The Homebrew Twang experiment.

Discussion in 'Beer Kit Brewing Discussion.' started by Gulpitdarn, Jun 22, 2019.

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  1. Jun 22, 2019 #1

    Gulpitdarn

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    Well the Gauntlet has been thrown...
    I am now to make a simple Liquid Malt Extract Brew to see if, for once and for all, LME is responsible for the Home Brew Twang.

    Indeed, there is an offer at Holland & Barrett and I have this afternoon purchased a couple of jars. 2 x 650g jars £4.99 each Discounted... £7.48!

    From the photo you'll see the ingredients...
    1 x 650g jar of Potters Liquid Malt Extract - (I assume this equals to 1kg of Crushed malt.)
    Will use 15g + 20g East Kent Goldings Hops. 15g at start of boil and 20g at end.
    4 Litres of Buxton Spring Water.
    5g Wilko Gervin English Ale yeast.

    All ingredients are fresh.
    LME Best before date Sept 2021. Hops best before Aug 2020. Yeast Oct 2020.

    Let's get started!

    Pic Twang Brew 2.jpg Pic Twang Brew 1.jpg
     
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  2. Jun 22, 2019 #2

    Gulpitdarn

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    All done, I ended up chucking both jars in as the first looked a little wishy washy on it's own and I had no idea what the Starting gravity would be. Turns out the SG is 1.089 gosh! so it'll be strong! about 8.5% - 9% ABV maybe?

    I strained the hops so that flavour would not over power the 'Twang' if we achieve that :laugh8:. Often I ferment with hops in wort.

    Two more jars for trial in another couple of years probably won't last but good idea though and I'll promise, you WILL get the results from this experiment... I know, it bothers me when people don't report back.

    Waiting game now! Let's get a beer. :thumba:

    Pic Twang Brew 3.jpg Pic Twang Brew 4.jpg
     
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  3. Jun 24, 2019 #3

    Drunkula

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    I bottled up the Make Your Own Drinks IPA today. It finished around 1.007, spot on the 4.7% it says on the label. The split was primings sugars and 10ppm sulphite.

    Dextrose
    Sucrose
    Dextrose + oxidisation
    Sucrose + oxidisation
    Dextrose + sulphite
    Sucrose + sulphite
    Dextrose + oxidisation + sulphite
    Sucrose + oxidisation + sulphite

    5 bottles of each. It felt so wrong whipping tons of air into half of it and not filling the bottles from bottom.

    The kit itself was brewed with dextrose and to be honest didn't smell all that great even with the supplied dry hop. It smelled homebrewy, but I've been told it's fairly good so maybe that'll age out. If this kit turns out bad I'm not blaming the kit, I'm blaming me because I tried to brew it at 18.5c for a really clean taste and it stuck at 1.020 so I ramped it up and then checked on it a few times to see if it had started again, possibly causing oxidation.

    Now the waiting game starts.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2019
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  4. Jul 18, 2019 #4

    Drunkula

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    24 days bottled and I'm doing the first side by side of the sucrose based ones.

    Sucrose oxidised: There's a very slight homebrewy oxidised taste that you get half a second to try and taste before this colossal monster of bitterness arrives. I didn't expect that at all - I didn't think there'd be a bitterness change. Unless something changes it's a shandidate (needs lemonade to drink) or maybe cooking with. Of course it will get drunk as part of the experiment.

    Sucrose non-oxidised: Bitterness nowhere near that of the oxidised so you can actually go on a little tasting journey. A little bit of grain and a note of what's possibly oxidation**, then bitterness but only a third of what the first one seems like. Slight taste of the dry hop but nothing amazing.

    Sucrose + sulphite: holy sweet mother of jaysus it's got a smell about it. Ok, the sulphite is definitely there on the nose. It smells like a dog fart, Weimaraner if you want to get specific. But as soon as you're past that the taste is almost like the unadulterated sucrose one but less sweet and with a bit of dryness, almost like gypsum brings with water chemistry.

    Sucrose + oxidised + sulphite: I don't know if I was getting used to the stink or it got mopped up in its oxygen scrubbing duties but it definitely wasn't as 'arsey' as the last one. Even though it was oxidised it had none of the horrible bitterness of the first one and I didn't notice any sweet/sherry oxidation. There was still that little extra dryness. Apart from the nose it was fair.

    Ok - so this is round one and doesn't remotely count as data at this point, but what can I get from it? The sulphite at close to 10ppm is hella noticeable. The oxidised untreated one sticks out like a sore thumb, even though it didn't stink of eggy bowels it was far less drinkable than its medicated sister. For me the flavour behind the smell was even better than the untreated, non-oxidised one as it tasted crisper.

    More rounds will appear here when they happen.


    ** Note: I am not blaming the kit. The brew of this wasn't plain sailing and I tried to brew at 18.5c, it stuck at 1.020 and I had to ramp it and during tests to see if it was back on track I opened the fermenter a few times. So I might have a bit of cognitive bias and almost trying to taste oxidation, but I'm aware of the bias so also looking to defeat it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2019
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  5. Jul 19, 2019 #5

    Drunkula

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    I always though the yeast used that oxygen during conditioning. But yeah, maybe it could bind and become unavailable to the yeast.

    Oxidation is definitely one of the things people call twang. I was listening to a Brulosophy Q&A podcast the other day and somebody was describing something I immediately though of as oxidation and went phwew when they both said they thought the same thing.

    They once suggested getting two identical beers, uncap one, blow into the headspace and recap it and come back and tried them side by side a few weeks later, and apparently you can tell. I'll be doing that and I guess it's a good way for people who don't know what to look for to learn it
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2019
  6. Jul 26, 2019 #6

    terrym

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    Anything to report??
     
  7. Jul 26, 2019 #7

    Gulpitdarn

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    Well, what a wonderful opportunity to crack open a bottle!

    Although a bit early days as I'm breaking the generally accepted rule here, of 2+2+2. The brew was bottled exactly two weeks ago today (12th July), having firstly racked the one gallon fermented wort to a clean demijon and adding 22g dextrose for carbing, this is the first time I have used dextrose for carbing and I feel that it is a little to keen, I'd have been happier using my usual Coopers Carbonation drops... the recommended amount was taken from Brewers friend carbing calculations.

    The opening of bottle was resulted in a very keen overflow before I got to pour into glass, this did not lift the light sediment on bottom of bottle thankfully. The smell on pouring was wonderful, very fruity and left me wondering about this Porters Liquid Malt Extract from H&B health foods shop, although it made a nice acceptable beer, it somehow makes me think that it is not for home brewing, it is for other health food use, but that is just my opinion.

    I'm also thinking that two jars I used, for one gallon is a bit much as it has a bit of a boozy taste to it, it is about 9.2% I'm half way down the glass as I type! Shame that there is no pleasing foamy head and I don't know why this is.... Although it is still a very young beer and has not had the time to condition hence the last 2+.... it is clear and tasty, very fruity in fact although I cannot sense what fruit I'm tasting here, this will improve with age I think, so it is not a failure at this stage.

    Now then... the real answer to this as it is a 'Home Brew Twang' experiment... I can honestly say that there is absolutely NO hint of any twang whatsoever. That is not to say that LME is clear from accusation... I reckon that it escaped because it was purchased in a glass jar and not near to it's best before date, the affected LME probably is in out of date tinned containers. (Another experiment is underway using an out of date tinned concentrate, more about that in another thread)

    My overall impression of this brew is good! It could do with some more bitterness and hoppiness in it's taste, but I did deliberately reduce the amounts so that any twang could be detected. So there we have it.... I reckon another update in two to three weeks will determine whether or not it improves with a conditioning time. Would I brew this again?.... Yes! but I would and I'd try to see how I could get a foamy head, probably using some crushed wheat, and I'd add more water.

    An opinion from Mrs Gulpitdarn: She could taste the hint of blackberries and Blackcurrants and a hint of Liquorice. She also reckons that it is a halfway between a beer and a wine/port, interesting and I'm inclined to agree with her.

    pic1.jpg pic2.jpg
     
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  8. Jul 28, 2019 #8

    GotOneBrewin

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    That's one hell of a recipe for an experiment! I'm not sure if that fruitiness came from using EKG in higher amounts than I have before, the yeast or the temp.
    My last 8 brews have been 6x 370g Meriden malt extract, 150-500g Brewers sugar, 30-40ibu, 4-5%, 16-18c, CML yeasts. Only have a very occasional twang and only fruity one was with Brambling X.
     
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  9. Oct 19, 2019 #9

    Ale

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    Im thinking of doing my first brew in a few years so lurking on here again. I stopped for 2 reasons, one being I dont drink that much so 40 pint brewws lasted ages and 2nd, I always had a bit of home brew twang, even when I tried a couple of all grain brews.
     
  10. Oct 20, 2019 #10

    micklupulo

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    I too had a break of years after doing kits then AG but have resumed brewing but only kits so far which have vastly improved in the meantime and use Lidl bottled water which comes in 2 litre bottles at 17p each. The two combined have got rid of the twang which I understand is often down to chlorine in tap water.
     
  11. Oct 20, 2019 #11

    stephen1546

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    If someone could explain what this "twang" tastes like.. I now look for it constantly in my brews..
     
  12. Oct 20, 2019 #12

    micklupulo

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    It's impossible to describe but it immediately signifies that what you are drinking has not been successfully commercially produced so you are better staying in blissful ignorance of the experience!
     
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  13. Oct 20, 2019 #13

    darrellm

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    I've had the twang with some LME, other LME has been fine. I don't think I've had it with branded Coopers LME. I've *never* had it with DME nor AG - 170+ brews.
     
  14. Oct 20, 2019 #14

    Slid

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    I suspect the twang is basically chlorophenols, which are formed by the combination of the chlorine in tap water (for biological sanitation) with the by-product of the early stages of fermentation known as phenols. These smell terrible to us humans, for some odd reason. AG does not usually give you this issue for the simple reason that you would boil the chlorine out.

    So, the easy answer would be to put ~20L of water in the FV, add half a campden tablet, leave a couple of hours and then chuck the contents of the kit cans plus whatever into the "safe" water, as the sodium metabisulphite in the tablets will neutralise the chlorine.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2019
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  15. Oct 20, 2019 #15

    micklupulo

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    That is interesting but personally I find it easier to spend £1.70 on ten two litre bottles of spring water but there again not everybody lives near a Lidl or similar.
     
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  16. Oct 20, 2019 #16

    Slid

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    That should do it, also. Same idea. Does it come with a warning to check the label for chlorine?
     
  17. Oct 20, 2019 #17

    micklupulo

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    No but it is bottled at source at WS13 8EL near Cannock Chase and chlorine does not appear on the list of contents but most importantly it imparts no off tastes twang or otherwise.
     
  18. Oct 20, 2019 #18

    strange-steve

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    I'm doubtful this is the reason, the main source of phenols in wort is from the malt and so chlorophenols can form during the mash. That being said I agree that Campden tablets should be used, it's a quick and easy insurance against chlorophenol formation.
     
  19. Oct 21, 2019 #19

    ExpatBrewer

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    Way back in the 80's 'twang' was a general term that described what most extract homebrew tasted like. It was the thing that gave homebrew a bad reputation and really, for us kids back then it was more about brewing cheap alcohol rather then quality beer. I recall using a 1.5kg can of LME , huge amounts of sugar, up to 50% i.e 1.5kg, I used a generic "beer yeast", boiled a handful of dried leaf hops for bittering and was unconcerned/unaware of fermentation temperature control etc. I think the large amount of simple sugar was largely responsible for the homebrew "twang" decades ago which is what I think is often referred to now as a cidery off-taste. Today though, there seems a lot less certainty about what it is but I can imagine you might still run into the same thing if you're brewing say a kit plus 1kg of dextrose or a brew enhancer perhaps. But, if people are otherwise tasting what they think is twang where there's little or no simple sugars involved then... it's probably not twang in that case, but rather, something else.
     
  20. Oct 21, 2019 #20

    Cwrw666

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    Twang can't be all down to chlorine in tap water as our water supply is unchlorinated and you still get twang with kits. Never with AG. And by the way, even for brewing kits I still have to boil the water as it's untreated and comes straight off the mountain.
     

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