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Old 09-29-2010, 04:13 PM   #1
Ludovico
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Default Persistent strange taste in my homebrew - Help!

So far I've brewed 5 batches of Homebrew, and every one I've tasted so far has a persistent strange and unwanted taste. Some are more obvious and worse than others, and I'm really trying to figure out the source. I would describe this problem as astringent and tannin like, and it's very present in both aroma and flavor. Here is some info on my brews so far that I've noticed this in:

- Double IPA, extract. I can maybe attribute these tannin flavors to steeping the grains at too high a temperature, and because my stovetop couldn't get a vigorous boil going. I used regular Calgary tapwater, cooled in icebath.

- Weizenbock, partial mash. Again, this was done on stovetop so the same issues could have arised. For this beer I used 100% distilled water as I was using large amounts of noble hops and wanted to preserve the aroma. The hops were hardly noticable at all on the nose, totally overwhelmed by the astringent smell. Cooled in icebath.

- Belgian Dubbel, all grain. I used Deathbrewer's stovetop method and achieved good efficiency (Again with regular tapwater). I made my own belgian candy sugar on the stovetop and added it directly to the boil, which was done outside on propane and was quite violent. I used an immersion chiller and cooled the wort in < 15 minutes.

I always add hops in a nylon bag straight into the boil.

I sanitize everything by soaking it in a StarSan solution then rinsing with tapwater. Could this rinsing be the source of the funkiness? For bottling, I soak in StarSan solution then use hot tapwater and the inverted bottle rinser just prior to filling. My apartment is a little warm, generally 75Fish.

Any help is appreciated, this problem is driving me insane! The Weizenbock had the most obvious presence of this issue, it was undrinkable.

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Old 09-29-2010, 04:24 PM   #2
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It could be a few things. First, 75 degrees is WAY too warm for most fermentations. You'll want to look into lowering your temps at least for the first 2-4 days of vigorous activity. Second, your tap water could be high in chlorine which would cause a flavor like you're describing. Third, don't rinse star-san. It's a no-rinse sanitizer. I'm betting one or more of the above is the cause of your problem

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Old 09-29-2010, 04:24 PM   #3
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Could be the tap water.
I have never used water with chlorine in it but I don't think that you are supposed to use either chlorinated or distilled water.
If you are rinsing with tap water that could be contributng to your problem. Rinsing of the star san isn't required.
Someone with more experience can possibly tell you what the results of using tap water would be as far as an off flavor etc...

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Old 09-29-2010, 04:26 PM   #4
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How long are you steeping your specialty grains for? Astringency can be caused by steeping too long or steeping too hot. It could also be caused by over sparging or over crushing your grains. Alkaline water can casue astringency as well. If what your tasting truly is astringency then I would focus on these factors.

Astringency can be described as:
The sensation you get in your mouth when sucking on a teabag, or chewing on grape skins. Sometimes confused with bitterness. Astringency is a dry mouth-puckering sensation, whereas bitterness is detected on the back of the tongue and is desired and assertively noticeable in certain styles, such India Pale Ale or American Pale Ale.

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Old 09-29-2010, 04:30 PM   #5
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How long after brewing are you drinking these beers. Are they properly aged? The reason I ask is that you are making fairly complex styles which may need some significant aging time.

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Old 09-29-2010, 04:39 PM   #6
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The problem definitely isn't bitterness, it fits the description of astrigency pretty well. I've steeped the specialty grains for 30 mins, and in all grain/partial mashes I've just added them with my malts in the mash. It could be a chlorine vibe.

When bottling, do you wait for the glass to be completely dry (on a bottle tree) before filling? Mine are always still wet as I fill them right after rinsing them with the inverted rinser.

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Old 09-29-2010, 05:05 PM   #7
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As broadbill said, the beers you're making are fairly complex (flavor wise). Maybe do a couple batches of a beer with a simpler taste profile will help nail down what the problem is. Perhaps a couple half batches of Ed Worts Haus PA (great recipe - simple to make, but delicious). Since several have said that it might be the water, maybe make one batch with tap, and one with store-bought spring water. Don't forget to label which is which!

Good luck!

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Old 09-29-2010, 05:13 PM   #8
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According to my limited brewing experience, it's probably your fermentation temperature... Especially since you said the weizenbock had it the worst.

Try a couple commercial wheat beers and see if it has close to the same taste (although much more subdued). If so that's probably your problem.

If you wait a couple of months it will mellow out significantly...

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Old 09-29-2010, 05:18 PM   #9
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This off flavor is nothing like the estery flavor that a higher fermentation temp would encourage in any wheat beer.

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Old 09-29-2010, 05:24 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ludovico View Post
When bottling, do you wait for the glass to be completely dry (on a bottle tree) before filling? Mine are always still wet as I fill them right after rinsing them with the inverted rinser.
I don't wait for bottles to dry. I soak them in Iodophor then dump it out and fill them up. I don't even rinse them.
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