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Old 06-06-2012, 07:53 PM   #1
runningweird
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So, I have had several batches - far more than I would like to admit - turn out badly. I mean undrinkable because of a bandaid like medicinal quality that kills any hop aroma or bitterness. These beers finish sweet even if they are at desired FG. These beers all taste the same - even when they are fermented at different temps or with different yeast. Even giant hop bombs that should be close to 100 IBU taste sweet and malty even with mash temps in the low 150 148 range.


I grind my grain in the garage - so I started doing so outside. Still not better.
I replaced all my fermenters and bleached the crap out of my fermentation freezer. still no fix.


I started trying to fix this by bleaching/vinegaring my carboys and replacing all plastic parts/hoses. I got a good batch here and there and continued to be frustrated. I thought it might be my plate chiller - I recirculate boiling wort through it for at least 15 minutes every boil and clean it out afterwards - I even started baking it. Still no 100% fix.



I am drinking a big double stout that turned out great, but in the tap next to it is a maibock that tastes like absolute sh^t. I have about a 30 percent success rate and this is simply unacceptable.

I was so convinced I had an infection- But I then started looking at my water.
I have a cistern which is usually full of nice clean rain water but at times is filled with water we get from the local water supplier - which happens to use chloramines. I believe that while my water tastes fine it is ruining my beer - and today I brewed a batch of Cascade Munich smash to prove that idea.

I added camden powder to my mash, sparge, and any water that touched my equipment. I starsan sprayed and covered in foam everything in my garage. The plate chiller was heated in the oven at 350 degrees earlier this morning and then had boiling wort recirculated through it for at least 30 minutes.

It is in the fermentation chamber now - I will give it a week and then if FG is there and everything has cleared out I will taste it and rack to keg. If it doesn't taste like problem beer I will rejoice and do my happy dance. If it doesn't work I will be buying some spring water and trying to brew at a friends house to see if the problem is environmental.


I make a lot of skeeter pee/lemon wine. I use the same fermentation vessels that I do for beer. I assume that if these batches are turning out fine that the chloramine in the water is interacting with the grain and making bad things happen.

I am slightly tipsy on this stout and am rambling so I will check back in when I keg/dump this batch
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Old 06-06-2012, 08:06 PM   #2
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have you tried buying/making RO water? i use an RV filter i bought on amazon for $20 or so and it works great.

 
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Old 06-06-2012, 08:37 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eastoak View Post
have you tried buying/making RO water? i use an RV filter i bought on amazon for $20 or so and it works great.
My water supply is run through a uv filter and a carbon filter - I don't think that the cheaper filters are RO

I will be buying a full batch worth of RO water if this batch doesn't turn out properly.
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Old 06-06-2012, 08:43 PM   #4
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If it's not chemical contamination and it's not your process than your water is all that's left. Good luck! I have used nothing but my well water and so far I have not made a bad batch. :fingerscrossed:
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Old 06-06-2012, 08:43 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by runningweird View Post
I have about a 30 percent success rate and this is simply unacceptable.

If it doesn't taste like problem beer I will rejoice and do my happy dance.
BUT...

What if this next batch is a "30 percent success" beer???
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Old 06-06-2012, 08:49 PM   #6
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I had one batch of beer come out with a strong band aid flavor. I had used DME, i think it was due to a shortened boil time.

Never had the problem with LME, or All grain. All equipment was the same.

 
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Old 06-06-2012, 09:39 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neko View Post
BUT...

What if this next batch is a "30 percent success" beer???
Then I won't know will I?!

If it turns out well I will brew another when I keg it to see if the second batch turns out well.

if both are good I will conclude that i might have fixed the problem.
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Old 06-06-2012, 10:15 PM   #8
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Get rid of the bleach. get some Star-San. Phenols usually come from chlorine.

 
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Old 06-06-2012, 10:23 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wynne-R
Get rid of the bleach. get some Star-San. Phenols usually come from chlorine.
I use star san religiously. The bleached items were all rinsed with hot water and cleaned thoroughly after an oxyclean bath.

I might make an ro batch before the other one is done just to see what happens...
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Old 06-06-2012, 10:28 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wynne-R View Post
Get rid of the bleach. get some Star-San. Phenols usually come from chlorine.
+1

Starsan is much simpler than bleach, no worries about rinsing it well enough like bleach.


From John Palmer's How to Brew

Quote:
Medicinal
These flavors are often described as mediciney, Band-Aidô like, or can be spicy like cloves. The cause are various phenols which are initially produced by the yeast. Chlorophenols result from the reaction of chlorine-based sanitizers (bleach) with phenol compounds and have very low taste thresholds. Rinsing with boiled water after sanitizing is the best way to prevent these flavors.

 
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