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homebrew flaws and their causes
http://bristolbrewers.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1423
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Author:  Capn Ahab [ Sun Oct 12, 2014 11:39 am ]
Post subject:  homebrew flaws and their causes

What do you think is the major cause of flaws* in homebrewed beer? Three votes each.

*flaws that make the beer a chore to drink, not stylistic issues

Author:  RogerP [ Sun Oct 12, 2014 1:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: homebrew flaws and their causes

Infection of some description would be the number one flaw.

Author:  Jeltz69 [ Sun Oct 12, 2014 4:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: homebrew flaws and their causes

The brewer's level of experience and ability?

Author:  Capn Ahab [ Sun Oct 12, 2014 6:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: homebrew flaws and their causes

RogerP wrote:
Infection of some description would be the number one flaw.

I didn't think of that as distinct from yeast/fermentation issues, but you're right that getting a bacterial infection, say, is different to fermenting too warm or stressing your yeast out. I have added another category with all previous votes cancelled.

Jeltz69 wrote:
The brewer's level of experience and ability?

That's a bit of a daft thing to say Nick, as experience and ability will determine whether or not you can control all the factors above to consistently make good beer.

Just to be clear though, I'm interested in what people think is the main problem with all the dodgy beers we have tried at beer club or competitions over the years, not what has caused problems for you specifically.

Author:  steve crawshaw [ Sun Oct 12, 2014 6:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: homebrew flaws and their causes

I have voted. I would say fermentation issues are number 1. Normally caused by underpitching, poor temperature control or failing to rehydrate dried yeast. Of course if yeast health is sub optimal due to the above factors, that also allows other organisms to gain a foothold before the pH drops from fermentation. Poor sanitary procedures are also an issue but I think most of us have that controlled and the modern sanitisers have improved this a lot. I do think that a lot of new homebrewers tend to get a bit over excited and try and brew extreme beers with lots of ingredients ( I did this). There's a lot to be said for mastering a clean english bitter and then moving to other styles. I also found that the discipline of brewing to style helped my brewing by helping me understand what ingredients were appropriate to each style.

Author:  Jeltz69 [ Sun Oct 12, 2014 6:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: homebrew flaws and their causes

Mark, my point was that a lack of understanding of the processes involved (from sterilisation to serving) is a major factor in people churning out rubbish beer.

Author:  Bimster [ Sun Oct 12, 2014 6:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: homebrew flaws and their causes

Probably the most common one I notice/come across is fusel alcohols due to fermenting at too high a temperature. From my recent beer lottery that I've been partaking in (this involves drinking random beers picked up at the national) the main issue seems to be adhering to the style. Seems the Brewers focus on being too extreme in one area and missing the balance elements, presumably to give their beer an edge.

Author:  Capn Ahab [ Sun Oct 12, 2014 6:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: homebrew flaws and their causes

steve crawshaw wrote:
I have voted. I would say fermentation issues are number 1. Normally caused by underpitching, poor temperature control or failing to rehydrate dried yeast. Of course if yeast health is sub optimal due to the above factors, that also allows other organisms to gain a foothold before the pH drops from fermentation. Poor sanitary procedures are also an issue but I think most of us have that controlled and the modern sanitisers have improved this a lot.

I agree with all of this.
steve crawshaw wrote:
I do think that a lot of new homebrewers tend to get a bit over excited and try and brew extreme beers with lots of ingredients ( I did this).

This is also a very good point. If you can't get a simple beer nailed every time, you are mad to be trying extreme Belgian experiments. I think there are a number of forgiving styles, that you could class as beginner styles, that everyone should master before branching out:
Bitters
American ales
Standard strength IPAs (not Imperials)
Standard strength stouts (not Imperials or Foreign extra)
Porters (not imperial or baltic)
Brown ales
The unifying factor in these styles for me is that you can use forgiving yeasts that are not too fussy about their fermentation conditions. US05 is a good example as I have fermented this at temperature ranging from 18 c to 24 c and it still makes good beer. British yeasts in low gravity beers are also pretty tolerant.

Author:  Capn Ahab [ Sun Oct 12, 2014 6:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: homebrew flaws and their causes

Jeltz69 wrote:
Mark, my point was that a lack of understanding of the processes involved (from sterilisation to serving) is a major factor in people churning out rubbish beer.

Fair enough, but then surely it's a good idea to identify where exactly the understanding is lacking?

Author:  PMowdes [ Sun Oct 12, 2014 6:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: homebrew flaws and their causes

I'd rank it

Poor fermentation (temp control, yeast health, pitching rate)

Poor sanitation (infection)

Poor storage (oxidation, infection)

There were so many beers at the national which suffered as a result of one or a number of the above.

The number of well fermented, clean, on style beers were very much in the minority.

I think balance and stylistic accuracy are somewhat secondary and subjective. You can argue the toss about what category a beer should be in but first and foremost it needs to be a well made beer.

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