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Old 11-19-2005, 04:16 PM   #1
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Default Secondary, weird tastes, and flat beer

I am getting generally confused and frustrated with how some (most) of my brews are turning out, and I need help.

I am an extract brewer (currently), and so far most of my brews have had a weird taste (kind of medicinal), and have been flat.

I have been secondary fermenting for two weeks, I have used the same LME with dried ale yeast.

The question is, after two weeks in the secondary, is there enough active yeast to produce CO2 at bottling? My thought is that if my yeast are all dead or dormant then there would be no CO2 (hence flat beer), which would result in oxygen contamination in the bottle leading to an off taste / infection.

Do most of you guys use dried ale yeast or WYeast? Which is better?

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Old 11-19-2005, 04:29 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlightyBrewer
The question is, after two weeks in the secondary, is there enough active yeast to produce CO2 at bottling?

Do most of you guys use dried ale yeast or WYeast? Which is better?
Definately should be enough yeast for carbonation...how much priming sugar are you using?

Dry yeast is fine if you can find a strain that's appropriate for what you want to brew. The advantage of liquid yeasts is a greater variety.
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Old 11-19-2005, 04:56 PM   #3
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Medicinal flavors are produced by the interaction of chlorine with yeast-producted phenols. Pre-boil your water to remove chlorine. Use boiled rinse water after sanitizing.

Quote:
I have been secondary fermenting for two weeks, I have used the same LME with dried ale yeast.
This seems to imply you've been priming in the secondary. Priming sugar or DME are added to the priming bucket just before bottling. There should be plenty of yeast left to product the CO2.

I use dried yeasts almost exclusively. They have very high cell counts, which gets the fermentation going quickly and add almost no flavors. There are many more types of liquid yeasts, but I make darker ales where the flavors are from the malts and hops. Pales and lagers will benefit most from careful selection of liquid yeasts.
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Old 11-19-2005, 05:22 PM   #4
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After you finish the primary fermentation what are you doing?

Priming/Bottling/Kegging?

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Old 11-19-2005, 05:29 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El Pistolero
Definately should be enough yeast for carbonation...how much priming sugar are you using?
1/2 teaspoon per pint (20 tspns)

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Originally Posted by orfy
After you finish the primary fermentation what are you doing?

Priming/Bottling/Kegging?
Transferring to secondary for two weeks, then transferring to keg with priming sugar, gently stirring, and drawing off ten bottles before sealing the keg (and capping the bottles)
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Old 11-19-2005, 05:50 PM   #6
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What is the temperature you are storing at? Is it conducive to maintaining activation of your yeast strain?

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Old 11-19-2005, 05:58 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sudster
What is the temperature you are storing at? Is it conducive to maintaining activation of your yeast strain?
About 17-22 Celcius (63-72 F)
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Old 11-19-2005, 06:01 PM   #8
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I would suggest to try and keep storage temp at 70F-72F for the first week if possible. 63F may be a bit low for quick carbonation. It really is dependent on the strain of yeast and it's temp range.

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Old 11-19-2005, 06:08 PM   #9
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The medicinal flavo(u)r is generally associated with various phenolic compounds.
The most likely culprit is your water - either fresh from the tap, or when combined with residue from your sanitation process.

If your water (fresh from the tap) smells of chlorine, then I would not consider brewing with it. If they have to add large amounts of chlorine, then there is almost certainly some organic contaminant in the water. Together, these can form chlorophenals, which can result in the medicinal taste. You should be able to get a water analysis from your water supplier.

If your tap water is highly chlorinated, you can filter it with a carbon filter (which is expensive), or you can use bottled water for brewing (which can also be expensive). You may also have some success with boiling all water uncovered for 15 minutes the night before you brew. This will evaporate the excess chlorine.

The second common way of introducing chlorophenals is by using chlorine for sanitizing, and then not adequately rinsing the excess chlorine off before adding the wort. Never sanitize a vessel with bleach, and then drain and cap it without adequate rinsing. This can form crystals of sodium hypochlorite, which will later dissolve in the wort and cause the problem. If you must use bleach, thoroughly rinse with boiled and cooled water immediately after draining the bleach solution.

As for yeast, I used to use the yeast from a bottle of Worthington White Shield very successfully. Decant the beer, and fill the bottle to 2/3 full with a prepared and cooled wort. Mix well, add an airlock, and wait about 5 days for the yeast to multiply and start fermenting, then pitch into the wort when ready.

Good luck

-a.

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Old 11-19-2005, 07:51 PM   #10
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Thanks you guys, some good advice there.

ajf...I have used tap water so far, and it is heavily chlorinated. I shall switch to bottled / boiled from now on. My first batch was made using bottled, and the medicinal flavour wasn't evident. Thanks for the info...are you a chemist btw?

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