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Old 01-24-2014, 08:21 PM   #1
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Default Spirit crushing defeat

At this point I feel as though I want to give up and throw in the towel. All but two of my batches have ended up with the same, nearly undrinkable off flavor. To me it tastes plastic/medicinal . . . my wife says it tastes soapy but in either case every beer ends up tasting the same after about the 3 week mark. Straight out of the fermentor my last few batches have tasted pretty good. But given time they all degrade into the same flavor.

So far I have been doing extract batches. My fermentation is temperature controlled and I am pretty meticulous with cleaning and sanitation. According to my local water reports my tap water has chlorine/chloramines in it. So after finding this out I treated all my water with Camden tablets. No dice. Same ruining off flavor. OK so maybe the Camden wasn't working correctly I thought. Next batch I use all distilled water. Errr wrong after 3 weeks same flavor.

Next thought was maybe there was some bacteria or such in either my auto siphon,hoses or bottle filler. I clean them all extra thorough and my next batch is a cider. Turns out great! Problem solved! Nope, brew up the next batch tastes great as its coming out of the fermentor and now . . . yep you guessed it same plastic/medicinal flavor that masks everything else.

I don't know what to do and feel like giving up at this point. This forum is awesome and I would love any advice that anyone has as to what is going on and how I can fix it.

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Old 01-24-2014, 08:26 PM   #2
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Don't give up.

From John Palmer, "These flavors are often described as mediciney, Band-Aid™ like, or can be spicy like cloves. The cause are various phenols which are initially produced by the yeast. Chlorophenols result from the reaction of chlorine-based sanitizers (bleach) with phenol compounds and have very low taste thresholds. Rinsing with boiled water after sanitizing is the best way to prevent these flavors."

Do you use bleach?

Others may also suggest that the taste is associated with an infection such as brettanomyces. Any signs of an infection at all? What is your fermentation vessel?

Little by little, I think this site can help you break down your process and the possible source. Have you fermented in anything else and gotten the same taste?

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Old 01-24-2014, 08:29 PM   #3
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Okay, you say it tastes great coming out of the fermenter and 3 weeks later it sucks. What do you do after the fermenter? Are you bottling or kegging or secondary?

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Old 01-24-2014, 09:01 PM   #4
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Edit. Sorry -- i originally suggested using distilled water. I had the same issue. My wife even described a soapy taste too. Switching to RO water solved my problem.

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Old 01-24-2014, 09:19 PM   #5
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Thanks for the replies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hello View Post
Do you use bleach?
Nope. No bleach just PBW and starsan.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hello View Post
What is your fermentation vessel?

Little by little, I think this site can help you break down your process and the possible source. Have you fermented in anything else and gotten the same taste?
I have been fermenting in the same 6.5 gallon fermenting bucket. I have gotten the same off flavors except for two ciders which turned out pretty good. My next thought was replacing the bucket and auto siphon/tubing in case something had taken root that I haven't been able to get rid off.
Quote:
What do you do after the fermenter? Are you bottling or kegging or secondary?
After fermentation was done it was going into bottles. My totally awesome wife bought me a kegging set up for my birthday! So the last one went into a keg.
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Old 01-24-2014, 09:26 PM   #6
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Tubing is cheap not a bad idea to replace it. Any scratches in your fermentation bucket?

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Old 01-24-2014, 09:29 PM   #7
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What kits did you use?fermentation temps?Boil schedule?

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Old 01-24-2014, 10:19 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fuzzy2133 View Post
Tubing is cheap not a bad idea to replace it. Any scratches in your fermentation bucket?
No scratches that I can see or feel.

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What kits did you use?fermentation temps?Boil schedule?
Mostly kits from some of the bigger online shops (NorthernBrewer, Austin Homebrew) and a batch from my LHBS. Along with being from different places they have been different styles as well. My fermentation temps have all been in accordance with the yeast used.I have an old chest freezer for temp. control. As far as the boil schedule they have been pretty standard. I have been doing full volume boils with late extract additions and adding the hops at the prescribed intervals.
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Old 01-24-2014, 10:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 695fingers View Post
At this point I feel as though I want to give up and throw in the towel. All but two of my batches have ended up with the same, nearly undrinkable off flavor. To me it tastes plastic/medicinal . . . my wife says it tastes soapy but in either case every beer ends up tasting the same after about the 3 week mark. Straight out of the fermentor my last few batches have tasted pretty good. But given time they all degrade into the same flavor.

So far I have been doing extract batches. My fermentation is temperature controlled and I am pretty meticulous with cleaning and sanitation. According to my local water reports my tap water has chlorine/chloramines in it. So after finding this out I treated all my water with Camden tablets. No dice. Same ruining off flavor. OK so maybe the Camden wasn't working correctly I thought. Next batch I use all distilled water. Errr wrong after 3 weeks same flavor.

Next thought was maybe there was some bacteria or such in either my auto siphon,hoses or bottle filler. I clean them all extra thorough and my next batch is a cider. Turns out great! Problem solved! Nope, brew up the next batch tastes great as its coming out of the fermentor and now . . . yep you guessed it same plastic/medicinal flavor that masks everything else.

I don't know what to do and feel like giving up at this point. This forum is awesome and I would love any advice that anyone has as to what is going on and how I can fix it.
Campden tablets will not rid your water of chloramines. Switch to distilled or RO water if you don't have access to well water. Give it another go.
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Old 01-24-2014, 10:50 PM   #10
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NO, NO, NO. Campden DOES get rid of chlorine AND chloramines. That is the preferred solution if you are not using RO water. Please check the Brew Science sticky if you have questions on proper campden usage.

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