermometer and an air temperature thermometer put on a shelf next to it).

It sounds like it at least will tell me something important for my future brewing setup if I wait for a week before bottling and see if that smell has gone by then. Thanks!
 

kadmium

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The SG may show its finished due to the sugar being converted into other things, but sometimes the yeast need time to clean up after themselves.

Did you pitch enough yeast?
 

nbilling

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I used the packet of yeast that it came with and (I think?) the same proportion of fermentables that Coopers gives in the instructions. I couldn't say if that is enough I guess.
 

kadmium

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Yep fair enough. Sometimes under pitching yeast can have that result. The coopers yeast should be ok, but ideally it should be stored refrigerated etc. A cheap insurance is to buy yeast from the LHBS. Something like a US-05 is a nice, clean neutral yeast suitable to many styles.
 

MaggieO

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I used the packet of yeast that it came with and (I think?) the same proportion of fermentables that Coopers gives in the instructions. I couldn't say if that is enough I guess.
On a tangent. I made one of these a few months ago. It was okay after three weeks in the bottle. It was a LOT better after six weeks. It's now at about nine weeks and better still. Be patient.
 

nbilling

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Update: Took another hydrometer reading today and the cider smell was totally gone, gravity was the same as last week so that's good. Bottled it (which makes it 3 weeks in fermenter before bottling) and got 42 500ml bottles, leaving everything below the spigot to get chucked with the trub. Does that seem about right if I started with the recommended 23L?
 

kadmium

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Yep sounds right. 42 would be 21L and 2L left to the bucket sounds about right mate.
 

MaggieO

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I hope this turns out for you. It may not be great but it will probably be good.

Be patient.
 

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