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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Similar aftertaste in first two batches
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Old 12-24-2008, 04:07 PM   #1
phidelt844
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Default Similar aftertaste in first two batches

I made my first extract beer (called 'American Light') about 10 weeks ago. It was from my LHBS and in a can, so I'm guessing the extract was older. I followed the instructions in the kit, so I only boiled 30 mins.

Second kit I ordered from a reputable vendor online. Nut brown ale, LME in a bag with steeping grains. I did not do any late extract addition, and boiled 60 minutes.

These were both partial boils using my tap water, which I'm thinking may be a bit hard. Fermentation got up a bit, to ~70-72. I was using Safale 05 and 04, I believe. Left in primary 4 weeks each. First brew's been in the bottle for ~7 weeks, second for ~3 weeks.

I've done some searching on aftertaste and my ideas of what is causing it in my beers, but haven't come up with anything concrete.

Now, as for the off flavor... on my initial sip, the beer tastes fantastic in both cases. However, AFTER I swallow, I get a kind of 'hot' plasticy flavor and almost makes me want to smack my tongue. I called my LHBS and asked about water, to which he replies that my area's water can fluctuate throughout the year, but he recommends an in-line filter (which I will be trying next time). Regardless, he said that bad water would cause a band-aid type flavor (which I've read here as well), but that it would be up front on the palette, not after swallowing. I also thought it could be high fermentation temps, but again, I would assume that would affect the entire flavor profile. My third guess is extract twang, but seeing as my first batch was only a 30 minute boil, I'm not sure on that either...

So in summary:
I have a similar aftertaste in both my beers, even though they are completely different styles.

I'm thinking one of the following:
poor water
extract twang
high fermentation temps

Anyone have any ideas on this? I've got two PM brews fermenting as we speak (lowered fermentation temps and did late extract additions), but it will be awhile until I can test them out. I think I'm going to run a brew down to my LHBS this coming weekend for his input, but I'm really working to convince myself I didn't ruin my next two beers, too! This post is getting too long.. but what would cause a similar off flavor after actually swallowing the beer? Thanks!

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Old 12-24-2008, 04:11 PM   #2
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It would appear that you have a country music band included with your kit. (Hence the 'twang')

I would rule out #3 as I dont think your temps are too high. The late extract addition may help your issue, and also consider doing a full boil for your next batch (even if you have to do more than one partial)
Also, how long have these beers been conditioning in the bottle? (Or are you kegging?) You might want to give them a little more time to condition, you may be tasting a wee bit of a green beer.
-Me

EDIT - Duh, you mentioned how long they have been in the bottle... *Bonks self*

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Old 12-24-2008, 04:28 PM   #3
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Sounds like chlorophenols to me. I call them 'rubber band-aid burps'. Isn't noticeable up front unless they are really bad, in which case it's probably from a wild yeast infection. You would know if your brew is infected, trust me.

You didn't use softened water by any chance did you? Or perhaps clean any of your equipment with bleach? Or use water from a garden hose??

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Old 12-24-2008, 04:41 PM   #4
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I have a water softener, but it is unplugged with no salt. Didn't run through a hose... how would this affect taste? My LHBS recommended an in-line filter with hose fittings to run from kitching sink -> hose -> filter -> hose.

I soaked all bottles in a bleach solution for 24-48 hours, rinsed VERY well while removing labels, then soaked in Iodophor/placed on dishwasher to drain for 5-10 mins on bottling day.

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Old 12-24-2008, 06:05 PM   #5
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I'm betting you didn't rinse off all the bleach.

I highly recommend against ever using bleach for cleaning. Use Oxyclean instead. Even a small trace of chlorine from bleach residue will render your beer almost undrinkable.

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Old 12-24-2008, 07:41 PM   #6
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I can see where the bleach idea would come up, but I just don't see how I would have consistently not rinsed enough across the 60+ bottles I've drank so far; they all have this flavor. As far as bleach making the beer 'undrinkable', I think the beer tastes great until I actually swallow it. I can swish it around in my mouth to my heart's content, but it is only after I swallow it and smack my tongue a bit that it really shines through. However, this certainly does not rule out chemicals in the water itself.

I just ran a few samples past the extended family. A couple said they noticed the "twang", a couple said they did not. However, I think that this second batch (the brown) is a bit harder to detect the aftertaste in than my original light beer.

Is extract twang up front on the palette and detectable upon sipping the beer? Or is it something that is masked by the beer until swallowing (aftertaste)? I'm really trying to wrap my head around the concept of extract twang, even after the dozens of posts I've read on it.. Thanks for your responses so far!

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Old 12-24-2008, 09:01 PM   #7
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chlorophenols come also from tap water. Can you taste any chlorine in your water?
Band aids taste different from extract twang. The twang is kind of a sweet pungency. Phenols give a medicinal flavor.

I'm with Saccharomyces in that I believe it to be the Phenols IF it does indeed taste medicinal.

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Old 12-24-2008, 10:19 PM   #8
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My tap water contains 1.3 ppm chlorine, according to their website. I'm unable to detect chlorine in the water while I drink it, but I really have nothing to base it on. Next step will be running all my water through a filter.

Thanks!

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Old 12-25-2008, 01:35 PM   #9
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It only takes 50ppm of Chlorine to create a level of polyphenols which creates exactly the effect you describe. I had this problem when I first started brewing, and I have helped several brewers successfully diagnose and eliminate this issue so I would start there. Even insane rinsing can still leave enough reside from bleach to cause a problem, especially on plastic.

I love Oxyclean, an overnight soak in my fermenters followed by a quick rinse and they are clean. No scrubbing... To clean my kegs I give them a 30 minute soak, and a good rinse.

Very hard water can cause issues with hoppy beers, making the hop bitterness seem harsh and metallic. I don't think this is your issue but it's something to consider for your next brew.

For extract brewers I recommend using RO water. My local Wally World has an RO machine where I can refill a 5 gallon bottle for $1.25. When I do partial mashes I use carbon filtered tap water for the mash and all RO water in the boil kettle. Extract already has minerals in it from the water used in the original mash, so using hard water doubles the mineral content. The high mineral content and hardness that results can create a metallic, minerally, or earthy taste. Many people might confuse this with "extract twang".

"Extract twang" comes from using stale extract which has oxidized. Unless you are using very old liquid extracts it is very unlikely to be encountered. I use all dry extract when I use extracts, because it's lighter in color and stores better, especially in summer when it's hot and humid. I really can't tell the difference between my PM batches and my AG batches in flavor, although the color is slightly darker for the extract batches.

Another common off flavor for new brewers comes from burning the extract when adding it to the kettle. You should always remove the pot from the heat when adding extract and stir for a few minutes until all the extract is dissolved before returning to the heat. Unless you had a hard to remove dark residue in your boil pot this is not your problem.

I recommend a few experiments. If you want to know what oxidized beer tastes like, pour your favorite microbrew into a 2L bottle, let it sit for a couple of days, shaking it up a few times a day. Then drink it. You will notice a stale, cardboard flavor which is similar to what you get from stale extract. To get the polyphenol taste, swish around a 1tsp per gallon bleach solution in a 1-2L bottle, and dump it out. Then add your favorite microbrew (without rinsing the bleach solution!) and leave it in the fridge overnight. Voila, polyphenols. These experiments should help you figure out what this off flavor may be. It's one thing to describe them or read the description, and another to actually taste the off flavor!

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Old 12-25-2008, 04:41 PM   #10
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I've brewed two different styles of Liquid extract beers that had a similar funky taste to it. I want to blame it on the LME.

I've started All-grain brewing and I don't get that taste in the three brews I've made so far.

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