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Old 11-30-2011, 02:23 PM   #1
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Default Sulfur smell...even after bottling

I'm on my 3rd or 4th batch after taking a few years off. My first two went off without a hitch, but these last two have been throwing out some pretty nasty sulfur smells. At first I didn't worry and just assumed it was part of the fermentation process, but now I cracked open a bottle after 3 weeks and the smell is still there.

This was Ed's Haus, and my fermentation temps were pretty damn good (as close to 68 as possible). The sulfur smells really didnt start until day 10 or so. The only thing I can think of is that there might have been some lag time between when the yeast started to slow down, and that I was still keeping lots of frozen bottles around. So maybe the temp got down close to 60 which caused the yeast to get stressed?

I also use spring water (ozarka), S-05, no yeast nutrients.

I realize that all I can do for this batch is keep them out of the fridge for another week, and just slowing start putting them in the fridge a few at a time and see where it goes. However, I was wondering if anyone had anyone had any insight on how to keep this from happening?

The only real difference i can think of is that the first two were a little bit bigger beers (around 1.070, and these last two have been pretty small - Ed's Haus, and BM's Blonde).

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Old 11-30-2011, 03:04 PM   #2
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A sulphur smell is fairly common in the fermentation process, but usually dissipates fairly quickly. But it won't be able to do that in a bottle. How long did you wait before bottling? Do you know if the sulphur smell was there when you bottled?

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Old 11-30-2011, 03:15 PM   #3
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It was in the fermenter for 3 weeks before I bottled. I really didn't notice it when I was bottling. I did notice it when I opened the fermenter a few days before to check the gravity.

Should I open up the primary right now on my current batch, and let it air out a little? Since all of the bubbling has stopped that sulfury smell is just sitting on top of the beer.

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Next to Brew - Who knows...something with EKG

Primary - April's Amber

Bottled - Bee Cave IPA
Bottled - Apfelwein
Bottled - Dirty Blonde (BM's Blonde w/ 2X hops)
Bottled - Ed's Haus
Bottled - Hop Dread Red V1.0 (Red IPA)

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Old 11-30-2011, 03:20 PM   #4
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I know that it usually dissipates quickly, but in my case, the smell is coming in after most of the fermentation is complete, so there isn't much CO2 movement to carry the smell off of the beer.

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Next to Brew - Who knows...something with EKG

Primary - April's Amber

Bottled - Bee Cave IPA
Bottled - Apfelwein
Bottled - Dirty Blonde (BM's Blonde w/ 2X hops)
Bottled - Ed's Haus
Bottled - Hop Dread Red V1.0 (Red IPA)

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Old 11-30-2011, 03:33 PM   #5
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i've never detected sulfur with S-05 and it seems odd that the smell develops after fermentation is complete. might be some other issue? i'll stay tuned.

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Old 11-30-2011, 04:40 PM   #6
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I had a similar issue that I posted in another thread. I also have a sulfur smell that persists after the initial phases of fermentation (still there after nearly 3 weeks in primary). More experienced users have suggested that it's normal and will dissipate after a longer conditioning period.

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Old 11-30-2011, 06:12 PM   #7
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Ya Im sure it will pass after letting it condition longer, but I would like to keep it from making it in to my beer to being with.

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Next to Brew - Who knows...something with EKG

Primary - April's Amber

Bottled - Bee Cave IPA
Bottled - Apfelwein
Bottled - Dirty Blonde (BM's Blonde w/ 2X hops)
Bottled - Ed's Haus
Bottled - Hop Dread Red V1.0 (Red IPA)

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Old 11-30-2011, 06:19 PM   #8
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Hm. Well, I'd definitely give the current batch some time in the bottle. I expect the aroma will settle down eventually. The most obvious thing to do going forward is to use a different yeast strain, or maybe make starters. You could also warm the beer near the end of fermentation to help the yeast along with cleanup, and to promote offgassing. Even moving it to a warm place after fermentation subsides will scare out some CO2, and that may take the sulphur with it. Past that, just wait longer before bottling. It won't hurt anything.

Generally, in my experience, sulphur forms when there's a cold fermentation temperature. Lots of lagers throw out sulphur during fermentation. So yeah, if the temp dropped near the end of fermentation that could do it. You could try taking the fermenter out of the swamp cooler when activity slows; the higher temps near the end won't change the flavor much.

If you have kegging capability (I assume you don't if you're bottling), you could carbonate and purge a few times to scare it out.

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Old 12-01-2011, 02:54 PM   #9
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OK, I assumed that colder would be better than being too warm (and I still think that is correct), but I guess I need to be more careful about it being too cold.

I'm going to try and air the one in the fermenter out a little bit, and probably dry hop with some cascade to try and mask the smell.

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Next to Brew - Who knows...something with EKG

Primary - April's Amber

Bottled - Bee Cave IPA
Bottled - Apfelwein
Bottled - Dirty Blonde (BM's Blonde w/ 2X hops)
Bottled - Ed's Haus
Bottled - Hop Dread Red V1.0 (Red IPA)

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Old 12-01-2011, 06:05 PM   #10
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Yes, that is correct. But in some cases sulphur aromas are created at colder temperatures. It's not usually a huge issue, as it generally disperses with a little time, whereas the off-flavors of a hot fermentation don't - or do, but very slowly.

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