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Old 11-23-2008, 12:32 AM   #1
mangine77
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Default WTF?? Why do my beers have this taste?

I'm seriously starting to get pissed and discouraged here. I'm a diligent cleaner/sanitizer so I'm convinced this isn't a contamination thing.

4 of my last 7 beers have come out with a solvent/nail polish taste to them. They were 2 pretty big english ales, an oatmeal stout, and a porter. One of them is so bad I can't drink it, and the rest aren't super awful but I can taste it.

I know it's not from bad fermentation temperatures either because I'm crazy about monitoring it.

What could this be?? It hasn't happened in any of my recent "lighter brews" which were a pale ale, an apricot ale, and it didn't happen with my scotch ale.

Please help. For awhile I was making great beer and now they are turning out with this consistent weird taste. Thanks

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Old 11-23-2008, 01:50 AM   #2
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Read this and you might find out what it is. Be sure to read all the pages part 2, part 3 etc see Related Articles at the bottom of the pages.

part 3: http://www.fermentarium.com/content/view/240/58/

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Old 11-23-2008, 02:03 AM   #3
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if its a solvent taste and your temps are good my money is on under pitching yeast. strange water chemistry could also give some strange flavors but not usually solvent-ish. my experience has been that beers with more dark malts need more aging.

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Old 11-23-2008, 02:03 AM   #4
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Man, I wait it will help you, to make again great beers!!!

From the site 'How to Brew' of John Palmer:

Solvent-like
This group of flavors is very similar to the alcohol and ester flavors, but are harsher to the tongue. These flavors often result from a combination of high fermentation temperatures and oxidation. They can also be leached from cheap plastic brewing equipment or if PVC tubing is used as a lautering manifold material. The solvents in some plastics like PVC can be leached by high temperatures.

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Old 11-23-2008, 11:47 AM   #5
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If you know your fermentation temp is OK and you are using the same yeast procedures as your former good beers then you very well might have an infection. Some bacteria and wild yeasts can produce byproducts that will give you those nasty tastes. Have you switched yeast types or supplier? Is the product fresh and stored well? Are you repitching yeast? Are you making high gravity beers and severely underpitching? Have you thoroughly cleaned all equipment, especially hoses, valves and anything with crevices or irregular surfaces that could harbor an infection?

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Old 11-24-2008, 06:08 PM   #6
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Do most of you use filtered tap water? Like a Brita faucet filter or what?

I have just been taking it right out of the tap. Could this be the culprit? The chlorine level of the water here is .4-.5 mg/L .

Alkilinity of the water is 190-195. I should probably be using some kind of filter for the water anyway right? X-mas present perhaps. Any filter recommendations?

How much of a difference will this really make?

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Old 11-24-2008, 06:52 PM   #7
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The water could be a problem, have you checked to see what kind of water you have. High PH can really screw with lighter ales.

Also - we have NOTHING but software coming into our house (the town automatically softens all water) and Brita faucet filter will not help soft water at all (learned this from a chemist yesterday). It will help non-softened water but if it is soft already it's sort of crap for brewing.

NOT saying that is your problem but something to look into.

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Old 11-24-2008, 06:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mangine77 View Post
I know it's not from bad fermentation temperatures either because I'm crazy about monitoring it.
Can you tell us what your typical fermentation temps are ?

Because low to mid 70s is too hot no matter how crazy you are about monitoring it.
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Old 11-24-2008, 07:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mutilated1 View Post
Can you tell us what your typical fermentation temps are ?

Because low to mid 70s is too hot no matter how crazy you are about monitoring it.
I never let my fermentations get above 68 degrees. I try to keep them between 62 and 66.

What temperature is your "most typical" temp that you pitch at???
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Old 11-24-2008, 07:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grinder12000 View Post
The water could be a problem, have you checked to see what kind of water you have. High PH can really screw with lighter ales.

Also - we have NOTHING but software coming into our house (the town automatically softens all water) and Brita faucet filter will not help soft water at all (learned this from a chemist yesterday). It will help non-softened water but if it is soft already it's sort of crap for brewing.

NOT saying that is your problem but something to look into.
Guessing you are an IT guy?

My town is going to start doing this in 2009, does it basically mean you have really high sodium content in your water? That would mean you need either a reverse osmosis system in your house or buy water
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