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Old 02-13-2012, 05:56 PM   #1
thomismydad
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Default Plastic taste in beer

A homebrewing friend of mine has been sampling some of my beers and finding that there is a plastic taste in them. I've been looking into it and it seems the 2 most likely explanations are an infection or due to using tap water. I haven't noticed the issue myself, so for some reason it just leads me to think it's more the water issue (if it's the same water I drink on a daily basis, would I notice it?). Another thing my friend noticed is that the more aged beers he's been sampling has the plastic taste even more than the younger ones. Would this fact seem to support the water issue or infection issue? I plan to both do a thorough cleaning of my equipment and use bottled water next time, but I'd still like to know what's causing the issue.

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Old 02-13-2012, 06:05 PM   #2
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Most likely bacterial infection. Infections get way worse over time because the wild yeasts/bacterias keep fermenting over time and continue to create these off flavors over time.

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Old 02-13-2012, 06:06 PM   #3
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Check out this list and tell us which one of the off flavors is most like your beer: http://www.howtobrew.com/section4/chapter21-2.html

My guess is that you're tasting phenols which can come from high amounts of chlorine in your water or high fermentation temperatures. What temp are you fermenting at?

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Old 02-13-2012, 06:06 PM   #4
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polyphenals...look to remove chlorine and check your plastic hoses. Probably not an infection.

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Old 02-13-2012, 06:22 PM   #5
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The 2 brews he tasted these in fermented between 64 and 68 degrees both were Wyeast 1056. I'm not thinking that the temp was an issue.

I've gone back through and tasted the beers myself and I don't pick up this plastic taste but my friend pointed to the Chlorophenol taste on this link as a comparison.

http://morebeer.com/content/homebrew-off-flavors

I felt at first that it would be the water as I don't taste the plastic, but given that it seems to worsen with age I thought it might be an infection. Would a chlorine water issue worsen over time or fade out?

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Old 02-13-2012, 06:23 PM   #6
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I experienced this as well and at first I thought about poor sanitation or chlorine but now I'm not so sure. I had been experiencing this from my most recent brews and the only real change has been using a counter flow chiller and march pump set-up including braided PVC tubing. I recirculate hot wort through the chiller to sanitize it and I'm starting to think that since the max temp on the tubing is less than 212° something from it is leaching out and getting into the beer. Anyone else think that this may be the case?

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Old 02-13-2012, 06:26 PM   #7
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Also, I'm new to this water chemistry stuff. I'm not sure what a bad chlorine level is in regards to homebrew. This is my water report...

http://www.mundelein.org/community_info/pdfs/WQR.pdf

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Old 02-13-2012, 06:31 PM   #8
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Brutus Brewer - I don't think that braided hose you are using is rated for those temps. You should use silicone hose for temps that high.

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Old 02-13-2012, 06:33 PM   #9
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For your next brew, buy spring water at the grocery store and see if that does it. Don't buy distilled as you want the minerals that are in the spring water. Yeah, I agree about the temperature, if you're fermenting in that range you should not be getting phenols from fermentation.

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Old 02-13-2012, 06:39 PM   #10
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I bet it is infection. I've heard of people getting plastic tastes from wild fermentations.

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