my first batch was a little tricky, lots of mistakes made. Ive got some questions.

Its a Pale Ale (US-05) (6.5 pounds of Pilsen malt - 1.5 pound of Carared - 1 pound of Oat Malt - 0.8 pounds of Crystal 50 malt - 0.4 pounds of Flaked oats), OG 1052 and FG 1017, did a hop stand with around 4oz. Beer sample tasted strange, not even close to a medium bodied beer, not sweet despite the FG.

Its quite bitter and with lots of hop flavor, which would be pleasant, but its not. It was a 5gal batch but I ended up with only 3.9gal in primary fermentor. Beersmith said IBU would be 40, but since I got less beer, it will be more bitter, correct?

It fermented for 10 days in 68ºF. Secondary temperature is 42ºF. Is that right? How long should I leave it there to build body and malt flavor? Since it is already pretty hopped, with strange hop characteristics (well, I used 8 types of hops... dumb thing), should I dry hop?

It has been at 42F for 4 days now... Can I raise it to 65ºF without any bad consequences?

Thanks a lot for the attention, fellow homebrewers!

  • We need some info: at what stage in the process did you sample it? Commented Jan 1, 2014 at 19:37
  • I sampled it right before putting the green beer at the secondary. Commented Jan 1, 2014 at 22:42

1 Answer 1


First, I would not necessarily draw any conclusions from a sample of unfermented wort or unconditioned beer. The "green" beer rarely has the same taste, complexity, etc. I get after patiently letting the beer condition. Some flavors are metabolized by the yeast or otherwise go away during conditioning, while other flavors are able to then come out (or develop). Nevertheless, I find it useful to sample green beer as a learning experience.

The concentrated wort will not necessarily be more bitter (but it may be). Perception of bitterness varies based on a lot of factors, not merely the number of IBUs, or concentration of alpha acids and other bittering compounds. One of the major factors is residual sweetness from unfermented sugars. When you concentrate your wort, you concentrate both the hop compounds and the unfermented sugars -- I am not sure how that will affect your perception of bitterness (how the balance will go).

Second, you may not want to transfer the beer at all to a secondary fermenter. You can find threads on this forum debating that point, but in short the tradeoff is between risk of oxidizing your beer or introducing contaminants vs. limited to no benefits in terms of getting the beer off of the yeast cake and perhaps aiding in clarity. I would advise a new homebrewer to avoid secondary because your lack of practice in transfer and sanitation technique makes the bad risks more likely.

Third, temperature for "secondary fermentation" (or continued conditioning in the primary fermenter) is not dependent on whether you transfer to a fermenter. It depends on your style of beer, yeast, etc. For a pale ale, I would try to stay at 60-65°F, but it depends a bit on your yeast strain. 42°F seems like a lagering temp to me, and it is likely to put your yeast to sleep, rather than have them actively continue to work on the beer.

Fourth, as far as "building" malt or body, all the malt or body you were going to have was there at the end of the boil. But maltier flavors and perception of body may come to the fore after conditioning.

Finally, as far as dry hopping, it is a matter of personal preference. I would lay off of it, given that it seems like a high ratio of IBUs to gravity and you already say it is very hoppy.

BTW, I am concerned that your fermentation is not complete if you finished at 1.017. What yeast did you use?

  • The question states US-05 for the yeast. 1.052 to 1.017 is only 67% attenuation, which is low. I agree that fermentation may not be complete. Commented Jan 1, 2014 at 22:24
  • I had some problems during mash. Temperature was too high (155ºF), wort was too diluted (regarding John Palmer's How to Brew) and I used too much poor diastatic malt. It is likely that there was poor sugar conversion... Commented Jan 1, 2014 at 22:45

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