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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Plastic-y smell/taste
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Old 09-10-2011, 10:50 PM   #1
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Default Plastic-y smell/taste

Okay so I've brewed a couple batches, using a faucet mounted Pur water filter for all the water. All the water I use for brewing is boiled or pre-boiled.

My beer tastes so-so (I'm drinking it at least), but I get a plastic like smell, and a slight taste in it.

I have asked my local water authority if they put chloramine in the water, waiting for an answer.

My question is this... If I use a campden tablet, do I have to fill up a big bucket of water, put the tablet in, wait 24hrs and brew with that? Is it safe to assume my problem is choramine, or is there some sanitation issue that can lead to this type of smell/taste? I use StarSan for all my sanitation, but from what I've read you can have all kinds of suds of it all over everything with no effect on taste. Also I had this taste before using StarSan.

Should I just switch to store-bought water? i only do all-extract at the moment, but what will I do down the road if I want to do all grain?


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Old 09-10-2011, 10:56 PM   #2
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just drop the tablet in the carboy when you add the yeast. it wont hurt them at that dosage. that will get rid of any potential chlorinates that may be in the water. chlorine gives beer more of a band-aid/medicine flavor not plastic.

you may want to make sure that all plastic that touches the wort is food grade. non food grade plastic is usually the cause of plastic beer.


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Old 09-10-2011, 11:03 PM   #3
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Maybe band-aid is a good way to describe it. Smells like a band-aid/adhesive. All my equipment came from Midwest so it's legit food grade.

So campden at fermentation time will work? Crushed up and stirred? The result being the sulfer or whatever will come out the airlock?
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Old 09-10-2011, 11:06 PM   #4
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just drop the tablet in the carboy when you add the yeast. it wont hurt them at that dosage. that will get rid of any potential chlorinates that may be in the water. chlorine gives beer more of a band-aid/medicine flavor not plastic.

you may want to make sure that all plastic that touches the wort is food grade. non food grade plastic is usually the cause of plastic beer.
I don't agree. I say you should add the campden to the water, NOT the wort! You want to have the chloramine dissipate before you brew with the water.

I'm not sure if you've got a chlorine/chloramine issue or not. I had a scratched bucket that had a beer with a plastic smell to it, and I knew it wasn't the water as I made a 10 gallon batch and split it- the beer in the other fermenter was perfect!

I'd also consider some other things that can cause the plastic smell/taste. The first question I would ask is if the fermentation temperature got above 72? That seems to really exacerbate any chlorophenols.
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Old 09-10-2011, 11:17 PM   #5
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I pitched somewhere in the 70-75F range, but next morning saw a few bubbles coming out and temp was 68. That lasted for a few days then settled at 66.

Was a new bucket, I always clean only with a rag that spends all it's time sitting in star-san. Also during the boil as I wait i sanitize and shake the fermenter several times to coat with star san, so at that time sanitation is good. i do transfer to secondary as well, but again I think with these that all my equipment was pretty new. Either I'm doing something completely wrong with sanitation or it's my water.

The beer is pretty drinkable. Carbonation is okay, there's just this smell/taste I need to get past.

Seems like adding the campden directly to the fermenter/wort might lead to sanitation issues.
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Old 09-10-2011, 11:20 PM   #6
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I pitched somewhere in the 70-75F range, but next morning saw a few bubbles coming out and temp was 68. That lasted for a few days then settled at 66.

Was a new bucket, I always clean only with a rag that spends all it's time sitting in star-san. Also during the boil as I wait i sanitize and shake the fermenter several times to coat with star san, so at that time sanitation is good. i do transfer to secondary as well, but again I think with these that all my equipment was pretty new. Either I'm doing something completely wrong with sanitation or it's my water.

The beer is pretty drinkable. Carbonation is okay, there's just this smell/taste I need to get past.

Seems like adding the campden directly to the fermenter/wort might lead to sanitation issues.
Your technique sounds good. Adding campden doesn't cause any sanitation issues, but it's always added to the WATER before brewing, so that the chlorine/chloramine dissipates before brewing. (It's a chemical reaction that releases the chloramine).


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