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Old 06-22-2007, 01:07 AM   #1
swampdog
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I have a strange problem with my last AG batch (my 3rd). The first two seemed fine to me. This one came out of the fermenter with a taste I can only describe as "hot." Its really not a taste, but rather a sensation. The beer's been in the keg for over a week and you still feel like your lips and tounge are burning when you taste it. Its almost like the sensation of drinking corn whiskey, only it lasts longer. There are no unpleasant smells, in fact it smells great. It was a Scotch Ale with a ton of malt and an once of hops.

Anyone ever experience this before? Can it be fixed, or should I just dump it now?

 
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Old 06-22-2007, 02:09 AM   #2
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It sounds like fusel alcohol, a result of fermenting warm, particularly at fluctuating warm temperatures. Could that have happened? It might also be accentuated if you underpitched or under-aerated your wort.

And don't dump it - leave it in the keg and sample it again in a few weeks. It will probably improve some.

 
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Old 06-22-2007, 03:26 AM   #3
swampdog
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Thanks, Flyguy. I doubt that it fermented outside the suggested range for the yeast (I had it in a cool, consistent basement), but I may well have not gotten enough oxygen in the wort. I am pretty sure I should've racked it off the trub sooner, but I don't know if that could contribute to the condition you suggest. It set in the primary for about three weeks.

 
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Old 06-22-2007, 11:55 AM   #4
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There are lots of causes for fusel alcohols, butI have only ever noticed them when my fermentation temp was too warm. I have also noticed that in big, dark beers they tend to mellow with time. So definitely don't throw out that batch. Either bottle it and put it in the cellar for a few months, or (better yet) leave it in the secondary for a few months.

I have read that leaving the beer on the yeast too long may cause fusel alcohol production, but three weeks is a pretty short period of time. It sounds more likely that underpitching and lack of oxygen was the problem. With big SG beers, it can be quite hard to oxygenate without the use of an oxygenation system. Did you aerate or oxygenate?


 
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Old 06-22-2007, 11:58 AM   #5
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Fusel alcohols are usually from excess heat. Remember, the fermenting wort can heat up 5° - 7° just from the fermentation process. My basement itself is about 72, which is on the high end for ale fermentation. Next time, you might consider a water bath to help keep things in the high 60s (if that proves to have been the issue).
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Old 06-22-2007, 04:48 PM   #6
swampdog
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I appreciate everyone's advice. This burning sensation is so strong, I'm having a hard time believing the fermentaion created it. I'm wondering if the batch has somehow gotten contaminated by a chemical agent. I did clean the brew kettle with a bleach solution, but I rinsed it carefully. Still, I'll let her sit for a month or so and see what happens.

 
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Old 06-22-2007, 05:12 PM   #7
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I had that with my very first Czech lager. It was no where near being fermented warm, but i can tell you that i am sure it was way under pitched.

I would say if you are sure it is not a temp problem then it was underpitched.
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Old 06-23-2007, 01:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swampdog
This burning sensation is so strong, I'm having a hard time believing the fermentaion created it. I'm wondering if the batch has somehow gotten contaminated by a chemical agent.
You say it tastes chemical-like? Does it have a solvent-like flavour? Those are fusels. I have had that happen before. Unfortunately, it never goes away, but it will diminish in time. I had a brown ale that was undrinkable at 3 weeks, but passable at 3 months. Hope yours works out!

 
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Old 06-24-2007, 02:09 AM   #9
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What is your estimated ABV? - plain alcohol will have a "hot" taste to it in high alcohol beers.

 
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Old 06-24-2007, 03:09 AM   #10
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What may appear to be "hot" and slightly unpleasant in the summer, will be warm and soothing when you take a taste in February.

Set that keg aside and save for a wintery day.

 
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