Brown Ale with S-04 yeast...bitter/nutty/nasty! What happened?
Brewed 11 gallons of this recipe (New Castle Style English Brown) and for some reason it has a nutty and bitter aftertaste that almost makes it undrinkable. I have poured out the last few ounces of the last 2 pints I had! I bottled conditioned for 3 weeks @ 70F at this point and just tried a couple last night.
66% 2-Row pale
11% flaked corn
4% Pale Chocolate malt
Target Hops @ 60 min and EKG hops @ 15 for 24 IBU based on my calculator for boil volumes.
S-04 yeast with 2L starter
Mashed at 156F (for a maltier profile)
IBU target of 24
I am always careful on sanitation, never had an issue on 15 batches I've done so far.
I used S04 dry yeast with a 2 Liter starter and pitched the thick yeast slurry from the starter (1/2 cup to each 5.5 gallon fermenter).
I aerated by shaking the fermenter vigorously before and after adding the yeast slurry.
I sanitize using Starsan and soak anything that will contact my beer in a tub of Starsan.
I really don't think contamination is to blame.
I ferment in a chest freezer using a digital temperature control and the beer temp was in the mid 60's for the entire 21 day fermentation and I didn't bottle until day 28 in primary.
I have no idea what happened or why it tastes like this. I can't really describe the taste but all I can think is that it is very "nutty" and "bitter" with a hint of chocolate with an aftertaste that lingers for several seconds. I would not describe the aftertaste as "sour", more harsh/bitter and not a hop-bitter.
I have 105 bottles of this stuff left and the only thing I can think to do is let it sit in the basement at 70F for another couple months and hope it becomes at least drinkable. I wish I could let a more experienced brewer try a taste of this to give an opinion on what it could be. This is my very first batch that is not good. On my drinkability scale this one is currently around a 3/10. :(
Sounds about par for the course when using S-04. :D
Seriously though, this yeast can be downright vile tasting when fermented warm (66F+) and that's probably what happened. Even with temp control, a big and fast fermentation can get pretty warm.
When I was using this yeast, my beers never seemed to get better tasting once they had this flavor. Maybe your beer is still a bit young?
My process was good the only difference with this beer is it was my first time using S-04. The beer never got over 67F during active fermentation and I kept my ambient air temp in the freezer at 60F. What compound does S-04 produce if fermented on the warm side? I can't imagine 67F being too warm for this ale yeast as I've read plenty of recipes where brewers mention fermenting with S-04 in the mid-high 60's with no problems.
I'm an Extract brewer and I've had this problem with S-04 , although my batches were
always brewed at 66 F .
I used to let it ferment in the Primary for 3-4 Weeks and then bottle .
I brewed a small batch ( Partial Mash , for the first time ) in the past Summer and as always used S-04 , but this time I let it ferment for 1 Week in the Primary and then 2 Weeks in the Secondary .
At the end , it was the first drinkable Beer I've ever made ( using S-04 ) .
There was no nasty after-taste .
I have had this problem with s-04 as well. It gives me a mixure of bread dough and a rubbery/bitter aftertaste. I have only experienced this with s-04.
How can this be a common problem and people still use S04?
I know people say that S04 is a great yeast when fermented at lower temps, but I've had so many batches ruined by this strain that I refuse to use it. I won't use its liquid equivalent (Wyeast 1099) either, because it has given off the exact same aftertaste as S04, and I can't stand it.
I've stuck with US05, and I am much happier for it.
Rant Warning: Arg People Ales ferment warm! When people start talking about not liking an ale yeast because they fermented above 65 I scream stop making ales if you don't like them! If you are fermenting s-04 at 65 you are right at the bottom of its temp range and will likely get unintended flavours from that. This is the fault of American Craft brewers who use 'clean' lager like american ale yeasts that the rest of the world thinks are lager yeasts because there are no ale flavours because yah they fermented the damn stuff a temps better suited for serving ale not fermenting it. They do this to get as many macro lager drinkers over to them as possible not because the product is better. Its all marketing, not proper beer style.
Best bet for dry yeast is to shoot for mid temp range which for safale s-04 is 70F (65-75 is what the manu lists on the package). If you have off flavours its from something else. Rubbery is normally chlorine type water chemicals. S-04 should give you a warm bready slightly minerally finish characteristic of English ales. If that not what you wanted you used the wrong yeast.
Also most brown ales have a nutty flavour, the chocolate malt does that
That's why I chose this yeast for my current batch. I am fermenting a Best Bitter and wanted an English Ale flavor profile.
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