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Old 03-06-2013, 12:20 AM   #1
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Default Weird taste with S-04

I just brewed an ESB on Saturday and pitched a fresh pack of rehydrated S-04. Temp at pitch was 64*F. I saw signs of fermentation within 18 hours and by 36 hours I had a huge (6-7") layer of foam on top of the beer. I kept the temps under 65*F (ferm temps, not ambient). The krausen started dropping yesterday and is gone today so I decided to take a hydrometer sample. The sample had a slight vinegar smell to me, but I've been sick so I had my wife smell it and she said it smells like beer. I lifted the lid on the bucket and took a smell and it was like sweet beer with a slight hint of vinegar. The taste is like watered down green beer with a slight vinegar taste, but I think I'm getting that from the smell (or lack thereof from being sick).

O.G. was 1.034 and it is currently at 1.014 at 63*F. This is my first time using S-04 so I'm not really sure what I should expect. There are no visual indications of infections (film on top of beer or slime).

I clean all of my equipment with One Step and sanitize with StarSan, before and after each batch. I use a Cooper's fermenter and clean it with a soft sanitized 3M sponge and One Step. I used distilled water to rehydrate the yeast.

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Old 03-06-2013, 12:24 AM   #2
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I wouldn't worry about it yet. I'd carb it up and wait until it's truly done to see how it came out. I say that because I've gotten odd smells from hydro samples with English yeasts and the beers turned out great once done.

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Old 03-06-2013, 12:32 AM   #3
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If it were me, I wouldn't trust my senses when sick, especially if it's a chest or upper respiratory thing. It doesn't sound like you have any cleaning issues. Maybe give it another week to see if your perception changes?

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Old 03-06-2013, 12:35 AM   #4
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if your wife isn't sick, her senses are probably more trustworthy right now. sometimes things smell and taste pretty weird when you are sick. most likely the beer is going to be fine, when it is fully conditioned, and you're healthy again...

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Old 03-06-2013, 12:40 AM   #5
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There is a entire thread dedicated to S-04 haters somewhere on here. Search it. I have had some beers that were fine and some that we're not with S-04. But nothing that was great. See how it goes and be sure to wait on final judgement. It may take a couple months for the favors to come together.

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Old 03-06-2013, 12:56 AM   #6
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S04 is a love it or hate it yeast. I will say that what you may be tasting is diacetyl. Was it kind of buttery? I get it every time I use s04. But fear not, it will go away. Give it a diacetyl rest once fermentation is complete. About a week is all it needs. It has always worked for me, in fact I am drinking an ESB right now fermented with s04 and it is delicious.

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Old 03-06-2013, 01:47 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gcdowd View Post
S04 is a love it or hate it yeast. I will say that what you may be tasting is diacetyl. Was it kind of buttery? I get it every time I use s04. But fear not, it will go away. Give it a diacetyl rest once fermentation is complete. About a week is all it needs. It has always worked for me, in fact I am drinking an ESB right now fermented with s04 and it is delicious.
I put the hydrometer sample in a container with a lid and gave it a shake so I could smell it better. It has a buttery smell to it, but I swear I smell vinegar too. In fact, I convinced my wife to taste it (she will never taste a hydro sample) and she said it had a vinegar taste.

I guess I'll let it get down to FG (I'm shooting for 1.009ish) and reevaluate. I guess I'll either have 5 gallons of beer or malt vinegar. I've never had an infection before but I've read other posts about them and most of them mention visual indicators in addition to smell and taste. If I hadn't taken a hydro sample I would have never suspected anything by the looks of it.
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Old 03-06-2013, 01:52 AM   #8
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I used S04 on my first Stout and liked it enough to use it on my second Stout. I didn't notice a vinegar taste but isn't this yeast supposed to have a little bit of a sourness to it, it seems that I remember reading that somewhere.

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Old 03-06-2013, 01:54 AM   #9
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It's at 1.014 (I'm shooting for 1.009) so I guess I'll put a heat belt on it and bring the temp up to help it attenuate and give it a D rest.

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Old 03-06-2013, 02:02 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goodsuds View Post

I put the hydrometer sample in a container with a lid and gave it a shake so I could smell it better. It has a buttery smell to it, but I swear I smell vinegar too. In fact, I convinced my wife to taste it (she will never taste a hydro sample) and she said it had a vinegar taste.

I guess I'll let it get down to FG (I'm shooting for 1.009ish) and reevaluate. I guess I'll either have 5 gallons of beer or malt vinegar. I've never had an infection before but I've read other posts about them and most of them mention visual indicators in addition to smell and taste. If I hadn't taken a hydro sample I would have never suspected anything by the looks of it.
Always worth letting it complete and clear up. It may become the best beer you've ever made!
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