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Old 11-20-2012, 12:32 AM   #11
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"Banana" flavor and aroma is a flavor called "esters".

"Diacetyl" is buttery, or slick, or oily.

It sounds like you have esters, from a too-warm fermentation temperature, not not diacetyl at all.


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Old 11-20-2012, 01:39 AM   #12
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I agree, temp is the likely culprit. Isn't all british and english yeast likely to produce more diacetyl than other strains? How old was the yeast you used to create the starter? How long did you propagate the yeast?


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Old 11-20-2012, 02:01 PM   #13
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I used a first generation slant that was about 9 months old. It still looked good and worked OK, but I was wondering if the shelf life would be any kind of factor.
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Old 11-20-2012, 02:08 PM   #14
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If you made the appropriate sized starter, the age of the yeast shouldn't really matter as the yeast responded for you properly. BTW, you still haven't mentioned the strain Some strains are notorious for producing banana esters, especially at higher ferm temps!

I agree with everyone that recommended taking control of your fermentation temperatures for every batch you brew. Even the most clean fermenting strains will produce unwanted off flavors at extremes of their range. You can brew two identical beers and use the exact same yeast but if you ferment one at say, 62 and the other at 70 you would be hard pressed to know they were the exact same beers
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Old 11-20-2012, 02:15 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grimstuff View Post
Aside from refrigeration with a thermostat, you can use a water bath, which works very well. I've been able to achieve temp control within 2-3 degrees with it. Get a big receptacle large enough for your ferment vessel and water. I use a 20 gallon pot. Others use a big plastic storage container. Put your ferment vessel in, fill it with water, then use plastic 2-liter bottles of soda filled with water and frozen to keep the temp of the water down. Two of those bottles in my 20 gallon pot is plenty to keep temps down. In any case, the water is what buffers temp swings, acting as thermal mass.
I've used this procedure many times with great success. One thing I do is put a cap full of bleach in the water to keep anything from growing in the water while it sits for three weeks and make sure to dip a towel in the water and then wrap it around the carboy or bucket and that will wick the cool water up the towel and keep the whole thing cooler.
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Old 11-20-2012, 02:18 PM   #16
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It is best to chill the wort down to 60F or lower before pitching. It is (nearly) impossible to cool fermenting beer.

The fermenting beer will likely be 5 or 6 degrees higher than ambient temps.

ONLY banana beer I had was fermented too high. I learned quick. Slow and Low is best.
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Old 11-20-2012, 02:25 PM   #17
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Thanks again, all. Clearly it's esters and a result of too high a fermentation temp. I will fix that next time. By the way, does the fermentation process itself produce heat (let's see - exothermic?) that adds to the problem?
I bet I'm opening up a can of worms here...
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Old 11-20-2012, 02:26 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gkeusch View Post
Thanks again, all. Clearly it's esters and a result of too high a fermentation temp. I will fix that next time. By the way, does the fermentation process itself produce heat (let's see - exothermic?) that adds to the problem?
I bet I'm opening up a can of worms here...
Yes! could be anywhere from 5-10 degrees depending on how active it is.
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Old 11-20-2012, 06:20 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gkeusch View Post
Thanks again, all. Clearly it's esters and a result of too high a fermentation temp. I will fix that next time. By the way, does the fermentation process itself produce heat (let's see - exothermic?) that adds to the problem?
I bet I'm opening up a can of worms here...
No can of worms... fermentation produces heat, simple as that. If you're exerting cooling on the beer somehow (like in a water bath), it might suddenly drop the temp a bit too far once that primary fermentation is done because the yeast are slowing down. You don't want that. Try to maintain the actual beer temp at the same level for a few days after you've reached your FG in order to help get rid of unwanted flavor compounds. Taste it and take a gravity reading. Calculate percent change in gravity (i.e. attenuation) and compare to typical attenuation for the yeast strain you're using. If it's not done, rouse the yeast and maybe warm it a few degrees. Yeast strains that have med-high flocculation are at additional risk of slowing or stopping before they're done.
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Old 11-21-2012, 10:38 AM   #20
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Specifically it's an ester called iso-amyl acetate.

British yeasts typically give you a beer with more esters, though not always banana character. Temp control will help for sure, but if you prefer a more neutral yeast character with less esters, try some of the less estery strains like 1056, 1272 (has some but not like Brits), 1728, etc, or their White Labs equivalents.

Most Brit yeasts fermented at 63-65 or so shouldn't have this at an elevated level. As others pointed out, that's the temp of the beer, not ambient temp. Beer will warm up much higher than ambient during fermentation.


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