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Old 03-11-2010, 12:00 PM   #1
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Default 1st AG - Inconsistent Flavor

I did my first AG BIAB batch on 01/09/10; it fermented for 3 wks, conditioned for 3 wks, has been in the fridge now for 3 wks. The problem is some beers taste good, others have a hot alcohol taste. The bad ones have NO head, but are carbed. This was a 3.5 gal batch, the recipe is:
5.00 lb::American two-row
1.00 lb::Crystal 60L
0.25 oz::Sterling::Whole::5 minutes
0.25 oz::Sterling::Pellet::20 minutes
0.25 oz::Sterling::Pellet::60 minutes
Safale US-05
Mashed @ 158° for 60 minutes (too high?), did not have my wort chiller yet, took 2.5 hrs to cool outside in 0 deg day. The yeast was pitched @ 78° (also too high), but the wort was down to 68° w/in 4 hrs. Fermention was steady @ 62°.

I used my well water (tested by Ward labs) diluted 20% w/RO water, I used the E-Z Water Spreadsheet & added Gypsum & Epsom salt to get all mineral levels w/in the acceptable range. I did not get the complete home test, just the basic, so I don't have my iron level. But, I have very hard water that stains clothes & plumbing (iron?).

What would cause this off flavor, & why would some bottles be good. I brewed 14 extract batches before this with very good results (all RO water). Thanks for taking the time to read this very long post.

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Old 03-11-2010, 12:11 PM   #2
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Tell me about your bottle sanitation routine and your overall bottling technique.

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Old 03-11-2010, 12:16 PM   #3
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Tell me about your bottle sanitation routine and your overall bottling technique.
All bottles are initialed cleaned with Oxy Clean free. Then as soon as they are emptied they are rinsed well with hot water & allowed to dry upside down. On bottling day they are Star San'd with a Vinator, placed on the bottle tree & bottled (still wet). I rack (Auto-siphon) from the fermenter to a bottling bucket that has my priming solution. The bucket has a spigot & I use a Fermtech bottle filler
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Old 03-11-2010, 03:03 PM   #4
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hmm . . . The still wet part kinda scares me, only because if the Star-San isn't diluted enough it *could* cause off flavors but only if the strength of the solution is to high.

I don't even use start san anymore for the bottling process. I soak them in PBW for an hour or so, then rinse them out really well with hot water. I then open up my dishwasher, spray the inside down with Star San and then put my bottles in upside down. I then turn on the dry cycle a few times to sanitize the inside of the bottles. This seems to work really well as most of my bottles turn out great. (Except for the occasional few. But I contribute that to the latching mechanism on the 32 oz grolsh bottles, which I can't figure out how to fix)

One other thing, how much headspace do you leave in each bottle? I try to leave right around 1.2 inches from the top of the bottle. This allows enough Co2 to build so that when I throw them into the fridge it carbs up really well.

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Old 03-11-2010, 03:24 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GLoBaLReBeL View Post
hmm . . . The still wet part kinda scares me, only because if the Star-San isn't diluted enough it *could* cause off flavors but only if the strength of the solution is to high.

I don't even use start san anymore for the bottling process. I soak them in PBW for an hour or so, then rinse them out really well with hot water. I then open up my dishwasher, spray the inside down with Star San and then put my bottles in upside down. I then turn on the dry cycle a few times to sanitize the inside of the bottles. This seems to work really well as most of my bottles turn out great. (Except for the occasional few. But I contribute that to the latching mechanism on the 32 oz grolsh bottles, which I can't figure out how to fix)

One other thing, how much headspace do you leave in each bottle? I try to leave right around 1.2 inches from the top of the bottle. This allows enough Co2 to build so that when I throw them into the fridge it carbs up really well.
The Star San is diluted per instructions (don't fear the foam!). Headspace is whatever the bottle filler is when removed, I suppose about an inch. My bottling process has not changed since I started brewing, which has produce 14 very good extract batches. That is what's so annoying about this, I figured I was making a step forward in my brewing journey.
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Old 03-11-2010, 03:39 PM   #6
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I do not bottle much at all so cannot give much advise there. But, if some beers are good from the same batch, there is obviously some inconsistincy in the bottling process. I have had the same thing happen with my limited bottling experience.

I know the frustration as I have been making some equipment changes lately and had a few batches that were not great. It feels like a step forward and a few back sometimes.

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Old 03-11-2010, 03:39 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djt17 View Post
The Star San is diluted per instructions (don't fear the foam!). Headspace is whatever the bottle filler is when removed, I suppose about an inch. My bottling process has not changed since I started brewing, which has produce 14 very good extract batches. That is what's so annoying about this, I figured I was making a step forward in my brewing journey.
how did you store the bottles?

What priming sugar did you use?

were the caps sanitized with the starsan?
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Old 03-11-2010, 03:41 PM   #8
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IMO this has nothing to do with the AG conversion. If one bottle tastes fine and another is off flavored. The only thing I can pinpoint is the bottling.

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Old 03-11-2010, 03:44 PM   #9
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Maybe residual from the oxy clean? It seems like it's tough to fully rinse it off, judging by the residual slippery feel on my fingers when I use it to clean stuff.

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Old 03-11-2010, 03:50 PM   #10
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Sounds like fusels were developed in the bottles. Have they been kept in a very warm area? I don't know if your high mash temp could have led to a bunch of unfermentables that were fermented by some mutated/wild yeast in the bottles. What was your FG? Fusels are produced by all yeast at temps higher than 75-80.

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