Brewed a Red Ale, tastes like wine?

Homebrewing with extract? Share your thoughts here!
Venari
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Brewed a Red Ale, tastes like wine?

Post by Venari » 2 years ago

Last week I bottled a red ale from a can of "Canadian Red Ale" (can't remember the exact brand, got it at DeFalco's).

OG was 1.057, and FG was 1.004.

At bottling I thought it tasted sweet, but having never made a red ale before, I figured the flavour would change during bottle conditioning. Today I opened one of the small bottles to sample how it turned out, and now I find it tastes like somebody mixed red wine into the beer.

Has anybody encountered this? Is this how it's supposed to taste?
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kombat
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Re: Brewed a Red Ale, tastes like wine?

Post by kombat » 2 years ago

Hey Venari,

Can you tell us a little bit more about your process? Did you boil the extract? If so, for how long? How did you prepare the yeast? What else was in the recipe? I'm amazed you got such a low FG with a pre-hopped extract kit. Maybe just give us a quick description of how you prepared this kit, from start to bottling.

Venari
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Re: Brewed a Red Ale, tastes like wine?

Post by Venari » 2 years ago

I didn't keep a brew log, but I'll write down what I remember.

I didn't boil the extract. I heated it up just enough that it's easier to pour from the can. I poured it into about a gallon of hot water which had 1 kg of dextrose dissolved into it. To remove the residue inside the can, I poured boiled water into it, stirred it, and poured that into the bucket, since I wanted as much as the extract as possible. I topped it up with cold tap water to 19L. Siphoned it into a glass carboy. It was 22 degrees at this point, when I pitched in some rehydrated Nottingham yeast. The instructions on the can said to ferment it between 20 and 25 degrees. According to the mercury thermometer I kept next to the carboy, room temperature was 19C for the whole two weeks it was in primary. I don't have a fermenting chamber set up, but all the brews I had done in Nunavut were all perfectly fine at room temp, with no issues. I had expected the same for this.

Everything was sanitized with StarSan. SG readings were taken with a glass hydrometer. The text on the hydrometer says it's calibrated to give correct readings at 20C. I assume the OG reading would be a bit off since it was at 22C. FG was taken at 19C room temp. I didn't think to check the temperature of the wort itself after fermentation.

Prior to bottling, I tasted a sample, and that's when I noticed it didn't quite taste like beer, but as stated before I had assumed bottle conditioning would remove the "sweet" taste. Instead of batch priming, I had used Cooper's carbonation drops. One drop per 355mL bottle. Two drops for the 500mL bottles (two of them, and 48 of the 355).

I didn't quite place the wine flavour until my roommate's boyfriend had said it tasted like wine. The only two things that come to mind when I try to place the flavour are "sweet" and "tannin". Like somebody poured a red wine into the batch.
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Reignman
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Re: Brewed a Red Ale, tastes like wine?

Post by Reignman » 2 years ago

The only thing I can come up with is the 1 kg of dextrose. That is a lot of sugar, that may be the reason for the wine like taste. Next time, use less dextrose and use some DME. Not sure of the ratio though. Maybe 700 grams DME, and 300 grams dextrose. Just a guess.

kombat
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Re: Brewed a Red Ale, tastes like wine?

Post by kombat » 2 years ago

Would you describe the flavour as sour or tart?

I'm suspecting an infection, particularly based on the unusually low FG for an extract brew. The rest of your process looks sound. How did you clean/sanitize the bottles and caps prior to bottling?

Venari
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Re: Brewed a Red Ale, tastes like wine?

Post by Venari » 2 years ago

Every prehopped kit I've ever done had instructions that called for 1kg of dextrose.

A bit of googling has revealed that many people have thought too much sugar could cause this, but I never thought following instructions would be using too much. EDIT1 : now that I think of it, the instructions were for 23 liters, and out of habit I made 19 L because I've always found 23 made these kits taste weak and watered down. Perhaps this could be it? Would 4 liters make that much difference? And the wine flavour would be tart, not sour.

edit2: sanitizing was done by submerging everything into Starsan at the instructed ratio (1 oz to 5 gallons) or using a spray nozzle (I have a 500mL spray bottle for this) on a sanitised countertop. Bottles were sanitized with a sulphiter and starsan. The caps were in the bottom of the sulphiter filled with starsan while I filled the bottles with beer.
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ECH
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Re: Brewed a Red Ale, tastes like wine?

Post by ECH » 2 years ago

I have brewed the pre-hopped kits years ago, and unless somethings have changed with them, I have never used any sugar in them until it comes time to bottle. I don't really see why you would need to add sugar as the pre-hopped mix should have enough fermentables in it for the yeast to chew on

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Re: Brewed a Red Ale, tastes like wine?

Post by bellybuster » 2 years ago

a full boil can really improve an extract beer. canned extracts are famous for that "home-brew twang". I can for sure see someone describing it a a wine flavour

as far as the 1kg of corn sugar, it must have been a Morgan's kit. As far as I'm concerned you can seldom get a good beer from a Morgan's can.

Venari
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Re: Brewed a Red Ale, tastes like wine?

Post by Venari » 2 years ago

I tossed the can weeks ago, and I can't recall the brand. I've tried googling it a few times and can never find it, even on the Defalco's online store. All I recall from it is that it was a red can and had "Canadian Red Ale" on it.

I've made some good beer from Cooper's and Muntons, so it must be this particular brand.

I'm debating on holding off on making the other two cans I have (munton's stouts) until I can get a fermenting chamber made, but that could be a while, since hours are low at work.
I've never understood the policy against "necro threads" on almost every forum. Why tell us to use the search function for a particular topic, then complain when an older thread has a new post in it?

oro
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Re: Brewed a Red Ale, tastes like wine?

Post by oro » 2 years ago

Been a while since i have brewed a can kit, from what i recall the 1kg malt kits called for sugar, the 1.5kg kits did not.

Yours sounds like a brew canada kit
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