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Old 05-20-2012, 05:53 PM   #1
May 2011
Landrum, SC
Posts: 49

in the past several months, i have fermented 6 batches with safale us05. all of these have had an extreme phenolic aroma/flavor. i fermented all of them in swamp coolers with temps ranging from 55 to 70. some of which had huge temp swings within that range (at first i thought that was the problem, but no). some were consistent at either 65 or 70 during primary fermentation.

at first i thought: i have wild yeast/bacterial i bought new stuff. no difference. did brett take over my equipment? maybe i didn't santize i sanitized more. then i thought, i will try a wyeast recipe, so i did an amber with wyeast 1450. bottled one fermented with us05 and one with the 1450 in the same night. seven days later, the us05 is PHENOL city...and the 1450 is fantastic.

i did a 1 liter starter with the 1450. the us05 i simply rehydrated and pitched. (honestly, i have had better luck just pitching the dry yeast into the wort than rehydrating).

all of that to say...the common thread in the bad beer is the us05. it is terrible. however, it is a good thing that my wife can use all of it as slug bait in her veggie garden. so here i am with 5, possibly 6 nasty batches of beer/slug bait. any man in his right mind would quit brewing. but no, i will just become a liquid yeast/starter snob. next in line is a black ipa/american black ale with 1272.

any of you all had similar problems?

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Old 05-20-2012, 06:01 PM   #2
May 2010
Chandler, AZ
Posts: 2,116
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I've had that issue. Couple of rapid fire thoughts, no idea if these are the issue, but they're ideas.

-How does your LHBS store the yeast? Many keep it warm on the shelf
-What temp is the water you rehydrate in? 90-100F tends to give the best results
-What temp do you pitch at? I find 05 can get a little phenolic if I don't pitch under 65
- I don't have luck with 05 when the temp swings. When I keep the temp rock solid, it's always clean

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Old 05-20-2012, 06:12 PM   #3
May 2011
Landrum, SC
Posts: 49

scottland, thanks for the rapid fire thoughts.

-first 2 were warm shelf storage at lhbs...the rest were refrigerated
-rehydration was between 90 and 100 on all batches
-pitching temp has ranged from 55 to 70 (the warmer ones could easily end up bad here)
-a few had serious temp swings as i would place ice in the swamp cooler every twelve hours or so. i knew this could be a problem so i stopped putting ice in the coolers...just let temp stay the same and wick up the fabric around the carboys. (temp siwngs were probably my biggest problem).

thanks again.

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Old 05-20-2012, 06:17 PM   #4
Jul 2011
Glenview, IL
Posts: 6,368
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There is a huge difference between 65 and 79 as far as what the yeast will do, especially if those swings are during active fermentation

ImHO I think this is where your issue lies. Try and keep that temp at 65 and I think you'll eliminate the problem
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Old 05-20-2012, 07:11 PM   #5
Sep 2010
Posts: 703
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I've had similiar issues with us05. My setup however includes a dorm fridge with digital temp control, so temps dont swing.

I noticed that each batch I did where I pitched sub 65 were that odd phenolic peach/apricot thing all over the place. However, I just tasted my Surly Pro Series kit I fermented with us05 at 68, NONE of that odd character is there. I'm not completely sold on this yeast or my attempts to fix it just yet, but at least this is promising.

Also, I recommend trying Nottingham dry yeast fermented and held at 60-61 if you still want to use a dry yeast, but want a super clean ferment. Also, I would look into a better form of ferment temp control. Sounds like you've wasted enough batches to justify it. My.02 anyway.

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Old 05-21-2012, 02:18 AM   #6
Jan 2012
Canton, ME
Posts: 558
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Originally Posted by duckmanco View Post
each batch I did where I pitched sub 65 were that odd phenolic peach/apricot thing all over the place. However, I just tasted my Surly Pro Series kit I fermented with us05 at 68, NONE of that odd character is there
Hmmm, interesting. I've never had any problems with 05, and I don't have any sort of temp control, that's why I love this yeast, I've never needed temp control. My ambient temp is right at 68 though, and fermentation temp never rises much with 05, maybe a couple degress at most.

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Old 05-21-2012, 02:29 AM   #7
milldoggy's Avatar
Mar 2008
Pottstown, Pa
Posts: 2,518
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I just had a batch with a really strong odor. Thought it was infection too. I did 5 with s04, perfect, the 5 with us 05 has astart, strong alchol smell. Very weird, this was a yeast cake the prior beer was amazing. I did ferment at 68, not my normal 63.
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Old 05-21-2012, 02:46 AM   #8
Feb 2007
Mystic, CT
Posts: 1,008
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Which is it, Phenolic or Peach/Apricot? Those mean two completely different things to me. FWIW I use US05 all the time and don't have a consistent issue with it. Sometimes if I mess up I can get a phenolic thing but nothing that always happens.

My first thought on Phenolic was chlorine in the water, but if other yeasts don't show the problem, then that's probably not it.

Good luck!

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Old 05-22-2012, 02:45 PM   #9
Feb 2012
Chintsa, Eastern Cape
Posts: 2

Hi i was searching the internet to try and find what is causing my problem and hit this forum, I am trying the US05 for the first time, after day 6 i normally Keg using the US04, but there did not seem as much activity as there had been on the 04 so i took a sample to find it merrily fermenting away with a horrible thinners smell and taste, i checked the 3rd fermentor that was on Day 5 the same thing. I have kegged both after 10days and the smell is a lot less but still present. I use rain water.

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Old 05-23-2012, 05:33 PM   #10
Feb 2010
New Berlin, Wisconsin
Posts: 457
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Don't judge a beer by the smell/taste of the fermenting wort, that's just bad practice.

I've found that my medicine/chemical tasting beers were the result of water issues and not yeast issues. This especially holds true for AG brewers where chlorophenals can be produced during the mash from the chloromine in tap water. I now treat all water used during my brew day with campden tablets to prevent any chloromine from being involved with my beer.
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