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Old 01-21-2010, 03:27 AM   #1
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Default 4th batch with phenolic hit

Ok folks--other than the usual "possible bacterial contamination"--can you provide me with some suggestions as to what to start looking for as I try to troubleshoot this apparent problem that is in my last 4 batches of beer?

This particular one is a Hearty Hop Ale, with pale malt, some crystal, 6AAUs Cascade, 4AAUs Styrian Goldings bittering, 4AAUs Cascade flavour, dry hopped with 4AAUs Cascade and 4AAUs Styrian Goldings--all hops pelleted--. Yeast was US-05.

Here's what I've noticed this time: tasted GREAT on bottling day. LOVED it. Been in the bottle a week now and I did a plastic bottle to test carbonation and it was hard as a rock so I chilled a glass bottle down. Opened it to wonderful carbonation (aimed for 2.6 but must be higher) and head and nice dark copper colour.

Then... the smell and taste I've become attuned to. Definite plastic phenolic. Sure, it is a bitter beer, but "that taste" is there again.

I'm a pretty anal cleaner and sanitizer, so can't believe it is coming from my bottling equipment. My process is:

Siphon off the sediment into a clean carboy. Boil up a cup (sanitized) or more beer with priming sugar to dissolve in a sanitized pot. Stir with sanitized spoon. Pour into beer while racking, with sanitized funnel.

I was told by friends to watch out for contaminated siphon hosing. This time I replaced the hose itself (cheap fix) and borrowed an auto-siphon from a friend which had never been used (cleaned it and sanitized it, of course). The bottle filler tube is the only thing I can think of, but it was cleaned and sanitized as well.

Cleaning with oxiclean lately and sanitizing with iodophor.

Caps are sitting in iodophor before capping. Necks and mouths of bottles are also sanitized with iodophor.

I dunno; I give.

I guess I'll bite the bullet next time and buy totally new siphon rig and filler tube. I can't have another batch go down and if it is also 'turned' then I begin to look into the other equipment.

But this batch tasted great a week ago on bottling day so it 'must' be something in the latter stages.

Too warm a carbonation temperature? Never heard of that before, but... at this stage...

Thanks for input!

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Old 01-21-2010, 03:47 AM   #2
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Well, I had a very similar problem to what you are describing. After eliminating everything under the sun, I narrowed it down to US-05 yeast. Since I have stopped using it, I no longer get any phenolics in my beer. It might be worth a shot.

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Old 01-21-2010, 04:00 AM   #3
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First time I've used that yeast. Would hate for that to be it--hard to test that one again but...in troubleshooting...what ISNT'T tough to nail down? lots of work to 'try' to find a problem. Thanks for the input! Appreciated.

Would suck if it was a sad coincidence that US-05 caused the same thing I've been trying to track for awhile...hahaha

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Old 01-21-2010, 04:16 AM   #4
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I had many beers with chlorophenols in them before I started using Campden Tablets. Ever since then I haven't had that off flavor. If you water is highly chlorinated it can lead to that plastic flavor in the final product. If you don't treat your water I'd give campden tabs a shot. It worked for me and I haven't had the problem since.

This thread helped me alot
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f14/chlo...gopher-116482/

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Old 01-21-2010, 04:51 AM   #5
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Thanks for the link. I don't think (he says...) it was the water this time around, though, because of the taste of the pre-bottle product. Doesn't hurt to try campden, though! Thanks.
This was interesting in that link:

"Someone pointed out to me once that chlorophenols/phenols aren't really detectable until after the beer is somewhat carbonated no matter what."
Truth or fiction?

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Old 01-21-2010, 04:55 AM   #6
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You know, funny thing about water... I've always been concerned about "ok, so you clean clean clean and then rinse...with regular tap water." I guess I could get a pump sprayer filled with RO or distilled water if I really want to go out on a limb and spray cleaning solution off that way. And I'm using no-rinse sanitizer, so that shouldn't be a factor there (if you're rinsing with 'bad water' after sanitizing, then...)

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Old 01-21-2010, 04:57 AM   #7
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Geez, ya know...maybe I'm using too high a concentration of iodophor! (mixed up with...tap water, of course! Duh.)

Problem with changing a few things all at once is you never know what "fixes" a problem. OH well, if any of the things I change next fix it, that's a workflow I'll STICK with, to be sure. No more bandaid beer for this guy; must stomp this phenol bug.

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Old 01-21-2010, 05:05 AM   #8
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I had a similar problem and I think it was iodaphor. Change to Starsan on the next batch and see if the taste goes away.

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Old 01-21-2010, 05:06 AM   #9
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Yep, I'm DEFINITELY going back to the StarSan camp. Used it exclusively up until about a year and a half ago. Have definitely had more bad batches than good since using Iodophor. I was iffy on all the foam, but surface contact is actually a good thing.

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Old 01-21-2010, 07:02 AM   #10
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I had the same problem. Darker beers would mask it better. Started using Campden Tablets on ALL my water. Cleaning and sanitizing water got treated as well. Problem solved.

-Aaron

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