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Old 02-08-2013, 06:39 PM   #1
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Default Funky taste with extract, gone with all-grain

I've been brewing for almost a year, and have produced about 10 extract batches in that time. Despite filtering my water, using good sanitation techniques (StarSan), controlling fermentation temperatures, and every other good process step I could think of, my beers have had a solvent-like "sharp" flavor and odor that hangs over the entire flavor profile of the beer. I was starting to get discouraged about continuing in the hobby - I just wasn't enjoying the results. And from reading the lists of off-flavors in beer, nothing really matched what I was tasting. The closest was either chlorophenols, or "medicinal".

I did my first all-grain batch over the Christmas holiday. It was an amber ale. I used the same water, same sanitation process, everything. I have sampled the first few bottles from the batch and am blown away. It is excellent - malty, slightly hoppy, smooth all the way, and not a hint of the solvent-like odor or flavor. I'm excited about brewing again.

Here's the thing, though: Why the change? Is it typical to have extract batches turn out with such lower quality than AG batches? I was under the impression that extract made some darn good beer. Why didn't it in my case, and AG did?

Any thoughts?

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Old 02-08-2013, 06:54 PM   #2
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I posted a couple weeks back about how my first 3 batches, which were partial grain, were all pretty solid beers. I then made 2 extract only batches, and each of them had these sort of off-flavors...a bitter quality that wasnt very appealing. I took it to be that the hops had overridden any flavor I may have had otherwise, which may be partially true, but I also find that the beers that were extract-only simply seemed thin and weak on flavor. The grains definitely give it a depth of flavor that you'd expect in a higher-quality beer (at least compared to extract-only!)

I am about to do a partial mash and am hoping to find the same as you...I dont see myself doing any more extract batches, they just dont seem to turn out the way I'd like, at least in my limited experience.

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Old 02-08-2013, 06:56 PM   #3
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I believe what you're referring to is called 'Extract twang". Sometimes it's from carmelizing of extract, but some people swear it's just something about extract.

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Open log Fermenting and gas-can secondary?? I am planning my next brew right now!!
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Old 02-08-2013, 07:02 PM   #4
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I believe what you're referring to is called 'Extract twang". Sometimes it's from carmelizing of extract, but some people swear it's just something about extract.
I thought extract twang early on, but most people describe it as a sweet or syrupy flavor. Does it also come in sharp or solvent-like varieties?
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Old 02-08-2013, 07:07 PM   #5
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I've been brewing for almost a year, and have produced about 10 extract batches in that time.
Extract only or partial mash?
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Old 02-08-2013, 07:09 PM   #6
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I thought extract twang early on, but most people describe it as a sweet or syrupy flavor. Does it also come in sharp or solvent-like varieties?
I'll defer here. I only made 1 extract and 1 partial mash batch before going BIAB and then 3-vessel. I just know my first beer was described to have the twang, but people said it "was still good"...being kind, no doubt.
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Open log Fermenting and gas-can secondary?? I am planning my next brew right now!!
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Old 02-08-2013, 07:10 PM   #7
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Ok,I found the solvent off flavor causes on this page; http://www.kroc.org/Links/TroubleshootingGuide.htm
CHARACTERISTICS: An acetone-like, laquer-thinner-like, pungent, acrid aroma which is followed up by a harsh, burning sensation on the tongue and possibly the back of the throat.

CHEMISTRY: Ethyl acetate in larger quantities (>33 ppm) is the primary cause, either by wild yeast or the yeast strain used. Other compounds may also be present.

HIGH LEVELS DUE TO PROCESS: Wild yeast contamination due to poor sanitation; high fermentation temperature; non-food grade plastic equipment in contact with the beer; open fermenter, especially after high kraeusen subsides; excessive oxygenation of the wort before pitching; oxygen in secondary fermenter.

LOW LEVELS DUE TO PROCESS: Good sanitization of equipment; only food-grade plastic used; cooler fermentation temperatures; proper wort oxygenation; closed fermenter.
So it's basically your process that produces it in large quantities. Basically yeast abuse.
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Old 02-08-2013, 07:15 PM   #8
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Im interested in the brand of extract you used ? Also did you do a late addition boil with the extract or put it all in at the begining of the boil ? Full 5 gal boil ?

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Old 02-08-2013, 07:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michael_mus View Post
Extract only or partial mash?
Extract only. I used LME kits from Midwest.


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Originally Posted by BxBrewer View Post
Im interested in the brand of extract you used ? Also did you do a late addition boil with the extract or put it all in at the begining of the boil ? Full 5 gal boil ?
I'm not 100% sure the brand. It is whatever came in the extract kits from Midwest. I also did a few from Austin Hombrew. Come to think of it, the ones from Austin were better, but only slightly.

The instructions said to put in all the extract at the beginning of the boil, so that's what I did. I need to find more information about a late addition, since I'm not sure what that is.
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Old 02-08-2013, 07:51 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unionrdr View Post
Ok,I found the solvent off flavor causes on this page; http://www.kroc.org/Links/TroubleshootingGuide.htm
CHARACTERISTICS: An acetone-like, laquer-thinner-like, pungent, acrid aroma which is followed up by a harsh, burning sensation on the tongue and possibly the back of the throat.

CHEMISTRY: Ethyl acetate in larger quantities (>33 ppm) is the primary cause, either by wild yeast or the yeast strain used. Other compounds may also be present.

HIGH LEVELS DUE TO PROCESS: Wild yeast contamination due to poor sanitation; high fermentation temperature; non-food grade plastic equipment in contact with the beer; open fermenter, especially after high kraeusen subsides; excessive oxygenation of the wort before pitching; oxygen in secondary fermenter.

LOW LEVELS DUE TO PROCESS: Good sanitization of equipment; only food-grade plastic used; cooler fermentation temperatures; proper wort oxygenation; closed fermenter.
So it's basically your process that produces it in large quantities. Basically yeast abuse.
I have seen this before, and thought the same thing. However, a couple of things don't quite mesh with what I'm experiencing. 1.) My temps are well controlled in the basement where I ferment. For most of my brews, the temperature range is from 65-70 during the entire primary (I log the temps in analog, so I know exactly the variation). Some were a bit lower. 2.) I used a brew bucket. Then I went to a better bottle. Both of those are food grade, and I have the same off-flavor problem. 3.) I don't do secondary. 4.) I don't believe oxygenation prior to primary was the problem because I only oxygenate with a sanitized whisk for about 30-45 seconds before pitching the yeast. I'm usually concerned I haven't oxygenated enough.

Now, the wild yeast thing had me concerned, but the reality is that my process is pretty standard. I use oxyclean to clean, and I rinse thoroughly. I make a fresh batch of Starsan every time, and shake the fermenter like crazy. Foam is everywhere in the fermenter. This sits for an hour while I brew, then I pour off the excess Starsan and pitch the wort on top. It *MIGHT* be my process, but I don't think it is. I know it's hard to prove to people on the internet. I don't think it's process, unless I'm missing something that's not mentioned in "How to Brew".

For the record, I believe my off flavor is somewhere in-between the "cholrophenol" and "medicinal" description found here:
http://morebeer.com/public/pdf/off_flavor.pdf
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