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-   -   should I be using a glass carboy as the primary fermented? (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f163/should-i-using-glass-carboy-primary-fermented-378253/)

Jpbrown18966 01-03-2013 02:59 PM

should I be using a glass carboy as the primary fermented?
 
I am currently using a food grade plastic bucket, that came with a brewing kit, as my primary fermenting container. I always though that my beer had an odd sweet type of taste to it which I thought I wasn't fermenting properly but the hygrometer was always reading at the appropriate levels. The other day my wife had a sip of my latest batch and she said it had a plastic taste to it, which I was calling "the sweet taste." I used the plastic for about 2 1/2 weeks then transferred to a glass carboy. Could the plastic be giving the beer a funny taste?

mrduna01 01-03-2013 03:01 PM

The plastic off flavor is not from the plastic bucket. I use them exclusively. If my mind serves me well I think I remember ferm temps playing a roll in that plasticy flavor. Google plastic off flavor and it should point you in the right direction.

Pappers_ 01-03-2013 03:08 PM

The plastic bucket is probably not giving any off-flavor to your beer - I hesitate to say that it absolutely is not, but it is very unlikely. Many outstanding brewers make award winning beers using plastic bucket fermenters.

On the other hand, using a glass carboy as your primary fermenter is also fine - that's what I do. I like that they are easy to clean (a soak in PBW and a rinse is all that's needed), are resistant to scratches and will last forever. Some people don't like that they are heavy and breakable, though.

A plastic taste in your beer could be coming from your water, if you are using tap water - from the chlorine or chloramines. You could try using bottled water (not mineral water, of course) for a batch and see if that makes a difference. My tap water is good for brewing (Lake Michigan), so I use it, but I do two things to reduce the chlorine/chloramine issue - I measure the water into my brew pot the night before I brew and leave it out and then I add campden to the water before heating it up.

And welcome to HBT!

AmandaK 01-03-2013 05:05 PM

Four reasons I could think of off the top of my head:

1) Chloramines. They can cause a plastic taste, but are usually accompanied by other phenolic (or spicy/medicinal/Band-Aid) flavors and aromas.

2) Acetaldehyde. At high levels, this can taste like latex paint. Although it is usually more cidery than 'sweet'.

3) Sweet in general. Poor yeast management/health can cause the yeasties to poop out prematurely, but you indicate otherwise.

4) Actual plastic. What temperature are you transferring to your bucket? Some plastics (even food grade) are not rated for higher temperatures and can leach a plastic taste into your fermenting wort.

Hope that helps!

Jpbrown18966 01-03-2013 05:48 PM

Thanks for the tips. I did google off tastes and I'm interested in the chlorophenols associated with using chlorine based sanitizers. I'm real big into using them from the beer course I took but I've never rinsed out, with boiling water afterwards, which I read can cause that solvent like taste. I'm also going to keep an eye on the fermenting temperatures well. Other then that I'm lost because I use a wort chiller and have always have the correct ABV level. I'll let you know if these tips work, thx again!

StoneHands 01-03-2013 06:00 PM

Everyone has just about covered your issue, but I want to chime in and reiterate what was said on controlling fermentation temps. I'm of the opinion that controlling your fermentation temperature is the single most important thing you can do to improve the taste of your beer (followed closely by yeast pitch rate). Stick with it!

Jayhem 01-03-2013 06:00 PM

I would guess fermentation temperatures too high.

The actively fermenting beer usually is 5-8 degrees HIGHER than ambient air in the fermentation room so for most ales you do not want the room temp to be above 60F for the active part of fermentation.

Pappers_ 01-03-2013 06:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jpbrown18966 (Post 4742548)
. . .I'm interested in the chlorophenols associated with using chlorine based sanitizers. I'm real big into using them from the beer course I took . . .

Do you mean that you are using chlorine based products like bleach to sanitize? If yes, then I would recommend changing that first - then see if your problem disappears.

There are two great sanitizer products made specifically for homebrewers, Star San and Iodophor. Used as directed, they are no-rinse and will not impart any flavors to your beer.

Jayhem 01-03-2013 08:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pappers_ (Post 4742684)
There are two great sanitizer products made specifically for homebrewers, Star San and Iodophor. Used as directed, they are no-rinse and will not impart any flavors to your beer.

StarSan is such an amazing product. I've brewed some 15, 11-gallon batches of beer and bought one of the large StarSan bottles and have only used about 15% of it so far. At this rate it will last me about 7 years!

AmandaK 01-03-2013 08:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pappers_ (Post 4742684)
Do you mean that you are using chlorine based products like bleach to sanitize? If yes, then I would recommend changing that first - then see if your problem disappears.

There are two great sanitizer products made specifically for homebrewers, Star San and Iodophor. Used as directed, they are no-rinse and will not impart any flavors to your beer.

+eleventy


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