The **Official** Homebrew Beer Thread Page 4

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  • JuanKerr 30 Jan 2009 14:13:22 36,197 posts
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    BanjoMan wrote:
    Just got your email JK. I think you may have a slightly infected batch, maybe from some slightly under-sterilised kit. Did you rinse everything well after sterilising?

    I may be wrong though, it could be something else so I'll look in Dave Miller's book tonight. But, the rule is: if you can drink it, it won't do you any harm - so don't worry about doing yourself any damage.

    Yeah, just read it, cheers for the response.

    We were very careful about making sure everything was sterilised and thoroughly rinsed and that is the reason I'm a bit confused about the smell.

    The funny thing is, it actually tastes really rather good. Ignoring the smell, if I'd bought a bottle of it in the supermarket and it tasted like that, I'd be happy.

    Maybe I'm just analysing the smell too much: I very rarely give ales I buy from the shop pub/a damn good sniff before I drink them.
  • DaM 30 Jan 2009 14:15:28 12,900 posts
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    What does it smell like?
    Does every bottle smell the same?
  • BanjoMan 30 Jan 2009 15:18:20 13,730 posts
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    Well, like I say, I'll check the Dave Miller book tonight. There's actually a chart in it with probable causes of all smells.

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  • JuanKerr 30 Jan 2009 15:21:50 36,197 posts
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    DaM wrote:
    What does it smell like?
    Does every bottle smell the same?

    We've only opened one bottle and it smelt kind of chemically. My mate's dad said he thought it smelt of plasters.

    It wasn't an overpowering smell, but it was noticeable.
  • JuanKerr 30 Jan 2009 15:22:31 36,197 posts
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    BanjoMan wrote:
    Well, like I say, I'll check the Dave Miller book tonight. There's actually a chart in it with probable causes of all smells.

    Nice one BanjoMan, appreciate it. I think I'm going to have to get Dave Miller's book because I'm well up for making more homebrew.
  • BanjoMan 30 Jan 2009 15:27:37 13,730 posts
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    It's a lot better than Papazian's, which is the other brew bible.

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  • Goban 30 Jan 2009 15:32:26 9,051 posts
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    There's a brewing group set up, any idea how you invite people without the administrator being around. TaketheVeil set it up and seems to have neglected it somewhat.
  • BanjoMan 30 Jan 2009 15:39:39 13,730 posts
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    edit: got it.

    http://gamers.eurogamer.net/groups.php?group_id=317

    Seems to be fairly deaded though.

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  • JuanKerr 30 Jan 2009 15:50:49 36,197 posts
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    I've joined it and brought it back to life!
  • BanjoMan 31 Jan 2009 05:59:28 13,730 posts
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    I'm just looking at the Miller book - it looks like the smell is just an 'ester' called ethyl acetate, which is a natural by-product of fermentation.

    Ester is produced by certain strains of yeast, but you tend to get a lot of it when you ferment at relatively high temperatures. Are you using a heat belt or something? That might be why.

    But it's not an infection, so everything's cool.

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  • roywheels 31 Jan 2009 09:18:28 22 posts
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    I'd think the smell would probably fade if the bottles are left to condition for longer. Maybe another couple of weeks.
  • BanjoMan 31 Jan 2009 10:43:17 13,730 posts
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    Not if it is the ester described above, you'll be stuck with it.

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  • JuanKerr 6 Feb 2009 11:54:47 36,197 posts
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    Ah-ha, thanks very much for that info, BanjoMan.

    We didn't use a heat belt, but I think we may have stored the brew at a slightly higher temperature than suggested. The house is always rather warm, you see.

    It's not that much of a problem - once you pour the beer into a glass and leave it for a few minutes, the smell seems to gradually dissipate (although you can still smell it if you give it a good sniff).

    I'd be more bothered if the taste was compromised.
  • BanjoMan 6 Feb 2009 12:00:35 13,730 posts
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    For a first go, it's not a bad result. It's how you learn - next time you'll know to keep a close eye on the temperature. Have you got a wall-mounted thermometer near the brew?

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  • JuanKerr 6 Feb 2009 12:11:12 36,197 posts
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    Nope, but now that I know the reason for the smell, I will definitely get hold of one for the next batch.
  • rutter 19 May 2009 09:18:36 1,919 posts
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    Finally got my first brew on the go on Saturday \o/
    I'm sure all you real Ale types will frown, but it's lager, a Youngs Mexican Cerveza in fact.

    Got a whole load of new kit for my Birthday back in April so am chuffed to have finally got it going. It's out in my new shed with a heating belt on. Starting to smell lovely already. Should hopefully be ready for bottling at the weekend :)

    I have joined the home-brew society :)
  • JuanKerr 19 May 2009 09:52:28 36,197 posts
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    Good man rutter, glad to hear someone else is getting into home brewing.

    Make sure you let us know how it turns out and next time, make a proper drink ;)
  • LeoliansBro 19 May 2009 09:54:26 43,227 posts
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    Am I going to die if I drink your beer JK? Or go blind? Otherwise looking forward to trying it :)

    LB, you really are a massive geek.

  • rutter 19 May 2009 10:04:23 1,919 posts
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    JuanKerr wrote:

    Make sure you let us know how it turns out and next time, make a proper drink ;)

    Next up is Cider! :D
  • rutter 19 May 2009 10:05:42 1,919 posts
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    You probably all know this site, but I got my kit from: http://www.brew-it-yourself.co.uk/index.php

    They've got quite an active forum there too. The gallery board is great for whetting your appetite whilst at work :)
  • consignia 19 May 2009 10:09:52 1,433 posts
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    I've got a brew on the moment which came with seperate hops. I wish more kits cam with seperate hops, because the taste comes out so much better.
  • JuanKerr 19 May 2009 10:21:27 36,197 posts
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    Leolian'sBro wrote:
    Am I going to die if I drink your beer JK? Or go blind? Otherwise looking forward to trying it :)

    My beer is a fine brew and you most definitely won't die. Poisoned maybe, but definitely not deceased.
  • smoothpete 19 May 2009 10:26:30 31,333 posts
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    rutter wrote:
    Next up is Cider! :D
    It's a dream of mine to have an apple orchard, make cider then distill calvados from it.
  • DaM 19 May 2009 11:20:47 12,900 posts
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    When alcopops first arrived (was the first one Hooch?), we made some of that.
    I would report how it was, but TBH I can't even remember drinking it (which is not an indication of its strength, I just can't remember!). I can only remember a cloudy yellow demijohn in the cupboard....

    @ consignia - you can buy them (the hops) separately, online too I imagine - would definitely recommend this for any kit.
  • consignia 19 May 2009 11:29:11 1,433 posts
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    I know, but I usually buy premium kits, so the flavour is based on the already hopped malt that they give you. I'd be worried about fucking up the flavour by putting different types of hops in.
  • BanjoMan 19 May 2009 11:52:47 13,730 posts
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    Just experiment. Fuggles are pretty strong hops, whereas Goldings are a lot milder, so try them. It's all about keeping a record of what you've done so that next time will be an improvement over the last.

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  • rutter 19 May 2009 14:09:37 1,919 posts
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    So, my brew kit came with a Hydrometer and little measuring cylinder. Stupidly I didn't take a reading when I started, so I now understand I can't calculate my ABV?

    But, I'll know that primary fermentation is done once the hydrometer reading is consistent for 2/3 days, right?

    Can I just clean the thing and chuck it in the brew, or do I need to use the pissy little measuring cylinder?

    And, another quick question while I'm here. My brewing bucket doesn't have an airlock thing. So, I've left the lid a little unclipped/open on one side. Is that the done thing to prevent it exploding/let the gases out - or am I leaving myself vunerable to infection and nasties?
  • Tiger_Walts 19 May 2009 14:20:24 16,582 posts
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    Brewing buckets tend to bleed air as it's not too tight a seal. Excess pressure will force its own way out.

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  • BanjoMan 19 May 2009 16:13:16 13,730 posts
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    rutter wrote:
    So, my brew kit came with a Hydrometer and little measuring cylinder. Stupidly I didn't take a reading when I started, so I now understand I can't calculate my ABV?

    But, I'll know that primary fermentation is done once the hydrometer reading is consistent for 2/3 days, right?

    Can I just clean the thing and chuck it in the brew, or do I need to use the pissy little measuring cylinder?

    And, another quick question while I'm here. My brewing bucket doesn't have an airlock thing. So, I've left the lid a little unclipped/open on one side. Is that the done thing to prevent it exploding/let the gases out - or am I leaving myself vunerable to infection and nasties?
    Whoah, infection time. You need to seal the lid asap. Fit an airlock for next time.

    Forget the hydrometer. It's only any use if you took an initial reading. For the record, your beer is ready to rack when the airlock only bubbles once every couple of minutes. In your case, just give it 8 or 9 days. And keep the temperature around 18-21 C.

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  • rutter 19 May 2009 18:07:18 1,919 posts
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    Thanks for the replies chaps. I'll seal her up right away. For some reason I'd got it in my head that the thing would blow up if I left it sealed!

    It's smelling lovely although there's not as much froth as I was expecting.
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