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Old 09-05-2012, 12:38 AM   #1
Jul 2011
Lewes, De
Posts: 39

My batch of beer smells like nail polish remover....but before you go on a rant about searching for why this happens listen to my scenario. I ferment in a stainless conical that is temp controlled. That rules out high fermentation temps. This batch did produce a lot of yeast in comparison to the batches I've brewed before. It couldn't have had a poor fermentation with all the yeast right? Any ideas?

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Old 09-05-2012, 12:43 AM   #2
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Revvy's Avatar
Dec 2007
"Detroitish" Michigan
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Well, the options with nail polish are 1) Temps 2) underpitching yeast, or 3) infection.

You seem pretty adamant about 1 and 2......so....
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Old 09-05-2012, 12:44 AM   #3
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Jun 2006
UP of Michigan, Winter Texan
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If you've got a nail polish smell, it HAD to have been stressed yeast. I mean, it's not the grain, or the hops. so, it has to be water or yeast. It's not the water, unless you have acetone in the water- so that makes it a yeast issue.

It's often due to high temperatures and slight oxidation, but plastic equipment can leach those flavors as well.

I'd double check any plastic in your brewery and eliminate it, and double check the fermentation temperature system you have.
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Old 09-05-2012, 04:26 AM   #4
Aug 2010
McLean/Ogden, Virginia/Quebec
Posts: 9,195
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Nail polish remover contains ethyl acetate and that's what you are smelling. Some yeast strains produce more of it than others. If you have ever been to the UK and drunk Tetleys (which I don't recommend) you will know what I am talking about. High fermentation temperature at the beginning of fermentation increases ester production in general and some bacteria (lactic acid producing and acetic acid producing) generate it as well. In summary one or more of
1. Yeast strain
2. Temperature control
3. Infection

is/are probably reponsible

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Old 09-05-2012, 04:29 AM   #5
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May 2011
Meridian, ID
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High pitching temp will stress the yeast from the beginning even if you got ferm temps down eventually.

Might as well start stripping the paint off the house with that stuff or give it to the neighbors you don't like.

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Old 09-05-2012, 01:11 PM   #6
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Feb 2011
Carmel, IN
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If I forget to clean out my fermentor for several weeks, it will develop a very strong acetone aroma from the yeast autolysis. If there was a lot of yeast and the beer spent too much time on the lees, then its possible that is where it came from.
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