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Old 10-18-2010, 08:32 AM   #1
adamfargo
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Default Funky taste in boundary wheat beer

Alright so I'm brand new to the forum, and pretty much brand new to homebrewing as well. I got my start with a few kits I ordered off of midwestsupplies.com. So far no complaints about their products or service, but the first beer I made was the Boundary Waters Wheat beer. In order to spruce up the flavor a bit (I was trying for a blue moon which my girlfriend likes), I peeled and pureed about 3 pounds of clementine oranges. I left them in the freezer overnight, put them in a mesh bag, defrosted them, and then racked onto them in my secondary fermenter. I let them ferment for about 6 days, removed them for a few more days, and then bottled the beer (and put half in a corny keg).

For some reason there is a funky taste and smell to the beer, almost like the fruit went rotten and spoiled the beer. Is there anything that I can do about this or if I wait will the taste changy? Basically I was wondering if anyone else had any experience with this.

On another note, I just made my first all-grain batch of pumpkin ale. I ended up with about 11 gallons from a mixture of a couple recipes I found online, and it had a SG of 1.080, so it should be pretty intense! I'm fermenting it in a Sanke custom fermenter that I rigged up and it seems to be fermenting like crazy after just a day. The bottom (now the top) of the keg now has a corny lid, and I have been leaking CO2 out of the airlock every few hours. Funny thing is that when I leak it out too fast or for too long, towards the end it always shoots kraussen out of the holes, sprayed me and my girlfriend both down this morning. Maybe I should put an airlock on it next time Does it matter if the beer is pressurized during the fermentation process for extended periods of time, or should I make sure that I relieve the pressure as often as I can?

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Old 10-18-2010, 05:40 PM   #2
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I'd guess it was sanitisation. Got to sanitize those orange peels before they go in the fermenter. Freezing them will kill some bacteria and stop bacterial growth while frozen but it will start back up as soon as they thaw.

There are two main ways to sanitize stuff going in your beer. Be it fruit or spices or whatever. You boil it or soak it in alcohol.

1. Boil - So it doesn't have to be a full on boil but whatever you're heating to sanitize needs to get to 160 and stay there for 15-20 minutes. Then you cool and put it in your fermenter (secondary, primary, bottle, whatever...).

2. Soak in alcohol - Rather than heat which can sometimes cause fruit and spices to do unwanted things, you soak it in alcohol. Vodka's a good way to go if you don't want to taste the alcohol and just want the fruit/spice characteristics. You essentially soak the fruit in alcohol for a week or so and then you have an extract made from the real fruit and pour it in your wort when fermentation is done. The advantage here is that you can taste your extract before adding and get a better idea of how much to add.

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Old 10-18-2010, 05:52 PM   #3
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Oh and on your fermenter, yes you want to have an airlock on there. Too much pressure in your primary will cause the beer to start carbonating too soon and you run the risk of your yeast crapping out before they finish the job. So it won't make it bad you just may end up with an under fermented beer.

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Old 10-18-2010, 08:11 PM   #4
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Yeah I have no way of adding an airlock now, I'll probably add one for the next batch. I have just been releasing the pressure until the kraussen starts to come out every couple hours.

Thanks for the advice on the fruit, I was wondering whether the bacteria in the fruit had spoiled the beer. I read a few places that boiling it would release the pectins and give you a cloudy beer, which is why I chose not to do that. Soaking it in vodka to sanitize it seems like the way to go. Is there any chance that the beer isn't bad or that the funky taste is just the fermentation of the orange puree? To me it seems like it's spoiled, and I don't believe that it's going to get any better over time, just disappointing and was hoping that it wasn't hopeless.

Anyways thanks for your response

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Old 10-18-2010, 08:35 PM   #5
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No problem. There isn't really a good way to tell if it's going to get any better. I've heard from some folks that over time they've had funky beers get better and some folks say that they have not. I've had two batches get a little vinegary. It wasn't a great taste but it wasn't horrible so i just drank it anyway. Mine didn't really seem to get any less funky. What does the funkyness taste like?

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Old 10-18-2010, 08:52 PM   #6
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Yeah mine is also drinkable (and I will probably drink it too), but it just doesn't taste quite right. It tastes like a light crisp wheat beer, the beer flavor is decent, the color is a little cloudy, there is a weird aroma to it, and it has a funky aftertaste. I don't know quite how to describe it, almost as if you can faintly taste that the oranges that you used, and they were rotten? There is just something with the aroma and the flavor that is slightly off, and although it is very subtle, it is also very noticeable. Both me and my girlfriend have tried to describe it but haven't been able to, all we can say is that it doesn't taste quite right.

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Old 10-18-2010, 09:00 PM   #7
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Yeah, my beers that went funky were peach wheat beers. I had kept them in the fridge, and then when they went into the beer at flameout, they were cold so they cooled off the wort too quickly to be sanitized and I got wheat vinegar and couldn't really taste any peach. I think part of what happened is that the sugars from the peaches fermented out as well, so I was left with peach alcohol rather than peach flavor.(another tricky part to adding fruit)

Not sure there's much you can do now, but just make sure everything's good and sanitized next time and you should have better luck.

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Old 10-18-2010, 11:38 PM   #8
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Haha yeah I couldn't taste the orange flavors as well due to the sugars fermenting out fully, and it tasted only like orange peels. It was pretty strong at first, but the orange peel taste subsided and seemed to blend with the beer pretty well, although the resulting flavor was a weird aroma and aftertaste. I just kegged it and put it into my kegerator, so hopefully it will taste better cold! Thanks for the info.

Btw I was able to rig up somewhat of an airlock for the keg fermenter. I cracked open the release valve and put a film canister over it upside down, so as it continuously releases the co2 it can escape but won't let any air in. It should prevent any problems with early carbonation so the yeast can carry on

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Old 10-18-2010, 11:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBaconator View Post
Oh and on your fermenter, yes you want to have an airlock on there. Too much pressure in your primary will cause the beer to start carbonating too soon and you run the risk of your yeast crapping out before they finish the job. So it won't make it bad you just may end up with an under fermented beer.
Uhhh, I ferment under pressure just fine. Check out my link in my signature and see how I do it if you are curious.
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Old 10-19-2010, 12:13 AM   #10
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The only difference between my closed fermenting sanke system is that I don't have a 15psi pressure release like you do. I have a corny keg lid attached to my keg, which does build up a ton of pressure very quickly, and I just left the release valve open with a film canister over it to keep out any air. It's working pretty well so far. It would be nice to get a pressure release valve attached that would allow the pressure to release at a certain psi, what system did you use to do this?

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