Homebrew too strong

Discussion in 'General Beer Brewing Discussion' started by Devlin, Mar 17, 2019 at 10:14 AM.

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  1. Mar 17, 2019 at 10:14 AM #1

    Devlin

    Devlin

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    Hi everyone

    I’m now on my fourth batch of trying to get a good west coast style IPA going, so early days but in need of some advice as I’ve been disappointed with each batch mainly due to the strength of the finished product. I generally don’t mind high strength beers but prefer lower session strength, up to 6%.

    The problem with each of my batches is the alcohol taste is very strong, almost burning. This then overshadows the hops meaning I have this liquid that just tastes of alcohol.

    I have tried a few different recipes, adjusting the amount of grain (golden promise) with each one. I’ve done some research and came across articles describing mash temp and the enzymes that are activated at different ranges so thought maybe I should mash at a higher temp (69 C / 156 F). I’ve adjusted the amount of yeast (S04) pitched. I must admit I struggle to maintain a consistent temperature during the fermentation process, hovering between 18-20 C. Basically, no matter what I have tried it always ends up the same.

    So I stand before you to ask for some advice and guidance on how I can achieve a nice easy going IPA full of hoppy goodness.

    Thank you.
     
  2. Mar 17, 2019 at 11:07 AM #2

    chthon

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    I think the first point is to explain what you are using for mashing, and the volume you mash?
     
  3. Mar 17, 2019 at 1:50 PM #3

    Devlin

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    Hello chthon

    I’m keeping things as simple as possible for now. So just malt.

    Just to add my batches are UK gallon sizes.

    In terms of volume my latest failure used a ratio of 2.5 litres of water per kg of grain. So this batch was 1.2kg of malt & 3 litres for the mash. I then sat it for 30 minutes @ a fairly consistent 69c, then sparged with 77c water to get my desired boil volume. I experimented with a shorter mash, alas to not much difference in end result.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 17, 2019 at 1:55 PM
  4. Mar 17, 2019 at 2:04 PM #4

    Slid

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    Obvious suggestion is to knock the grain back to 1kg and see how you go with that.
     
  5. Mar 17, 2019 at 2:29 PM #5

    Devlin

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    Thanks Slid

    I understand the logic in that & could give that a try on the next batch. I’ve been reading about fusel alcohols in beer which sounds a lot like what I am experiencing. Although they suggest high fermentation temperatures are to blame which for me isn’t a problem, if anything my fermentation temperature is too low. So probably more confused now.
     
  6. Mar 17, 2019 at 4:39 PM #6

    chthon

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    I did the calculation, and I get for this end volume of 1 imperial gallon (4.5 litre?), and 1,3 kg of malt, and a yeast with an AA of 80%, you get a beer of around 7,5% alcohol. Is your Maris Otter pale ale malt, or is it pale malt? I would think that in case of light malts, the alcohol isn't countered enough by the malt and/or the hops.

    Do you have further information? Your original gravity? Your final gravity? The temperature at which you are fermenting? Which yeast are you using?
     
  7. Mar 17, 2019 at 4:53 PM #7

    Devlin

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    Thanks chthon

    I’m using - FINEST PALE ALE GOLDEN PROMISE®™ (i cannot post a link yet as i am a new member) and yes it’s an Imperial gallon. Embarrassingly, I don’t yet have the tools to measure the gravity but this is my next buy. In other words, I’ve been winging it a bit here.

    Fermentation temperature I think is another area I need improvement. I have yet to properly implement a setup to keep it consistent so fluctuates between 17-21 (ignore my original post’s temp range, it was off). I’ve tried two different types of yeast: mangrove jacks us west coast m44 and Satake us-05. Both same results.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 17, 2019 at 6:12 PM
  8. Mar 17, 2019 at 7:08 PM #8

    Nicks90

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    Easy answer is continue doing what you are doing and once the wort has cooled, take a measurement using a hydrometer.
    If it's over 1.050 the dilute the wort with water until it is.
    Then once it's brewed out you'll have about 5-5.5%
     
  9. Mar 17, 2019 at 7:11 PM #9

    Devlin

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    Not a bad idea Nicks90, thanks. Seems quite pragmatic. First stop, Amazon for the hydrometer.
     
  10. Mar 17, 2019 at 7:23 PM #10

    Chippy_Tea

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    If you have a Wilko close by you can get a hydrometer and trial jar for £6:25.

    Wilko Floating Hydrometer for Wine and Beer - HERE

    Wilko Plastic Trial Jar - HERE


    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2019 at 7:36 PM
  11. Mar 17, 2019 at 8:03 PM #11

    Devlin

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    Thanks Chippy_Tea

    I actually do have one close by so will check that out.
     
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  12. Mar 17, 2019 at 8:24 PM #12

    MmmBeer

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    It sounds as if the flavour you are describing is not ethanol, i.e. due to the ABV content of the beer, but instead it could be higher alcohols, known as fusel oils. These can give the alcoholic flavour describe, as well as a paint stripper / nail varnish remover aroma. Google 'beer off flavours' and look for 'alcoholic'.

    The listed causes include fermenting at too high a temperature, too much yeast or leaving the yeast on the trub for too long. If you're fermenting at 18 - 20°C, temperature is not a problem, how long is it in the fermentor for? Perhaps consider racking into a secondary once bubbling has stopped and leave to finish there.
     
  13. Mar 17, 2019 at 8:36 PM #13

    Devlin

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    Thanks MmmBeer

    I have been looking into this and fusel alcohol and it’s effects pretty much describes what I’m experiencing.

    I keep it in the fermentor for 2 weeks before bottling. For this period it is resting on the trub as described. I have a spare carboy I could use as a secondary, and see how that goes.
     
  14. Mar 21, 2019 at 10:10 AM #14

    Zephyr259

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    2 weeks in primary shouldn't be an issue, how are you measuring temperature and how are you cooling the wort before pitching? Are you getting it below 20c before pitching?
     

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