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Old 12-08-2010, 10:20 PM   #1
ryan0914
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Default plastic aftertaste and plastic burp

So i keep looking back and I cant find an answer. So with almost all of my light beers are getting an plastic aftertaste, well i would say more of a plastic burp than taste but its there.Its showing up in bottles and kegs. My pumpkin, american brown, wheats, those are ones i can think off the top of my head. My fermentation temps are not spot on but nothing extreme. So what could cause this. I'm thinking chloramine, but i do use a carbon/ prefilter for my water. I use starsan, whitelabs yeast nutrent, and whirlflock. its really bugging me. Hopefully you guys can help.
-Ryan

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Old 12-08-2010, 10:36 PM   #2
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I may be wrong, but I don't believe a plain carbon filter will remove chloramine. I did some reading on it a few months back and IIRC, it takes a rather long contact time with activated carbon to remove chloramine. I was looking to find a good filter for it, but decided to just stick with campden tabs and have never had that problem since.

Another possibility is your tubing. Are you using any vinyl tubing during your brewing process or otherwise allowing your brew to come in contact with some type of vinyl?

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Old 12-08-2010, 11:27 PM   #3
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Ryan,

I think it may be your water. The reason I think this is because when I brew at home in Boston, I use the city's water and have no issues, it is relatively soft. Occasionally, I go to Maine and brew at my parents place. They have a well and very hard water and I always get a slight plasticy flavor, generally on the exhale of drinking the beer.

Sorry I am not much help, but it may pinpoint your problem.

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Old 12-08-2010, 11:34 PM   #4
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Thats exactly the same thing I was trying to describe. I have also had a problem, with my IPAs and the bittering not coming through. So Im thinking that the water and the hardness is playing a part in it. So I guess ill just start using the big jugs of water and maybe a little tap water. I haven't really done anything with my water except for 5.2. Ill see where this takes me. Ill be brewing next week after Finals. This week and weekend is crazy, but its killing me not being able to brew. Thanks for the input.

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Old 12-09-2010, 12:51 PM   #5
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Also - make sure you follow the instructions on your in-line filter for how fast you can run water through it. If you push your water through full-blast, you won't get effective filtration and you'll end up with some chlorophenols in the end...

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Old 12-09-2010, 01:19 PM   #6
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I also think it may be your water. I have had what I think is the exact same problem you're describing and I believe it has been my water. I initially used tap water which was a very bad idea (as our tap water is horrible). Then I started using spring water from a local 'fill your own bottle' spring. The water was extremely hard and anything lighter in color came out bad and my IPA's were just not good at all, bitterness and flavor were just not coming through, plus they had that horrible off flavor. My darks were OK using that water, but still not great. We now have a reverse osmosis system in our home and I using that water and then building it up from there.

My suggestion is to take a water sample and send it off to Ward Labs... for like $17 + shipping you can find out exactly what is in your water and then build water profiles appropriate to the style you are trying to brew. One comment that I read when I first started brewing is that if your water tastes good it is fine to brew with. While that may be true on some levels, it really does not make for the best beer and you may end up with off flavors for some styles if your water profile is really off for that style (even if the water does taste good).

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Old 12-09-2010, 03:30 PM   #7
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it sounds like chlorophenols to me. Just crush up a campden tablet and mix it in a few minutes before heating up your water and you should be good to go. Also it's well worth it to have your water tested by Ward Labs so you know what minerals you have and if you need to make any adjustments for the style you're brewing.

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Old 12-09-2010, 06:47 PM   #8
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+1 to all of the above. Your hunch about chloramine is probably correct, although it could also be your transfer tubing depending on the type and how you're using it. Most filters don't remove chlorine or chloramine, and the ones that do only remove some of it. As mentioned, the slower the flow the more effective the filter will be. Campden tablets are a cheap and easy fix.

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Old 12-09-2010, 07:00 PM   #9
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It sounds like you guys all have it nailed, but I have had this taste attributed to oxydized beer as well so take a look at your process. I know it sounds strange, but I had oxydized a starter and pitched the entire liquid onto my beer because I did not know any better. It was badly oxydized as I did interrmittent shaking. The entire beer has that plasticy thing going on. I tested the theory, by tasting my next starter liquid and it tastes exactly the same - I decanted the liquid and pitched the cake only, the resulting beer is wonderful with no plastic taste.

I still agree to try the Campden tabs first - but do examine your process and see if there is any way you are Oxidizing your beer.

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Old 12-09-2010, 07:12 PM   #10
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Take it to your local homebrew store and have them assess it. I had a similar issue. My very first brown tasted plasticky as did my second batch. It went away and came back on my mocktoberfest and IPA. I brought those last two in and everyone looked at me like I was crazy. Turns out I'm just over analytical of my homebrew taste... and what I thought was a plastic flavor wasn't. No one at my HBS could taste it. I've come to terms with the fact that it's just how to much perceive a particular ingredient in some of my beers.

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