From the HBD Archive
From: cacilj!paul@uunet.UU.NET (Paul Close)
Subject: My beer tastes like wine!
Date: 1989-07-13 19:49:13 GMT

HELP! After several years of not brewing (with a few botched attempts at
brewing before that), I decided to try again.

It's now been three weeks since bottling, and I was eager to taste my new
beer. It has a nice head, good carbonation, and is a nice dark amber color
(I guess from carmelization, since it is a light extract). The problem is,
apart from a "raw" taste I assume is due to (lack of) age, the beer tastes
like wine! My wife commented that it smelled like a good, hearty red wine!
:-( (My sense of smell is not as keen; it smelled kind of like beer to me)

At all stages, I took care to sanitize everything with a weak bleach
solution, which I did *not* rinse off. I used one teaspoon of bleach per
gallon of water.

Here's some background:

For simplicity, I decided to use a pre-hopped extract kit (an ale). I
added the water and corn sugar, boiled the whole 5 gallons, chilled it in
the sink until it was cooled (an hour or so), and added the yeast, which I
had started earlier. The coolest place in my house is around 70 degrees
(this is San Diego in the summer :-( ), so I put the wort there. After a
few days, I siphoned it into a secondary. The secondary fermented for
about three weeks, while the temerature varied between around 65 and 75
degrees (I have a max/min thermometer). So far, so good. My hydrometer
indicated it was ready, so I bulk-primed with 3/4 cup of corn sugar and

Unfortunately, at this time we had a heat wave, and the temperature went up
to, and stayed at, 85-95 degrees (in the coolest area :-( ). It "cooled" off
to about 75 at night. It stayed that way for the first week while the beer
sat in bottles, then tapered off to more reasonable levels again (65-75).
The bottles are still there, at room temperature. I chill them before

It is rather difficult to describe a taste, but I will try. Disclaimer: I
don't have any "beer taste" guidelines, or anything, just years of experience
drinking beer :-). The first taste is pleasant enough, and reminds me of
beer (coincidence? :-). As the beer passes the tounge, I notice a woody or
"corkish" taste that reminds me of wine. There isn't much of an aftertaste,
but there is the impression of sourness. There also seems to be a noticeable
alcohol taste, as if there was a high alcohol content, like there is in wine
(my hydrometer indicated it should be 5%). After a few swallows, my mouth
has an unpleasant "dry" feel to it, and the sour impression strengthens.
After a quarter-glass or so, I throw out the rest. Yuck!

Please help me! I'm loosing confidence in brewing beer, and hearing about
everyone else happily (and successfully) brewing out of old garbage pails has
me down. My first few batches years ago were ruined thanks to Metabisulfate.
Then I had problems with contamination and "gushers". This time, I was very
careful, and used bleach, and things worked a LOT better. This is my third
batch, and not one has been drinkable (not counting this one--I still have
some hope). I would "relax, have a homebrew" if I could make some that was

P.S. My beer is still sitting at room temperature. Should I refrigerate it
now? Once the beer is in bottles, what is a good procedure? Immediately
chill, or sit for a while, or ???

P.P.S. Sorry about the length.... And thanks for any help!
Paul Close paul@cacilj.CTS.COM ...!{uunet, ucsd, crash}!cacilj!paul

The Obi-wan Kenobi method: "Use the Source, Luke" -Jim Fulton

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