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Old 09-02-2008, 01:48 PM   #1
Jimbob
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Default 3rd Strike (Possibly 4th) and I知 A Pissed Off Brewer

I’ve been brewing about a year now. I started out with extract brewing and was make some decent beer. On a batch that I brewed to be ready on the 4th of July (a Real Ale Fireman’s 4 Clone – Blond Ale) the beer had a bad soapy flavor. The beer also would not carbonate very well but was very foamy. My first thought was my cleaning practices, at the time I was using Oxyclean (scent free). I tossed the beer, it was really that bad. At the same time I had a Sam Adams Summer Ale Clone ready to keg. Same thing happened. Soapy flavor and would not carbonate but had lots of foam. Last night (9/1/08) I bottled a Belgian Wit Beer, tasted and got the same damn soapy flavor. I was online while bottling and decided to hit the BN chat up and see if they knew. They posed lots of good questions and potential causes. The main thing they suggest was to 1) post to the forum and 2) send an email in to the show. On arriving at work (Today 9/2/08), I was listening to an archive of the Session – 3/2/08 Competition Brewing with JZ, and heard a call-in that had a similar issue as I have had. So here are my notes on my brews, these should answer most of the questions that I got on the chat and that I heard JZ ask the listener. There is a 4th batch in this mix, a Schwarzbier with ale yeast (I might not be defining this style properly) that was brewed between the Sam Adam’s Clone and the Belgian Wit. While, I didn’t get exactly what I was looking for out of this beer, I didn’t notice the soapy flavor. However, this beer aged for sometime with oak and whiskey. I kegged this beer last night also, it’s carbonating and I will taste it again tonight.

Cleaning and Sanitation
On the first batch I was using Oxyclean Free but changed to PBW. For sanitation I was using Iodophor but changed to StarSan. Every thing was cleaned and sanitzed the day of the brew session. In addition, between Batch 2 and Batch 3 I did a “Scorched Earth” cleaning and sanitizing of EVERYTHING, and then cleaned and sanitized prior to the brew session.

Equipment
10 gal Aluminum boil kettle, 48qrt cooler for mash tun, 5 gal water cooler for hot liquor tank, Glass carboys for fermentation (both primary and secondary), kegging and bottles

Batch 1 – Blonde Ale (Fireman’s 4 Clone)
Recipe Type – Extract
Water – Water for dispenser at store (I fill 5 gal jugs for drinking water)
Brewing – Full wort boil
Time In Primary – 5 to 7 days
Temp During Primary – Room Temp 75-78F (no temp control)
Time In Secondary – 2 weeks
Temp During Secondary – Room Temp 75-78F (no temp control)
Starter – 1 liter
Aeration – Shaking of carboy about 5 minutes
Kegged

Batch 2 – Sam Adam’s Summer Ale Clone
Recipe Type – All-Grain
Water – Water for dispenser at store (I fill 5 gal jugs for drinking water)
Brewing – Single Infusion @ 147F, Fly sparge in a rectangular cooler with copper manifold per “How to Brew”, 60 min boil
Time In Primary – 5 to 7 days
Temp During Primary – Room Temp 75-78F (no temp control)
Time In Secondary – 2 weeks
Temp During Secondary – Room Temp 75-78F (no temp control)
Starter – 1 liter
Aeration – Shaking of carboy about 5 minutes
Kegged

Batch 3 – Schwarzbier (w/Ale Yeast) aged with Oak and Whiskey (no noticeable soapy flavor --- will update after further tasting)
Recipe Type – All-Grain
Water – Water for dispenser at store (I fill 5 gal jugs for drinking water)
Brewing – Single Infusion @ 148F, Fly sparge in a rectangular cooler with copper manifold per “How to Brew”, 90 min boil
Time In Primary – 5 to 7 days
Temp During Primary – 64F (added a chest freezer with temp control, first batch to use)
Time In Secondary – 2 weeks
Temp During Secondary – Room Temp 75-78F (no temp control)
Starter – 1 liter
Aeration – Shaking of carboy about 5 minutes
Bottled

Batch 4 – Belgian Wit Beer
Recipe Type – All-Grain
Water – I designed my water this time using 90% distilled water and 10% tap water, I calculated this based on my water profile and using the spreadsheet from John Palmer’s website
Brewing – Single Infusion @ 147F, Fly sparge in a rectangular cooler with copper manifold per “How to Brew”, 60 min boil
Time In Primary – 5 to 7 days
Temp During Primary – 64F (added a chest freezer with temp control, first batch to use)
Time In Secondary – 2 weeks
Temp During Secondary – Room Temp 75-78F (no temp control)
Starter – 1 liter
Aeration – Shaking of carboy about 5 minutes
Bottled

These four batches used a 10 gal aluminum boil pot that was purchased prior to the first batch in this list. Prior to that I was using a 5 gal put and then adding water to get the 5 gal batch. I was thinking about this on the way to work this morning, is it possible that this could be a result of the aluminum boil pot? I have actually just upgraded my equipment and now have two kegs that I’m converting to a brew kettle and mash tun. I’m think of doing just an easy/cheap batch of extract in the new kettle to test this out. Please

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Last edited by Jimbob; 09-02-2008 at 02:09 PM.
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Old 09-02-2008, 02:05 PM   #2
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...Temp During Primary – Room Temp 75-78C (no temp control)...
Still reading but can we assume that your not really fermenting at 167-172.4 F.
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Old 09-02-2008, 02:08 PM   #3
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UGG...Yes that should be degrees F not C...my mistake..Edited it too

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Old 09-02-2008, 02:11 PM   #4
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Mash temps seem low- 150 is the low end of the range.

I take it you rinsed the bejeezus out of the Oxyclean/PBW?

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Old 09-02-2008, 02:13 PM   #5
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So you got off flavors even after temp control?

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Old 09-02-2008, 02:21 PM   #6
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Mash temps seem low- 150 is the low end of the range.

I take it you rinsed the bejeezus out of the Oxyclean/PBW?
Assuming you rinsed the oxyclean/PBW well the only other thing I can think of it that your time in the primary could be lengthened. I typically never go less that 2 weeks in primary. Oh and mashing at that low of a temp is likely to produce a very dry beer maybe your describing that as soapy?
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Old 09-02-2008, 02:39 PM   #7
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So you got off flavors even after temp control?
Yes, I still get the off-flavors with the temp control.

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Originally Posted by flyangler18 View Post
I take it you rinsed the bejeezus out of the Oxyclean/PBW?
I thought that rinsing was an issue on the first batch, so I did a full cleaning and rinsed the hell out of everything with both hot and cool water.

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Assuming you rinsed the oxyclean/PBW well the only other thing I can think of it that your time in the primary could be lengthened. I typically never go less that 2 weeks in primary. Oh and mashing at that low of a temp is likely to produce a very dry beer maybe your describing that as soapy?
With regard to fermentation time, I let the fermentation go about 5 days and check the gravity. If it's at final gravity I rack it. I've been hitting my gravity pretty well, nothing way off.
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Old 09-02-2008, 02:44 PM   #8
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With regard to fermentation time, I let the fermentation go about 5 days and check the gravity. If it's at final gravity I rack it. I've been hitting my gravity pretty well, nothing way off.
Well, I think I just identified your issue. Leave it in primary on the yeast cake for 3-4 weeks and eliminate the secondary. Even though active fermentation is done and you hit your FG, there's lots of funky tasting compounds floating around in the beer that the yeast need to 'clean up'. The longer the beer sits on the cake, the better.
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Old 09-02-2008, 02:49 PM   #9
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With regard to fermentation time, I let the fermentation go about 5 days and check the gravity. If it's at final gravity I rack it. I've been hitting my gravity pretty well, nothing way off.
Yeah, but gravity is not the only thing your after here. Yeast produce a lot of interesting things during their aerobic/reproductive phase that they will later consume, essentially cleaning up after themselves. JZ discusses this in one of his episodes and suggests that removing the beer from the yeast cake to soon can lead to undesirable flavors in the finished product that can be avoided if the yeast have enough time to clean up.

Edit: Jason beat me to it.
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Old 09-02-2008, 03:06 PM   #10
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On ten plus previous batches this has never been a problem with the same fermentation methods. That being said, I could have been really lucky!!! I'm leaning toward the brew kettle. This started when I added this kettle and has occured in every batch since.

I think this is what I'm going to do to try and isolate this or eliminate this. I'm going to step back to extract for several batches. I'm going to brew a Kolsch using JZ's recipe and his advice from the Jamil Show and extract techniques from Brewing Classic Styles and How To Brew. The Kolsh, being somewhat lite, there isn't much room for off-flavors to hide behind. I'm going to move to my new brew kettle and take massive notes. I'm going to listen to the JZ Kolsh episode and if it's simple I go forward with the Kolsch, otherwise I'll find another simple brew. I think I'll brew this beer a couple of times to make sure I've zeroed in on the issue. I'll also take your fermentation advice into account

I'll document things in my blog here and possibly on the BN.

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