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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Off flavor has returned!
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Old 05-11-2009, 12:28 AM   #1
phidelt844
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Default Off flavor has returned!

Well I had poor results with my first few extract/PM recipes. They all seemed to develop a strange off flavor in the bottles, which got worse with time. I would get no aroma, flavor would all bland down to the same flavor regardless of beer type... makes me think oxidation?

Regardless, I considered it possible water issues, so I bought a water filter and proceeded to head in to all grain, which yielded me some fantastic beers with zero off flavors. I also moved to kegging during this time. I know I didn't narrow down my reasons for the off flavors here, but I felt that if it was fixed I wouldn't complain..

So anyways, I have now found that my fourth AG has brought back this crazy off flavor. I kegged it mid March, and it tasted great. It's been on tap for ~6 weeks now, and I have been pulling draws for the last couple days and noticed this funky flavor again! The beer feels very thin, - even though I know it is carbed to the same PSI as my past AG beers - has almost zero aroma, and tastes similar to my extract brews... I really don't know how to describe the flavor, but *maybe* bandaidish? Bland? I'm really thinking that I hit a stink on this batch and had oxidation issues or something. Also, this brew was pitched with a packet of Notty that just did not take for 3-4 days, and I had to repitch. It was EdWort's Haus Pale, OG 1.042, FG 1.01. This is the second time I've done this recipe, and the first one turned out - and stayed - fantastic. Sanitation was the same, none of my other beers seem to have this issue... Any advice on this? I'm out of ideas and hate pitching the last 1/3 of my keg, so I don't want this to return!

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Old 05-11-2009, 03:28 AM   #2
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You mind running us through your sanitation methods?

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Old 05-11-2009, 03:45 AM   #3
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Read about Medicinal flavors in this thread. Maybe there was some cleaner that was not rinsed well enough?

Are you controlling the fermentation temperature?

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Old 05-11-2009, 01:45 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by phidelt844 View Post
Regardless, I considered it possible water issues, so I bought a water filter
What type of filter? How fast are you running your water through it?

Unless you are using a 1 micron or smaller carbon block filter and running off your water at .5 gallons per minute or less, you still have chlorine/chloramines in your water and that is your band-aid flavor.

You could treat your water with Campden tablets as well... 1/2 tablet will treat 10 gallons. Crush the tablet, add it to the water, stir well, wait 20 minutes and you are good to go. Even with a filter it's cheap insurance.

It's possible you have contamination, but chlorophenols from brewing water are a lot more common.
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Old 05-11-2009, 01:52 PM   #5
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I had a texas blonde once that kinda sounds like your symptoms. No matter how much I tried, I couldn't get it to carbonate, it seemed thinner than water (if that's even possible), it tasted very bland and had no aroma. The thing that I can see that it had in common with yours is that is the only beer that I've had to re-pitch, only mine was a last minute smackpack that didn't take.

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Old 05-11-2009, 03:12 PM   #6
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+1 for chlorine compounds

Check Palmer's "How to Brew" site's troubleshooting section...

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Old 05-11-2009, 06:07 PM   #7
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I use Iodophor and am pretty tough on sanitation... sanitize before storing an empty fermentor, sanitize before refilling. The keg I used was just emptied with the prior beer, which was also a Haus Pale, so I just sanitized/refilled without completely disassembling.

I'm using the whole house filter from Lowe's; there's a writeup on here from someone else doing it. I would consider the filter to be the issue, but my other 5-6 AG beers that used the same filter are doing just fine. Some are older than my current off-flavor brew, so I don't think that's the issue. However, if this ever comes up again, I will definitely purchase the Campden tablets.

I am controlling my fermentation temperature with a swamp cooler, and am able to keep it in the low 60's.

Do the chlorimine compounds get worse with age? Do they also impose a thin mouth feel? MN_Jay - my beer also feels "thinner than water", even though I can see plenty of bubbles and get fine head/lacing. I cracked the keg looking for some sign of infection but did not visibly notice anything. Would it be worthwhile to take a gravity reading now to see if it's dropped, indicating an infection? Or does carbonation make that a moot point? Thanks for the replies!

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Old 05-11-2009, 07:53 PM   #8
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If your city's water is toward the high end of the scale for chlorine, your filter may have surpassed its ability to remove any more from your water. I have a canister filter installed where ever we have a tap for drinking water and I change those filters every six months.

Since the problem stopped when the filter was installed and you had success for a while, this would be the first place I'd look.

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Old 05-12-2009, 01:37 AM   #9
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While chlorine in the water, or un-rinsed chlorine-based sanitizers (like bleach) are the common culprits for medicinal-like off-flavours, wild yeast infections can produce similar effects (less band-aid like and more like smokey plastic, sort of like smelling an electrical fire).

Wild yeast infections will also thin out your beer and increase carbonation since they are able to ferment sugars that brewer's yeast can't metabolize. They will also definitely get worse with age.

The bad thing about wild yeast infections is that they tend to get rooted in your plastic equipment, regardless of how well you clean and sanitize them. Wild yeast spores are incredibly resistant, and can become harboured in the microscopic scratches that are unavoidable in plastic.

If you rule out chlorine as the culprit, you may consider ditching all your plastic equipment (or at least your transfer hoses, bungs, and any plastic fermenters). I had a lot of grief with a wild yeast infection a number of years ago and I would have saved myself a lot of time, money, and grief if I had just bitten the bullet and ditched all my plastic at once. I hope that isn't going to be necessary for you.

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Old 05-12-2009, 07:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phidelt844 View Post
I use Iodophor and am pretty tough on sanitation... sanitize before storing an empty fermentor, sanitize before refilling. The keg I used was just emptied with the prior beer, which was also a Haus Pale, so I just sanitized/refilled without completely disassembling.
You should disassemble. Any old crud stuck in the poppet spring could ruin a full keg of beer. I know because in my earlier days this happened to me.

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I am controlling my fermentation temperature with a swamp cooler, and am able to keep it in the low 60's.
That's OK if the temperature in the keg is that cold but most go by room temperature and at 65F the beer might be 73F. Remember that in the first days of fermentation the beer gets hotter in the carboy due to exothermic reaction. I use a refrigerator with a Ranco controller and my beer is the best it has ever been, batch after batch.
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