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Old 06-22-2010, 04:33 PM   #1
WilliamWS
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Default Help Me Identify My Off Flavor

So I don't really know if I'm posting this in the right place because I don't really consider myself a beginner but I'm definitely not as experienced as a lot of folks here.

My problem is that, after many batches, I've just experienced my first "off flavors" in my beer and I'm trying to determine the source. It is sort of an odd plastic flavor. I do use tap water but I also use Campden tablets so I don't think it's from chlorine (I've always done this and never had a problem). I used a good size starter (1800ml for 1.051) and got vigorous fermentation within 4-5 hours so I don't think it's an issue of under pitching. I also use a fermentation chiller similar to "SOF" and kept fermentation at about 67F so I don't think its a temperature issue.

I've more or less narrowed it down to one of two things (at least in my mind and I may be wrong): either a wild yeast infection picked up during the half hour or so it took me to get to a pitching temp in the mid 60's (full boil), or too many late hops additions (this was my first attempt at "hop bursting"). I used 2oz each of both amarillo and riwaka with the great majority added inside of 20min.
I'll admit that the beer is still very young and hopefully it'll go away but I'm not holding my breath. After a week in primary I transfered to secondary and took a gravity reading and tasted. The plastic flavor was very pronounced. After another four days I tasted it again (last night). The flavor wasn't quite as strong as before but still very present.

What do you think?

Also, I'm not generally one to give up on a beer early but for this one I'm under some time constraints. I'm brewing a few batches for a friends wedding the second week in August and this was going to be one of them. Now I'm worried it'll be unusable. If it were an option I'd just set this one aside, and wait and see how it turns out while brewing another one of my (proven) recipes for the wedding. But unfortunately I only have so much space/equipment/time so I'm going to have to decide what to do with this batch in the next few days.

Thanks for the help
-William

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Old 06-22-2010, 04:34 PM   #2
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I think your beer is green.

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Old 06-22-2010, 04:37 PM   #3
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I think your rushing your beers and not giving them enough time on the yeast cake. i typically let my beers sit in primary for 3-4 weeks giving the yeast time to clean up after themselves. search here about the benefits of not secondary and longer primaries.

thats my thoughts

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Old 06-22-2010, 04:43 PM   #4
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A plastic flavor can be an infection and if so, will only get worse, not better.
Since you're not entirely sure, I see a $25 Better Bottle or a cheap pail as a pretty good investment given your time constraints.

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Old 06-22-2010, 04:54 PM   #5
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I was hoping that it's just a green beer flavor but I've never had it before. Then again, I usually don't brew particularly hoppy beers (I brew a lot of belgian style beers as those are my personal favorites). Also, I don't always do secondary but I had a bit more trub than usual with this batch.

As for picking up another better bottle, that would be fine except that my fermentation chiller is already full (2 better bottles) and my apt is hovering in the low-mid 80's during the day right now.

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Old 06-22-2010, 05:07 PM   #6
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If fermentation is complete and the beer is clean, 80 to mid 80's won't harm the beer in any significant way.

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Old 06-22-2010, 06:20 PM   #7
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Good to know. I might just find a corner of the apartment to stash this batch in, then (fermentation does seem to be more or less complete- i haven't taken readings on consecutive days yet but it was at a hair under 1.012 last night from 1.051).

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Old 06-22-2010, 06:37 PM   #8
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That can also be from cleaning your equipment with bleach, then not rinsing properly.

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Old 06-22-2010, 07:52 PM   #9
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Yes, I know that chlorine can cause plasticy flavors but the only possible source of chlorine for me would be my tap water and as I stated earlier I use campden tablets in my water so it shouldn't be an issue and never has been before.

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Old 06-22-2010, 09:02 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WilliamWS View Post
The plastic flavor was very pronounced. After another four days I tasted it again (last night). The flavor wasn't quite as strong as before but still very present.
From what you wrote it seems that if the "off" flavor was less after 4 days then it sounds like it may just be a "green" issue.

Have you brewed with those hops before?

I hope that your beer turns our great(which I am thinking it might)

Good luck!
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