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Old 01-02-2013, 05:11 PM   #1
tagz
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Default Off Flavor - Oxidation?

I've been battling an off flavor in my pale ales for a while now. My brown ales and belgians have been coming out great, but my pale ales and IPAs always have a taste that bothers me. I've been working to solve the mystery for a while now, because I really like hoppy beers, but without much luck.

The best I can describe the flavor as is dull, vegetal, maybe caramel-like. I can smell it as well as taste it. It always seems to appear after dry-hopping; the first sample out of the primary typically tastes bright and clean, but after dosing it with dry-hops and carbing I'm smacked with the off flavor.

I've tried playing with pH and water additions. I heard a podcast where Gordon Strong said high mash ph combined with hops makes for dull soapy flavors. I also thought lack of sulfates might be adding to the dull muttled flavor. Well my additions have improved my other beers but the problem persists.

My next thought was that it was the dry hop addition itself. I feel like the flavor does have a vegetal component. So I switched from pellet hops to whole hops. No luck.

I have also tried using gelatin and extended cold conditioning (35*). I thought maybe hop particles were to blame. This made brilliantly clear beer and a cleaner profile, but the flavor persisted. I also switched from 1450 to US-05, thinking that the suspended yeast were trapping unwanted particles. Nope. I started swear off dry hopping completely, but so many of the beers I like are dry-hopped, it doesn't make sense that this would be the problem. Plus, the sample I take from primary is full of hop particles, but it tastes bright and flavorful.

Today (like many other days before) I think I may have a good lead. Perhaps the problem is oxidation. These beers are the only ones that I transfer to a secondary. I'm pretty careful about splashing when I transfer (I use an auto-siphon and the end of the tub rests on the bottom of the secondary carboy), but I also don't purge the secondary with CO2. Perhaps the flavor I am tasting is the wet cardboard flavor people describe? When I think about it, it is reminiscent of flavors I get from an older commercial IPA.

Any thoughts?



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Old 01-02-2013, 05:19 PM   #2
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Is this AG or Extract?



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Old 01-02-2013, 05:28 PM   #3
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What are your dry hopping procedures- temp, amount of time? If left in too long, they lead to vegetal, grassy flavors.

Not a bad idea about the oxidation and secondary. FWIW, I dry hop all of my beers in primary with great results, and wouldn't even think about secondary at this point due to risk of infection or oxidation.

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Old 01-02-2013, 05:33 PM   #4
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I brew AG batches. Although, I had the same issue on a 20-min extract/hop-burst batch. For dry-hopping procedure, I generally rack on top of the hops using the auto-siphon. I don't use a very large amount (1-2 ounces). And I leave it for 5-7 days. I started shortening the dry-hop to 5 days with the thought that maybe over-exposure was the problem. I dry-hop at room temp (70) or basement temp (60).

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Old 01-02-2013, 06:28 PM   #5
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i had similar concerns about oxidation and i stopped using a secondary 2 batches ago. so far i found it to be easier and i'm not getting the off flavors.

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Old 01-02-2013, 06:41 PM   #6
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What did your off-flavors taste like? Can you compare them to anything?

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Old 01-02-2013, 08:29 PM   #7
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You could try to dry hop in the primary, I did that with my Amber Ale.

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Old 01-03-2013, 12:13 AM   #8
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Yeah I think my options on the next one are no dry-hop or dry-hop in the primary. It's just frustrating having so many batches of pale ale come out poorly. I suppose for my next one I'll go smaller batch. Anyone else have any experience with oxidation from secondary?

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Old 01-03-2013, 02:17 AM   #9
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Try adding a little boiled sugar solution to the secondary to create some CO2. I'm not a hops fan and I don't secondary much anymore. I don't think the flavor you describe is oxidation though. Vegal reminds me mainly of DMS.


http://www.bjcp.org/course/Class5Lesson1Troubleshooting.php

I agree with the above. Hop variety or length of dry hopping would seem most likely.

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Old 01-03-2013, 12:48 PM   #10
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Yeah, after working on this for a while though, I feel like maybe I'm describing the flavor incorrectly. Perhaps the vegetal flavor I'm getting is hop flavors with oxidation over the top? I don't know. I'm pretty careful when racking but at this point I'm grasping at straw and oxidation seems to be the next best candidate.

Ive used a variety of hops; hops that I love in commercial beers (Amarillo, centennial, simcoe) and I've tried shortening my dry hop time to cut down possibility of grassy vegetal notes. With DMS... I don't cover my boil and I'm able to cool the wort fairly quickly (20 min)... Plus I don't get it in any of my other styles (wit, blonde, saison, brown).

The adding sugar idea is interesting. Something to consider. Any other thoughts welcome. I'd love to get to the bottom of it. I have a freezer stocked with hops that Id love to use. Such bummer when I get tropical fruit notes over top of muddled blech.

On a side note... The recipes I use are typically 2 row, Vienna, light crystal. Although I have used slight variations with Munich and rye and I also had the same problem with a batch of 20 min boil extract plus hop burst. I've also tried with 1450 and us-05.



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