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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > Pumpkin ale bananna smell
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Old 09-19-2013, 01:46 AM   #1
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Default Pumpkin ale bananna smell

I brewed Smashing Pumpkin Ale on Monday 9/16. It has been actively fermenting now for about 60 hours. I am using a blow off tube and I am getting a sweet banana type smell. Is this normal for a beer that has real pumpkin in the wort?

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Old 09-19-2013, 02:16 AM   #2
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Not really, but it is very common in beers that are fermented warm (above 70 degrees) with an ale yeast, or in any Belgian or hefweizen strains.

My guess is that the fermenting beer is above 70 degrees.

Ideally, you'd ferment at the yeast strains ideal fermentation temperatures. Which yeast strain are you using?

Still, all sorts of smells can come from a fermenter during fermentation that don't necessarily translate to how the beer will taste or smell in the end!

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Old 09-19-2013, 03:18 AM   #3
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Wyeast 1056 American ale yeast. I added 44 oz. of canned pumpkin and 2#of 6 row malt. Other than that I followed the recipe and instruction included in the kit. It is fermenting around 70* now but started off around 76*. 72* is the upper end of the temp. range for this yeast. Hopefully it turns out fine.

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Old 09-19-2013, 03:36 AM   #4
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Quote:
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Wyeast 1056 American ale yeast. I added 44 oz. of canned pumpkin and 2#of 6 row malt. Other than that I followed the recipe and instruction included in the kit. It is fermenting around 70* now but started off around 76*. 72* is the upper end of the temp. range for this yeast. Hopefully it turns out fine.
At above 70 degrees, that yeast strain does get sort of estery (fruity), but not as bad as some.

That would explain the banana aroma if it actually did get to 76 degrees, as most of the esters are formed in the first 24-48 hours of fermentation.
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Old 09-19-2013, 03:57 AM   #5
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Quote:
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It is fermenting around 70* now but started off around 76*. 72* is the upper end of the temp. range for this yeast. Hopefully it turns out fine.
The published upper end temp for yeast is kind of like the NE ("never exceed") mark on the airspeed indicator for a plane. Wise pilots take preventative measures before they even get close to it.
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Old 09-19-2013, 01:36 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by southfieldbrewer View Post
Wyeast 1056 American ale yeast. I added 44 oz. of canned pumpkin and 2#of 6 row malt. Other than that I followed the recipe and instruction included in the kit. It is fermenting around 70* now but started off around 76*. 72* is the upper end of the temp. range for this yeast. Hopefully it turns out fine.
There's your problem, 76F is way too hot for that yeast. The first 24-48hrs is where the majority of your flavor compounds are produced, and that kind of temperature is recipe for fruit salad beer. Ideally, you want to ptich cool (low 60's) and allow it to rise a few degrees to about 67-68F (max) during the course of fermentation.
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Old 09-19-2013, 01:44 PM   #7
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My first brew fermented at 76 - 78 and the esters were fruity. Not really banana though. It was a hefe. It's not a horrible taste for a hefe but I would prefer to have tasted less citrus. It certainly is a winner for those who prefer a fruitier beer.

Like others are saying, sounds like the temp is too high. How are you controlling your fermentation temp? This does not sound like it's your rodeo brewing so was the higher temp just a misstep or did you not get your wort cooled down enough?

I have learned (on this site) that if your fermentation temp starts high it is like an uphill battle getting it down because the process itself will run warm. My second brew was racked at 64? and fermentation temps were great overall.

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Old 09-19-2013, 06:33 PM   #8
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I figured the temp was too high. I will start lower next time. This was only my second brew ever. I just wanted to confirm my suspicions, I wasn't sure how the pumpkin would affect it. Maybe I'll just tell people it's banana beer. Lol

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Old 09-20-2013, 08:24 PM   #9
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Will this beer be unsafe to drink? Or just have an off taste?

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Old 09-20-2013, 09:01 PM   #10
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The beer will be 100% safe to drink. Due to the acidic environment and alcohol there is no bacteria that can grow in beer that is harmful to consume. Also, to reiterate what yooper said, sometimes the smells of fermentation do not reflect how the beer will taste. I often get a cidery smell coming from fermentation with California ale yeast and I've never had a beer taste like cider.

If at first you don't like the taste of your beer, set it aside for a few weeks and you will probably like it better.

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