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Old 11-18-2008, 09:10 PM   #1
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Default Anyone (besides me) experience off-flavors with Safale S-04 at higher ferm temps?

I have had two batches in a row now have a terrible off flavor, one that only gets worse with time (and I mean 6+ weeks in bottles). After a lot of head scratching and frustration and searching and process changing and new equipment, yada yada I think I have found the cause of my problem. Since I (by chance) made several process and equipment changes between the two batches, I was able to rule out many factors, including brew pot, full v. partial boils, sanitizer, and fermentors. My city water report looks great, chlorine ave is 0.77 ppm, no chloromides. One of the only common denominators is yeast and ferm temps. For both batches I used Safale S-04 which I re-hydrated in water that was boiled then cooled to 90 deg. I pitched in sub-80 deg wort then fermented in a room with ambient temp at a constant 70 deg. Ferm strip showed a max temp of 73 deg during active fermentation. Website for S-04 shows acceptable range up to 75 deg so I thought I was ok. I drank samples along various stages and I would say the off flavor did not show up until after 1 week in bottles, and then it was only slight. By week 2 it was worse and by week 3 undrinkable. I would describe the off flavor as maybe a burnt plastic or rubber taste, maybe medicinal, maybe like cloves? It seems to fit descriptions I’ve seen as phenolic. After some research I have found others with similar problems here:

Off Taste -- Fermentation temp & S-04? - Homebrewing - BeerAdvocate

Rubber Stopper Taste - Homebrewing - BeerAdvocate

Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service: Warm S04

Perpetual Homebrew Thread - Topic Powered by eve community

Interestingly, I have searched here on HBT and have not found anyone with similar results. So I thought I would post this and see if any of you out there have had this happen with this yeast.

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Old 11-18-2008, 10:07 PM   #2
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Strangely enough, I haven't had a problem, though you're now making me nervous.

My average temp in the house is around 76-78 oF, I've pitched at 79-81 oF on two batches, one of which I'm drinking quite happily right now. The other I have fermenting (a chocolate oatmeal stout) and do not anticipate any problems.

I'm not sure about the specifics of my water supply, but I've been using water run through my faucet Britta filter.

YM(has obviously)V'ed.

I do notice that you say you rehydrated yours. I pitched mine dry into the carboy at the temps listed above, no rehydration. Both have gone off without a hitch.

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Old 11-18-2008, 10:37 PM   #3
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I've had a slight solvent-like off-flavour with S-04 used at temperatures around 75, which gradually went away after bottling. Sadly, the last bottle had a delicious frutiness instead.

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Old 11-19-2008, 01:18 PM   #4
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I have had great luck with my S-04 up to about 74˚F. I do my best not to exceed that, but sometimes mother nature intervenes. Soon, the cold room will be built, and my beers will ferment at the temp at which I tell them to! Insolent little badgers, the lot of them.

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Old 11-19-2008, 01:20 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chriso View Post
I have had great luck with my S-04 up to about 74˚F. I do my best not to exceed that, but sometimes mother nature intervenes. Soon, the cold room will be built, and my beers will ferment at the temp at which I tell them to! Insolent little badgers, the lot of them.
Chriso, how do you pitch it, dry or re-hydrated? Just curious.
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Old 11-19-2008, 02:14 PM   #6
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Dry. I don't even rehydrate. Yeh, I know, call the beer cops on me.

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Old 11-19-2008, 02:27 PM   #7
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I learned to not trust those stick on temp-o-meters after I tested a fermenting wort with a Lab Grade temp-o-stick. Mine temp-o-stick is small enough to pass through the grommet on me bucket, so I checked.

I places my wired temp-o-stick through the bung in me buckets and layzes a towel over tops and hooks the wire over the edge..

Ambient temp was 72*F. Fermentation temp was 83*F at High Krausen. Stick-on sed 75*F.

Mebe mine was faulted by mutiple dunkingz in the bath. Mebe mine was just bad but, this was proof enuf' to not go by the stick-on and it was quickly removed.

If you have the chance. I suggest you verify for yourself. some of the digital thermometers also have a " high level memory". That is, they record the highest temp monitored to memory. A cool way to verify ferm temps without having to babysit.

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Old 11-19-2008, 02:31 PM   #8
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I've had some nasty burps from S-04 beers. I usually ferment at 70 or below, so I don't usually have problems with that, but other homebrewer's beers that I've tried just give me burps that make me want to chug Pepto Bismol. I know that they were fermented in the upper range too.

Just a good rule of thumb for that yeast is to try to keep it under 70.

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Old 11-19-2008, 03:09 PM   #9
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The three times I've used S-04, I've fermented between 70-72 degrees. All batches came out very clean, with only the slight and desireable esters I was looking for. I also pitch dry right from the packet into the wort.

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Old 11-19-2008, 03:43 PM   #10
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I have had the same nasty experiences with s-04. Awful flavors and very nasty burps. I was fermenting at room temp of probably 68 and thermometer would get up to 73 during fermentation. I figured it was ok too because of advertised temperature ranges. After a lot of ruined beer and trying to think of every possible thing it could be I have pretty much narrowed it down to the temperature and the s-04. I have been using us-05 with much better luck at that temp and even took it farther and started putting the carboy in the tub of water to keep it nice and steady in mid to upper 60's. On a side note, the last Pale Ale I brewed was left at room temp to ferment with us-05. It turned out wonderful. Nice and clean with no strange aftertastes.

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