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Old 10-27-2011, 12:59 AM   #21
mthelm85
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I have had an off flavor that is described very similarly to what you have. I believe it was from the bottles. Whether it be how I cleaned and sanitized the bottles I could never pin point the cause. When I finally started kegging, the flavor disappeared. I was so turned off by this flavor, every time I drink a homebrew and exhale, I try to see if I can taste it! It's very tough to describe the flavor... Maybe dirty ass mixed with diesel engine exhaust? Dunno, but I think it was coming from my bottles. I used to clean and sanitize my bottles the same as you. By chance do you use Italian made flip top bottles?
Nope, I use a combination of Sierra Nevada bottles, Dechutes Brewing bottles, and the rest are bottles I bought from my LHBS.
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Old 10-27-2011, 05:17 AM   #22
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I had a problem with my beer tasting good before carbonation and tasting like tire rubber after, so my next batch of beer will be made with nothing but RO/spring bottled water, because I guess I have chloramine in out local water table, if it's still there I will be back on HBT asking questions

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Old 10-27-2011, 10:41 AM   #23
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Absolutely +1 on disassembling the spigot from the bucket, and then the spigot itself. If you have one of the spigots with the white body and red handle, run it under hot tap water for 5-10 seconds, and it will be much easier to take apart. I had made my first five batches or so, and ran into a thread talking about taking the spigot apart, but couldn't get that handle out until some helpful HBT'er came on and gave the hot water tip. Sure enough- I took it apart, and there was a nice ring of nasty-looking crud inside.
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Old 10-27-2011, 12:11 PM   #24
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From what I remember Starsan is only effective while it's wet. Letting the bottles dry after starsan can cause issues in a dirty environment. Embrace the Foam!

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Old 10-27-2011, 12:59 PM   #25
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Ive had a very similar issue with some of my beers. I've noticed that buying my ingredients from somewhere with high volume/turnover and doing full, long boils and making a starter has pretty much eliminated the issue. I think there is some chemical or compound in the beer that gets gassed off with the CO2 or some byproduct of fermentation that produces that taste. I've also noticed my friend secondaries for a couple of weeks in a glass carboy always and his beer comes out pretty clean. My last batch was force carbed in a keg and was my cleanest beer yet! Now on to all grain next week!!! Wish me luck and good luck with your issue.

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Old 12-02-2012, 10:20 PM   #26
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This is the situation. I've now been through this 4 or 5 times. I brew a batch and all goes well. I sample it at bottling and it tastes great, warm, flat but god taste and aroma. This time was a pale ale with mostly Cascade hops.
A week in the bottle its got a great head, good carbonation and tastes great.
Then after 20 days in the bottle it goes to crap. Slight aroma and its just off, like sour. It has a bitter, astringent taste. Like licking a tea bag. Some people say it tastes okay but it does not and just days earlier it was great, not okay.
I''m aging the bottles at about 70 degrees, maybe cooler.
So it seems all went well during brewing and bottling. It was good and went bad at about the time it should have aged to perfection. I doubt sanitation as it was good for 2 to 3 weeks each time. Each time the off / bad taste is the same. Yes, all batches become the same, the same crap.
WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?

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Old 12-03-2012, 12:40 PM   #27
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This is the situation. I've now been through this 4 or 5 times. I brew a batch and all goes well. I sample it at bottling and it tastes great, warm, flat but god taste and aroma. This time was a pale ale with mostly Cascade hops.
A week in the bottle its got a great head, good carbonation and tastes great.
Then after 20 days in the bottle it goes to crap. Slight aroma and its just off, like sour. It has a bitter, astringent taste. Like licking a tea bag. Some people say it tastes okay but it does not and just days earlier it was great, not okay.
I''m aging the bottles at about 70 degrees, maybe cooler.
So it seems all went well during brewing and bottling. It was good and went bad at about the time it should have aged to perfection. I doubt sanitation as it was good for 2 to 3 weeks each time. Each time the off / bad taste is the same. Yes, all batches become the same, the same crap.
WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?
Since I originally posted this over a year ago I've made some changes and haven't had the problem anymore. Everyone pointed to sanitation but my sanitation practices are the same now as they were then so I know that wasn't the problem. I don't really know the cause of the problem I was having or which (if any) of the changes to my process that I've made solved the problem.

The first thing I did was I started doing a more vigorous boil and I use Whirlfloc every batch. This of course worked wonders on my beer as far as clarity goes, you can hold my beer next to a filtered commercial brew and in many instances it's just as clear. Make sure you are boiling the crap out of the beer and if you're not using Whirlfloc, start.

Another major change is that I fabricated a stir plate and always make my starters on the stir plate now. I have a formula in my brew spreadsheet to determine the size of the starter that I use but if you don't want to mess around with a formula and spreadsheet just check out the Mr. Malty calculator on that website. For American ales and other beers that I want a clean profile for I make my starter at 1.5 million cells / ml P which is about twice the amount that I use when I am doing an English or Belgian ale where I want esters/phenols.

That leads me to the last major change in my process. I don't keep my beers in the carboy for nearly as long as I used to. Conventional wisdom in the homebrew community seems to say that your beer should be in the carboy at least three weeks and then a lot of guys do a secondary after that. Unless it's a high gravity beer (> 1.060), I only do about 1 week in the carboy. Pitching the right amount of yeast and controlling my fermentation temperatures has meant that my fermentation is usually done in 3 or 4 days. In most cases I'm bottling within 2 weeks, sometimes even by day 7 or 8. Most people on this site will say that's a bad idea but I've been making FANTASTIC beer this way, far better than what I was making when I was aging for weeks in the carboys. Basically my rule is this, once I hit FG I bottle. Then, just as soon as it's fully carbed it goes straight in the fridge.

Since I've been doing these things I haven't experienced this problem anymore so I would try it if you aren't already doing things this way, it can't hurt and for me it completely solved my problem and I'm making some of the best beer I've ever had anywhere, hands down.
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Old 12-03-2012, 11:27 PM   #28
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I don't keep my beers in the carboy for nearly as long as I used to. Conventional wisdom in the homebrew community seems to say that your beer should be in the carboy at least three weeks and then a lot of guys do a secondary after that. Unless it's a high gravity beer (> 1.060), I only do about 1 week in the carboy. Pitching the right amount of yeast and controlling my fermentation temperatures has meant that my fermentation is usually done in 3 or 4 days. In most cases I'm bottling within 2 weeks, sometimes even by day 7 or 8. Most people on this site will say that's a bad idea but I've been making FANTASTIC beer this way, far better than what I was making when I was aging for weeks in the carboys. Basically my rule is this, once I hit FG I bottle. Then, just as soon as it's fully carbed it goes straight in the fridge.

I've had this issue pretty consistently, more times than not. So I don't do a gravity reading and I don't do secondary fermentation, both out of fear of contamination. I bought a new transfer bucket cause I think I can feel a scratch in one and think it could hold bacteria. The problem is reoccurring and the amount of iodophor I use really makes me think its not sanitation, but I used different water and ingredients and almost everyone here says sanitation.
SO WHAT is the taste difference between bacteria and oxidation? Would air in the siphon hose cause oxydation? Would pouring the wort or sloshing it a lot while still above 80 degrees, before fermentation, cause this late onset bad taste?

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Old 12-05-2012, 12:48 PM   #29
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I've had this issue pretty consistently, more times than not. So I don't do a gravity reading and I don't do secondary fermentation, both out of fear of contamination. I bought a new transfer bucket cause I think I can feel a scratch in one and think it could hold bacteria. The problem is reoccurring and the amount of iodophor I use really makes me think its not sanitation, but I used different water and ingredients and almost everyone here says sanitation.
SO WHAT is the taste difference between bacteria and oxidation? Would air in the siphon hose cause oxydation? Would pouring the wort or sloshing it a lot while still above 80 degrees, before fermentation, cause this late onset bad taste?
The off-flavors resulting from oxidation are generally thought of as a longer-term issue but if you are storing your beer at warm temperatures, the effects of oxidation can become noticeable rather quickly. That's why I bottle my beer as soon as it hits FG and then as soon as it's carbed up (almost always within 7 days for me) it all goes straight into the refrigerator. The chemical reactions involved in the staling of beer are rapidly accelerated by warmer temperatures. Don't quote me on this but I believe I read something by Dr. Charlie Bamforth once where he said that beer stales three times faster for every 10 degree Celsius increase in the storage temperature. So think about it, if you store your beer at 41 degrees Fahrenheit, it will last 6 times longer than it will if you store it at 77 degrees Fahrenheit. In other words, if a beer at 77 degrees goes stale after one month, that same beer at 41 degrees could go for 6 months before going stale.

I would say you should be very careful when it comes to introducing oxygen into your beer and you definitely want to cool it down to below 80 degrees, at least, before any splashing.

As far as an infection, it's really difficult to know without getting a microscope and then knowing what to look for, unless you have a really bad infection that produces characteristic infection flavors (do a search on Google for common off flavors). If you are being very careful with your sanitation practices, you are probably okay. You might try switching to Starsan if you've been using Iodophor for a while. I use Starsan exclusively and don't have any issues.
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Old 12-06-2012, 04:39 AM   #30
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It seems most people think its sanitation. I don't like that idea because I think I'm doing all I can, including changing siphon tubes and fermentation bucket. This brings me to two questions:
1. If its yeast v. bacteria, can someone describe the difference in taste? What does infection taste like and what does bad yeast taste like?
2. Has anyone thought of oxidation? I have noticed some air bubbles in my siphon tube, it can come in where the tube attaches to the auto siphon. I have also sloshed the wort a lot, poured it to transfer bucket while still about 100 degrees and put it in an ice bath and spun it (like a champaigne bottle in an ice chill at a restaurant I can't afford). I wonder if this could be the issue? I've used this method of chilling a few times, some of them came out fine so I doubt it. The air in the siphon hose I wonder about. What would oxidation taste like?

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