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?
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.
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.
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?
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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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.
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.
Yours sounds like a brew canada kit