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-   -   Headache in a Bottle (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/headache-bottle-172549/)

Galapagos9 05-05-2010 05:06 PM

The water can get a little funky after two weeks or so (dust / natural bacteria growth). I've heard that some people use a little bleach in the water. I just usually dump a little Starsan into the water to keep it from getting too out of control.

jangelj 05-06-2010 02:44 PM

I heated ~28 oz to 140-160F for over 30 minutes last night. Chilled (the beer, not me) and then drank it. No headache this morning. I am fairly confident that my problem was, indeed, fusel alcohol.

This morning I poured about 28 oz into a cup and left it on the counter. tonight I will test the SG of the flat, room temp beer before I boil off the fusels, then cool to room temp and test SG again to see what effect fusels have on SG. Anyone have a guess if fusel alcohol effect SG the same way as ethanol?

Ok, so based on the assumption that fusels are my problem, can anyone tell me how fusels get into the beer? Is fermentation at warmer temps the ONLY way? I just want to correct my process and want to know what to do differently. Obviously temp control during fermentation is first on my list. Anything else to consider?

Galapagos9 05-06-2010 03:08 PM

My first few beers I had the same issue as you Jang (headache beers). As soon as I bought the plastic tub and kept my fermentation temps down, the issue went away. I'm no expert, but I would say that high fermentation temperatures are the main source of your fusel alcohols. Someone else with more experience may be able to tell you if there are any other factors that produce them.

mojotele 05-06-2010 03:44 PM

I think it's really awesome that you decided to experiment and have come to a reasonable conclusion. I agree that fusel alcohols probably were your problem given your results.

I'm sure there are other factors in production of fusel alcohols - yeast strain, yeast health, etc. But, fermentation temperature is by far the most common cause of fusel alcohol production. I think implementing some temp control will completely eliminate your problem.

Kudos to you, sir, on a job well done! I'm sure you'll make some great brews with that wonderful experimental attitude!

mgortel 05-06-2010 04:15 PM

Noobie Follow-up
 
Interesting post...I actually read everyones responses from the beginning. I certainly dont want to run into this issue.

Sounds like the fermenting temperature was definately the cause.

I am breing my first batch tommorrow....an ale.....:ban:

it will ferment in my unfinished basement which has been steady at 63 F...am I correct in my confidence that this is a good temperature.

Thanks!

Toga 05-06-2010 04:40 PM

mgortel that should work just fine. Figure fermentation adds 7-10 degrees to the temp on the average and cools down as it slows you should be great shape. I ferment in a closet and in the winter it stayed 60-63ish and it worked just fine!

portalgod 05-09-2010 11:40 PM

I just put an IPA in the primary Friday night. When I got up on Saturday, my secondary (which has a nut brown and is sitting adjacent to the primary) was at 66-68F, but the primary was up at 74F!

I had to scramble and get a swamp cooler going and bring the temps down. Then the weather got screwy and got colder, so when I woke up this morning (Sunday) both primary and secondary were down at 62/64F. Sounds like some fusels are coming my way on the IPA.

I'm gonna have to make sure to secondary it for a couple weeks and make sure it conditions well in the bottle for an additional few weeks. Otherwise sounds like I"m inviting a nice headache.

I noticed in my last 2 batches that if I pop open a beer after 1 week in the bottle I get a little headache even w/out any sharp solvent like tastes. When I drank the same beer after 2 or 3 weeks, no headache. Probably just too "green" and needs to mellow out and balance the alcohols / flavors.

Justibone 05-10-2010 11:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by portalgod (Post 2050726)
I just put an IPA in the primary Friday night. When I got up on Saturday, my secondary (which has a nut brown and is sitting adjacent to the primary) was at 66-68F, but the primary was up at 74F!

I had to scramble and get a swamp cooler going and bring the temps down. Then the weather got screwy and got colder, so when I woke up this morning (Sunday) both primary and secondary were down at 62/64F. Sounds like some fusels are coming my way on the IPA.

IIRC, based on yeast biochemistry, low temps don't cause them to create off-products (biochemical "side reactions"). Low temps usually cause yeast to go into suspended animation, but the reason -- once again, IIRC -- that they make off-flavors and such when temperatures are high is because certain enzymes' activity levels are increased/decreased at higher temperatures due to the entropy of protein dynamics, i.e. -- higher Brownian energy (temp.) favors alternate (non-native) protein shape and affects enzyme affinity for substrate.

Or I could be talking out my nether orifice!

I'm pretty sure too cold of temps just slows the yeasty-beasties down, and shouldn't lead to extra fusels or other side-reactions.

Yooper 05-10-2010 12:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Justibone (Post 2051226)
IIRC, based on yeast biochemistry, low temps don't cause them to create off-products (biochemical "side reactions"). Low temps usually cause yeast to go into suspended animation, but the reason -- once again, IIRC -- that they make off-flavors and such when temperatures are high is because certain enzymes' activity levels are increased/decreased at higher temperatures due to the entropy of protein dynamics, i.e. -- higher Brownian energy (temp.) favors alternate (non-native) protein shape and affects enzyme affinity for substrate.

Or I could be talking out my nether orifice!

I'm pretty sure too cold of temps just slows the yeasty-beasties down, and shouldn't lead to extra fusels or other side-reactions.

correct- but he's talking about the too-high temperature, not the low temperature. At 74, you may get some fruity esters, but probably not many fusels.

jangelj 07-30-2010 07:26 PM

I just realized I never posted back to this thread. It's been awhile, but my experiment worked. I heated some of the beer to boil off the fusels, and voila, no headache. I ended up pooring everything left in the keg (about 2 gallons) into my brewpot, heated to ~150F and let it stay at that temp for about an hour (if I remember correctly). I chilled, but back in keg, recarbed and it was fine.

Since it was a pretty dark stout, the flavor didn't change too much. It was still pretty darn good, and it did NOT give me a headache at all.


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