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Old 04-12-2006, 01:06 AM   #1
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Default First bad beer

Well, it finally happened. We brewed a bad beer. Some have been not so great, but this one is bad. It was supposed to be a chocolate porter, and we did it pretty much the same as the ginger chocolate porter, but without the ginger and with more chocolate.
The first problem is that we got a lot of banana from the yeast, but beyond that, I think it may have a slight infection. I can't tell though. It seems like there's a slight band-aid flavor, but it's hard to distinguish from the banana and chocolate (I know that might sound good "Mmmmm...chocolate banana," but it's not). After you drink one it kind of stops tasting terrible, but not good. And it's really not worth it to drink one.
Out of curiosity, is there a way to tell for certain that this badness is due to infection or ingredients? And what can I do to avoid that banana flavor in the future? Is it a temperature issue? It did get kind of warm here for a while, and the beer fermented mostly in the 70-74 range. The temp also went up and down a lot.

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Old 04-12-2006, 01:23 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rewster451
Well, it finally happened. We brewed a bad beer. Some have been not so great, but this one is bad. It was supposed to be a chocolate porter, and we did it pretty much the same as the ginger chocolate porter, but without the ginger and with more chocolate.
The first problem is that we got a lot of banana from the yeast, but beyond that, I think it may have a slight infection. I can't tell though. It seems like there's a slight band-aid flavor, but it's hard to distinguish from the banana and chocolate (I know that might sound good "Mmmmm...chocolate banana," but it's not). After you drink one it kind of stops tasting terrible, but not good. And it's really not worth it to drink one.
Out of curiosity, is there a way to tell for certain that this badness is due to infection or ingredients? And what can I do to avoid that banana flavor in the future? Is it a temperature issue? It did get kind of warm here for a while, and the beer fermented mostly in the 70-74 range. The temp also went up and down a lot.
the banana flavor is often due to high temps (or certain yeasts like hefeweizen strains). I had an IPA that fermented in ambient temps of about 75°F and it tasted like bananas. This tastes comes from esters that the yeast produce. Higher temp = more esters.

The Band-Aid flavor (from what I have read) comes from phenols. Phenols are produced by the yeast, but (from what I know) have nothing to do with temperature. Chlorine can combine with the phenols to produce chlorophenols. The use of bleach without adequate rinsing can result in this nasty flavor.

Did you use bleach?

Bottom line, I don't think you have an infection, but a temp problem and perhaps a pseudo-sanitation issue (not unclean, but unrinsed.)
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Old 04-12-2006, 01:41 AM   #3
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when you say chocolate, do you mean actual chocolate or the chocolate malt? too much speciality grains can leave the harsher flavors you are describing as well. it may mellow with time, or it may not.

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Old 04-12-2006, 03:04 PM   #4
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I agree with Imperial Walker. The banana flavors are usually caused by fermenting too high and the band aid flavor is caused by using bleach and not rinsing properly. The band aid flavor can also come from your tap water if you are not using a carbon block filter to remove the chlorine.

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Old 04-12-2006, 06:22 PM   #5
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Which yeast strain did you use? Some strains really brew bad beer at higher temperatures. I had a batch with WLP028 Edinbrough at about 70-72 that I threw out. It tasted much like you describe.

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Old 04-12-2006, 06:28 PM   #6
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I have read that the band-aid phenol taste can also come from wild yeast, though it is more likely from bleach. It was in the jan/feb BYO.

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Old 04-12-2006, 06:39 PM   #7
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The bleach would contribute a vinegar-like bitterness.

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Old 04-12-2006, 09:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by homebrewer_99
The bleach would contribute a vinegar-like bitterness.
An infection would contribute vinegar like bitterness, bleach reacts to create a medicinal flavour.

I wouldnt give up on it yet, i've heard people describing young beers in that manner thinking they had a problem. Consider putting it aside for another month then make your mind up.
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Old 04-12-2006, 10:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by homebrewer_99
The bleach would contribute a vinegar-like bitterness.
Nahhh...bleach definitely would be medicinal, or band-aid-ey.

Vinegar would be bacterial.
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Old 04-12-2006, 10:32 PM   #10
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What the hell was I thinking....

(Note to self...stay away from the keyboard when you've been drinking... )

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