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Old 10-30-2008, 08:37 PM   #1
packin
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Default What is wrong? Two bad brews

I am very bummed out by the quality of my first two brews, and I can't pin down what exactly is wrong.

I bought the equipment kit from Austin Homebrew and I brewed my first beer in July, a hefeweizen using an AHS kit with Weinstephaner yeast. I followed John Palmer's book for the most part. I left it in the primary for 4 weeks, bottled, then tasted after 2 weeks. There was a funky taste to it that I'd describe as almost dishsoap. It was also slightly bitter, and the fruitiness I was expecting was not that big. The lack of fruitiness I can attribute to fermenting at around 65 degrees, but I'm not sure about the dishsoap taste. Overall this brew was decent I guess for my first time.

Fast forward to the end of August, I decided to brew the second kit that I had bought at the same time as the first one in July to see if I could get rid of the offending taste. This was the Texas Blonde Ale. As far as I could tell I did everything the same as the Hefe, except I only left it in the primary for 2 weeks, then transferred to secondary for an additional 2 weeks. I was fairly careful about siphoning the beer with my auto-siphon... and the only oxidization that could have resulted was from the air that gets into the auto-siphon at the very end of the siphon (like trying to get the remnants of a drink with a straw).

I bottled the blonde at the end of September and tasted it 2 weeks later. Much to my dismay it tasted like cleaning solvent, even worse than the taste I had with my Hefe. It is undrinkable as it makes the belly rumble a bit. Now, a month later, the flavor has not improved at all.

I have also recently tasted the Hefe since I saved a few, and the weird taste is still there. It's a bit worse now in fact, and not something that I'd serve to anyone except myself.

Any ideas as to where this weird taste is coming from? I should also say that I used tap water to top off both of these beers.

Thanks for any help in solving this mystery so that I can actually brew good beer!

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Old 10-30-2008, 08:43 PM   #2
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Maybe you left sanitizing solution in your primary?

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Primary: 04/29 Pomegranate Nectarine Apfelwein, 05/23 Petite Saison
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Old 10-30-2008, 08:45 PM   #3
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What are you using to clean your equipment and bottles? I basically just rinse my bottles with water and sanitize with Starsan.

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Old 10-30-2008, 08:46 PM   #4
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From John Palmer's How to Brew

"Soapy flavors can caused by not washing your glass very well, but they can also be produced by the fermentation conditions. If you leave the beer in the primary fermentor for a relatively long period of time after primary fermentation is over ("long" depends on the style and other fermentation factors), soapy flavors can result from the breakdown of fatty acids in the trub. Soap is, by definition, the salt of a fatty acid; so you are literally tasting soap."

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Old 10-30-2008, 09:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pivzavod View Post
Maybe you left sanitizing solution in your primary?
I am positive that I dumped it all out as I had lurked on this forum for quite a while and read stories from people who poured their wort into the sanitizing solution. Yet, maybe the remaining solution gave it this effect?

Quote:
Originally Posted by irunxcjm View Post
What are you using to clean your equipment and bottles? I basically just rinse my bottles with water and sanitize with Starsan.
I was using the stuff that came with the AHS kit. It was a no-rinse sanitizer. The first batch I scrubbed the bottles and the rinsed them out, then sanitized. The second batch I only rinsed out, then sanitized.

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Originally Posted by hcarter View Post
From John Palmer's How to Brew

"Soapy flavors can caused by not washing your glass very well, but they can also be produced by the fermentation conditions. If you leave the beer in the primary fermentor for a relatively long period of time after primary fermentation is over ("long" depends on the style and other fermentation factors), soapy flavors can result from the breakdown of fatty acids in the trub. Soap is, by definition, the salt of a fatty acid; so you are literally tasting soap."
I know I said a soapy flavor, but it's more of like a cleaning solvent flavor. A little bit sharper than the taste of soap. Plus, I only had the blonde ale in the fermenter for 4 weeks which as I understand shouldn't have caused any problems. I've also tasted the beer directly from the bottle, and it tasted the same.

Thanks for the replies, please keep them coming.
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Old 10-30-2008, 09:18 PM   #6
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I would look into your fermenting temps getting too high...

How to Brew - By John Palmer - Common Off-Flavors

I can vouch that if you leave an inch or so of beer on a yeast cake in a primary bucket and the temps get over 70 it will produce a solvent odor and flavor to the beer on top.

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Old 10-30-2008, 10:37 PM   #7
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I though that the consensus here was that it is ok for your brew to come in contact with wet StarSan. I remember a few people saying this. My thinking is that it is ok if my racking tubes, cane, bottles are ok even if the StarSan has not dried. Any thoughts?

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Old 10-30-2008, 11:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by telemarc View Post
I though that the consensus here was that it is ok for your brew to come in contact with wet StarSan. I remember a few people saying this. My thinking is that it is ok if my racking tubes, cane, bottles are ok even if the StarSan has not dried. Any thoughts?
yes, it is perfectly fine for your beer to come into contact with starsan.
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Old 10-31-2008, 03:27 AM   #9
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Which sanitzer are you using? Are you using too much? Even though you don't have to rinse it wouldn't hurt to very briefly rinse.

Forrest

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Old 10-31-2008, 03:41 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Austinhomebrew View Post
Which sanitzer are you using? Are you using too much? Even though you don't have to rinse it wouldn't hurt to very briefly rinse.

Forrest
I tend to agree. Even though I use the suggested amount of iodophor and it shouldn't harm me or the beer I will still rinse my stuff once. Maybe I'm just scared of chemicals, but anything that stains my counter or smells like that can't be all that great for you or beer, but then again, I could be wrong..... (IODOPHOR).
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