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Old 05-12-2008, 02:59 AM   #1
zacster
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Default Why does my beer taste like virginia ham?

For the second batch in a row, my beer has an off taste from an ester, this time clove. I made a Nut Brown Ale, using WLP002 yeast, 16 days in the primary, 2 wks in the secondary, and 3 in the bottle. OG was 1.060, FG was 1.015. It was a little sweet when I bottled, more so than I like, but I didn't notice the off taste then, and even when I tried one at about 10 days in the bottle I didn't notice it. But today was day 21, and I noticed it as soon as I opened the bottle.

I pitched at 74, but I kept it at room temps, around 67, and it never veered over 70 even on the warmest day I checked.

My prior batch tastes of banana, that one a lager. It has gotten a little better as it ages a bit. I'll let the nut brown sit for another few weeks too.

What am I doing wrong?

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Old 05-12-2008, 03:37 AM   #2
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It seems like you are using the right yeast for the job....

But most White Labs yeats have some sweet and funky results

Try jumping to the dark side of Wyeast Liquid yeasts

I've never had a bad or unexpected result in my last six batches

Dog Fish Head uses Wyeast 1187 Ringwood Ale Liquid Yeast for its 65-6.5-65-6.5 IPA

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Old 05-12-2008, 04:50 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by BGT Hophead View Post
But most White Labs yeats have some sweet and funky results
Their yeats may have problems, but their yeasts deffinately do not..

I have never had any problems with white labs yeast, and neither have most of the other brewers on this board. They are one of the top yeast producers in the world as a matter of fact. And many, if not most, of the strains at white labs are the same strains as the ones at Wyeast with different names.

Your problem isn't your yeast or WhiteLabs.

74 is too warm, so is 67. During fermentation, your yeasts are going to warm up the primary 5-10 degrees from the ambient temperature. I try to keep ambient temps in the low 60's to upper 50's depending on the yeast strain and fermentation activity. Try lowering your temps a little and see if that fixes your proble.

Another suggestion would be to change your extract supplier. You can get some off flavors from extract that has been sitting around too long, and if you are using liquid extract, try switching to dry as it has less stability problems.

One last suggestion would be to try to reduce O2 exposure. With it showing up later after bottling, you may be aerating your brew at bottling time, contributing to storage and oxygenation problems.
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Old 05-12-2008, 10:40 AM   #4
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67 is the fermentation temp, not the ambient temp. The extract is supposed to be fresh, from Morebeer. And I don't think I'm aerating the wort, I keep the hose at the bottom of the bottling bucket when I transfer to it and then use a bottling wand.

I'll watch my pitching temps for next time, but I was under the impression that 74 was OK for pitching, the room itself was lower than that and the fermenter was at 67 within a short time, but maybe not short enough. Still, the instructions I have for the yeast say 63-72, so it would drop the 2 degrees pretty quickly in my house.

One question, the yeast was shipped without ice, but it was still winter. It was pretty lively when I made a starter (another point, I did make a starter), too. Could the yeast have been too warm during shipping?

I'll let it sit and see what happens.

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Old 05-12-2008, 11:12 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zacster View Post
67 is the fermentation temp, not the ambient temp. The extract is supposed to be fresh, from Morebeer. And I don't think I'm aerating the wort, I keep the hose at the bottom of the bottling bucket when I transfer to it and then use a bottling wand.

I'll watch my pitching temps for next time, but I was under the impression that 74 was OK for pitching, the room itself was lower than that and the fermenter was at 67 within a short time, but maybe not short enough. Still, the instructions I have for the yeast say 63-72, so it would drop the 2 degrees pretty quickly in my house.

One question, the yeast was shipped without ice, but it was still winter. It was pretty lively when I made a starter (another point, I did make a starter), too. Could the yeast have been too warm during shipping?

I'll let it sit and see what happens.
It sounds like those temps are fine. But, those flavors do sounds like the yeast were stressed at some point.

Did you make a starter? That might help, especially after the cross-country trip.

Did you aerate prior to pitching the yeast? This might be a source of problems too.

Last note, it looks like you apparent attenuation was 75%, a little higher than expected with WLP002. The lower FG and off flavors could also be caused by some type of wild yeast contamination. Maybe review your sanitation procedures?


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Originally Posted by BGT Hophead View Post
But most White Labs yeats have some sweet and funky results
This is truly an unfounded and inaccurate statement. Do you have any basis for this statement? Plenty of award winning pro and home brewers use White Labs with no problems.
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Old 05-12-2008, 03:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
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67 is the fermentation temp, not the ambient temp.
Are you sure? Are you actually measuring the temp inside the bucket? Because those off-flavors definitely sound like flavors produced from fermentation at excessive temps. I mean, it's not uncommon for a primary fermentation to be 10°F higher than the ambient temperature.

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And I don't think I'm aerating the wort, I keep the hose at the bottom of the bottling bucket when I transfer to it and then use a bottling wand.
I think you mean "beer." Wort is unfermented beer and beer is fermented wort. So, you're not oxidizing the beer with you transfer it. However, you should oxygenate the wort ... this will help to decrease the strain on your yeast when you pitch.
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Old 05-12-2008, 04:46 PM   #7
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Dude, Virginia Ham is awesome.. You can now buy the cheap ham and suppliment it with alternating sips of this beer. Instant Virginia Ham. Yum.

Sorry, I really don't know what the problem could be.

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Old 05-12-2008, 04:51 PM   #8
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Old 05-12-2008, 04:52 PM   #9
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Dude, Virginia Ham is awesome.. You can now buy the cheap ham and suppliment it with alternating sips of this beer. Instant Virginia Ham. Yum.
The cheap ham's real watery, though. Virginia ham's like an old ale or a barleywine; cheap ham's an ordinary bitter, maybe a 1030 OG.

Anyone else suddenly craving a cold glass of porkfelwein?
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Old 05-12-2008, 04:58 PM   #10
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since most of the other possibilities have been listed, temperature, mislabeled yeast... the other thing I can think of is a brettanomyces infection it tends to create phenols and esters associated with everything from cloves to bacon to band-aids. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brettanomyces

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