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birvine 10-21-2011 03:02 PM

Can't Put my Finger on the Problem
 
Sorry to bother, but... I just read a response to conditioning temp and was wondering something, which is why I had subscribed to that thread.

With a few of my brews lately I have come up with a taste that is not great. Now, how to describe the flavour, I'm not really sure, but possibly what people call rubber or cardboard. I was suspecting temp at fermentation. I have used a swamp cooler for initial fermentation of about a week, then when things slow down I remove the carboy from the water and place it on the floor where the temps might be a little warmer - say 68-72 vs 65-68.

In your experience are the flavours from too-warm fermentation coming during the initial stages or all along? If the former, then I can rule this issue out in the bad batches; if the latter, then I wonder how bottle conditioning does not also taint the flavour since I condition in the 68-72 range, too.

Even if you have somewhere that discusses this point I wold happily read it to solve what's going on.

The only other theory is that too much chlorinated rinse water is touching my beer at bottling time. I have not had the issue when I keg. So, I just got some IO Star Sanitizer to see if that remedies the issue.

After many great batches, and finally getting to AG, to be blind-sided by a couple of less-than-great brews is annoying.

B

h22lude 10-21-2011 03:33 PM

65 to 68 for primary fermentation is fine...depending on the yeast but that's a good range. After fermentation starts to slow down, 68 to 72 is also fine. You really want to keep the temp at the yeasts best temp range during the begins of fermentation. Once it starts to slow down the temp can be a little warmer.

Conditioning is good at 68 to 70.

Your temps seem pretty good. Well actually let me ask this before I say that...are those temps room temp or wort temp? If those are room temps then you could be fermenting too high as wort temps can be 10* higher

gingerdawg 10-21-2011 03:40 PM

Isn't cardboard off-flavor a sign of oxidation? How do you handle your beer at bottling time?

h22lude 10-21-2011 03:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gingerdawg
Isn't cardboard off-flavor a sign of oxidation? How do you handle your beer at bottling time?

Yes a wet cardboard or sherry flavor can be due to oxidation when above 80*...but this hasn't been fully proved. Some say its true and some say oxidation is hard to do. If you splash the crap out of your hot wort or during racking after fermentation then oxidation may occur but I think it takes a lot.

gingerdawg 10-21-2011 03:50 PM

I was thinking of post fermentation oxidation, not HSA

Revvy 10-21-2011 03:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gingerdawg (Post 3410032)
Isn't cardboard off-flavor a sign of oxidation? How do you handle your beer at bottling time?

Yes, cardboard come from contact with oxygen. Fermented beer and oxygen = liquid cardboard/stale beer.


Temp control is only really crucial during the initial stage of primary fermentation. If the yeast is too high it is stressed out, and if it's stressed out it's going to produced esters and other compounds that end up flavoring the beer (think about us and how we sweat when we're overheated and working hard- think of it as yeast bo.)

Once fermentation is complete the temp control is not that crucial unless you are making a lager, where you drop the temps and age the beer to let those compounds fade away.

But usually once fermentation has finished temps aren't crucial because the yeast is working anymore, and therefore not throwing off compounds anymore. So unless you're in some miserably always hot climes you shouldn't sweat temp control post fermentation.

When I swamp cool I just swap out ice bottles for the first week, then I just leave it in the water bath with the t-shirt wick, which is cooler than ambient but not like it was with the ice.

Revvy 10-21-2011 03:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gingerdawg (Post 3410073)
I was thinking of post fermentation oxidation, not HSA

Exactly. Hsa is out of the picture, but oxydizing beer during racking or other things, is quite real. It can take a lot of splasing usually....but it still can happen.

We get a lot of brewers asking about pouring thier bottles back into their bottling bucket for whatever reason or another and I just shake my head, what the hell do they think their beer is falling through as it is going into the bucket, marshmallow foam or something?

h22lude 10-21-2011 04:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Revvy

Exactly. Hsa is out of the picture, but oxydizing beer during racking or other things, is quite real. It can take a lot of splasing usually....but it still can happen.

We get a lot of brewers asking about pouring thier bottles back into their bottling bucket for whatever reason or another and I just shake my head, what the hell do they think their beer is falling through as it is going into the bucket, marshmallow foam or something?

Haha marshmallow foam? That would be good for the s'more stout recipe someone posted.

birvine 10-21-2011 04:52 PM

Thanks all for the responses - these are the thoughts that have been going through my head, actually.

As I say, I can't really say whether it was rubber or cardboard - I have a little problem with my sense of smell thus taste due to a previous career. But I sense something wrong.

I ALSO thought about oxidation at bottling, but I am very careful when I bottle so as NOT to splash. Occasionally there has been a small air bubble in the racking hose but I quickly squeeze it to get it out. The bottom of the hose is submerged and when I mix in the bottling sugar I use pre-boiled (ie little or no oxygen) water, then I mix it in very carefully to prevent splashing. Bottling is done to prevent splashing as well.

It is a mystery. If I was just starting in the hobby, I would understand that I am obviously making a mistake and don't realize it (well, I suppose, that still applies!). But I have been making great beer for batch after batch for some time now.

I sample the 'room temperature' beer as I rack to the bottling bucket and in the two problem beers they tasted fine to me. Green, but fine. So unless, I am missing the whole game, it is happening somewhere from bottling time to tasting time, which is a month or so after bottling.

B

FYI EDIT: For the curious, I was a funeral director so was exposed to lots of formaldehyde fumes during those years.

Whippy 10-21-2011 05:22 PM

Lately I have wondered about other causes of this cardboard taste. A couple or few months ago, I drank a 12 pack of NB Ranger IPA and it most certainly had a strong cardboard taste.

As I was trying to study the flavour, my intuition told me that it had something to do with the hops. What kind of hops do you brew with, birvine? Do you typically use pelletized or whole hops? Do you grow your own?


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