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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2006 * Archive through April 19, 2006 * Off Flavors - Help! < Previous Next >

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Sean Maloney
New Member
Username: Eyeballin

Post Number: 12
Registered: 08-2005
Posted From: 63.117.196.229
Posted on Thursday, April 06, 2006 - 11:53 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Awhile back I posted a message about off flavors in my beer recently and received a lot of good advice. I have seen improvement but there are still problems. I used to make excellant beers and placed in many competitions but since I moved from Savannah, GA to Asheville, NC I've been having problems. I would like to explain my entire process and maybe someone can give me ideas to improve.
1. I use extract and lately have been brewing mainly stouts.
2. Speciality grain (using around 1 lb. total) steeped at 150 degrees for 15 minutes. Sparged then removed.
3. Add extract and hops, boil for 60 minutes.
4. Clean and sanitize carboy with bleach.
5. Cool wort in bathtub of cold water to 70 degrees.
6. Add wort to carboy through santized funnel.
7. Pitch yeast then aerate with oxygen stone for 30 seconds.
8. Fermentation usually goes well. After about 5 days when the activity dies down I move to a santized secondary (all carboys are glass).
9. After fermentation in the secondary is complete, I usually move to a bottling bucket. Bottles are santized using idophor solution and a bottle spray pump (the one from the top of the bottle tree). I then usually rinse the bottles in a high temp rinse cycle of the dishwasher. I have been doing this for years without problem but it is something I thought I should try to do without.
10. I bottle condition for about 2 - 3 weeks.
Lately the off flavors in the beer have been getting worse over time. There's a hint of it at bottling and it is more pronounced after a month. I am not good at explaining taste but it is a strong flavor that overpowers the beer. I have had infections before and this tastes different. Any advice? Thanks.
 

ChriSto
New Member
Username: Christo

Post Number: 19
Registered: 02-2006
Posted From: 216.176.226.154
Posted on Thursday, April 06, 2006 - 12:49 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Sean-
First and foremost, your biggest problem is that you moved from the beautiful Low Country to the smog-filled "Smoky" Mountains.

Seriously, though, your process and cleaning/sanitation practices seem sound on the surface. Here's a few questions:
How do you rinse the bleach from the carboy prior to use? Have you replaced your tubing recently (I find that the easiest place to find baddies)? Do you cover the kettle while cooling and how long to cool? Do you do a full-volume boil or how do you top up?

Try to describe the flavor - is it band-aid or clove-like, that could be phenols from either the yeast strain, a wild yeast or not rinsing chlorine away adequately. Dirty or moldy? That can come from airborne molds in the house (or fuggles hops)- which is as big a problem in the mountains as here in the 95% humidity of the coast - and can especially be present in the bathroom. Solvent (acetone or burnt match) like? Typically from wild yeasts.
 

Doug Pescatore
Senior Member
Username: Doug_p

Post Number: 1882
Registered: 10-2002
Posted From: 68.64.185.27
Posted on Thursday, April 06, 2006 - 01:06 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

ChriSto,
Hit the same highlights I zeroed in on while reading your post. I moved away from using bleach a long time ago. I still use it sometimes to take care of crud and mold, but it is always followed by a good soak with oxyclean with a rinse inbetween.

Also, hoses are hard to clean. I have recently moved to changing mine out every couple of months.

Another comment would be to leave you beer on the primary until it is done fermenting. I doubt this is the root cause of your problem, but it would help if your off flavor is coming from something the yeast re-absorbs when it settles down for a long sleep.

-Doug
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 5045
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.57.239.69
Posted on Thursday, April 06, 2006 - 01:34 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Have you considered your brewing water? I'm not very familiar with water in the Carolinas, but is there a major difference in the water on the coast and in the mountains?
 

Beerboy AKA The Jolly Brewer
Senior Member
Username: Matfink

Post Number: 1064
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 86.128.123.129
Posted on Thursday, April 06, 2006 - 02:48 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I was going to say brewing water. Do you filter it? Boil it? It could be that it has high levels of chlorine in it that react witht the hops during the boil and create odd medicinal flavours.
 

Chumley
Senior Member
Username: Chumley

Post Number: 4091
Registered: 02-2003
Posted From: 63.118.227.254
Posted on Thursday, April 06, 2006 - 03:07 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

My guess is brewing water as well. I will even go out on a limb and suggest that since you are brewing stouts and are steeping specialty grains (presumably roasted barley?), maybe your new water doesn't have enough carbonate/alkalinity in it to buffer the pH sufficiently.

Contact the city water department and get a common ion analysis from them
 

Little Dipper
Junior Member
Username: Littledipper

Post Number: 67
Registered: 02-2004
Posted From: 206.114.61.199
Posted on Thursday, April 06, 2006 - 03:09 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I agree on the water - I had the same problem when I last moved. I now have a softener which I have to bypass for brewing (but have to use for Starsan water). I'd do a check on the PH of your water and see if it's really high or low.
 

Denny Conn
Senior Member
Username: Denny

Post Number: 5576
Registered: 01-2001
Posted From: 140.211.82.4
Posted on Thursday, April 06, 2006 - 07:08 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

How can anybody make any guesses when the only description is "a strong flavor that overpowers the beer"? Hell, I say it's Brett!
LIfe begins at 60...1.060, that is.
 

Vance Barnes
Senior Member
Username: Vancebarnes

Post Number: 2238
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 208.49.148.10
Posted on Thursday, April 06, 2006 - 07:09 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I'm also totally missing the point of rinsing the bottles after sanitizing with a "no-rinse" sanitizer. You could be introducing some chlorine at that point as well.

Have you joined MALT (Mnt. Ale and Lager Tasters) in Asheville? Those guys brew some great beer and will know the skinny on the local water. Brian Cole used to be one of the ringleaders in the group. Guess he is still there. He used to win boatloads of ribbons in all the SE competitions.
 

Sean Maloney
New Member
Username: Eyeballin

Post Number: 13
Registered: 08-2005
Posted From: 63.117.196.229
Posted on Friday, April 07, 2006 - 04:44 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks for everyone's advice. I forgot to mention that I only use Deer park spring water and I've looked at an analysis of it a while back and didn't see any problems. Also, I bought some stuff to control PH during steeping.
I will try going away from bleach, I like it because it cleans any residual stuff from the last batch. I rinse it with water 2-3 times.
Tubing sanitation is a pain. I usually try to rinse a san star through the tube. Does anyone have any better methods for tubing sanitation?
Other answers:
I cool the wort, covered, for about 1-2 hours.
I do not use a full volume boil, probably about 75% of the full volume.
As far as describing the taste, I am just not good at that. I wish I could upload beer.
Burnt match or dirty maybe.
Wild yeast is an interesting topic. How do you identify it and how do you prevent it?
Thanks again and the mountains are not smog filled but the coast is bug filled (damn sand gnats).
 

Doug Pescatore
Senior Member
Username: Doug_p

Post Number: 1884
Registered: 10-2002
Posted From: 141.232.1.1
Posted on Friday, April 07, 2006 - 04:56 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

"Burnt match"

Back away from the black patent malt and your will be just fine.

-Doug
 

Sean Maloney
New Member
Username: Eyeballin

Post Number: 14
Registered: 08-2005
Posted From: 63.117.196.229
Posted on Friday, April 07, 2006 - 07:57 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I rarely use black patent or use small amounts. My grain bills are usually roasted barley, flaked barley, Crystal 60, and maybe some other specialty grain. Thanks for idea.
 

Beerboy AKA The Jolly Brewer
Senior Member
Username: Matfink

Post Number: 1072
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 82.45.4.15
Posted on Friday, April 07, 2006 - 08:26 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Extract? now may be the time to switch to all grain?

I'm off on holiday now, I'll catch the flames in a week.
 

David Lewinnek
Member
Username: Davelew

Post Number: 250
Registered: 02-2005
Posted From: 198.51.251.199
Posted on Friday, April 07, 2006 - 08:39 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

For your off flavors: check your source of black patent malt, are you still getting malt from the same maltster? Have you tried using roast barley or chocolate malt instead? Personally, I strongly dislike black patent and almost never use it.

For sanitizing tubing:

Switch to silicone or norprene tubing and boil it for 30 minutes every couple of batches.
 

Pete Mazurowski
Intermediate Member
Username: Pete_maz

Post Number: 259
Registered: 07-2003
Posted From: 12.173.222.115
Posted on Friday, April 07, 2006 - 09:05 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

You could stop by Asheville Brewer's Supply, and see if they have any ideas. I'm sure if they could taste it, they may be able to help diagnose the problem.
 

Fredrik
Senior Member
Username: Fredrik

Post Number: 3020
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 213.114.44.200
Posted on Friday, April 07, 2006 - 10:26 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Another idea. "Burnt match" and dirty makes me think of sulphur compounds like mercaptans. Mercaptans can give a range of odd flavours like burnt rubber, or garlic, matches. Maybe infections or overly stressed or deranged yeast may give this.

I always boil tubing. I'd say to hell with a tubes that can't withstand boiling.

/Fredrik
 

Fredrik
Senior Member
Username: Fredrik

Post Number: 3021
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 213.114.44.200
Posted on Friday, April 07, 2006 - 10:30 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

About the increase in bottle - do you typically get alot of farts in your beer? H2S? This stuff can in theory participate in oxidation-reduction systems in the finished beer and transform to mercaptans.

Do you use any other sulphur additives or yeast nutriton?

/Fredrik
 

ChriSto
New Member
Username: Christo

Post Number: 22
Registered: 02-2006
Posted From: 216.176.226.154
Posted on Monday, April 10, 2006 - 05:01 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Sean,
Amen to the sand gnats. I'm officially brewing inside for the next month or so while they are active (scratch, scratch). Of course, then the mosquito season, then love bugs, deer flies, horse flies, etc. etc. etc.

You don't happen to be former SBL treasurer Sean, are you??
 

Sean Maloney
New Member
Username: Eyeballin

Post Number: 15
Registered: 08-2005
Posted From: 63.117.196.229
Posted on Monday, April 10, 2006 - 07:42 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

ChriSto,
Yes, I am the former SBL treasurer. Were you member? I'm hoping to get back to Savannah this year. I really miss Moon River.

Thanks to everyone for the advice. Next step is to go to the MALT club's next meeting for a professional opinion since I suck at putting taste into words.
 

ChriSto
New Member
Username: Christo

Post Number: 23
Registered: 02-2006
Posted From: 216.176.226.154
Posted on Tuesday, April 11, 2006 - 04:26 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Yeah, was a member shortly before you left when still at OConnells. Thought you moved to Europe. Helicopters, right? I'm SBL club president now. If you're in Savannah stop by MR for a meeting sometime - our meetings now have 30+ in attendance on a regular basis - far cry from the O'Connells days. Moon River is getting a pretty good rep these days with a GABF silver and some Georgia Cup wins. Of course, if you want to send some beer our way, we critique as well.
-Chris Stovall
 

Guy C
Intermediate Member
Username: Ipaguy

Post Number: 425
Registered: 09-2003
Posted From: 24.6.136.251
Posted on Wednesday, April 12, 2006 - 06:16 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I usually try to avoid farting in my beers.
 

Kevin Davis
Intermediate Member
Username: Ktdavis98

Post Number: 398
Registered: 12-2003
Posted From: 64.136.27.228
Posted on Friday, April 14, 2006 - 02:33 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Sean
Could you be getting old extract now? Are you getting your extract from the same place as you were, or somewhere else? I only brewed a few extracts before going to all grain, but I am a firm believer that old extract is the biggest problem for the extract brewer.
Kevin
 

Tex Brewer
Junior Member
Username: Texbrewer

Post Number: 86
Registered: 03-2004
Posted From: 216.62.203.81
Posted on Friday, April 14, 2006 - 06:17 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Sean, you said you use spring water and only boil 75%. Bottled water is notorious for problems, such as bacteria. Try boiling all of your water.
 

Tex Brewer
Junior Member
Username: Texbrewer

Post Number: 87
Registered: 03-2004
Posted From: 216.62.203.81
Posted on Friday, April 14, 2006 - 06:19 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

And get away from the bleach. A couple of rinses may not be getting it all off. Sanitize with Iodophor.