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Old 07-16-2007, 07:40 PM   #1
Zymurgrafi
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Default Mystery (off) Flavor. Please help diagnose??

Okay then. I have given up the hope that it was merely green. On to learning what may have gone awry...

My first AG a best bitter (recipe to follow) is off. It has been a little over 7 weeks in the bottle and it does not taste nice. I have looked over all the "off-flavor" charts I can find and I can not really pin point it. I would describe it as: gassy, smokey? a bit sulfery perhaps (like a match that has been lit and then extinguished quickly) and perhaps remaniscent of the odor of Iodopher (which yes I do use). Other symptom it has a tell-tale ring inside the neck of the bottle (infection probable).

Okay, here is the recipe and then I will list places I could have occured this flavor, I need you folks to help me identify it and hopefully avoid in the future. Note that I have made this several times before and it was very nice as an extract w/ specialty recipe. This was my modify to AG

2.13 lbs. of British Two-Row
5 lbs. of British Crisp Maris Otter
.75 lbs. of British Crystal 50-60L
.13 lbs. of British Chocolate
.06 lbs. of Flaked Barley (this is different than the extract recipe of course)

Hops
.75 oz. (21.3g) of Challenger (7.5%) boiled for 60
.5 oz. (14.2g) of East Kent Goldings (5%) boiled for 30
.25 oz. (7.1g) of East Kent Goldings (5%) boiled for 15
.25 oz. (7.1g) of Fuggles (4%) boiled for 15
.25 oz. (7.1g) of Fuggles (4%) boiled for 0

Safale S-04 - Whitbread Ale yeast

Add 3.02 gallons of water at 171 F to raise mash to 155 F. Sparge with 4.52 gals. water to yield 5 gals. after boil & chill. Total mash volume with grains is 3.65 gallons.6.53 gallons in boiling pot prior to boil with 1.031 gravity. 7.54 gals. of water with a 60 min. boil.


Now, places I think could have been problamatic highlights in red for those wanting a quicker read:

I was impatient to go AG and did not have a large enough pot or burner. I boiled in two pots on my propane gas stove. i have one burner that is capable of getting a fair rolling boil going but not the others. One pot was a fairly good boil the other not so hot, so I had the lid on partially to help. Even with the pot that was boiling "well" (now that I have seen a propane burner boil I know I have never really had a good strong boil) I never had any hot break. Never even came close to boiling over or even foaming.

Had suction problems siphoning to the carboy. Lot's of stopping and starting. Cannot remember exactly, all my notes say is that there were problems. I cooled the 2 pots in 2 ice baths reasonably quickly (30 minutes i think?)

I dropped my thermometer into the carboy and had to dump the wort into a sanitzed bucket to retrieve it then transfered back.

I transfered to a clean sanitzed carboy after 10 days and then bottled about 16 days later. It tasted good when first racking and I think it tasted a little off at bottling but not too bad. It was REALLY off 2 weeks in the bottle and still pretty bad (very slight improvement) at 7 weeks. It has the same taste up front and in the end (and it comes back in the belch) in the middle it tastes like, well, nothing???

On a positive note, after having one of these I tried my scottish 80/- (my 3rd AG, yeah only a week in the bottle, I did it for science!) and the verdict... WONDERFUL!!!

Malty sweet, a bit smoky, (in a good way), perfect!!! Cannot wait to try one again in a few more weeks!!!

Thanks for the assistance!

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Old 07-16-2007, 08:00 PM   #2
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oh and btw, my newest delicious ( scottish ale) brew was only in the primary vessel, no secondary or clearing or whatever you wish to call it! 23 days!

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Old 07-16-2007, 08:02 PM   #3
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I say leave it in the bottles for 6 months and see what happens.

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Old 07-16-2007, 08:09 PM   #4
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Send me some for sampling, and I'll run it thru my lab and get back to you with my results.

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Old 07-16-2007, 08:50 PM   #5
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All AG specs and such aside, when a brew tastes progressively worse the longer it stays in a carboy or bottle, I gotta call infection.

I say this based on a friend's brew that went all wrong. It started out tasting great and the longer it sat in the bottles the worse it became (over a five week period). The reason was simply that it got infected upon bottling with a dirty siphon hose.

Never know though, maybe it'll get better with time. All you have to lose is the bottles being full and not available for another brew. Give it time and see... and in the meantime, clean and sanitize all your gear.

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Old 07-16-2007, 08:51 PM   #6
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Glibbidy,
if you are serious I'll take you up on that. Nothing more frustrating to me than not knowing what I did wrong. I mean how can you learn from your mistakes if you do not know what they were? I could drop some off in Brattleborro next time I am through (not sure when that will be)

Otherwise, yeah I will let it sit a few more months. Still have plenty of empty bottles and my brew schedule has been ground to a halt now that my kitchen is torn up and it only gets more torn up as time progresses (keep finding new surprises, love those 100+ year old houses!)

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Old 07-16-2007, 09:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nostrildamus
...I gotta call infection...

...It started out tasting great and the longer it sat in the bottles the worse it became (over a five week period)....
...meantime, clean and sanitize all your gear.
The confusing thing is that the off taste has dissipated some. I am thinking infection as well though (note the mention of the ring) but not sure where it came from which is the frustrating part.

As for sanitation. I have been going CRAZY over this as a means of contending with some bad brews. I am almost to the point of BANNING ALL PLASTIC! which is a bit hard to do (anyone have a 10" diameter stainless funnel for cheap ) A went to buy new plastic gear to replace my (not that) old stuff and I saw tiny scratches in all the new stuff at my LHBS so I did not. As for more durable stuff... Ihave been going a bit over board perhaps in cleaing sanitizing and do not know what more I can do... Scrubbing, soaking bottles with oxyclean, rinsing MULTIPE times, rinsing and dunking in boiling water, Scrubbing again with a nylon brush attached to my drill, sanitizing with Iodopher. I spend A LOT of time cleaning and sanitizing.
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Old 07-16-2007, 10:03 PM   #8
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From your description, it sounds like a wild yeast infection. They can produce phenols and ethyl acetate that will give a smokey and gas- or solvent-like off-flavour in the beer. They may also leave that ring around your bottleneck (almost a mini-krausen).

I had a problem with a wild-yeast infection that I picked up from a spoiled bag of no-boil wort right when I started brewing. I tried EVERYTHING to get rid of it. It ruined three batches of beer until I finally threw out ever piece of plastic I owned. Never had it since, I and I don't use much plastic any more (unless it is something I can soak in sanitizer between brews).

Anyways, I hope you get things figured out. You might consider making a batch in a glass carboy, only using new hose and airlock, and put aside all the convenience items (racking cane, autosiphon, etc.), for just one brew. If it works out, then you can slowly start adding the plastic pieces back in to isolate to potential cause.

One other tip -- be careful where you grind your grains (if you do it yourself). There are lots of nasty wild yeasts that live in the grains, so you don't want them in the air when you aerate your wort, rack your beer, etc.

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Old 07-16-2007, 11:02 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyGuy
I had a problem with a wild-yeast infection that I picked up from a spoiled bag of no-boil wort right when I started brewing. I tried EVERYTHING to get rid of it. It ruined three batches of beer until I finally threw out ever piece of plastic I owned. Never had it since, I and I don't use much plastic any more (unless it is something I can soak in sanitizer between brews).

That is what I am paranoid about! I have replaced my hoses a few times, I have always used glass carboys only for fermenting, I now have a ss racking cane (though it is too short for my 6 gallon carboy), I got new rubber stoppers but not airlocks. The only plastic left is my bottling bucket the longer plastic racking cane(which is pretty new as I am constantly breaking them, thus the ss) , and my funnel. I siphon most (about 90%) of the wort out of the brewpot but then I usually pour the remainder through a mesh fitted over the funnel. I thought about replacing those items but as I mentioned the ones at my LHBS were just as scratched as the ones I have. Plus, I have made some excellent beer since this batch...

Anyway, I think the wild yeast infection could be the one. I generally grind most of my grain at the LHBS and then any small quanities of specialty I grind at home but away from the brew area i.e. the kitchen/backyard.

It is smokey, but not gas like gasoline solvent, I meant more gassy as in methane

kind of farty...

Thanks for the advice.
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Old 07-17-2007, 03:02 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knights of Gambrinus
Glibbidy,
if you are serious I'll take you up on that. Nothing more frustrating to me than not knowing what I did wrong. I mean how can you learn from your mistakes if you do not know what they were? I could drop some off in Brattleborro next time I am through (not sure when that will be)

Otherwise, yeah I will let it sit a few more months. Still have plenty of empty bottles and my brew schedule has been ground to a halt now that my kitchen is torn up and it only gets more torn up as time progresses (keep finding new surprises, love those 100+ year old houses!)
Gambrinus- I'm serious.
There is actually an airborne phenol that is found in the Connecticut River Valley that has been known to infect beers from VT to CT. My LHBS noted it one time when I brought him some Porter. It's very subtle, but none the less present.

Bring me a bottle next time you head south on 91 and I see what I can find out for you.
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