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Old 01-29-2014, 11:14 AM   #1
tsolron
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Default Root Beer - Okay Taste, Bad Smell

I've tried a couple batches of root beer now, each 1.25 liters in size (plastic soda bottle). Each time it tastes alright, but it smells really bad. My friends say it's a yeasty smell, so I think there's an issue there. I have searched around on this forum in addition to using Google, but it seems like I'm doing things properly, hence deciding to post here.

Here are the steps I followed. I was wondering if any of them seem to be the cause:
1. Clean out containers and anything used to make the root beer using PBW and then sanitize things with Star San.
2. Heat the following until everything dissolves together:

  • 3.75 cups water
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/8 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp malto dextrin
  • 1/4 tbsp root beer extract (I've tried both Zatarain's and McCormick's)
3. Once araound 85*F, add 0.068g yeast (I'm using "Red Star Active Dry Wine Yeast (Pasteur Champagne)", which was recommended by the local brew shop).
4. Fill bottle until there's a 1.25 inch gap at the top.

Note that I double this recipe when mixing things since it's for a smaller bottle than mine, so the 1.25 inch gap is still correct for me.

I let it sit for about 3.5 days before refrigerating it. It took that long for the bottle to be firm enough that I couldn't indent it by squeezing it.

I'm pretty sure the taste would be really good without the smell, it's just hard for me to drink with it present.

Sorry for such a long post... Anyway, I'm hoping you guys can help out. Thanks in advance!
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Old 01-29-2014, 08:54 PM   #2
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Go back to your LHBS and pick up some yeast nutrient such as Fermaid. That may help alleviate that smell a little, but you won't eliminate it completely. Also see if you can get some filtered water just in case there's something in there that might be stressing the yeast. Champagne yeast is the cleanest profile, but it's still going to have a fermented character to it. You'll never get it as clean as a force carbonated soda. How long did you refrigerate it before drinking? Sometimes it smells a bit better once the yeast has really settled out.

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Old 01-30-2014, 10:27 AM   #3
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I'll stop by to get some Fermaid and try that out. Is it something I could add to the existing batch, or should I just add it in to future batches when I add the yeast?

For the filtered water, would that just essentially be bottled water? Would distilled water work better?

I tried it before refrigerating and after one day of refrigeration for the current batch, which is the least "yeasty" smelling. I figured I'd wait another 2-3 days and try it again to see if it's changed. Since the bottle continues to harden slightly in the refrigerator, I think the yeast may still be slightly active, so I was considering alternating between freezing and unfreezing it. Would this negatively impact it at all? Or is there a way to filter the yeast out (perhaps with a coffee filter)?

Thanks again!

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Old 01-30-2014, 01:03 PM   #4
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The yeast nutrient is something that should be added before you start fermenting. Basically it gives the yeasts a "balanced diet" in a sense and reduces the production of off-flavors during fermentation. So it wouldn't do anything to a batch that has already fermented.

Bottled water would work fine, no need to go with distilled water. Basically you just want to avoid any chlorine residues or anything like that from tap water.

The yeast is still a little bit active under refrigeration, yes. Freezing it would not be a good idea, you're likely to rupture the bottle. You could try a coffee filter, but you're likely to lose a lot of carbonation that way. It's best to just let it settle out as much as possible, though it does have a tendency to bubble back up when you open the bottle, so open it slowly.

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Old 01-30-2014, 07:39 PM   #5
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Okay, I'll adjust my next bottle to include the Fermaid and bottled water, and I'll refrigerate it a few days before opening to let the yeast settle and become dormant again. I'll update this thread with the results in a week or two.

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Old 02-02-2014, 06:15 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsolron View Post
Okay, I'll adjust my next bottle to include the Fermaid and bottled water, and I'll refrigerate it a few days before opening to let the yeast settle and become dormant again. I'll update this thread with the results in a week or two.
How did this come out.

Roger



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Old 02-04-2014, 04:57 PM   #7
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I'm currently home from college on a break, so I won't have a chance to start it until next Saturday. I'll be sure to post once I've tried it though.

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