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Old 12-11-2009, 05:05 PM   #1
moosetav
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Default off taste after bottling

Hello HBT! I have been poking around the site for some time now and figured it was time to join. I have been brewing for about a year and have 16 batches including a cider under my belt. I have noticed something about my beers that I can't explain. It's happened on pretty much every batch I have done although some it's more pronounced than others. Before I bottle I take a grav readings to make sure I'm done fermenting. I keep the beers in a swamp cooler and am able to pretty well control the temps. I sanitize like crazy with starsan. I'm having a problem with carbing. I have had a couple of batches (not one right after another) that have carbed like crazy and don't necessarily explode, but foam up like old yeller. It's producing a sort of sour sweet after taste to the beer that's not there when it's flat. I primary for about 3 wks then secondary for another 3. I then bottle and wait 2 months before drinking. I am weighing the priming sugar (have used both corn sugar from LHBS and cane sugar) and am adding the amount suggested by Palmer for the different styles. The volume is always 5 gal give or take a bottle. I don't know what I'm doing wrong. I do partial mash stove top brewing and seem to be really close on my expected SG and temps. Any thoughts? I still like the beers but I'm just trying to get better. As a side note, I'm going to kegging and AG after Xmas. Thanks in advance.

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Old 12-11-2009, 05:21 PM   #2
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Are you gently swirling the beer after it is racked into the bottling bucket to make sure your priming sugar is mixed well? I seem to get more consistent carbonation when I do. Other's will disagree I'm sure but I just don't see the "swirling" from the flow out of the siphon tube as being enough to thoroughly mix in the priming sugar solution. I just take my big sanitized spoon and swirl around the bucket 2 times right before I start bottling.

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Old 12-11-2009, 05:23 PM   #3
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Sounds text book. Cant help ya on the common aftertaste you are getting with your beer however, The "carbed like crazy and don't necessarily explode, but foam up like old yeller" and "sour" sounds like possible infection.

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Old 12-11-2009, 05:32 PM   #4
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when I rack into the bottling bucket I add half of the priming sugar, wait till it's half full then add the rest. the bottles seem to be pretty consistant across the batch so it doesn't seem likes it's not mixed well. I thought about the infection thing but there is no other sign of infection. I'm not completely ruling it out though. I have tried to be real careful about sanitation. The taste doesn't get worse with age and it's not wholly unpleasent....just off. If I poor the beer back and forth to get the CO2 out, it almost goes away. That's why I was thinking it was related to the carb. Also, I used spring water from kroger if anyone was thinking that was the case.

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Old 12-11-2009, 06:32 PM   #5
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Moosetay,

I suggest you fix your current problem first before moving to AG as it will introduce other areas to make mistakes and it is going to make it more difficult to troubleshoot. I've been down that road. not pretty LOL.


Are you using 1oz of starsan to 5gallon of water ratio for the starsan?
Are you letting it air dry and drain?

Are you cleaning and sanitizing your bottles well?

Are you making yeast starters?? this is probably the most important besides sanitation. underpitched and/or unhealthy yeast will make some wierd flavors. Since Ive been making starters my beers have always been taking off anywhere from 6 - 12 hours and final product tasted a lot better.

Also make sure your plastics are well cleaned/sanitized. Autosiphon, tubing, racking cane etc. You may be better off skipping a secondary vessel as a test and ferment in the primary for 4 weeks then bottle to see if it's the autosiphon to blame.

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Old 12-11-2009, 06:50 PM   #6
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When you add the priming sugar, you're dissolving it in a cup or two of boiling water then cooling it, right? You're not just adding the dry sugar to the bottling bucket?

I only ask because you detailed your procedure fairly well in your initial post, but didn't mention this.

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Old 12-11-2009, 07:04 PM   #7
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If I understand correctly, you are experiencing overcarbonation along with a sour aftertaste. If you stir the CO2 out of solution, the aftertaste disappears. Otherwise, everything tastes normal, is consistent within each batch, and there is so sign of infection.

If this is the case, you are probably tasting the carbonic bite of excessive CO2 - a sort of harsh, slightly sour taste that doesn't linger on the palate. The solution is fairly simple: Use less priming sugar. Your beer may simply be cooler than what Palmer assumes and thus have more CO2 dissolved in it before priming.

Cut back your priming sugar by 15-20% and see what happens.

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Old 12-11-2009, 07:30 PM   #8
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thanks for all the replies. I am disolving the sugar in the water before adding to bottling. I am using the correct dilution for the star san and rinsing the gear and bottles thoroughly after they have already been cleaned and rinsed with regular water. I have not done a starter yet, but have been double pitching with two smack packs or two packets of dry yeast. I think I will try skipping the secondary and using less priming sugar and see what happens. The beer does taste really good when it's been "flattened" and most of my buddies say I'm just being too hard on myself but I don't want to take that attitude. I totally agree about getting it resolved before going all-grain. That's why I'm really trying to nail it down now. Thanks for the replies. Prost!

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Old 12-11-2009, 07:36 PM   #9
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You should probably try ArcaneXor's idea first before going nuts with your procedures. I agree with ArcaneXor as well...... overcarbing is a possibility. just make sure you change 1 variable at a time or you wont know what fixed the problem.

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Old 12-11-2009, 08:46 PM   #10
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good call.

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