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Old 03-31-2009, 07:37 AM   #1
RKrizman
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Default Bottle Bomb plus clove off-taste

So my wife called me at work today to tell me that a (warm) 22 oz bottle of Beach Party Blonde Ale had exploded on the kitchen counter. I had had problems with this batch to begin with. First it took forever to carbonate, a full 3 weeks. Then it revealed a very clove-like off taste that, to my thinking, rendered it marginally undrinkable. Last night I opened a couple of them to compare. One was reasonably carbonated, the other came out almost all foam. Today the tragedy occurred. So I opened a few other 22 oz bottles, and there was no over carbonation problem, but still that weird taste.

So there seem to be a lot of factors at work here that I can't quite parse out. The batch spent 2 weeks in primary, and a week and a half in secondary, with the FG at 1.012, from an OG of 1.045. I did a 32 oz yeast starter, WLP001. My fermentation temp was in the high 60's consistently, I used Arrowhead spring water, and 4.5 oz corn sugar for bottle priming. After I boiled the sugar I did cool it down. Could higher viscosity have stopped it from mixing thoroughly when I gently siphoned into the bottling bucket? And what about that clove taste? I know people like it in hefs but this was clearly an off taste in this context.

This was batch #5. Batch #3 was a California steam beer, with a lower fermentation temp, which also came out with that nasty clove taste. I had to throw it out.

The good news is that my 4th batch was an IPA that beats any commercial beer I've ever drunk, so there's hope. But still, I'd like to know what could have caused the other disasters.

Thanks from a grateful noob, this forum is the bomb.

-R

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Old 03-31-2009, 10:46 AM   #2
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My guess is you have inconsistent mixing. When I bottled I would add the hot sugar solution to my bottling bucket and rack on top of it and give it a good gentle stir with my sanitized racking cane.

The clove off taste really sounds like a sanitation issue. I would purchase a line brush and clean your raking cane and hoses before you sanitize them. They will collect a fine film on them each time beer is run through them that needs to be removed. Never let the lines dry with beer residue in them. Use hot PBW or other cleaner of your choice right after you do transfers to be sure they are clean.

Another issue is the bottling buckets spigot. Take it apart each time an gently clean every surface and then sanitize it.

Another thing to consider is to have two sanitizer and rotate them out occasionally. Starsan and Iodophor are both easy to use and cheap enough to keep both in your brewery.

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Old 03-31-2009, 11:50 AM   #3
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I agree- it sounds like a sanitation issue. The other possibility is your water. If you have chlorinated water, or water with chloramines, you can get that "clove" flavor, especially in lighter beers.

My water is very hard, and it makes wonderful IPAs. I used that water to make a Kolsch, though, and it was very astringent. So I'd consider your water also in diagnosing off-flavors.

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Old 03-31-2009, 02:48 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YooperBrew View Post
I agree- it sounds like a sanitation issue. The other possibility is your water. If you have chlorinated water, or water with chloramines, you can get that "clove" flavor, especially in lighter beers.

My water is very hard, and it makes wonderful IPAs. I used that water to make a Kolsch, though, and it was very astringent. So I'd consider your water also in diagnosing off-flavors.
I always use bottled spring water, either Arrowhead or the like, which I assume is not chlorinated. However, I did use tap water for the 32 oz starter. I let it settle for a couple days then poured off half the liquid before I pitched--could that little bit cause a problem?

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R
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Old 03-31-2009, 02:51 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by BargainFittings View Post
My guess is you have inconsistent mixing. When I bottled I would add the hot sugar solution to my bottling bucket and rack on top of it and give it a good gentle stir with my sanitized racking cane.
So there's no need to cool the sugar solution before mixing it with the beer?

And thanks for the sanitation tips. I guess I need to find a way to clean my siphoning and blowoff tubes. Also, I usually just rinse the bottles after use, then re-rinse and sanitize them all in the dishwasher before bottling. Sometimes I'll turn on the dishwasher at night, then bottle in the morning. Is it unwise to leave the bottles sitting in there all night?

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-R
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Old 03-31-2009, 05:33 PM   #6
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Nope, no need to let it cool.

After we use our bottles, we rinse them before the eve is over, wash them when we gather a few, then rinse and sanitize in Starsan on bottling day. We do it all by hand rather than in the dishwasher. Rather than just rinsing twice, maybe add a wash to your routine? Not sure.

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