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Old 02-07-2013, 08:02 PM   #1
abaker34
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Default Harsh bitter taste from bottled ale??

Hi there

My last few all grain batches have come out well but then after time get more bitter and if I'm honest not very nice, all lovely hop aromas go to leave a less pleasant smell. I have been trying to pin point the problem and was hoping some others could help with their experiences.

My last batch was a 50 IBU pale ale style, mashed at 65 and fermented with notts at 18 degrees. On this occasion I took out of primary after a week, normally I will leave three weeks in primary but I am experimenting. Both the one week and three week primary brews have delevoped this nasty, tonic water type taste.

Looking at what I have done differently I have noticed a few things and have whittled the possibilities to no less than 9 possibilities

Oxy Clean
Bottle sanitising
Syphon gear
Plastic fermentor
Mash PH
Oversparging
Oxidation
Underpitching
Insuffieient Calcium

Now at Christmas I brewed a lovely cask conditioned best bitter with no problem at all so I think I can rule out the plastics and syphone gear, however I feel after a couple of years to replace anyway. I suspect that it may be something to do with the Oxy Clean (un perfumed, the same you use for washing clothes)that I use to clean bottles as I have only fairly recently used this. I then rinse out three times, then add a Videne solution to the bottles and then a final rinse of boiling water before bottling.

Could the Oxy leave a residue that is not removed when rinsing after? If this is the case do you think this might explain the harsh bitterness? I actually had a tester in a plastic water bottle and tried this also and it tasted much nice, more fruity etc, this I did not use Oxy in, whreas the glass bottles did. Both beers are still green but I am monitoring weekly but they seem to get worse over time so not sure they are likely to mellow out.

Any help greatly appreciated.

Alex

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Old 02-07-2013, 10:44 PM   #2
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It's hard to tell over the inter webs, but I've had zero problems with Oxy. Rinses out great, although maybe that's tied to my water profile. Anyway, it sounds a lot like a problem I had for a bit: some of my bottled beers developed an almost metallic, biting flavor over time. It was bitter. To this day, I'm still not sure if it was a recurring low-grade infection or just too much priming sugar, but the issue went away when I stopped bottle conditioning. Dunno how much that helps, but I saw no other responses. Good luck!

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Old 02-07-2013, 10:54 PM   #3
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I doubt highly it's the OXY, it's all I use to clean and have never had any associated issues with it.

IME green beer can taste more bitter and gets better with age, not worse.

Sounds like something else is going on perhaps with your sanitizing process or water perhaps?

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Old 02-07-2013, 10:55 PM   #4
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You might look to your water. I've been brewing with RO water lately and brewing salts. It's made a huge difference. My last batch I forgot to make some RO water in advance and just used tap water. It's got a harshness to it that I hadn't really noticed before brewing the other way. Of course, I have pretty hard water. The flavor is fine, but it's got a harsh bitterness to it. I brewed the same recipe with RO water and it was completely different. Anyway, hope you get it figured out.

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Old 02-08-2013, 06:04 PM   #5
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I was having a similar problem with a harsh bitter taste that seemed to be more prevalent in some beers but not others. It was very noticeable in a Belgian IPA but not in a Sweet Stout, for example.

Eventually, I figured out that my water is high in chlorine and ammonia, which from what I understand creates chloramines which can cause a harsh bitter taste. (I'm a musician, not a chemist, but that's how I understand it anyways).

Since then I started treating all my water with Campden tabs (1/2 tab in mash water and 1/2 in sparge water) and now my beer tastes cleaner and I have not noticed any of the nasty bitterness.

I guess I'm pretty much saying the same thing as BBL but you might want to try Campden tablets before investing in an RO system.

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Old 02-09-2013, 11:39 AM   #6
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Thanks Guys,

Certainly some things to look at. I always use a half camden tab before I use any water. I have VERY hard water here so put in CRS and then Epsom and Gypsum in mash/boil.

I also use Videne solution at the end of sterilising and I wonder if the solution is too concentrated, but generally I always rinse with boiling water.

One last thought is that sometimes I top up with 'untrated' water to bring to the correct FG, these extra 2-3 pints could be the culprit as it would have chlorine still in it!?

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Old 02-09-2013, 11:47 AM   #7
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I second the Chloramines in the tap water. I also have noticed harsh taste since using tap water w/ AG. The local brew club hooked me up with a water profile and told me to use RO and adjust w/ salts. I suggest you start building your profile from RO.
Good luck

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Old 02-09-2013, 12:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by usafbeerlover
I second the Chloramines in the tap water. I also have noticed harsh taste since using tap water w/ AG. The local brew club hooked me up with a water profile and told me to use RO and adjust w/ salts. I suggest you start building your profile from RO.
Good luck
This.
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Old 02-09-2013, 01:05 PM   #9
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Wasn't familiar with Videne so I Googled it and found this thread, apparently it is supposed to be no rinse, see. This thread I found

http://www.brewuk.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?f=26&t=224

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Old 08-19-2013, 05:38 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the replies!

What puzzles me is how when I cask ale in a 4.5 platic pin I have had fantastic results. It only seems to be bottled beer which seems to have this problem.

I have just tried again with a brew and for the first and second week I sampled it and was tasting great. Now the 3rd week it has lost the hop aroma and once again taken on this very astringent bitterness and odor.

Again I used a Videne no rinse steriliser solution.

I am thinking maybe it is from sparging at 78/79 degrees C or maybe relook at the water treatment.

I am not keen to go through RO as it seems a lot of extra cost and time when I have been able to produce cracking cask ale.

If anyone else overcame this problem it would be great to hear!

I have casked a 4.2% pale ale with nice malty finish atm, whilst the malt comes through nicely in the bottled sample after a week, I can taste the bitter off flavours coming through.

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