Hi fellow brewers,
I have many all grain, PM, and extract batch recipes under the belt - enough that I have had to buy a new belt so-to-speak.
Many of the beers I make are pretty good IMO, not blowing my own horn just stating the obvious. Most of the beers people love.
The only 2 that have given me trouble was a scottish beer, and an ESB. A month or so ago I decided to try to brew another ESB to see if I could get it right. I did the "Red Hook" clone from HBT recipe database, and I used the liquid london ESB yeast from wyeast. It was a smack pack, the pack was a good 6 months old perhaps more (I wish I knew for sure, but I don't).
Anyway, I bottled it yesterday and it had a strong 'rubbery' taste to it. I have never had this before, and upon researching this it looks like that may indicate phenols - typically from high pitching temps, or infection. Some mention it could be from dead yeast (autoylsis or however you spell it). I pitched the yeast around 65F and fermented around 63F with 3 weeks on primary trub, and I am pretty anal about my sanitation and cleaning. i regularly use unscented oxyclean to clean, and diversol to sanitize and I have never had problems. I used a glass carboy.
What I am suspecting here is that the yeast I used was not all that viable. In fact, I worry it may have been mostly dead. I remember smacking the pack and it taking a good few hours to swell. It really did not swell all that much, and I only brewed a 2.5 gallon batch so I figured it was ok.
Honestly, this is my second stab at using liquid yeast and was a bit worried about waiting too long before pitching. When I pitched, it smelled like yeast I guess - noting now that the beer smells quite a bit like the way the smack pack smelled.
I did not dump the beer, I will give it a month or so to see if that flavor goes away. Has anyone else experienced this before? Any words of wisdom or tips are welcome.