I've been making a few small batches of beer after trying a bucket kit from Tesco, using hops from the allotment and dried malt extract. The latest batch of lager tastes a bit off, less so than other ones I have done, but a flavour that seems to be common across all of the brews I've made. I think it's what is described as the 'green apple' taste on some other forums - slightly sour and mouth-watery aftertaste - but it's very hard to know without someone more experienced confirming it. If it is the green apple taste, is it likely to reduce after more time bottle conditioning? I opened one last night after bottling two weeks ago and really quite noticeable off tastes. Have been cleaning all equipment and bottles etc thoroughly with VWP so I hope it's not contamination.
Sounds like acetaldehyde. Which is caused by a few things but is probably your fermentation/racking.
How are you controlling fermentation temperature? Particularly with the lager, which is a bastard to ferment properly without good temperature control. When are you bottling? Might be worth giving it a bit longer in the fermentation bucket to see if that clears it.
Check out this page for more: http://beersmith.com/blog/2016/07/13/acetaldehyde-in-home-brewed-beer-the-green-apple-off-flavor/
I haven't been doing anything to control the temperature other than keeping the fermenting bucket in the coolest and most temperature-stable room in the house. I have been following Charlie Papazian's book which seems to take a pretty laid back approach to the whole process and so I haven't been paying much attention to the finer details but perhaps I should start. I bottled it after 14 days as the specific gravity had been stable for 3 days at that point. Also used a pilsner style yeast that said it could tolerate higher temps - Papazian reckoned that fermenting a lager style at a higher temp would be fine if not optimal.
Do you mean leave it longer in the primary fermenter on the yeast cake, or rack it off for a while before bottling?
And thanks for the link, I've been using dried packet yeast directly into the wort so might try hydrating it first next time.
Difficult in summer, but for temp control in winter, I'd recommend getting a large builder's trug and an aquarium heater. Bucket in the trug with water, aquarium heater set to the temperature required dangling in the water and there you go. Summer you're a bit constrained, which is why I have a fridge/greenhouse heater/temp control unit for fermenting.
Charlie's right to an extent, but if you're getting acetaldehyde (which you don't want), it's likely to be happening at the fermenting stage, so making sure you pitch the right amount at the right temperature and controlling the primary fermentation is important. Sounds like you're leaving it long enough after reaching final gravity, so that's unlikely to be the cause, which is why I'm thinking it's during primary fermentation that it's happening. Your yeast isn't converting enough of the acetaldehyde by the sound of it, so it's either struggling to get going or it's not got the conditions it needs to do its bit efficiently enough to get rid of it.
With lager, it's such a difficult style to hide any brewing errors that anything sub-optimal is risky. So I really wouldn't do it without a fridge in this weather - you're almost asking for trouble. Even more so if the temperature is fluctuating all the time, which it probably is despite it being in the most stable room.
As for rehydrating, I wouldn't bother. I used to do it, but I found just bunging a packet in made little if no difference at all. And it's a faff, so you may as well stick with dry yeast directly in. Having said that, I've got more control over my fermentation temperature, so the yeast is operating in perfect conditions. You might find it gets things going quicker, which could help.
Hop update -
The fuggles is coming on really nicely. Plenty of big cones coming through. Can see lupulin on a lot of them and they’re smelling great.
The yeoman (last picture) is starting to cone now as well. Much less than the fuggles but given how weedy it looks I didn’t expect anything to come through at all.
Beer Update -
Amazed by the Kveik yeast. Brewed on the Sunday 7th then pitched the yeast on the morning of the 8th. Jumped in the shower and when I came down it had already taken off. Seemed to be done after 3 or 4 days but left it for a week as didn’t have any time to bottle before then and was happy to leave it. Bottled on the 15th to condition and had my first bottle last night. Extremely happy with what has come out, higher alcohol than I’d planned but that’s ok, tastes lovely. Had worried about carbonation as had read bottle conditioning with Kveik doesn’t really work, but I read some other bits that said that’s mainly the proper stuff and the commercial versions (I used Mangrove Jacks M12 Kveik) is actually fine to do and it’s come out just how I wanted. Will enjoy getting through this one over the next few months.
Anyone picked their hops yet this year? Went to check mine now but still quite green/wet so will give them another week. Thought the heatwave would have brought the harvest time forward...
Anyone made a malted barley mash for whiskey making in their Grainfather?
I think most of mine are good for picking but with the rain I just haven't had a chance, ideally have a bit of sun to dry them off then I'll harvest them but will have to see.
A friend picked these yesterday, not sure what variety though. She said they smelt like IPA. I'll stick them in the freezer until I get a chance to use them.
Community green hop brew day today. Made a pale with goldings and a dark amber with centennial
What a haul! Puts mine to shame. Will you dry them before freezing?
Looks like great fun - do people contribute their allotment hops etc?
These were hops grown in the local community garden. Had loads leftover. I took some home to vac pac and also made some syrup with them. No idea what to do with it though.
Great to see the other hop collections. A modest amount from my first year of growth but happy with what’s there. Picked after work yesterday so will get them stored and hopefully make a nice bitter with them next month. Enjoying the smell in my kitchen every time I walk in too.
No , they went in the freezer less than 24 hrs after picking. I've done it a couple of times before with fresh hops, just thaw them out in the sun and drain off any excess water. Then use like they are green.
Just pressed about 30-35L of juice from apples (and pears) this past weekend, and have started fermenting it, but I was recommended to transfer it to some glass demijohns/carboys for a secondary ferment before bottling. I don't do secondary with beer, and if I did, it would just be in another fermenting bucket, but in this case I am thinking because of the higher acidity of cider, maybe a glass container is better? any experience on cider here? I saw @Pathracer did some last year, right?
The TL:DR version of the above ^ is I am probably looking for some cheap carboys/demijohns if anyone has any for sale
I have some 5l demi-johns going for free, pick up from Peckham
Thanks that's really kind!
I am in NW10, and don't make it down to Peckham often, but it is probably be worth the trip if you have several of them!
I've DM'd to arrange :)
I leave mine in the fermenter for 2 weeks then prime in bottles for another 2 weeks.
that was my initial inclination, based on what's worked with beer, but I was hearing advice that cider is different for some reason... (longer conditioning needed?)
Apparently cider benefits from ageing/maturing so the plan is to leave it somewhere cool for a while.
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