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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Beer Discussion > Do I just not "get" diacetyl?
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Old 06-11-2014, 04:15 AM   #31
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Any of Sam Smith's beers have tons of diacetyl, try those, the Yorkshire square method of brewing and the yeast cause it.

This beer (Wells Sticky Toffee Pudding Ale) has the most diacetyl I've ever tasted: http://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/664/106539/

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Old 06-11-2014, 01:34 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by ajdelange View Post
That would be unusual. Also assume the measurement was done with GC as the dimethylglyoxime method isn't really sensitive enough for a solid reading even a bit above threshold.
Did I just get trolled by ajdelange? I've never heard of BJCP judges busting out a gas chromatograph at the judging table, but I suppose it's not *completely* impossible.

Perhaps I should say that to my palate, there was no detectable diacetyl, and what they thought was diacetyl was actually from the crystal malt. (I'm sure all beer contains diacetyl in some amounts, and even those those where it is below the taste threshold it still exists to some degree.)
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Old 06-11-2014, 03:21 PM   #33
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I was tweaking your nose for making the assertion that there was no diacetyl when, as you point out, the means for knowing that are not available. Pardon my cranky sarcasm. It's just part of my personality.

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Old 06-12-2014, 12:49 PM   #34
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Here is something you can try if you want to produce a beer sample that almost certainly has diacetyl concentrations above the typical flavour thresholds. During fermentation, wort has a very low concentration of free diacetyl, which means you typically don't detect it in fermenting wort. However, the wort will at this point (especially early into fermentation) contain a large concentration of alpha-acetolactate (which will eventually decarboxylate into diacetyl). I've e.g. measured peak 'total diacetyl' concentrations of 300-1500 µg/L in recent years depending on yeast strain and fermentation conditions (while the threshold is in the 20-100 µg/L range). By heating the beer, we can increase the rate of the decarboxylation reaction, so that the alpha-acetolactate is converted into diacetyl in minutes instead of days. So:

- Take a small sample from your fermenting beer early during fermentation (2-3 days after pitching).
- Place the sample in a closeable container (e.g. beer bottle that you cap, soda bottle, etc.). You don't want the volatile diacetyl to escape once it is formed. Keep in mind that the sample will be heated, so be careful with anything that can be damaged by pressure.
- Heat the sample to 60 degrees C (140F) in a water bath (e.g. on the stove) for an hour.
- At this point your beer sample should contain a high concentration of diacetyl, and you will hopefully be able to detect it.

I haven't tried this myself at home, but similar protocols (e.g. in EBC-Analytica, ASBC MOA ..) are used during 'total diacetyl' analysis. I'm not sure how any suspended yeast will be affected by the heating though (probably won't have an effect), as in the lab we centrifuge and filter our samples prior to analysis.

Edit: Oh, and when deciding on when to take the sample, typically the higher your fermentation temperature, the earlier the 'total diacetyl' peak will occur.

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Old 06-12-2014, 04:25 PM   #35
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Awesome advice, thanks. Next beer that goes in the fermenter I'll give this a try.

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Old 06-12-2014, 06:00 PM   #36
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Great advice suregork. It sounds like you know fermentation incredibly well. I think I'm going to do this on my next beer just to test my diacetyl sensitivity.

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