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Old 04-08-2008, 12:56 AM   #1
Jaeger48
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Default Phenolic problems

Well damn, how to begin?

I took in some beer to the LBHS for some critique and feedback and in my most recent beer that should have been a decent amber came back as having a very strong phenolic flavor and worse, I cracked open a bitter I have bottle conditioning- same thing, and an Irish red in the primary has the same flavor.

Everyone is saying it must be an infection but F me running I'm a clean freak around the kitchen on brew day. Every surface is wiped clean of with a solution of star san, I soak my funnel, boil my strainer, star san my carboy after a good scrubbing and rinsing. I can't for the life of me find a flaw in my process other than I have been using the ice bath cooling method and stirring my beer to maximize the contact with the edge of the brewpot and ice. No splashing or oxidation should be taking place.

I live in a mid-size apartment, about 850 square feet that gets pretty humid during a brew session (electric stove) and I can only think that I am getting problems from the high humidity. One person @ the LBHS said he most often tasted that off flavor at the LBHS he worked at in FL- further making me think it might be the moisture.

Any ideas? I'm very close to calling it quits until I move at the end of May.

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Old 04-08-2008, 01:10 AM   #2
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Hmmm, phenols are usually either a taste from bleach, certain yeasts, or a product of high fermentation temperatures. How are your fermenting temperatures.

Or, from your water chemistry, maybe. What kind of water are you using?

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Old 04-08-2008, 01:33 AM   #3
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Phenolics are maybe one of the biggest problems that makes homebrew taste like homebrew instead of commercial beer. I seriously doubt that the humidity itself is the cause although it could be a contributing factor by facilitating the lifestyle of a possible infection. Besides your main equipment be sure to check, clean and sanitize all of your siphons and tubing. Take apart any valves, couplers or potential sources of hidden crevices where a bacteria could hide. If any of the plastic tubing is old, replace it. Make sure that spoon you stir your cooling wort with is sanitized too and re-sanitized if you take it out and stir multiple times. My guess for the source of the problem, however, is during the ferment. If the temp of the wort is initially too high or too high during the ferment phenolic byproducts could be easily produced. Check the temps of the wort and fermentation area and make sure they are within the proper temp range of the yeast you are using. Other random yeast thoughts: is the yeast fresh? if liquid did you make a starter? Old or overworked yeast can also produce off flavors. Don't give up and good luck.

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Old 04-08-2008, 05:06 AM   #4
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all my ferm temps are below 70, normally 64-68. The last few batches have been extract and distilled water. I pitch the white labs tubes and have bubbling within 12-24 hours but a thin krausen around 8.

I am replacing my tubes and racking equipment- they spent too much time in a starsan solution and probably have degraded.

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Old 04-08-2008, 01:33 PM   #5
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Get new rubber stoppers and see if that fixes your problem. Sometimes you get wild or mutated yeast stuck in those stoppers, and there is no getting it out. Most undesireable "house flavors" go away when the house gets new stoppers.


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Old 04-22-2011, 02:25 PM   #6
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Did you ever figure out the cause of your problem?

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Old 04-22-2011, 02:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamnw View Post
Did you ever figure out the cause of your problem?
the resurrection isn't until sunday

if you're having the same problem, assuming your sanitation/water is good, i would look at pitching rates (imo, the activator smack packs and dry yeast are the only one's i'd use w/o a starter), pitching temp, and fermentation temp
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