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What does a home brew taste like if it is contaminated? I just bought a home brew kit about a month ago that came with a recipe for an Irish Red Ale. My beer has been bottled now for a week and upon testing one of my brews it didn't taste very good; it left a bad after taste and it is still flat. Has my beer been contaminated? Will it still carbonate? Is there still hope for my beer turning out alright?

I guess I was thinking there would be some sort of positive progress by now. Is the aftertaste or off flavor from contamination or does it just need more to mature? Also, does carbonation need the full two to three weeks before it begins to take effect at all? I'm afraid I may have missed on my very first batch. This wouldn't sit well with me since my dvd made the claim, "if you can make mac and chesse you can make brew it's that simple".

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Can you describe the off flavor? –  Tobias Patton Oct 7 '12 at 15:12
    
Do you recall making your very first batch of mac and cheese? Yes, brewing is that simple, but that doesn't mean every single batch will always be good. I've had a few dumpers myself over the last couple years. Also, the quality of kits can vary greatly. If you got a crappy one, the final beer wouldn't be great no matter what you did. –  Graham Oct 8 '12 at 12:53
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The amount of time carbonation takes can vary. 1 week is a very short time and I'm not too surprised by the result you found. Make sure to store the bottles around 70F to speed thing up. As to the off flavor, there's no way we can tell unless you can describe it better. Take a look at this How to Brew troubleshooting

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