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Old 10-15-2012, 02:54 AM   #1
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Default Odd Off-Flavor in Lager

So I am fermenting my first lager and I am concerned about an off-flavor that I have detected in my gravity samples. The two samples I withdrew were awful, to say the least.

Part of the flavor is cooked, buttered corn. I take that as diacetyl. (The beer is at a diacetyl rest right now).

The other component is a sharp chemical flavor. It kinda burns and is at the forefront of the flavor profile. It hits you the moment you take a sip.

I know that the diacetyl will probably be metabolized by the yeast, but the sharp chemical flavor bothers me. Could it possibly be my hop's flavor clashing with the diacetyl? It worries me that it could be a wild yeast infection producing phenols.

For what it's worth, I sanitize with Starsan and use RO water strictly.

edit: I am fermenting with Saflager S23 at 52 F. The OG was 1.050 and it's at 1.008 right now. It's been ramping in temperature for the past two days and is at 64 F right now.

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Old 10-15-2012, 03:13 AM   #2
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Is it possible that the chemical flavor is sulfur? A lot of lager yeasts throw a lot of sulfur before cleaning it up, along with diacetyl, later in fermentation.
BTW, cooked corn can also be oxidation. A lot of pilsner malt has some of that flavor in the background, though, without there being a problem.
Plus, early samples often taste nothing like your beer finally does.
Relax and wait, and see what it turns out like. Be sure to give it time, and lager it well after fermentation has finished.

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Old 10-15-2012, 03:13 AM   #3
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Cooked corn would be dms from boiling with the lid on or not vigorous and or long enough boil. Pretty sure the yeast won't absorb that. Not sure about the chemical flavor but lagers can be kind of weird if sampled early, the lagering phase helps a lot. Lager it for a while and at worst you night just have a batch of rolling rock.

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Old 10-15-2012, 03:16 AM   #4
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Sounds like diacetyl and DMS is a very young beer. The d rest will take care of the former, the latter won't go away.

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Old 10-15-2012, 03:27 AM   #5
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The only thing that I can think of that may have produced DMS is boiling for 60 minutes instead of 90.

I even used pale malt, boiled in an open pot and chilled below 80 within 15 minutes. I am puzzled if it is DMS.

I was thinking that the second off-flavor was sulfurous too. It's really sharp and unpleasant. I also sensed a similar smell coming out of my airlock during fermentation.

It was disappointing to taste such nasty gravity samples. The ales that I have fermented never tasted this weird even at an early stage. I guess that's just how lagers are.

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Old 10-15-2012, 03:29 AM   #6
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Could it just be really intense diacetyl? Maybe just artificial butter and not buttered corn? It's so hard to say w/o tasting, and even then, the beer's so young. Honestly, let it ride, at least the young flavors will go away and if there's still issue you can troubleshoot.

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Old 10-15-2012, 09:02 AM   #7
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Quote:
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The only thing that I can think of that may have produced DMS is boiling for 60 minutes instead of 90.

I even used pale malt, boiled in an open pot and chilled below 80 within 15 minutes. I am puzzled if it is DMS.

I was thinking that the second off-flavor was sulfurous too. It's really sharp and unpleasant. I also sensed a similar smell coming out of my airlock during fermentation.

It was disappointing to taste such nasty gravity samples. The ales that I have fermented never tasted this weird even at an early stage. I guess that's just how lagers are.
Sulfur is a normal byproduct of a lager yeast. This will disappear during the lagering process. It's not unusual for the fermenting room/chamber to be filled with this smell and high in the tasting sample.
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Old 10-16-2012, 02:09 AM   #8
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Greetings from a fellow Gainesville resident.

Post your recipe and we can see if its the hop flavors clashing, but I doubt it. Could be DMS, diacytl, sulfur or all three. How old is the beer? Young lagers can be funky, but I wouldn't say chemical flavors are normal at all.

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Old 10-16-2012, 03:15 AM   #9
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Yeah, the diacetyl is reduced somewhat, but it still has a way to go.

I'm not sensing the chemical flavor as much--I feel that it may have been a volatile sulfur compound that is now being off-gased at the higher temperature rest.

I have no idea how to describe the flavor, but perhaps "chemical" is too harsh. It's kinda musky but sharp and it clashes awfully with the buttery diacetyl.

I am pretty sure that some of the flavor is my grain bill, which is 92.3% 2-row, 5% Munich and 2.6% Carapils. I think I can taste the Munich under the diacetyl.

Perhaps the sharp flavor is due to my hopping; I used Sterling exclusively, for about 30 IBU, mostly late additions. I definitely taste the Sterling character in there somewhere.

It's been about 2 days into the rest and it still tastes buttery. Should I try krausening it?

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Old 10-16-2012, 03:19 AM   #10
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The "chemical" flavor sounds like potentially an infection, or maybe chlorophenol.


Cooked corn does really sound like DMS. It is the classic description of DMS, although other sulfur compounds can give you similar flavors.


What temp are you doing your rest at?

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