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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Bottling/Kegging > Funky Off Flavor- Mysteriously Cured!
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Old 07-13-2012, 02:31 AM   #1
edwood
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Default Funky Off Flavor- Mysteriously Cured!

Hey everyone-

I've been brewing for 5 years, though I took one off before my last batch due to a move. I kickstarted my experience by jumping right into all grain brewing with a friend who had years of experience. I keg because 1) I like drinking 2) I like sharing and 3) bottling is annoying. Enough about me.

I recently brewed a pale ale, and a stout- both 5 gallon batches. I always do two at once because I find it more efficient on brew day. This was the FIRST time I've EVER used pelletized hops. I mention that in case I might have missed some basic rule in using them.

The pale ale came out great- in fact, we drank it in a week. Oh well. The stout had problems right off the bat- what I thought was a stuck fermentation turned out to be a leaking (though brand new) airlock, so fermentation signs weren't evident. I ending up transferring, re-pitching and then measuring after a week to find it done. Poop. I kegged it anyway, figuring that maybe it made it without contamination.

A few days after kegging, a weird flavor showed up. I would describe it as kind of sweet and not grossly rotten but...not good. I had it happen once before in a pale ale many years ago, and I attributed it to contamination, as it didn't go away after letting it sit cold in the keg and draining a bunch of it out (to try and get out settled yeast).

I left town for two weeks- two days before that I unplugged the keg fridge to move some things. I realized that I had forgotten to plug it back in after leaving. I was going to call my business partner (yes, I brew at work!) and then decided that I didn't really care, since my beer was ruined anyway, right?

I come back today- open the fridge, drain some beer out of the lines and taste it- wonderful! Ideas? I'm thinking aging let the yeast do some more work- but what was that work? why is the off flavor gone? Will chilling it back down bring the flavor back for some reason?

None of the "off flavor guides" I find online seem to match correctly- the closest cause I could find is Acetaldehyde, the symptoms of which are "rotten apples, green apple, freshly cut pumpkins"- don't really match. I'm hesitant to just say that must have been it, considering the problems I had with fermentation- this was the first time brewing in a new space, and also the first time I've had this much trouble fermenting. I suspected mold, but mold doesn't go away, so why does it taste good now? (Not even cold, tastes great...)

Thoughts? Thanks!

-Ed

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Old 07-13-2012, 02:59 AM   #2
Mojzis
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Sounds like you tried drinking a "green" beer. I always wait a few weeks now. I try one at 2 weeks, then at 3 and refrigerate after the third week for another week. So a month waiting in all. My guess is that you were right with acetaldehyde, that's what almost all of my beers have tasted like when young. A sweet, musty funky apple smell. Some styles have it, others not so much.

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Old 07-13-2012, 06:28 PM   #3
edwood
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Default Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mojzis View Post
Sounds like you tried drinking a "green" beer. I always wait a few weeks now. I try one at 2 weeks, then at 3 and refrigerate after the third week for another week. So a month waiting in all. My guess is that you were right with acetaldehyde, that's what almost all of my beers have tasted like when young. A sweet, musty funky apple smell. Some styles have it, others not so much.
Ok, cool. I;ve had the issue before with pale ales but never something dark- for reference it's an oatmeal stout. I've noticed beers getting better with some time, but never having weird flavors go away.

Thanks for the help! I'll add some aging to my regiment.
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