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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Equipment/Sanitation > Frustration...Santitation?
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Old 10-22-2012, 02:42 AM   #1
bobcatbrewer
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Default Frustration...Santitation?

Hey guys I have posted on this before but I am beyond frustrated right now.

I have brewed a few batches now and all with the exception of one have had a unpleasant taste to them that really covers up the true flavors of the beer. I'm thinking that it is medicinal (The taste lingers in the front of my mouth and the back of my throat).

In the past I have used bleach with my equipment and have since discontinued the use of it, however, on this batch I purchased a new plastic fermenter and used star san to sanitize it. Sure enough, even though it is more subtle the problem is back and it is ruining my day.

My fermentation temps are around 70-75 and it has been in my primary for almost a week now. I'm wondering if I should dump it and move on but that would be the second one I have dumped this week, not sure if I could bring myself to do it.

Could it be my pot, wort chiller, or stainless strainer? Maybe my stainless stirring spoon?

I'm out of ideas and I really want to keep brewing but the frustration is killing me. Any help would be very appreciated, I'm open to any and all suggestions.

Also if you are in the Austin area let me know

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Old 10-22-2012, 02:45 AM   #2
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What little aroma and flavor a batch of Star San mix provides would not be confused with chlorine [edit] or iodine or band-aid or whatever. Really, there's nearly no taste to it at all.

I would start with your water source and work your way from there...

Cheers!

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Old 10-22-2012, 02:51 AM   #3
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I have used spring water from the store every time. I have friends that have used the same water and haven't had the same problems. Now the water that I used when cleaning/sanitizing is pretty hard water, could that be the issue?

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Old 10-22-2012, 03:09 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobcatbrewer View Post
I have used spring water from the store every time. I have friends that have used the same water and haven't had the same problems. Now the water that I used when cleaning/sanitizing is pretty hard water, could that be the issue?
Doesn't seem likely, there's so little compared to a batch of wort.

So, it's not the water. And anything stainless won't be the cause (we all use a crap ton of stainless gear here without issue).

You say you ferment up to 75°F. Is that the ambient temperature around the fermenter, or is that the actual wort temperature at the peak of fermentation? Is it's the former, the wort temperature could easily have run into the 80s, which is definitely risking significant ester formation with many ale yeasts, and even fusel alcohol production.

Could what you're tasting be a "hot alcohol" thing? Or some weird ester combination that isn't particularly pleasant?

Cheers!
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Old 10-22-2012, 03:18 AM   #5
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I was talking with my friend about that not to long ago and I was thinking that could be the case. My house ranges anywhere from 70-75 so the temperature in the fermenter could be hotter than that.

What would that type of off flavor taste like? Would these flavors really start to form during the first week or fermentation? If so that could be my issue for sure.

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Old 10-22-2012, 03:36 AM   #6
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Might be homing in on the problem. The yeast activity at the peak of primary fermentation can raise the wort temperature as much as 10°F over ambient, and for most yeasts running at 85°F is not going to be a good thing.

I expect the damage occurs pretty much from the point the yeast stop multiplying and go to work chomping the digestibles. That's why folks not striving for major ester production really try to avoid overly warm ferments, using anything from temperature controlled fermentation chambers all the way down to "swamp coolers", wet tee shirts and box fans.

I bet that if you remain vigilant with non-bleach-based sanitation regimen, stick with the spring water, and control the fermentation of your next batch so the actual wort temperature stays in the mid-60s°F, good things will result

Cheers!

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Old 10-22-2012, 03:49 AM   #7
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I'm starting to feel a little better about it because I know that my fermentation temps get in the mid to high 80s. If this can produce off flavors then that is likely the culprit. What does this off flavor taste like and, after fermentation is complete is it ok to leave it at the room temp?

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Old 10-22-2012, 05:05 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobcatbrewer View Post
[...]What does this off flavor taste like and, after fermentation is complete is it ok to leave it at the room temp?
I believe the classic descriptions for fusel alcohols would include "solventy", "oily", and "hot". For esters, "banana", "cloves", and generally "spicey" might be the top three.

As for storage, the rate of pretty much every reaction on this planet will rise with temperature. Sometimes that's A Good Thing, sometimes not so much. I would try to avoid holding beer much above 70°F for any conditioning period...

Cheers!
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Old 10-22-2012, 05:15 AM   #9
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Also, try not to judge a beer in the first week...it will change substantialy in the next 3-4 weeks. There are a ton if threads suggesting patience as a cure for some off flavors and I would agree. Most if us have brewed beers that were all but undrinkable initially, only to have them turn out just fine after a month or so.

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Old 10-22-2012, 05:40 AM   #10
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I'm curious what beer you're making and what yeast you are using?

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