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Ruddager

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I recently brewed a batch of beer that I was really, really looking forward to and it seemed to be going great at all stages, but after trying the first bottle there seems to be a few things wrong with it. I think (hope?) that all it needs is time - and it had only been in the bottles for 11 days when I tried it - but there's more to the story. Here's the timeline of events why not:

10/7 - Brew day: my first hopped beer using a can of extract, dry and liquid malt, ale yeast and 25g of hops which I boiled for 20 minutes
15/7 - 5 days fermenting: having kept my beer at around 18-20 degrees I wrapped it in a quilt and abandoned it as I set off on holidays for a week
22/7 - 12 days fermenting: returned home, finding my beer at 14 degrees so started to bring it up to temperature
23/7 - Bottling day: beer smelt great as I was bottling it and so I squeezed out every last bit, managing to get 28 and 3/4 bottles
02/8 - 10 days in bottle: no idea what temperature the bottles were at, but it could have been low
03/8 - 11 days in bottle: got a little impatient and decided to try that 3/4 bottle early ...

Original gravity: 1.053
Final gravity: 1.006

First of all, the beer was completely flat. I think the bottle went "psst" when I opened it but I'm not entirely sure. I think if it hadn't I would've noticed, however there were no bubbles at all in it when I poured it. As well as this, it didn't taste good. It wasn't hugely bad, but it wasn't even as good as my first effort either, and it had actually been smelling GREAT up until I tried it.

Ok, so, I guess there's a couple of things that could have happened, but I'm no expert so I'd like to know if anyone else has thoughts on this. Having it in the bottle only 11 days before trying was clearly not enough - and I knew that - but I didn't think it'd be quite that bad. In fact, I thought it would be at least showing some kind of potential so that's why I was so eager. Also it'd been in the fermenter for nearly two weeks so I thought that would have helped it along anyway. Another thing that wouldn't have helped the taste is that this bottle came right from the very bottom of the brew, and that's why it was only 3/4 full.

My other is the lack of carbonation. Could it be that the low temperatures it reached while I was away put the yeast to sleep and so they're not doing their thing in the bottle? (... they do have something to do in there, right?) I've heard of people "cold carbonating" their beers, but I don't really know what that means and whether it still needs a couple of warm weeks at the beginning.

So can anyone help shed some light on what might be going on? I had such a good feeling about this beer the whole time until I went and tried it :( Only have my self to blame I suppose.
 

bum

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I think (hope?) that all it needs is time
Most likely, but...

it didn't taste good.
This seems to be the full extent of your description of the issue you're having. What does it taste like? Why is it bad? You might just not like it - that's different to bad.

My other is the lack of carbonation.
Time will sort that out. If the bottles have been too cold then move them somewhere warmer and wait some more.

I've heard of people "cold carbonating" their beers
You're probably thinking of cold crashing/conditioning. Worth looking into if you're so inclined but it doesn't have much to do with your options for this brew now.

Only have my self to blame I suppose.
As I see it, you have two options:
  1. Start drinking it now, feel disappointed with every drop of it until the last bottle when it will magically turn into the best beer you've ever made
  2. Just wait a bit more. See what happens. All things being equal, it will get better.

[EDIT: typo]
 

mr_tyreman

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was it only the "3/4 full bottle" that you opened? if it was, i think you'll find the carbonation will be lower due to the availability of air space for the built up CO2 to occupy, rather than the beer.
 

bum

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Now with the extract and hops, if it was an unhopped extract can I'm pretty sure you need to boil for half hour or more with hops for bitterness then about 20 minutes with more hops for flavour and then more hops at the end for aroma. You may not have achieved that.
Good pick-up there. Could definitely be the issue if that extract is unhopped unless he used a lot of hops. I would add to your reply that most people would recommend a 60 boil for bitterring additions (although this is far from the only way to do it).
 

mxd

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what yeast, that's a low FG from a 1.053 ?
 

Ruddager

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(it didn't taste good) seems to be the full extent of your description you the issue you're having. What does it taste like? Why is it bad? You might just not like it - that's different to bad.
I don't really know how else to describe it unfortunately, but you might be right about simply not liking it. It didn't actually taste off, it just kinda tasted like weird, flat, syrup.

was it only the "3/4 full bottle" that you opened? if it was, i think you'll find the carbonation will be lower due to the availability of air space for the built up CO2 to occupy, rather than the beer.
This is a very good point, and I never realised that could happen. And yes, the 3/4 bottle was the only one I opened.

Uh-oh, now I'm almost tempted to open another one! Must ... wait ... until ... Friday ... at earliest!!
 

Ruddager

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Good pick-up there. Could definitely be the issue if that extract is unhopped unless he used a lot of hops. I would add to your reply that most people would recommend a 60 boil for bitterring additions (although this is far from the only way to do it).
The pre-hopped extract I used was Cooper's OS series Draught, and I used the yeast from that.
 

crd0902

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If it was a coopers can then yeah the hops boil won't matter. It the yeast in the tin not really the best. I'm going with the bottle you opened, not the best yeast so you won't get the greatest beer, no temp control and maybe ya just don't like it. Wait till you try it again and see how it goes.
 

Ruddager

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Oh, do you think I boiled the can? No, only the hops.
 

crd0902

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Haha no when you do extract brews you boil some of the unhopped extract with water and add the hops at intervals to give it the flavour. The coopers tins are already hopped and flavoured. Just add sugar.
 

Ruddager

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Ah righto yeah I'm starting to learn these things. I asked for a sort of "next step" amber ale recipe and someone suggested mixing the pre-hopped can, dry and liquid malt together in the fermenter then adding "hops tea" to it. I haven't actually done a proper boil with malt and hops yet - in fact I'll need to get my hands on a much bigger pot before thinking of that. At the moment my biggest thing is about a 3L saucepan!!
 

crd0902

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That recipe you said works great did that for ages. Only bought myself a bigger pot a month ago. Big w cheap 15-20 litre pots bout 20 bucks I think the we're
 

yum beer

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As with any kit beer you need to leave it at least 2 months to age before drinking, the hops can give a nasty, grassy type flavour while young, they tend
to stand out like dogs balls in a kit beer till it mellows a bit over time. Let these bottles sit for a while longer.
What type of hops did you use and what type of malts...these details are very helpfull for people trying to help you, saying you added hops and malt means jack
if you dont state whate kind or how much.
In me experinece any kit beer with hops added needs 3 1/2 to 4 months for the flavours to meld together. try one every other week and see when your happy to get stuck into em.
 

Ruddager

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Ok, ingredients used are as follows:

500g Coopers light dry malt
1.7kg Coopers OS draught kit
1.7kg Coopers amber liquid malt extract
25g Fuggles hops @30 mins
 

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