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Old 06-03-2011, 04:09 AM   #1
guitar510
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Default Chlorophenolic :(

I bottled an AG IPA on Monday and gave it a taste tonight. While I realize it needs time, it tastes like there is a mild to moderate medicinal/chlorophenolic taste. Interestingly, I drank some pre-bottled and it did not notice the medicinal quality. In fact, I really liked the taste and am pretty sure I would have noticed this off flavor.

I pulled down the beer fault list from BJCP and see that some possible causes are chlorine in the water, bleach sanitizers, astringency/grain husk sources?, excessive whole hop or infection.

Chlorine - I used about 2/3 RO and 1/3 tap. I have done a similar method in the past with success. So I doubt this is the issue.

Bleach Sanitizer - I prewashed bottles in the dishwasher (which I suppose could have had residual bleach detergent), and although I usually do a 5 min sanitizer after the dishwasher...I thought I would skip that step this time - this is what I think may be the cause

Astringency/grain - Not sure what this means, but I used only 2row.

Whole Hops - none used

Infection - again from the bottles and lack of sanitation

Do you think it was the bottles and could time heal this one?

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Old 06-03-2011, 09:47 AM   #2
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Your dishwasher shouldn't be using chlorine in it, chlorine vaporizes at fairly low temps so it wouldn't be an effective sanitizer in the heated dishwasher environment. Astringency from grain husks occur when you either mash/sparge too high or your pH is out of wack.

Anyway, looking at your common culprits you can already count out polyphenals being extracted during brewing (pH or temp issues) since the flavor wasn't present when you tasted the sample. That puts your flavor problem post bottling.

From what you said about sanitizing it doesn't sound like your equipment encountered chlorine.

Infection, highly unlikely that you got some S. diatatius...this would be the last thing I would look at if you make any reasonable attempt to be sanitary.

So, this pushes me to two avenues of thinking without more information. What type of hose did you use for bottling, if it is a PVC hose it can add those flavors in it, especially new hoses if you are getting them from a box store and not flavor free food hoses. The next is that it is the yeast (or possibly hop phenols). If it is the former than the taste is set and you won't be getting rid of it. If it is the latter let the bottles age, as the yeast and hop trub settles and the beer clears the off-flavor will go with them to the bottom and then you will just have to be careful not to pour the yeast into the glass.

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Old 06-03-2011, 11:43 AM   #3
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I just did a 10 gallon batch. In one 5 gallon portion, I pitched one yeast strain- and another yeast strain in the other. Both fermenters were sanitized, and sat next to each other during fermentation. Both finished at 1.012.

One has terrible phenols- one is perfectly fine. I'm throwing out 5 gallons because it's nearly undrinkable.

I know that the off-flavor comes from the yeast in this case. I doubt it's contamination, and I fermented it at 66 degrees. But for some reason, my yeast was stressed and produced this flavor.

I guess what I'm saying is that if you did everything "right", including pitching the correct amount of yeast at the beginning and keeping fermentation temperatures in the correct range, you shouldn't have chlorophenols. But I have a phenol flavor in one of my beers also that "shouldn't" be there. I'd be worried if I didn't have a perfectly fine 5 gallon portion of the same brew.

It sounds like everything you're doing is on track to make a great beer and the only thing I can think of is yeast health (possibly with a microcontamination?) for your beer and for mine. I'd suggest making a new batch paying careful attention to all of these factors and see if this was just a one-time deal.

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Old 06-03-2011, 12:38 PM   #4
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Yooper, hopefully you let the bad beer clear out before dumping just in case the bad flavor is in the yeast only and the cleared beer tastes fine

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Old 06-03-2011, 05:25 PM   #5
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Bensiff...thanks for the detailed reply. I do believe the dishwasher detergent has chlorine bleach in the form of sodium hypochlorite. I'm not sure if residual from a previous wash could truly infect the beer though. If only a little is needed than this could be the cause. I've used the dishwasher before, but in all other cases I followed up with a sanitizing solution bath.

I agree pH and temp issues shouldn't be the cause since pre-bottled beer tasted fine.

For bottling, I rack to a standard bottling bucket modified with a 90 deg threaded pvc elbow inside. Then I attached the bottle filler to the bucket nozzle with a 4 in piece of tubing which doesn't really touch the beer. Based on your comments I suppose it could be the pvc elbow, but I've done this will all previous 10 batches and never had the issue.

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Old 06-03-2011, 06:15 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
I guess what I'm saying is that if you did everything "right", including pitching the correct amount of yeast at the beginning and keeping fermentation temperatures in the correct range, you shouldn't have chlorophenols. .
Don't equate the taste of phenols in beer with the taste of chlorophenols. There taste thresholds are very different, phenols is around 25 mg/L(ppm). The taste threshold of chlorophenol is on the order of 1-5 µg/L(ppb). You could be well below the threshold of sensing phenolics, but, if enough were converted to chlorophenols by exposure to chlorine, you would have evident medicinal/plasticy flavors and aromas.

I know this is a little old, but I found it in the probrewer online library.
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