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-   -   High IBU = band aid water chem (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f128/high-ibu-band-aid-water-chem-212631/)

cheezydemon3 12-19-2010 04:03 PM

High IBU = band aid water chem
My highest IBU beers (3/80 brews) have been ruined (to me) by a bandaid flavor only perceptible to people with a fair lupuline shift (high tolerance to bitterness), who detect it beneath the bitterness.

The water makes FANTSATIC beer in any beer less than, say 70 IBUs.

The obvious answer to my noob brain (at least water chemistry noob, 80+ batches does not = beer noob) is chlorine or flouride or some such thing in the water.


My possible experiments include:

4 oz WARRIOR 17+ aa for only 10 minutes or so, hoping less time during boil might help, while still getting some decent bitterness.


Using distilled water from the grocery instead of tap, and follow normal recipes.

jds 12-19-2010 04:10 PM

You'd be able to get a lot more help if you posted your water chemistry. I can think of two things you could look into right off the bat: Chlorine or chloramine in your water, or water with a high ratio of sulfate to chloride.

Chlorine / chloramine can be easily eliminated with half of a campden tablet in your hot liquor tank. SUlfate/chloride balance can be adjusted by adding the proper salt to your water.

Here's an experiment: Pull a pint of your first-aid IPA, and add a tiny pinch of salt. Does the off-flavor go away?

cheezydemon3 12-19-2010 05:10 PM

Bless you JDS!!

I will try the salt thing.

I just wonder why the chlorine/chloramine would interact with the hops.....

None of my other brews even have a hint. Even IPAs with 50 or so IBUs.

NOT A HINT. believe me I am paranoid now, and would notice even a hint or imagine a hint out of paranoia!

Someone posted a louisville, ky water report, and the consensus was that it was no help. Excuse my lack of knowledge on this and my lack of research at this point.

The first 2 batches that had this (I'd say my 20th and 41st batches) just said "bad luck" to me.

3 out of 81 or so, limited to my "ruination" level IPAs, screams pattern that I can not now overlook.

ajdelange 12-20-2010 10:18 AM

It is widely accepted that bandaid flavor-aroma is caused by chlorphenolics which are created when chlorine reacts with the phenolic compounds found in most vegetable matter to some extent. The source of chlorine is usually chlorine in the water particularly that bound as chloramine (an ammonia/chlorine compound) as chloramine is not removed by the usual techniques of heating the water and/or letting it stand. The best way to find out if your water is chloraminated is to call the water supplier and ask. Another way is to let some water stand in a tumbler overnight. If, upon agitating it the next day you still smell chlorine then it was probably chloraminated. The cure is sodium or potassium metabisulfite in the form of Campden tablets (one treats 20 gallons) or the powder.

The fact that the bandaid flavor is correlated with hopping levels is a little troubling. Hops do, of course, contain phenolics and that is, I suppose a viable explanation. Certainly if your water supplier reports no chloramination or if you brew the same beer with a Campden tablet (or part therof) and still taste it is isn't chlrophenolics but something else.

cheezydemon3 12-20-2010 01:42 PM

Thanks Ajdelange, would a beer already bottled respond to a little campden?

I still have some bottles of my last IPA.

jds 12-20-2010 02:33 PM

Doubtful on the Campden in bottled beer question, cheezy. Once the chlorine is bound up in chlorophenols, I don't think campden will get rid of it. Check your water utility's website. Most of them that I've seen have all the chemistry results you need in their yearly water quality report, which they are required to provide to you.

ajdelange 12-20-2010 02:52 PM


Originally Posted by cheezydemon3 (Post 2489339)
...would a beer already bottled respond to a little campden?.

Alas, no. The Campden tablet converts the chlorine in chloramine and any free chlorine to chloride ion which does not react with phenols as chlorine does. Thus no chlorphenolics can be formed. Once the chlorine is combined with phenol it is too late.

cheezydemon3 12-20-2010 03:16 PM

Great info.

Thanks both of you.

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