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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > identifying off flavor
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Old 04-04-2008, 04:30 PM   #1
scottfro
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Default identifying off flavor

So recently I've noticed an off flavor in my pale ale (and potentially in my ESB) and I can't seem to put my finger on it based on all the guidelines I've read on the net for off flavors. I know this is hard to trouble shoot without actually tasting the beer but let me run down the scenario...

I brewed this pale ale Jan 19th. Half of it (10 gal batch) went into a keg somewhere around Feb 1st. Wasn't the greatest but okay, so I dry hopped it and it turned into a wonderful beer in the keg. We drank off this keg for a good month and it was great the whole time. The other half of it stayed in the carboy and was dry hopped there. Upon bottling (Mid-Late Feb.) the carboy beer didn't taste as amazing as the keg (probably since the fresh hop flavor from dry hopping faded) but still a tasty pale ale. The bottles carbonated within a week of bottling and were tasty for about another week. From that point on every bottle I've open has not been too good. It hardly tastes like a pale ale at all and has lost all its hop character. The best way I can describe the flavor is homebrewy and possibly slightly syrupy. I know homebrewy isn't the best term but its just a strange taste. The really odd part is it almost appears that the beer has changed color slightly. It appears to be a bit darker than I remember it when it was coming from the keg. I can't say for sure so thats not a major component of the diagnosis.

What I'm wondering is if my sanitizer might be causing a problem. I use Oxysan which is hydrogen peroxide and epsom salt based. Hydrogen peroxide breaks down to H2O and O2 when it degrades so I'm wondering (since this is a no rinse and my bottles usually have a little wet sanitizer residue in them when I bottle) if I might be oxidizing my beer in the bottles with my sanitizer. This hasn't been a problem lately until these last few batches but it was an issue I had when I first started brewing about 2 years ago (I've used the same sanitizer all along).

After that long winded post does anyone have any answers, suggestions or thoughts?

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Old 04-04-2008, 05:07 PM   #2
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Just something else to add. The beer tastes like the brews I store for 8 months or so and they start to head downhill (staling I assume). If that helps identify any issues....

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Old 04-04-2008, 05:11 PM   #3
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this might help you identify the flavor / cause
http://www.howtobrew.com/section4/chapter21-2.html

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Old 04-04-2008, 05:14 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FEARDIZ
this might help you identify the flavor / cause
http://www.howtobrew.com/section4/chapter21-2.html

Yeah I reviewed that page but nothing really describes what I am tasting...maybe I should wet some cardboard and taste it hahah. since I have no clue what that tastes like and I'm thinking the oxidation is the issue.
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Old 04-04-2008, 11:14 PM   #5
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new beer tasting like its 8 months past due sounds like oxidation to me.
hard to say since I've never had a beer go bad on me (never lasts)

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Old 04-05-2008, 12:01 AM   #6
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I do the same with 10g batches. Often leave half in the carboy to age longer. You may have oxidation from the air in the carboy.

I try and hit the carboy with some co2 before I put the airlock back on.

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Old 04-09-2008, 11:17 PM   #7
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i spoke with my LHBS and gave him a bottle to sample. he has a cold so hasn't gotten back to me but he said it sounds like oxidation from how i describe it. the darkening of the beer is a tell tale sign of oxidation as well according to him.....now to figure out why.

i'm afraid to bottle the rest of my india brown ale!!!!

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Old 04-09-2008, 11:22 PM   #8
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Well, I guess one thing to look at is your process. Maybe you're getting air bubbles in your siphon, or is it splashing a bit? Is the tubing in the receiving vessel at the very bottom so that when you rack, the tubing is under the surface of the beer as it rises? Are you pouring/splashing hot wort before chilling? Are you getting foam in the bottle filler when you press down into the bottles? When you age in the carboy, how much headspace do you leave? (most people can leave some without an issue, but if you're having oxidation issues, it should be filled within an inch or two of the bung). Is the bung/airlock snugly fit, or is it loose in there?

I'm just sort of throwing some ideas out there. I think those would be the most common and easiest to address areas that could cause oxidation.

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Old 04-09-2008, 11:36 PM   #9
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the thing is, it tasted good as i took a gravity reading at bottling time so it has to be happening somewhere between racking to bottling carboy to capping the bottle.....

i'm always really careful to make sure i'm aerated as little as possible throughout the process but maybe somehow an air bubbling the the bottling tool caused it?

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