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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Banana flavor - Contaminated yeast?
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Old 04-15-2008, 01:02 PM   #1
Aust1227
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Default Banana flavor - Contaminated yeast?

Got an issue I need to talk through. Your advice is encouraged.

A few months ago I used some SafeAle-05 to make a real good pale ale. I washed the yeast and put it up in mason jars in the fridge.

I have made two beers with the saved yeast since then. They have both tasted like bananas!!

I ferment my beer in stainless steel inside a fermentation cooler, so I can't imagine that the esters are picked up from high temps. And I have made a few ales with exactly the same equipment in the same timeframe from other yeasts that have turned out well.

Anyone ever heard of a contamination leading to Banana flavor? Am I missing some other way to pick up this flavor? Would you toss all your saved yeast and start fresh?

What is the best way to isolate my issue. I am thinking about using some LME and make up few one gallon batches (in old cider jars) to try to see if I get the banana flavor out of the questioned yeast..

Very frustrating to have a good beer go bad!!

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Old 04-15-2008, 01:06 PM   #2
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Why would you go through all that effort to save $1.59 on a packet of dry yeast and risk your batch of beer?

Toss it and spring for another packet of yeast.

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Old 04-15-2008, 01:11 PM   #3
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Quote:
Why would you go through all that effort to save $1.59 on a packet of dry yeast and risk your batch of beer?
Who the hell washes dry yeast? A guy who likes BANANAS!
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Old 04-15-2008, 01:36 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EdWort
Why would you go through all that effort to save $1.59 on a packet of dry yeast and risk your batch of beer?

Toss it and spring for another packet of yeast.
Money isn't really the issue here. I enjoy washing yeast, canning my own salsa, growing my own hops, learning to wire 220, ext.. None of that stuff saves me money, but I do it for the hell of it.

Back to the issue. The reason I would like to isolate the problem is so that I can feel better about my fermenter and the cleanliness of all other pieces of equipment I am using. As a girlfriend of mine once stated "I just need closure".
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Old 04-15-2008, 01:36 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by MikeFlynn74
Who the hell washes dry yeast? A guy who likes BANANAS!
Have you heard of this problem before? Is this why people don't usually wash dry yeast?
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Old 04-15-2008, 01:42 PM   #6
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Aust

try new yeast- if the problem is gone then its the washing of the yeast. Its just too cheap to even bother with and creating these types of issues.
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Old 04-15-2008, 01:49 PM   #7
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I think the first step would be to do another batch with a fresh yeast pack leaving all other variables the same. If no bananas then it's something with the washed yeast.

Would warm temps during yeast washing cause banana flavor? Could it happen if the boiled water was still warm when added to the yeast cake?

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Old 04-15-2008, 02:15 PM   #8
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As others have said, I'd start anew. Just guessing here, but it sounds like either some form of wild yeast found it's way into your washed yeast or the yeast was stored at very warm temps. If it was wild yeast, then you may want to save that washed yeast for your own version of a 'house Hefe'! Some people actually leave their beer out in open fermenters to achive that flavor profile.

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Old 04-15-2008, 02:28 PM   #9
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It sounds like you have some strained yeast that is kicking off extra esters. I agree that it is due to the washed yeast. Dry yeast goes through a lot more grief than liquid yeast does, so it is less a candidate for washing and repitching.


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Old 04-15-2008, 02:30 PM   #10
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Along the same lines, I have a batch of a summit IPA that smells STRONGLY of bananas. I used a new pack of Nottingham, fermented at ~65-68 (may have gotten up to 70-71 during active fermentation,) I have fermented Nottingham MUCH warmer than that before, and I had a batch of Hobgoblin fermenting with Nottingham at the same time that came out fine. I am hoping the flavor/smell will mellow a little with time but it is still kinda frustrating. Still haven't figured out what the problem with that batch is...

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