1 Posted: Wednesday, February 14, 2018 11:54 AM

Hey guys,

I've put down 3 brews so far, with a 4th ( a stout) currently bubbling away in my FV.
The problem I'm having is that all 3 previous brews have been completely different recipes, but the end results all taste relatively the same. I seem to always get the same extract twang and I can't really taste the hops at all, as I'd hoped and expected. I've read the other thread on here about the bandaid taste and even though I'm thorough with my cleaning/sanitisation, I'm starting to worry that all my brews may have been infected and giving off the same flavours.
Here's what I've brewed so far:

1st: TC IPA can, 23 ltrs, 1.5 kg LDM, kit yeast, dry hopped with 60g Galaxy.

2nd: Coopers Lager can, 21 ltrs, 1kg LDM, 250g Caramalt steep, 1kg BE1, 20 min boil and Flameout cascade/galaxy, rehydrated US-05 yeast, dry hop galaxy/cascade

3rd: Coopers APA can, 21 ltrs, 1kg BE2, 500g LDM, 250g Caramalt steep, 15 min / 5 min boil of Centennial/Citra/amarillo, rehydrated US-05 yeast, dry hop cascade/citra/amarillo.

All brews were in the bottle for at least 2 weeks prior to drinking. I don't have a fermenting fridge but have tried to maintain temps in the FV to between 20-23 degrees using a towel doused in cold water, wrapped around the FV. Once bottled, the beer was kept in a closed esky and kept about 20 degrees and out of light. Some of the beer has been drank after about 3-4 weeks (last few bottles of each batch) and flavour hasn't really improved.

My 3rd brew has the most hops I've used so far. I cracked the first bottle of this batch last night and to say I was disappointed would be an understatement. I can't smell or taste the hops at all and it tastes the same as the first 2 (twang).

Am I jumping the gun a bit given that all batches have only been in the bottle for 2 weeks prior to drinking? I just find it really odd that all 3 recipes have used different bases and hops yet there's no real difference between them, almost seems like the money/effort put into it has been wasted because there's been no difference in taste. Does it sound like what I'm tasting is the dreaded bandaid that has already been spoken about elsewhere in the forum?

As I've said, all my equipment is cleaned immediately after use, and I re-rinse it hot water and sanitise everything before brewing a batch. My bottles get rinsed after they're emptied, and stored once dry. I soak in napi-san the day prior to bottling, re-rinse several times and sanitise the bottles before filling them on bottling day.

Any advice? I'm a bit disappointed in the outcome so far, even though they have been drinkable, but just nowhere near what I've expected. Thanks.

2 Posted: Wednesday, February 14, 2018 12:03 PM

Wow I'd be really interested in the opinions on this one.

Seems like you are doing everything right. Identical cleaning regime that I follow but so far my beers have tasted different.

I did see one series of posts implying that late dry hopping could lead to infection but a. don't know if that is a ‘thing’ or b. if so, what do you do about that?

3 Posted: Wednesday, February 14, 2018 12:32 PM

So this seems to be happening to me for my last 2 brews.

I did a stone & wood pacific ale clone and a james squire cabin fever session ale clone.
Both beers tasted exactly the same.

The only thing I can think of is that my beers that tasted very different I did a hop boil and didn't have any steeped grains in them. The 2 I did without a hop boil and steeped grains tasted almost identical.

So a little different to your situation, but I'm getting the same problem. You're not alone.

4 Posted: Wednesday, February 14, 2018 12:53 PM

Hi karlos. Sorry that your brews have not been turning out for you. Hard to say if you have been having repeated infections or not, as it sounds like you are doing a good job sanitizing. Even so, I will point out that brews #1 and #2 were probably under-pitched, especially #1. IMO, if you use more than 500gm of DME, you really ought to use more than 7gm of yeast.

The TC IPA tin comes with 7gm of an unknown third party yeast, which may or may not be BRY-97…. BRY-97 has a reputation as a slow starter, which could possibly allow a wild yeast to dominate the brew, especially as you were also under-pitched. But even without a wild yeast infection, under-pitching can lead to its own off flavours.

The other two brews were made with US-05. US-05 is widely used and has a lot of fans, but I haven't had much luck with it myself and don't use it anymore. It's a bit slow getting started, but not as slow as BRY-97.

The other possible issue is temperature. I have not used used US-05 at 23C, but I wonder if perhaps that is part of the problem? Ditto for brew #1, with the unknown third party yeast. While 23C isn't horrible, IPAs are supposed to be clean, so temps 16-20C are probably better. I like 18C myself.

I see you rehydrated the yeast your last couple of brews; that is always a good idea. Keep it up.

Speaking from my own experience, my brews began improving when I when I started using more yeast, but they really took a leap forward when I got a brew fridge.

I think it is a myth that dry hops cause infections. The hop oils themselves are antibacterial, and by then the beer is also full of alcohol. If you are dry hopping you should have lots of aroma early on, though it falls off quickly, the longer it is in the bottle. Dry hopping commando style might give you more bang for your buck, but if you can't cold crash, they are difficult to remove.

Cheers,

Christina.

PS The Lager and APA kits aren't that different, only the Lager kit is slightly more bitter and they come with different yeasts, which you didn't use. If you are going to add dry hops and steep specialty grains, I would recommend avoiding the Thomas Cooper kits, which already have late hops added and are more expensive. The Lager and APA kits are better bases.

5 Posted: Wednesday, February 14, 2018 1:08 PM

DonPolo:

I did see one series of posts implying that late dry hopping could lead to infection but a. don't know if that is a ‘thing’ or b. if so, what do you do about that?


When I dry hop, I soak a hop sock (which has previously been cleaned) in Starsan for a couple minutes. I then add the hops and tie it off and throw it into the FV, trying to open the lid as little and low as possible.

Brews 2 and 3 though, I did the same as above, but also sanitised my big white mixing spoon and put it into the FV as well, to hold the hop sock down toward the bottom of the beer. Left it in the with the lid holding it in place to keep the hops down low, hoping the hops would get more evenly spread through the beer, as I've heard of people using a small weight to hold it down.

6 Posted: Wednesday, February 14, 2018 1:24 PM

The other thing I'd point out is that all three of your recipes are quite similar in terms of malt bill. You steeped 250gm of caramalt for #2 and #3, whereas #1 probably comes with a similar amount of caramalt from the factory. You also had galaxy and cascade in two of your brews. In the case of #2 you added them both. In the case of #1, you only added galaxy, but that can comes with Cascades already in it. Brew #3 should have tasted different than #1 and #2.

Cheers,

Christina.

7 Posted: Wednesday, February 14, 2018 3:24 PM

Like Christina says, I don't think you've used enough yeast for the fermentables in the recipes, even if it was re-hydrated. The kit yeast isn't enough for a kit and 1.5kg LDM, and I reckon with the other two you should have used the kit yeast as well as the US-05.

This ‘band-aid’ flavor doesn't taste like extract twang, it's more of a medicinal/phenolic type thing. In any case, try a batch using a kit with 1kg or 1.5kg of LDM, but pitch sufficient yeast and if you can try to keep the temp between 18 and 20. It may well turn out a lot better.

8 Posted: Thursday, February 15, 2018 1:18 AM

Thanks for the advice guys. It's really disheartening when I'm brewing these up and enjoying the smells of the steeped grains and the hop boils then not getting any of that in return when tasting the finished product. It's interesting that both you guys (Christina and Otto) both suggest the issue is not enough yeast. Before I gave this a go I read a lot of these forums, the Cooper's recipe site and have been an avid follower of the popular YouTube home brewers such as craigtube, gash slug, Dino and KR/fast homebrew. Majority of their basic extract or kits n bits recipes use the same amount of yeast as I'm using and for brews 2 and 3 they were both loosely based off a couple of gash slugs, which either used a single pack of US-05 or kit yeast. On gash's videos he doesn't often rehydrate the yeast either. So if I've followed those recipes with perhaps slightly different hop schedules but kept the fermentables on par and used a rehydrated yeast, then it's still got me buggered what the issue is.
Would it be worth doing a basic APA with just 1kg LDM, using 2 packets of rehydrated kit yeast and a dry hop only to see if it comes out different to the last 2 brews?

9 Posted: Thursday, February 15, 2018 3:52 AM

karlos_1984:

Would it be worth doing a basic APA with just 1kg LDM, using 2 packets of rehydrated kit yeast and a dry hop only to see if it comes out different to the last 2 brews?


There is great debate about how many cells are actually in a package of dry yeast. It is worth checking a couple of pitching rate calculators when you use a new recipe. I have used MrMalty and the Brewer's Friend. The Brewer's Friend always calls for more grams of yeast, because it makes lower assumptions about how much it contains. I usually try to aim for somewhere between them, as long as it does not involve using part of a package of yeast. Most of the time I use 2 packages of yeast (7gm + 7gm = 14gm), and rehydate.

As Otto says, if your calculator indicates you need more than your package of US-05 contains, throw the kit yeast in with it. You are better off over-pitching a little than under-pitching.

Is it worth doing a basic kit with 1kg LDM, 14gm of kit yeast, and dry hopping? Sure, but I'd use the Lager kit because the APA kit comes with an ale/lager blend, and that really ought to be fermented at 18C. The Lager kit, despite its name, comes with straight Coopers ale yeast and tolerates >20C temps better than lager yeast.

At this stage in your learning, I'd stick to using one hop at a time, so you can get a feel for them, and maybe not Galaxy or Cascades, which you have used often already. I love Citra myself. Not sure how long you are leaving your dry hops in, but I leave mine in for 3 days; you could go up to a week.

Cheers,

Christina.

10 Posted: Thursday, February 15, 2018 8:12 AM

Hey Karlos

My first question is can you drink the beer, does it taste and smell like beer?

Are you boiling the steeped grain wort? That is are you removing the grains at the end of the steep and then boiling the liquid/sugars that has been extracted from the grains?

Given the rest of the procedure you are following it is, in my opinion, very difficult to get an infection. I certainly can't see you getting three in a row unless its something fundamental like not boiling the steeped wort. Even so your first didn't have any grains.

Twang and temperature I believe are related. I have had twang a couple of times and to me it wasn't dominate and really had to clarify, it was a long time ago and at the time I posted a pretty good description on here somewhere. The beer was tasting good then at the back of the palate there was a taste that doesn't belong there, not offensive just out of place. In my recollection the “Twang” doesn't hit you up front.

Christina and Kelsey are spot on, and they are way more knowledgeable about home brewing than I, in that you are stressing you yeast. The combination of 23 degrees and under pitching is really stressing the little sugar munchers. They also don't like too big a temperature variation. I have said this plenty of times before, two weeks is really too early to be expecting great results from your K & K beer even if you have everything right.

You don't actually say what quantities of hops you are using and where you have purchased them from or what your boil volume is. I can tell you that 25g of Cascade boiled for 20 minutes in 22 litres gives a great bitter grapefruit edge to all of the beers that I have brewed.

Do you have someone else who can taste your beer, I mean someone like an experienced wine drinker who can pick all those abstract flavours. Some peoples' palates are not as refined as others and there are a number of factors that hinder our taste buds.

If you get this stout in the bottle and it tastes the same as the others then you really do need someone else to do a taste test.

Cheers & Beers
Scottie
Valley Brew

11 Posted: Thursday, February 15, 2018 8:43 AM

Karols, I feel your pain. After brewing great tasting kit and all-grain beers for years, I suddenly started getting batches with symptoms similar to those you are describing… most notably a “sameness” of taste and aroma regardless of style. In the past couple of years I’ve tipped more batches than I’ve kept, replaced vessels and tubing, changed sanitation methods, played with water sources and profiles… basically tried anything and everything to overcome the problem.

A few fellow brewers suggested it may be a “wild yeast” problem… where some prevalent strain in the local environment is beating my pitched yeast to the wort and hence the “sameness” of flavour and aroma are products of the wild yeast’s profile. I still don’t know for sure, but I thought I’d factor this in and try to minimise the possibilities of a wild yeast infection…

Anyway, I have persisted and lately I’ve had good success. I put it down to a couple of things…

Rehydrate packet yeast according to producers instructions and pitch at recommended temps.
Oxygenate the wort as well as you can prior to pitching - I’ve just purchased an O2 kit to facilitate this.
Ferment at cooler temps. 18 max for ales (this I’ve always done, but it is important for clean taste and aroma).

It has been a long road for me, but I’m finally seeing some positives. I hope you can sort out your issues quickly and avoid the much more of the frustrations and heartache I know you are feeling.
Hang in there and good luck! I hope some of the tips you are getting here help you on the way to brewing some great beers.

12 Posted: Thursday, February 15, 2018 11:09 AM

Hi karlos_1984.

Some really good advice already given by the other members, & I agree your yeast pitching rate over the 3 brews given the amount of fermentables used in each case is certainly testing the capabilities of the volume(s) of yeast pitched.

karlos_1984:

…Brews 2 and 3 though, I did the same as above, but also sanitised my big white mixing spoon and put it into the FV as well, to hold the hop sock down toward the bottom of the beer. Left it in the with the lid holding it in place to keep the hops down low, hoping the hops would get more evenly spread through the beer, as I've heard of people using a small weight to hold it down.

I've wanted to speak about this need to have the hops weighted down in the fermenter for sometime now. Is it completely necessary IMHO, NO.

When you add your dry hop bag to the beer take the time to dunk it up & down a few times (just like you would a normal tea bag) to completely wet the hops contained in the bag/cloth. Then reseal the fermenter & leave it be for 3-4 days minimum. On removal of the hop bag, squeeze the bag containing the highly flavoursome & aromatic beer that the hops have absorbed back into the fermenter & discard the hop bag.

Cheers & good luck with your future brewing.

Lusty.

Last edited by Beerlust (Thursday, February 15, 2018 11:09 AM)