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-   -   Plastic smell and taste (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/plastic-smell-taste-275713/)

kenpotf 10-20-2011 11:40 PM

Plastic smell and taste
I tasted my porter today and it has an acidic taste. I had put one bottle in the fridge on Monday just to see if the floaties would clear up, and that didn't work either but no biggie.

The question that I have is that I've read on the forums the "band aid/medicinal" flavors can be caused by chlorine. Since this has dark grains in it, doesn't that affect the PH of the water worse than a say an amber? I have another in the fermentor and I'm not sure if it's going to have the same problem or not. I think I've decided to just use spring water for my next batch to see if I can get a better flavor from it.

Will the plastic taste go away or do I need to dump this?

I also remember that this is the first AG that I did and it was the first time that I used my cooler. Could the plastic flavor be from this and will it lessen as time goes on?

ryan83 10-21-2011 01:49 AM

I had this experience. The next batch will be fine because it most likely came from the cooler. I dumped mined. Somewhere i read (After the fact) that you should fill your cooler with heated water and drain before you mash for the first time. Anyway all my next batches have been great.

Good luck!

BigEd 10-21-2011 03:29 AM

The "plastic" taste is phenol compounds and they didn't come from your cooler. Heavily chlorinated water can be partly to blame but the probable cause is too high a fermentation temperature or contamination from wild yeast and/or bacteria.

ryan83 10-21-2011 03:50 AM

My wort tasted like plastic and i find it hard to believe i got an infection from boil kettle to fermentor that would have such a profound effect. I use StarSan so chlorine wasn't a culprit and fermentation temp wasn't an issue because like I said it was straight from the chiller going into the fermentor. I read all the same things wondering where this taste could have came from and ruled out all the above. My conclusion was based on others experiences and I concluded the cooler was the culprit in my situation. I know others haven't had any problems and maybe it's because i preheated my cooler with close to boiling water before use and let the temp get down to my strike temp before adding grain.

Edit: Also, not everyone that tasted the wort or the beer noticed the taste as I did, so initially we decided to continue and ferment. After the fermentation and carbonation still not everyone noticed the taste but some did. For me it was dominate but for others it was non existent only a few of us thought it was dominate in the flavor profile.

kenpotf 10-21-2011 10:42 AM

I can't say for sure that I wasn't too high a fermentation temp for me unfortunately. I have a chamber that was set to 68. The yeast strain that I used only went up to (I think) 70 or 71. I'm not even sure how hardy this strain is, so it very well could have been that if "too high a temperature" is based on the strain of yeast that you're using.

I have something in the bucket now, and I just hope it doesn't turn out to be plastic tasting. Next time I'm brewing with spring water just to be on the safe side for the chlorine though. I measured my pH this last batch and I was where I needed to be I thought....

ryan83 10-21-2011 10:55 AM

I'm interested in how it turns out. Keep us updated.

Soma 10-21-2011 09:10 PM


Originally Posted by BigEd (Post 3408912)
The "plastic" taste is phenol compounds and they didn't come from your cooler. Heavily chlorinated water can be partly to blame but the probable cause is too high a fermentation temperature or contamination from wild yeast and/or bacteria.

A food grade cooler definitely isn't responsible for plastic flavor in beer. Look into improving your sanitation, yeast selection and check chlorine content in your source water.

masonkessinger 11-17-2011 03:34 AM

I've been experiencing the same thing in my beers and also beers from other home brewers in my area. I always taste a faint plastic flavor that flattens out malt/grain flavors. It's not disgusting just sort of flattens out the taste. Reading has led me to believe that this is a chlorine or more specifically a chloramine issue. Water reports for our water supply indicate use of both.

From what I've read chlorine alone isn't a huge deal b/c it will boil off. Chloramine on the other hand will not. You have to filter it out.

Anyway, having asked around to some local homebrewers who have incredible beer using the same water. It seems a constant difference in our technique is that they are filtering the water. I believe that they are removing chloramine and that is what's making a difference.

I have recently purchased a filter from an online homebrew shop that claims to take care of this issue. I cannot confirm a difference as I have yet to use it. Also all of this information is from research from this forum. Take from this post what you will. I'm a beginner who is no expert. I just thought it might be helpful to share my own struggle with the same issue.

Best of luck, please post back what you find, I will try to do the same.

masonkessinger 11-17-2011 03:47 AM

Also many others use campden tablets to eliminate chlorine/chloramine. Many posts out there on the topic. FWIW.

nickelmcgee 11-17-2011 01:55 PM

Chlorinamines are a disinfectant used by many municipalities to cover very large water systems. It is a compound formed by the reaction of chlorine and ammonia and is far more stable than hypochlorous acid (active disinfectant from chlorine gas or bleach). This additional stability means it will hang around and can give beer an off flavor. Simply purchase an activated carbon filter to treat all your mash and sparge water.

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